U.S. Senator to Press for Disclosure of Uranium Processing Proposal

Workers at the Y-12 National Security Complex in 2011 clean out a building slated for demolition. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) indicated he plans to press the Obama administration to publicly release details on a plan being developed as an alternative to a uranium-processing project planned at the Y-12 site.
National Journal
Diane Barnes
Add to Briefcase
Diane Barnes
April 3, 2014, 10:07 a.m.

A key U.S. sen­at­or plans to press Obama of­fi­cials to cir­cu­late de­tails on a weapon-urani­um pro­cessing plan de­vised by a spe­cially con­vened “Red Team.”

A spokes­man said Sen­at­or Lamar Al­ex­an­der (R-Tenn.) will call on U.S. nuc­le­ar-arms man­agers to air “as much in­form­a­tion as pos­sible” on the draft pro­pos­al, which ex­perts are de­vel­op­ing as an al­tern­at­ive to a mult­i­bil­lion-dol­lar urani­um com­plex planned in his state.

The “Red Team” began its re­view at the Y-12 Na­tion­al Se­cur­ity Com­plex last month. In pri­or years, ef­forts to plan a new Urani­um Pro­cessing Fa­cil­ity at the Oak Ridge site have hit nu­mer­ous delays and cost over­runs.

“Sen­at­or Al­ex­an­der wants to see the Urani­um Pro­cessing Fa­cil­ity com­pleted un­der budget and on time,” spokes­man Jim Jef­fries told Glob­al Se­cur­ity News­wire in an e-mailed re­sponse to ques­tions.

“He plans to par­ti­cip­ate in an April 30 budget hear­ing that will be open to the pub­lic, and he will en­cour­age the Na­tion­al Nuc­le­ar Se­cur­ity Ad­min­is­tra­tion to pub­licly re­lease as much in­form­a­tion as pos­sible on the Red Team re­view without un­der­min­ing na­tion­al se­cur­ity.”

Al­ex­an­der’s of­fice is­sued the com­ments after a watch­dog group in his state voiced con­cerns about the “secrecy” of the Red Team’s work.

“When the secret Red Team com­pletes its re­view, the res­ults of that re­view must be made pub­lic,” Ral­ph Hutchis­on, co­ordin­at­or of the Oak Ridge En­vir­on­ment­al Peace Al­li­ance, told the law­maker in a Tues­day let­ter.

The Red Team re­portedly plans in com­ing weeks to re­vise its al­tern­at­ive plan for re­lo­cat­ing bomb-urani­um activ­it­ies from a 1940s-era struc­ture. Upon com­ple­tion, the pre­lim­in­ary pro­pos­al would go to NNSA Act­ing Ad­min­is­trat­or Bruce Held for con­sid­er­a­tion.

Ini­tial En­ergy De­part­ment es­tim­ates were for the Urani­um Pro­cessing Fa­cil­ity to be built for no more than $1.1 bil­lion. But the cost pro­jec­tions have grown more than six­fold, with some fore­cast­ing that the total could hit nearly $20 bil­lion if the ori­gin­al plans were to go for­ward.

Hutchis­on said fur­ther scru­tiny of the al­tern­at­ive urani­um plan may be ne­ces­sary to de­term­ine its en­vir­on­ment­al im­pact. However, he sug­ges­ted that Held’s agency — a semi-in­de­pend­ent En­ergy De­part­ment of­fice in charge of U.S. nuc­le­ar-weapons op­er­a­tions — would likely ar­gue that the pro­pos­al is covered un­der the Y-12 fa­cil­ity’s ex­ist­ing site-wide en­vir­on­ment­al im­pact state­ment.

“The pub­lic must be con­sul­ted in a mean­ing­ful way in plan­ning for sig­ni­fic­ant gov­ern­ment ac­tions,” Hutchis­on wrote in the let­ter, first re­por­ted by the Knoxville News Sen­tinel. “It’s not just that the pub­lic is more will­ing to buy-in if it feels in­cluded — it is that the de­cisions fi­nally made are bet­ter de­cisions.”

What We're Following See More »
OFF TO MICHIGAN, SURPRISE TRIP
FLOTUS to Kick Off Anti-Bullying Initiative
5 minutes ago
THE LATEST

"First lady Melania Trump is making good on a promise she made earlier this year to combat childhood bullying, taking a surprise trip Monday to a middle school in a Detroit suburb." She is bringing awareness to the problem with a campaign she found called #NoOneEatsAlone, which encourages kids to be inclusive.

Source:
SURPRISE VISIT
Tillerson in Kabul
28 minutes ago
THE LATEST
PROBE CAME FROM INQUIRY INTO MANAFORT’S FINANCES
Mueller Investigating Dem Lobbyist and Firm
32 minutes ago
THE LATEST

"Tony Podesta and the Podesta Group are now the subjects of a federal investigation being led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, three sources with knowledge of the matter told NBC News. The probe of Podesta and his Democratic-leaning lobbying firm grew out of Mueller's inquiry into the finances of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort."

Source:
WITHOUT NAMING HIM, CALLS OUT “BONE SPUR”
McCain Needles Trump on Vietnam
1 hours ago
THE DETAILS
SCHEDULED FOR TUESDAY
House Intel Will Interview Trump Digital Director
1 hours ago
THE LATEST

"President Donald Trump’s campaign digital director, Brad Parscale, will be interviewed Tuesday by the House Intelligence Committee, his first appearance before any of the panels examining the issue of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Mr. Parscale confirmed his scheduled appearance. The Senate committees also probing interference haven’t scheduled time with Mr. Parscale, he said, declining to comment further."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login