Senate Defense Authorization Bill: Report Language on National Ignition Facility

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Publication date: 
21 June 2012

In  contrast to rather extensive language on the National Ignition Facility in the reports  accompanying the House defense authorization bill,  and the House and Senate defense appropriations bills,  the report  of the Senate Armed Services Committee only stated the following:

“The committee remains concerned about the hurdles  to ignition at the National Ignition Facility (NIF), which is still several  orders of magnitude below the stated energy level to achieve it. The committee recognizes  that the NIF has numerous other stockpile, defense related and non-defense  related, missions and that important research remains to be done in these other  areas. However, none rise to the level as understanding the physics of ignition  for stockpile       stewardship. The NNSA must strike a careful balance  of ensuring there is still focus on this objective within the limited funding allocated  for the machine and must not let lack of achieving ignition in the short-term cause  long-term drifting to other missions to justify the funding.”

This language was found in the section of the  committee’s report on the National Nuclear Security Administration which starts  on page 278.  Tables of authorization  levels for various NNSA programs start on page 461.

The Senate report also contains the following  language on page 294:

Plan for use of Office of Science facilities

“The committee has found that the National Nuclear  Security Administration (NNSA) uses a wide range basic science facilities  operated by the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science as part of its  stockpile stewardship program. These user facilities include the Advanced  Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory, the Spallation Neutron Source at  Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Linac Coherent Light Source at the SLAC  National Accelerator       Laboratory. Using DOE’s state the art user  facilities is an excellent example of how the NNSA maintains excellence in its  science base while supporting Department of Energy facilities as a whole. The committee  directs the NNSA to prepare a report to the congressional defense committees a  long-term plan for the use of current and future Office of Science facilities  such as the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams and the National Synchrotron Light  Source relative to support the stockpile stewardship program.”

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