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Nuclear Energy & Weapons

Given the central role that physical scientists have traditionally played in the history of nuclear energy and weapons, FYI covers major developments in nuclear energy and weapons policy, particularly as they relate to ongoing science policy matters.

3 May 2000

About a month ago, Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM) was the invited keynote speaker at the Nuclear Security Decisionmaker's Forum in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He was unable to attend because of pressing business on the Senate floor. In his prepared remarks, Domenici criticized the implementation plan for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), cited his concern about the National Ignition Facility, and described his intention to increase the Department of Energy's FY 2001 budget over that requested by the administration.

9 Mar 2000

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) was only a day old when Department of Energy Secretary Bill Richardson appeared before the House Armed Services Committee. The hearing was cordial, but it is clear that Richardson and some key House members still do not see eye-to-eye on the implementation of this new law.

11 Jan 2000

One issue that is sure to be on the front burner when Congress returns at the end of the month is the new semi-autonomous National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). When Congress left Washington last fall, there was considerable consternation about the Clinton Administration's implementation of the NNSA provisions of the FY 2000 Defense Authorization Act. President Clinton designated DOE Secretary Bill Richardson to assume the interim duties and functions of the Under Secretary for Nuclear Security, a move that angered many Members of Congress.

25 Aug 1993

While the ups and downs of the Superconducting Super Collider make
headlines, the Department of Energy carries on with other projects,
including attempts to deal with the legacy of the Cold War and the
challenges of the more environmentally-conscious 1990s.  Two new
General Accounting Office (GAO) reports examine DOE's efforts in
these areas.  One discusses the difficulties DOE confronts in
cleaning up old facilities; the second looks at the problems with
efforts to prepare a permanent repository for spent nuclear fuel.

9 Dec 1994

This FYI highlights three GAO reports released in past months.  The
reports address different issues relating to nuclear power
production and nuclear waste. 

3 Oct 1994

The passing of the Cold War era has prompted many to rethink the
nation's policies for its nuclear arsenal.  Sen. Mark Hatfield
(R-Oregon), Ranking Minority Member of the Senate Appropriations
Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, charged the
Congressional Budget Office (CBO) with studying the nation's
nuclear weapons labs.  The CBO's response, a 45-page paper
entitled, "The Bomb's Custodians," was released in July.  The paper
reviews the Administration's plans in light of budget constraints,

12 Jun 2003

When House and Senate conferees sit down in coming weeks to resolve differences in the $400.5 billion National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2004 there will be many points to resolve. Although some provisions of this massive bill will be changed, there is unlikely to be significant alteration to several controversial provisions regarding research on new types of nuclear weapons or in nuclear weapons test site preparations.

23 Mar 2005

It will be "a hugely difficult decision" Ambassador Linton F. Brooks told members of the House Strategic Forces Subcommittee at a hearing earlier this month when he discussed the decision a President would make about the use of a Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator (RNEP), more commonly known as a Bunker Buster. While Brooks' comment centered on the use of RNEP after it was deployed, it also describes the decisions Congress will make this year about funding several Bush Administration nuclear weapons initiatives.

23 Jul 2008

As explained in FYI #80, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees have approved their versions of the FY 2009 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill. The House committee has not officially filed its report.