Readiness in the technical base[...]
The committee recommends $1.7 billion for readiness in the technical base, an increase of $10.0 million above the budget request. This account funds facilities and infrastructure in the nuclear weapons complex and includes construction funding for new facilities.
The committee recommends a decrease of $20.0 million in the Chemistry and Metallurgy Facility Replacement project (CMRR), Project 04–D–125, at the Los Alamos National Laboratory as a result of uncertainty in the design of the CMRR. The committee notes that the certification required to be made by the Defense Nuclear Facility Safety Board (DNFSB) and the National Nuclear Security Administration has not been made. The committee continues to believe that replacing the existing facility is essential but the CMRR has significant unresolved issues including the appropriate size of the facility. Some of these decisions will not be made until the Nuclear Posture Review is completed at the end of the year. The CMRR is one of two projects that the DNFSB has identified as having significant unresolved safety issues. These issues are associated with the project’s safety-related systems. Until such time as the safety basis documents are completed, the outstanding issues cannot be resolved. CMRR will be a category I facility supporting pit operations in building PF–4 and has a preliminary cost estimate of $2.6 billion. As stated last year the committee continues to support reconstitution of the pit manufacturing capability in PF–4 but urges that all safety issues with CMRR be resolved as soon as possible. If there is any change in the planned mission at CMRR, the committee directs the Secretary of Energy to notify the congressional defense committees.
The committee recommends an increase of $30.0 million for the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (LANSCE) refurbishment, Project 09–D–007. The LANSCE is the only machine capable of performing nuclear cross section measurements of weapons materials to support the resolution of significant findings investigations. LANSE refurbishment would also further enhance the ability of the NNSA to perform surveillance on the stockpile.
Subtitle C—Other MattersTen-year plan for utilization and funding of certain Department of Energy facilities (sec. 3131)
The committee recommends a provision that would direct the Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and the Under Secretary of Science (USS) at the Department of Energy to jointly develop a plan to use and fund, over a 10-year period, the National Ignition Facility at the Livermore National Laboratory, the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the ‘‘Z’’ Machine at the Sandia National Laboratory. The committee notes that these three facilities are primarily funded and maintained by NNSA, but each of these has significant contributions to the science and energy research communities. The committee believes that the NNSA Administrator and the USS should explore how these unique facilities could be used and supported collaboratively to ensure that the capabilities of the facilities are fully utilized.
Review of management and operation of certain national laboratories (sec. 3132)
The committee recommends a provision that would direct the Secretary of Energy, in consultation with the Armed Services Committees of the Senate and the House of Representatives, to appoint an independent panel of experts to conduct a review of the management and operation of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the Sandia National Laboratory.
The committee notes that several recent studies have focused on the organizational location of the three labs but not on their actual management and operations. The committee believes that the labs should remain under the Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration, but believes that a review of the lab operations is timely.
Inclusion in 2010 stockpile stewardship plan of certain information relating to stockpile stewardship criteria (sec. 3133)
The committee recommends a provision that would direct the Secretary of Energy to include, in the annual stockpile stewardship plan for fiscal year 2010, an update on the stewardship criteria used to assess the safety, security, and reliability of the nuclear weapons stockpile. The last update of the criteria was completed in 2005. The 2010 plan would also include a review of each science-based tool, such as experimental facilities, developed or modified in the last 5 years.
The committee believes that as the stockpile ages and the total number of nuclear weapons in the stockpile decreases, the Department of Energy should articulate clear stewardship program going forward.