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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.

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,

12 Jun 2003

When House and Senate conferees sit down in coming weeks to resolve differences in the $400.5 billion National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2004 there will be many points to resolve. Although some provisions of this massive bill will be changed, there is unlikely to be significant alteration to several controversial provisions regarding research on new types of nuclear weapons or in nuclear weapons test site preparations.

23 Mar 2005

It will be "a hugely difficult decision" Ambassador Linton F. Brooks told members of the House Strategic Forces Subcommittee at a hearing earlier this month when he discussed the decision a President would make about the use of a Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator (RNEP), more commonly known as a Bunker Buster. While Brooks' comment centered on the use of RNEP after it was deployed, it also describes the decisions Congress will make this year about funding several Bush Administration nuclear weapons initiatives.

23 Jul 2008

As explained in FYI #80, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees have approved their versions of the FY 2009 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill. The House committee has not officially filed its report.

23 May 2008

"A believable attribution capability may help to discourage behavior that could lead to a nuclear event."  - "Nuclear Forensics: Role, State of the Art, Program Needs"

2 May 2008

About two weeks ago, the Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee held a hearing with a witness panel rarely seen by the subcommittee.  In addition to National Nuclear Security Administration Administrator Tom D'Agostino, the witness list also included all three of the Directors of the weapons labs: Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos, and Sandia.   The discussion was wide-ranging, including the Reliable Replacement Warhead, transformation of the weapons complex,  reduction in laboratory staff, underground testing, the role of science in the laboratories, and worries about

30 Dec 2009

The FY 2010 appropriations’ cycle drew to a close when President Obama signed the Department of Defense Appropriations bill. While most budget items tracked by FYI received funding increases, there were some decreases.

16 Oct 2009

With a vote of 80 to 17, the Senate voted yesterday to send the FY 2010 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill to President Obama.  This action follows approval of this final legislation by the full House on a 308 to 114 vote on October 1.

The bill increases the budget for the DOE Office of Science by 3.1 percent or $146.1 million, with program increases ranging from 0.5 to 6.8 percent. Funding for the National Nuclear Security Administration increased by 7.3 percent.

8 Oct 2009

“To achieve a global ban on nuclear testing, my administration will immediately and aggressively pursue U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.  After more than five decades of talks, it is time for the testing of nuclear weapons to finally be banned.”- President Obama; April 2009