Senate appropriators have released their draft committee report accompanying the FY 2015 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill. As previously noted in FYI #127, this bill was scheduled for action by the full Senate Appropriations Committee in mid-June, but was pulled from consideration because of concerns about an expected amendment to the bill to restrict EPA’s ability to regulate carbon emissions from existing power plants. No new date has been scheduled.
The posting of the unnumbered committee report was unexpected. Senate Appropriations Committee reports are usually released after the full committee meets and approves the bill. The full House voted its approval of its version of this funding bill in June. Action on appropriations bills has stalled. The House and Senate will go on a summer recess at the end of this week and will not return until September.
The Senate report language on Atomic Energy Defense Activities – National Nuclear Security Administration starts on page 108. Detailed tables start on page 137.
Total National Nuclear Security Administration:
The FY 2014 appropriation was $11,207.0 million
The FY 2015 request is $11,658.0 million, an increase of $451.0 million or 4.0 percent
The House bill provides $11,361.6 million, an increase of $154.6 million or 1.4 percent above current funding
The Senate bill provides $11,890.9 million, an increase of $683.9 million or 6.1 percent above current funding
On page 108 of the report, Senate appropriators explain their restoration of funding for “critical nonproliferation activities” and comment on stockpile modernization. The report also states “However, the Committee remains concerned about NNSA’s ability to execute multiple, highly complex life extension projects and construction projects concurrently under ambitious schedules. The Committee has not seen sufficient progress in improving project management so NNSA can complete projects on time and on budget.”
Within the NNSA are the following selected programs:
The FY 2014 appropriation was $7,781.0 million
The FY 2015 request is $8,314.9 million, an increase of $533.9 million or 6.9 percent
The House bill provides $8,204.2 million, an increase of $423.2 million or 5.4 percent above current funding
The Senate bill provides $8,314.9 million, an increase of $533.9 million or 6.9 percent above current funding
Beginning on page 108, under a section entitled Directed Stockpile Work the report addresses the aging of the nation’s weapons stockpile and several life extension programs, weapons dismantlement, and stockpile services. A section on Campaigns starting on page 111 addresses the Science, Engineering and Readiness Campaigns, Inertial Confinement Fusion Ignition and High-Yield Campaign (including the National Ignition and Z Facilities and the Naval Research Laboratory), and Advanced Simulation and Computing. The appropriators’ recommendations regarding Readiness in Technical Base and Facilities start on page 113, including language on the Y-12 Uranium Processing Facility, CMR replacement project, and domestic uranium enrichment.
Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation:
The FY 2014 appropriation was $1,954.0 million
The FY 2015 request is $1,555.2 million, a decrease of $398.8 million or 20.4 percent
The House bill provides $1,555.2 million, a decrease of $398.8 million or 20.4 percent below current funding
The Senate bill provides $1,978.0 million, an increase of $24.0 million or 1.2 percent above current funding
Starting on page 116 of the report, the appropriators praise NNSA’s progress in securing vulnerable nuclear materials, but express concern “that the NNSA budget request does not make nonproliferation activities a top priority and fails to provide the necessary resources to complete critical nonproliferation efforts. Rather, the budget request would let critical milestones slip even further.” Language in this section of the report on the Global Threat Reduction Initiative comments on HEU reactor conversion (including the production of the medical isotope Moly-99), and nuclear material removal and protection. Other sections include international material protection and cooperation, and defense nuclear nonproliferation R&D. Within the section entitled Fissile Materials Disposition, the appropriators comment on the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility (MFFF), stating “the Committee recommends $400,000,000 to continue construction of MFFF. The Committee directs the NNSA Administrator to submit to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees within 120 days of enactment of this act his assessment of alternatives for plutonium disposition and his recommended approach.”
The FY 2014 appropriation was $1,095.0 million
The FY 2015 request is $1,377.1 million, an increase of $282.1 million or 25.8 percent
The House bill provides $1,215.3 million, an increase of $120.3 million or 11.0 percent above current funding
The Senate bill provides 1,208.0 million, an increase of $113.0 million or 10.3 percent above current funding
On page 120 of the report, the appropriators state: “The Committee recommends no funding for the design and construction of a new spent fuel handling facility. NNSA cannot identify needed funding for the construction of this $1,500,000,000 facility in its 5-year Future Years Nuclear Security Program budget and the Committee does not believe NNSA should complete the design of a facility it cannot afford to build. The Committee recommends no funding for the construction of the Central Office and Prototype Staff Building to fund higher priorities within Naval Reactors.”