U.S. Energy Dept. Seeks $8.3 Billion for 2015 Nuclear-Arsenal Work

Officials from the National Nuclear Security Administration and the national labs meet to discuss ongoing projects last June. The Energy Department's semi-autonomous agency is seeking to spend $8.3 billion in fiscal 2015 for nuclear-arsenal activities.
National Journal
Rachel Oswald
March 5, 2014, 7:04 a.m.

The En­ergy De­part­ment is seek­ing $8.3 bil­lion in fisc­al 2015 funds for nuc­le­ar-ar­sen­al activ­it­ies — a pro­posed $534 mil­lion in­crease over cur­rent fisc­al-year levels.

The de­part­ment’s total budget pro­pos­al for the semi­autonom­ous Na­tion­al Nuc­le­ar Se­cur­ity Ad­min­is­tra­tion is $11.7 bil­lion, which in­cludes $1.4 bil­lion for nav­al atom­ic propul­sion sys­tems, ac­cord­ing to a Tues­day agency press re­lease. The next fisc­al year starts Oct. 1.

“The [fisc­al 2015] re­quest provides the re­sources we need to mod­ern­ize and main­tain an aging nuc­le­ar weapons stock­pile and sup­port­ing in­fra­struc­ture,” Act­ing NNSA Ad­min­is­trat­or Bruce Held said in provided com­ments.

Some $2.7 bil­lion of this year’s budget re­quest would go to­ward re­fur­bish­ing aging U.S. war­heads, in­clud­ing the B-61 grav­ity bomb. An ad­di­tion­al $1.7 bil­lion would be al­loc­ated to the “sci­ence, tech­no­logy and en­gin­eer­ing base” con­duct­ing war­head life-ex­ten­sion re­search activ­it­ies, ac­cord­ing to the re­lease.

About $2.4 bil­lion would be ded­ic­ated to mod­ern­iz­ing the Na­tion­al Nuc­le­ar Se­cur­ity Ad­min­is­tra­tion’s “nuc­le­ar se­cur­ity cap­ab­il­it­ies,” in­clud­ing fur­ther design work for the Urani­um Pro­cessing Fa­cil­ity at the Y-12 com­plex in Ten­ness­ee.

The re­ques­ted $335 mil­lion for the urani­um-en­rich­ment fa­cil­ity would be an in­crease over en­acted fisc­al 2014 levels, which at dif­fer­ent times have been said to be $309 mil­lion or $326 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to the Knoxville News-Sen­tinel.

At the same time, the En­ergy De­part­ment is moth­balling an un­com­pleted South Car­o­lina mixed-ox­ide fuel fab­ric­a­tion fa­cil­ity, which was in­ten­ded to turn ex­cess plutoni­um in­to nuc­le­ar-re­act­or ma­ter­i­al.

What We're Following See More »
History Already Being Less Kind to Hastert’s Leadership
1 hours ago

In light of his recent confessions, the speakership of Dennis Hastert is being judged far more harshly. The New York Times' Carl Hulse notes that in hindsight, Hastert now "fares poorly" on a number of fronts, from his handling of the Mark Foley page scandal to "an explosion" of earmarks to the weakening of committee chairmen. "Even his namesake Hastert rule—the informal standard that no legislation should be brought to a vote without the support of a majority of the majority — has come to be seen as a structural barrier to compromise."

Trump Ill Prepared for General Election
1 hours ago

Even if "[t]he Republican presidential nomination may be in his sights ... Trump has so far ignored vital preparations needed for a quick and effective transition to the general election. The New York businessman has collected little information about tens of millions of voters he needs to turn out in the fall. He's sent few people to battleground states compared with likely Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, accumulated little if any research on her, and taken no steps to build a network capable of raising the roughly $1 billion needed to run a modern-day general election campaign."

Congress Can’t Seem Not to Pay Itself
4 hours ago

Rep. Dave Young can't even refuse his own paycheck. The Iowa Republican is trying to make a point that if Congress can't pass a budget (it's already missed the April 15 deadline) then it shouldn't be paid. But, he's been informed, the 27th Amendment prohibits him from refusing his own pay. "Young’s efforts to dock his own pay, however, are duck soup compared to his larger goal: docking the pay of every lawmaker when Congress drops the budget ball." His bill to stiff his colleagues has only mustered the support of three of them. Another bill, sponsored by Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN), has about three dozen co-sponsors.

How Far Away from Cleveland is the California GOP Staying?
5 hours ago

Sixty miles away, in Sandusky, Ohio. "We're pretty bitter about that," said Harmeet Dhillon, vice chairwoman of the California Republican Party. "It sucks to be California, we're like the ugly stepchild. They need us for our cash and our donors, they don't need us for anything else."

SCOTUS Will Not Allow ‘DC Madam’ Phone Records to Be Released
5 hours ago

Anyone looking forward to seeing some boldfaced names on the client list of the late Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the "DC Madam," will have to wait a little longer. "The Supreme Court announced Monday it would not intervene to allow" the release of her phone records, "despite one of her former attorneys claiming the records are “very relevant” to the presidential election. Though he has repeatedly threatened to release the records if courts do not modify a 2007 restraining order, Montgomery Blair Sibley tells U.S. News he’s not quite sure what he now will do."