FY 2016 Budget Request: National Nuclear Security Administration

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Publication date: 
4 February 2015

The Obama Administration has requested an increase of 10.2 percent in the budget for the National Nuclear Security Administration in FY 2016.  Under this request, sent to Congress on Monday, the budget would increase from $11,399.0 million to $12,565.4 million.

The FY 2016 Department of Energy request is summarized in a 72-page document prepared by the Office of Chief Financial Officer: Department of Energy, FY 2016 Congressional Budget Request, Budget in Brief.  This is one of a series of reports available at this site; see Volume 1 for the NNSA. 

An opening sentence in the document notes that one of DOE’s four “critical responsibilities for America’s security and prosperity” is “Sustaining the nuclear deterrent without testing; in an age of global terrorism, advancing the President’s commitment to controlling and eliminating nuclear materials worldwide; supporting the Navy nuclear propulsion program.”  It later explains “The seventeen DOE national laboratories are core scientific and technical assets for carrying out these missions.”

There is introductory material about NNSA on pages 4 and 5 of the Budget in Brief.  Additional information is provided on pages 10-21. 

Total National Nuclear Security Administration:
The FY 2015 appropriation was $11,399.0 million
The FY 2016 request is $12,565.4 million, an increase of $1,166.4 million or 10.2 percent

The document explains:

“The FY 2016 Budget Request supports national security priorities articulated in the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review, the Stockpile Stewardship and Management Plan, and the 2010 National Security Strategy of the United States. These priorities are reflected in the DOE Strategic Plan and guide decisions on allocation of resources in the President’s Budget Requests.”

Within NNSA are the following selected programs:

Weapons Activities:
The FY 2015 appropriation was $8,180.4 million
The FY 2016 request is $8,847.0 million, an increase of $666.6 million or 8.2 percent

The budget document provides brief descriptions in a section called Program Highlights.  Regarding the Inertial Confinement Fusion Ignition and High Yield Program it states:

“In FY 2016, experiments in ignition will continue to look at the behavior and physics of ignition targets to improve the predictive capability of the simulations and to provide feedback to resolve the outstanding physics questions and improve target performance. This will be based on an external review conducted in all three ignition concepts (Direct, Indirect, and Pulsed Power) to assess their progress.”

Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation:
The FY 2015 appropriation was $1,615.3 million
The FY 2016 request is $1,940.3 million, an increase of $325.0 million or 20.1 percent

NNSA proposes a restructuring of nonproliferation program budgets.  A new program is Nonproliferation Construction; the budget document explains:

“Nonproliferation Construction consolidates construction costs for DNN projects previously contained within each program budget. Currently, the MOX Fuel Fabrication Facility (MFFF) is the only project in this program. The FY 2016 Request for MFFF is the current services projection from the FY 2015 Enacted level. The FY 2015 National Defense Authorization Act and the FY 2015 Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015, each directed the Department to conduct additional analyses of the MFFF construction project, including independent cost and schedule estimates as well as an analysis of alternative approaches for disposition of the 34 metric tons of weapons grade plutonium and their relationship to the Plutonium Management Disposition Agreement (PMDA). The Department has requested Aerospace Corporation, a federally funded research and development center, to perform these analyses. These analyses will be completed during FY 2015, and a decision will be reached on outyear funding levels for plutonium disposition. The FY 2016 Request acknowledges that while the Department continues to evaluate disposition paths (including the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility) to determine the most responsible path forward, any viable alternative will require a robust funding profile.”

Naval Reactors:
The FY 2015 appropriation was $1,233.8 million
The FY 2016 request is $1,375.5 million, an increase of $141.7 million or 11.5 percent