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"Forget the Rest" blog

 

For immediate release 4/10/13 (second release to follow as information becomes available)

Administration requests large increase in nuclear warhead spending

Construction of massive plutonium reactor fuel factory in SC slowed to help fund increased warhead costs and proposed TN uranium warhead factory

More details later today

Contact: Greg Mello, 505-265-1200 office, 505-577-8653 cell

Albuquerque – As predicted yesterday the Obama Administration has proposed (pdf) a large (7.5%) year-on-year increase in nuclear Weapons Activities for fiscal year (FY) 2014 within the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) budget. 

In FY2013 (the current year), Weapons Activities is funded at the level requested by the Administration by the Continuing Resolution (CR) passed by Congress in late March. 

For our comments on this budget please see yesterday’s Bulletin
(Bulletin #168: Obama administration to request major increase in NNSA Nuclear weapons spending, Apr 9, 2013).

The apparent year-on-year increase in Weapons Activities is 4.1% ($311 million, M), but two counterterrorism programs totaling $256 M in the request were moved from Weapons Activities to Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation, decreasing the apparent scale of the warhead program increase from the $567 M (7.5%) it would have been in an apples-to-apples comparison. 

The Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation request is 11% ($270 M) lower than the current funded level.  When corrected for the above program transfer, this decline is 21.7% ($523 M). 

The year-on-year decline in requested nonproliferation funding is partly due to a proposed $205 M cut in the plutonium disposition program.  The massive ($7.7 billion) Mixed Oxide [MOX] Fuel Fabrication Facility (MFFF) under construction at the Savannah River Site (SRS) in Tennessee is likely to feel the brunt of this budget cutback.  (This will be clearer this afternoon). 

Modest cutbacks at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) and in warhead-related supercomputers are also shown in this morning’s budget summary. 

NNSA FY2014 Budget Request Summary, as stated, millions of dollars

Program

FY2012

FY2013

FY2014

Change $M

Change %

$M actual

$M CR, est.

$M requested

FY13 - FY14

FY13 - FY14

Ofc. of Admin

410

413

398

-15

-3.6%

Naval Reactors

1,080

1,087

1,246

159

+14.6%

Weapons Activities

7,214

7,557

7,868

311

+4.1%

Def. Nuclear Nonpro.

2,290

2,410

2,140

-270

-11.2%

Total NNSA

10,994

11,467

11,652

185

1.6%



NNSA FY2014 Budget Request Summary, corrected for program transfers, millions of dollars

Program

FY2012

FY2013

FY2014

Change $M

Change %

$M actual

$M CR, est.

$M requested

FY13 - FY14

FY13 - FY14

OA

410

413

398

-15

-3.6%

NR

1,080

1,087

1,246

159

+14.6%

WA

7,214

7,557

8,124

567

+7.5%

DNN

2,290

2,410

1,884

-523

-21.7%

Total NNSA

10,994

11,467

11,652

185

1.6%

The Department of Energy budget overview available at this moment describes the MOX program cut:

To dispose of U.S. plutonium, the program has been building the Mixed Oxide (MOX) Fuel Fabrication Facility, which would enable the Department of Energy to dispose of plutonium by converting it into MOX fuel and burning it in commercial nuclear reactors.  This approach may be unaffordable, though, due to cost growth and fiscal pressure. While the Administration will assess the feasibility of alternative plutonium disposition strategies, resulting in a slowdown of MOX Fuel Fabrication Facility construction in 2014, it is nonetheless committed to the overarching goals of the plutonium disposition program to: 1) dispose of excess U.S. plutonium; and 2) achieve Russian disposition of equal quantities of plutonium.

Study Group director Greg Mello: “Despite the roughly $2 billion still being spent in the SRS area by DOE, there will be some local dislocation due to these MOX cutbacks – which we support.  We think Congress should amend this request with a worker and community transition plan, with funding that could help build renewable energy and energy conservation businesses in areas hit by large NNSA cutbacks, of which we hope there will be more.  Such a program has the potential to create a net economic benefit for these communities despite federal budget cuts.  ” 

***ENDS***


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