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Nuclear Energy & Weapons

Given the central role that physical scientists have traditionally played in the history of nuclear energy and weapons, FYI covers major developments in nuclear energy and weapons policy, particularly as they relate to ongoing science policy matters.

6 Oct 2000

Reverberations are still being felt within the nation's nuclear weapons laboratories because of concerns about security. Last week, White House Science Advisor Neal Lane addressed a forum at the National Academies on "Scientific Communication and National Security." Selections from his address, entitled, "The New Security Environment," follow:

1 Jun 2000


Last month it appeared that General John A. Gordon's nomination to head the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) was on a fast track. His nomination hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee had gone exceedingly well, with Gordon receiving much praise from committee members. At the conclusion of the hearing, committee chairman John Warner (R-VA) announced his intention to take the nomination to the floor quickly.

25 May 2000

General John A. Gordon's nomination hearing to head the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) took just one hour, with much of the time devoted to strong statements of support for the nominee. There was not a single word of reluctance expressed by any of the members of the Senate Armed Services Committee about Gordon's fitness to assume what is going to be the very challenging position of NNSA Administrator and Under Secretary of Energy for Nuclear Security.

13 Jul 2000

  Today is General John Gordon's first full day of work since being formally sworn-in as the administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). On Tuesday this week, Gordon appeared before a panel of the House Armed Services Committee to sketch-out some of his plans for the new agency.

3 May 2000

About a month ago, Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM) was the invited keynote speaker at the Nuclear Security Decisionmaker's Forum in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He was unable to attend because of pressing business on the Senate floor. In his prepared remarks, Domenici criticized the implementation plan for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), cited his concern about the National Ignition Facility, and described his intention to increase the Department of Energy's FY 2001 budget over that requested by the administration.

9 Mar 2000

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) was only a day old when Department of Energy Secretary Bill Richardson appeared before the House Armed Services Committee. The hearing was cordial, but it is clear that Richardson and some key House members still do not see eye-to-eye on the implementation of this new law.

11 Jan 2000

One issue that is sure to be on the front burner when Congress returns at the end of the month is the new semi-autonomous National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). When Congress left Washington last fall, there was considerable consternation about the Clinton Administration's implementation of the NNSA provisions of the FY 2000 Defense Authorization Act. President Clinton designated DOE Secretary Bill Richardson to assume the interim duties and functions of the Under Secretary for Nuclear Security, a move that angered many Members of Congress.

25 Aug 1993

While the ups and downs of the Superconducting Super Collider make
headlines, the Department of Energy carries on with other projects,
including attempts to deal with the legacy of the Cold War and the
challenges of the more environmentally-conscious 1990s.  Two new
General Accounting Office (GAO) reports examine DOE's efforts in
these areas.  One discusses the difficulties DOE confronts in
cleaning up old facilities; the second looks at the problems with
efforts to prepare a permanent repository for spent nuclear fuel.

9 Dec 1994

This FYI highlights three GAO reports released in past months.  The
reports address different issues relating to nuclear power
production and nuclear waste. 

3 Oct 1994

The passing of the Cold War era has prompted many to rethink the
nation's policies for its nuclear arsenal.  Sen. Mark Hatfield
(R-Oregon), Ranking Minority Member of the Senate Appropriations
Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, charged the
Congressional Budget Office (CBO) with studying the nation's
nuclear weapons labs.  The CBO's response, a 45-page paper
entitled, "The Bomb's Custodians," was released in July.  The paper
reviews the Administration's plans in light of budget constraints,