SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS Tables
Page 1 TOP OF DOCENERGY AND WATER DEVELOPMENT APPROPRIATIONS FOR 1999
Thursday, March 12, 1998.
NUCLEAR WASTE MANAGEMENT AND DISPOSAL
JAMES M. OWENDOFF, ACTING ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT
LAKE H. BARRETT, ACTING DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF CIVILIAN RADIOACTIVE WASTE MANAGEMENT
HOWARD R. CANTER, ACTING DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF FISSILE MATERIALS DISPOSITION
Mr. MCDADE. The committee will come to order.
We are privileged to have three very distinguished witnesses with us today who perhaps have the most difficult job in government, and we appreciate all of your attention to it and your bringing your expertise to bear on it. It is a real tough one for you.
Mr. Owendoff, I want to say something to you, if I may, please.
We have been getting testimony up here for a long time, and we have had an opportunity to examine your prepared statement. We think it is absolutely highly, professionally done, very articulate, very pointed, very helpful. And even before you give it, I want to compliment you because we have had a chance to review it.
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We will now recognize you, and you may proceed in your own way, if you want to file your statement and proceed, whatever is comfortable for you.
You are recognized, Mr. Owendoff.
FY 1999 OFFICE OF ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT BUDGET REQUEST
Mr. OWENDOFF. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate that.
I would certainly like to say that it is only by having a good staff that I am able to have those prepared statements, so I would like to recognize the good staff supporting us.
Mr. MCDADE. It always takes a team and a team leader, too.
Oral Statement of James M. Owendoff
Mr. OWENDOFF. It is a pleasure to be here, and I appreciate this opportunity to appear before you to discuss the Department of Energy's Environmental Management Program and its fiscal year 1999 budget request.
Our request for fiscal year 1999 reflects a roughly level budget from last year, with a substantial investment for privatizing certain large cleanup projects. Key accomplishments resulting from this budget will be accelerating cleanup and closure, deployment of new technologies, and progress in resolving the nuclear waste backlog.
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We have set very ambitious goals for closing several sites by the year 2006, including the Rocky Flats Site in Colorado, the Weldon Spring Site in Missouri, as well as the Mound and Fernald Sites in Ohio. Consequently, we are eager to continue working with the Congress to focus funding on cleaning up and closing sites.
The Environmental Management budget also reflects our target of opening the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in May 1998, pending the expected certification from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this spring. In fiscal year 1999, the WIPP should be accepting defense transuranic waste from as many as six States. This will be a crucial step forward in providing for the permanent disposal of the Department's long-lived radioactive waste.
Perhaps the most important management step we have taken is the establishment of a goal to clean up as many of the remaining 53 contaminated sites as possible by 2006 in a safe and cost-effective manner. By working towards this goal, we can not only reduce the hazards presently facing our workforce and the public, but also reduce the long-term financial burden on the taxpayer.
For every year that a site remains open, we are paying a ''mortgage'' of necessary overhead for activities such as site security, facility operations, personnel, safety and other costs. By completing a cleanup sooner, particularly at sites where we have no other continuing DOE missions, we can substantially reduce these overhead costs.
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MCDADE. Mr. Owendoff, may I interrupt you for a second?
Your testimony just rings a bell; and mortgage costs have been, as you know, of great concern to the Department and to the committee. And I have, in conversation around the city, have heard a specific number about the savings that are potential just in security alone if you can move, let's say, 5 years in Rocky Flats and close it earlier. Do you have a number that you have had a chance to look at to see what the security savings costs alone would be?
Mr. OWENDOFF. Let me provide that for you, because it is not an easy number. Because some of it has to do with the various materials, mainly plutonium. But whether it is pits or residues or oxideswe will provide you. In fact, we have a chart that is pretty dramatic that I can provide you that shows those reductions.
Mr. MCDADE. You may amplify your answer in the record; and if you would have the chart sent up to the committee, we would appreciate it.
Mr. OWENDOFF. I will provide that, Mr. Chairman.
[The information follows:]
ROCKY FLATS COST SAVINGS
The current cost for Safeguards and Security at Rocky Flats is $65 million per year. Therefore, if closure of Rocky Flats is accelerated from 2010 to 2006, approximately $260 million in Safeguards and Security savings will be realized.
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FY 1999 OFFICE OF ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT BUDGET REQUEST
Mr. MCDADE. Proceed.
Mr. OWENDOFF. By working towards this goal we can not only reduce the hazards presently facing our workforce and the public but also reduce the long-term financial burden. By completing cleanup sooner, particularly at sites where we have no other continuing missions, we can substantially reduce these overhead costs.
SITE CLOSURE AND PROJECT COMPLETION
The fiscal year 1999 budget request reflects a fundamental restructuring to emphasize site closure and project completion.
As you know, the Environmental Management Program is responsible for managing and cleaning up the environmental legacy of the Nation's nuclear weapons and government nuclear energy projects. We have been giving priority to high-risk problems such as stabilizing and ensuring the security of plutonium and stabilizing tanks containing high-level radioactive wastes. We have also addressed problems in order to comply with statutory and regulatory requirements and to meet our legal obligations under our compliance agreements with State and Federal agencies.
We know that successful cleanup also requires investing and developing and deploying more effective technologies. Without successful investments in technology, the cost and technical challenges would make long-term success impossible.
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Finally, we have found that performing good technical work is not enough. Getting the job done requires cooperation with regulators and other stakeholders. We have supported effective public participation through continued relationship with States and site-specific and national advisory boards as well as funding for Indian tribes potentially affected by our activities. We intend to continue improving this process to ensure appropriate representation from elected officials and diversity.
The most significant change in our fiscal year 1999 budget request is a new structure based on our vision of completing cleanup at as many sites as possible by the year 2006. Through this account structure, we are seeking to provide greater accountability to program managers, Congress and the stakeholders.
The new account structure helps highlight how much funding is being provided for: sites where cleanup and closure is expected by 2006; sites where cleanup is expected to be completed by 2006 but where the sites will remain open for other Departmental missions; and sites where cleanup is expected to be completed after 2006.
We believe this budget structure also serves to change the culture at sites from long-term cleanup to completing cleanup and closing sites.
ACCELERATING CLEANUP: PATHS TO CLOSURE
On March 2, 1998, Environmental Management publicly released a draft strategy document, Accelerating Cleanup: Paths To Closure, emphasizing completing cleanup at most sites by 2006. This strategy document consists of integrated life-cycle baselines for 353 discrete cleanup projects that provide the blueprint for completing cleanup at the remaining 53 sites. The draft strategy addresses facilities and materials currently within Environmental Management's responsibility but does not cover any future transfers of responsibility to Environmental Management from other DOE programs for excess facilities.
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The fiscal year 1999 budget is structured to associate the funding request and each project with specific data on past performance and with future commitments to demonstrate the results that have been achieved and the performance to be accomplished for the resources requested.
The goal is to identify complete projects with a clear beginning and end, with measurable performance measures along the way. This will significantly improve management efficiency and accountability, focus funding on tangible outcomes and meet the intent and requirements of the Government Performance and Results Act.
We are now making substantial progress in establishing the flow of waste and materials from cleanup in collaboration with regulators and other stakeholders.
First, the Department is constructing and operating a number of large waste management facilities. To avoid duplication in treating and disposing of similar wastes, the Department is seeking to share facilities with comparable capabilities.
Second, we have been consolidating storage of certain special nuclear materials, such as plutonium.
Third, DOE has proposed shipping certain plutonium oxides and residues from the Rocky Flats Site and the Plutonium Finishing Plant at Hanford to the Savannah River Site in South Carolina, which should considerably accelerate closing of Rocky Flats and the Hanford facility.
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WASTE ISOLATION PILOT PLANT (WIPP)
Finally, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico, which is expected to begin accepting wastes in 1998, presents one of the most compelling examples of shipping nuclear waste to greatly reduce costs and risks.
Integration of the DOE waste complex will be crucial to our efforts to reduce costs and raise productivity, but it also requires the support of our host States. We would greatly appreciate your help in fostering a sense of national purpose and responsibility among constituent States.
In fiscal year 1999, we are requesting $346 million for program direction. This funding supports a variety of activities that are crucial to improving the cost-effectiveness of the program. Because of the importance of program direction activities, we have substantially reformed this account in the past few years, partly in response to congressional concerns.
PROGRAM DIRECTION ACCOUNT
The program direction account provides funding for Federal personnel salaries and headquarters and field offices as well as necessary funding for technical and analytical support and other related activities that are vital to managing the Environmental Management Program.
In response to congressional concerns about the size of the Federal workforce and headquarters, we have dramatically reduced the number of Federal employees at headquarters. The number has declined from 772 in July of 1995, its highest level, to our current level of 440 employees. That is the number that is supported in the 1999 budget request.
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Similarly, we have reduced the budget for support services at headquarters by 80 percent over a similar period of time. This reduction of over 300 Federal staff at headquarters and 80 percent of our support services budget has occurred at a time when the overall Environmental Management budget has remained fairly level.
We believe that these reductions have been entirely appropriate, allowing us to put more resources into the field where the cleanup work gets done. However, we also believe that further reductions would be extremely disruptive to the Environmental Management Program. The consequences of further reductions could include less ability to carry out and monitor contract reform, reduced analysis of cross-site issues and opportunities, and further disruption of appropriate skill mix.
Again, Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to speak with you about the Environmental Management Program and its budget request for 1999. And certainly, later on, I would be pleased to respond to your questions.
Mr. MCDADE. Mr. Owendoff, the committee thanks you for an excellent statement.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Owendoff follows:]
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
CIVILIAN RADIOACTIVE WASTE MANAGEMENT BUDGET REQUEST
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Mr. MCDADE. Mr. Barrett, we know that you have spent many a long hour working these problems in the Department; and we want to welcome you. You may introduce your statement into the record and proceed in your own way. You have full latitude. We are delighted to hear your testimony.
Oral Statement of Lake H. Barrett
Mr. BARRETT. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee. It is a pleasure to present our fiscal year 1999 budget request.
Permanent disposal of civilian and defense-related high-level radioactive wastes is one of the most complex technological challenges facing our Nation. Our Nation's policy to support geologic disposal is essential not only for commercial spent fuel at reactors but also for the cleanup of our nuclear weapons complex, our international nonproliferation policy, our support of the international consensus on the permanent disposal of nuclear waste, and our national defense mission.
Our major milestone this year is the Yucca Mountain viability assessment. Following the viability assessment, the program's efforts will turn to the completion of the draft environmental impact statement in 1999 and, if the site is found suitable, the recommendation of the site to the President in 2001.
This committee's support of our fiscal year 1999 budget request will enable us to draw considerably closer to a national decision on geologic disposal at Yucca Mountain.
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With your permission, I will submit my statement for the record and would like to summarize the accomplishments we have made and what we intend to do in 1999.
Mr. MCDADE. Without objection.
FY 1998 ACTIVITIES
Mr. BARRETT. Most of our funding in fiscal year 1998 was allocated to the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project. A small portion of the budget funds our plans for waste acceptance and transportation.
At Yucca Mountain, our activities focused on the scientific exploration of the site and on the repository and waste package design and engineering to support the viability assessment.
Last year, we completed the 5-mile-long exploratory studies facility tunnel.
In fiscal year 1998, we initiated and will complete, to the west side of the repository block, the excavation of a 15-foot-diameter, almost two-mile-long cross-drift off the main facility tunnel. This cross-drift will cut across the entire potential repository block and will give a more complete three-dimensional view of the area.
Our thermal testing program is under way and is providing valuable information to validate laboratory data and conceptual numerical transport models.
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We are also constructing an underground facility in an area called Busted Butte to examine the rock body that underlies the potential repository horizon. We are conducting total system performance assessments to determine how the repository may perform, based on our waste package and repository designs, for thousands of years in the future.
Our work will culminate this year in the completion of the viability assessment. It will be a comprehensive description of the repository and its performance in the specific Yucca Mountain geologic setting. It will be used as a management tool, to focus future work needed toward the site suitability determination, the site recommendation, and license application.
The viability assessment will provide all parties with a better understanding of the repository design and its performance in a specific Yucca Mountain geologic setting, a better appreciation of the remaining work to prepare a complete license application, and a more precise estimate of the cost of a repository.
We still have work to do before we will be able to prepare a final environmental impact statement in the year 2000, make a site recommendation to the President in 2001, and submit a complete license application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2002.
In the area of waste acceptance, as everyone knows, January, 1998, came without the initiation of waste acceptance; and we are currently in litigation and discussions with utility contract holders and State organizations. The Department continues to explore ways to proceed in a manner that results in fair and equitable solutions for all the parties. We remain willing to work with the contract holders to address any hardships associated with the delay in the acceptance of spent fuel and to comply with any applicable court order.
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To maintain our readiness to proceed with waste acceptance, we developed and submitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission a non-site-specific topical safety analysis report for a spent nuclear fuel interim storage facility. We have just last week received the initial comments from the NRC staff on that report, and we are making progress in that area together.
In the transportation area, we continued development of a market-driven approach, relying on private industry capabilities to accept and transport commercial spent nuclear fuel to a Federal facility when one becomes available.
In the regulatory compliance, program control, and management area, we responded to the committee's direction regarding the use of support service contractors by further limiting their scope of work.
We have also streamlined our operations by reducing headquarters staff. Since 1992, the program has reduced its headquarters staff by over 50 percent and increased the Yucca Mountain staff by 40 percent. We have refocused our staffing where the priority issues are.
FY 1999 REQUEST
Now I would like to turn to how we plan to expend the fiscal year 1999 budget request.
The President's budget request of $380 million for 1999 is consistent with the policy direction provided by you over the last several Energy and Water Development Appropriations Acts. Of the $380 million, the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project will receive $298 million. Of the remaining funds, $10 million will fund the Waste Acceptance, Storage and Transportation Project; and $72 million will be required for regulatory compliance, program control, and management functions. Most of these latter funds directly support the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project.
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The source of funds is equally divided: $190 million from the nuclear waste fund and $190 million from the defense nuclear waste disposal appropriation.
The $298 million we are requesting for the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project will allow us to capitalize on the Yucca Mountain viability assessment information. The budget request will fund activities that are necessary to: continue our efforts to complete site characterization; continue to address remaining uncertainties about the site's ability to isolate and contain nuclear waste; further refine our repository and waste package designs to assist in the assessment of the repository safety strategy and total system performance calculations; complete the final phase of the peer review of the total system performance assessment to support a license application; prepare and issue for public comment the draft environmental impact statement for a geologic repository at Yucca Mountain; and support the preparation of a high-quality, complete and defensible site recommendation and license application.
In fiscal year 1999, the budget request for waste acceptance, storage and transportation activities is $10 million and will be used to support: interactions with the standard contract holders to discuss how best to accommodate the delay in the acceptance of spent fuel from commercial utilities; ongoing non-site-specific responsibilities concerning commercial spent nuclear fuel and long-lead-time items that must precede the removal of spent nuclear fuel from reactor sites once a Federal receiving facility becomes available; interactions with States and Indian tribes to plan for the provision of technical and financial assistance for emergency response training for public safety officials through whose jurisdictions shipments of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste will be transported; work on the market-driven approach for waste acceptance and transportation of spent nuclear fuel; and efforts to provide the private sector with incentives to stimulate the development and implementation of storage and transportable canistered systems that could be compatible with repository disposal requirements.
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Our request for the regulatory compliance, program control and management set of activities is $72 million. Funding will be applied as follows:
$29 million for regulatory compliance related to activities that include nuclear quality assurance/quality control, support for the Yucca Mountain Environmental Impact Statement, independent technical oversight, systems engineering and integration, and necessary records management;
$8 million for program control that includes planning, program management and control functions, and total life-cycle cost and fee adequacy report preparation; and
$35 million for management functions that include our Federal salaries, information technology applications, audits, and public information.
Your approval of our fiscal year 1999 budget request will allow us to step closer to being able to make decisions about the suitability of the Yucca Mountain site for development as a permanent geologic repository. We are concluding work we started in 1996. We have gained considerable momentum and have made substantial progress in answering the remaining questions regarding the suitability of the site.
As an aside, but I believe an important one, I would like to tell you that, to date, we have found nothing at Yucca Mountain that indicates that it would be unsuitable as a site for the permanent disposal of spent nuclear fuel or high-level radioactive waste.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The completion of the Yucca Mountain viability assessment will clarify the direction and scope of remaining work toward a formal site recommendation by the President. With your continued support we will be able to complete our work.
Thank you, and I will be pleased to respond to any questions that you may have.
Mr. MCDADE. Thank you for excellent testimony.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Barrett follows:]
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
FY 1999 OFFICE OF FISSILE MATERIALS DISPOSITION BUDGET REQUEST
Mr. MCDADE. Mr. Canter, we are saving the best for the last. I see by your biography that you were 20 years in the nuclear Navy, were you?
Mr. CANTER. Yes, sir, 20 years in the Navy, most of that in the nuclear end of things.
Mr. MCDADE. You were there in the early days?
Mr. CANTER. I worked for the little white-haired admiral for a number of years, and he taught me a few things.
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Mr. MCDADE. I guess.
We are pleased to have you here, Mr. Canter. Delighted to have your testimony. You may file it for the record and proceed independently. You have latitude to do whatever is comfortable.
Mr. FAZIO. Mr. Chairman, I might say I do not remember the little white-haired admiral reading any statement to us. I wonder if you learned to testify as he used to, ad hoc.
Mr. CANTER. We have a uniquewith the old joint committee, we had a unique privilege; and that is the draft before testimony was published came over, and we did some editing in the name of security. So we would take out the wild claims that he would make and tone them down. But I know of nobody who has such a privilege today.
Mr. MCDADE. Mr. Canter, over on the floor we call that revision of remarks.
Oral Statement of Howard R. Canter
Mr. CANTER. Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, I am the Acting Director of the Department of Energy's Office of Fissile Materials Disposition. I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today to testify on the Department's fiscal year 1999 budget for this program. With your permission, I would like to proceed with a brief oral statement and submit the written statement for the record.
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The Department of Energy's Office of Fissile Materials Disposition is responsible for implementing the administration's approach to irreversibly dispose of the national's post-Cold War stockpiles of surplus plutonium and highly enriched uranium and for providing technical support for efforts to attain reciprocal actions for the disposition of surplus Russian plutonium. These important nonproliferation efforts are aimed directly at reducing the threat that nuclear weapons materials could fall into the hands of terrorists or rogue nations.
This past year has been one of transition as we move past the study phase to begin implementing a hybrid strategy for plutonium disposition. We are pursuing both immobilization and burning mixed oxide fuel in existing, domestic commercial reactors. Both approaches would meet the spent fuel standard. That is, the excess weapons plutonium would be converted into a form in which it would be roughly as unattractive and inaccessible for recovery and use in weapons as the plutonium in ordinary commercial spent fuel.
A number of very important activities have been conducted this year to enable surplus weapons plutonium disposition to proceed to the construction phase in the fiscal year 20012002 time frame.
These include a recent decision to focus future work in the immobilization area on the use of ceramics as opposed to glass, allowing us to bring immobilization of weapons plutonium one step closer to realization. The soon-to-be-released request for proposals to solicit business proposals from industry to provide MOX fuel and irradiation services is another major step. The start of testing and demonstrating an integrated prototype system at the Los Alamos National Laboratory for disassembling nuclear weapons pits and converting the resulting plutonium metal to a form suitable for either disposition approach as well as for international inspection; and the recently completed round of negotiations with Russia on a bilateral agreement on scientific and technical cooperation in plutonium management and disposition. We expect this agreement to be signed in the near future.
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FY 1999 BUDGET REQUEST
Our fiscal year 1999 budget request for fissile material disposition activities is $169 million, an increase of $65.3 million over fiscal year 1998. The increase will allow the Department to begin the design of key U.S. plutonium disposition facilities for disassembling and converting nuclear weapons pits to unclassified forms and for fabricating mixed oxide fuel and will also allow us to expand the joint technical work with Russia by designing a pilot-scale plutonium conversion system in Russia.
DOE is also completing the analyses necessary to select the sites where surplus plutonium disposition will take place, and we expect to announce this spring the preferred sites for the pit disassembly and conversion facility and the MOX fuel fabrication facility. The Savannah River Site, which has an operational high-level waste vitrification facility, has already been named as the preferred site for immobilization. Following completion of an environmental impact statement later this year, final site selection would appear in a record of decision.
Fiscal year 1999 efforts on the immobilization approach are aimed at resolving technological issues, developing and demonstrating production-scale processes and equipment, and conducting the necessary verification testing of the preferred can-in-canister approach in order to be confident that it can be successfully implemented in a timely and cost-effective manner.
For the MOX/reactor approach, we plan to complete fuel qualification design, initiate licensing efforts and process development for MOX fuel fabrication, continue irradiation tests of the MOX fuel as well as to begin the design of the MOX fuel fabrication facility with a capacity to process 3.5 tons of surplus plutonium oxide per year.
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The next 3 years will be a crucial period in the U.S.-Russian relationship concerning the storage and disposition of surplus weapons plutonium. Work with Russia on small-scale tests and demonstrations of disposition technologies is moving forward, and negotiations with Russia have begun on a framework agreement for plutonium disposition. We recognize, however, that the United States cannot proceed independently to dispose of our surplus plutonium without significant progress from Russia. As a result, the administration will not construct new facilities for disposing of surplus U.S. plutonium unless there is significant progress with Russia on plans for plutonium disposition.
Beginning the design of key U.S. disposition facilities, developing a pilot-scale system in Russia to convert weapons plutonium, and implementing a framework of agreements on plutonium disposition are significant steps in this important nonproliferation program. I believe that these efforts will send a clear signal to the world community regarding U.S. nonproliferation goals, will strengthen our negotiating position with the Russians, and encourage the Russian Government to take significant reciprocal actions to initiate plutonium disposition. It is an investment in our future well worth making.
Thank you very much.
Mr. MCDADE. Thank you, Mr. Canter.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Canter follows:]
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
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RUSSIAN NUCLEAR PROGRAM
Mr. MCDADE. Let me ask you a question if I may, just your opinion. There was a change in the control of the Russian nuclear program within the Soviet Union. How do you read that change? Is it positive or is it negative?
Mr. CANTER. Right now, Dr. Adamov has been appointed Minister of Atomic Energy to replace Victor Mikhailov. He is an interesting gentleman. He speaks very good English.
He is sort of more of a modern man, but he ran the institute that was responsible for the design of the Chernobyl-style reactors and has pushed the concept of extending the life of those reactors while most of the Western European nations want them shut down. He was intimately involved with Mikhailov in negotiations with Iran on the reactor sale to Teheran.
So it is not clear that there will be any change in policy that comes out; and, right now, we are proceeding as if there will not be.
TOTAL COST OF CLEANUP
Mr. MCDADE. Sounds like the prudent course, unfortunately.
Mr. Owendoff, let me ask you a couple of questions, please. What is your current estimated total cost of the cleanup program, total cost?
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Mr. OWENDOFF. Within the Paths to Closure that we just came out with, Mr. Chairman, $147 billion is the total cost. I need to point out what is in that, and what is not in that cost, though.
Mr. MCDADE. And the time frame that it is based on, the assumption of how many years to do it?
Mr. OWENDOFF. Certainly. That is broken down. Between 1997 and 2006, it is $57 billion. And then, from 2007 to 2070, it is $90 billion. Mainly what we will be working on beyond 2006, are big-ticket items for high-level waste and transuranic wastes. We will still be doing some decontamination and decommissioning of buildings and some soil and water cleanups also, but the big-ticket items are high-level waste.
But a couple of things that I want to point out that are not in that estimate so it is not misleading as far as how that relates to previous estimates.
We currently have this $8.8 billion estimated costs for cleaning up surplus of facilities for which Environmental Management does not now have the responsibility. Those buildings are still within defense programs or energy research that are surplus facilities. So there isthe estimate of those will require $40 billion. And then there are some active facilities that are still withinthat are being utilized within the Department that is about $20 billion. And then we have transferred the responsibility for newly generated wastein other words, operational facilities at the labsand that is about $8 billion in those costs through the period out to 2070.
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The main thing, when we presented the Paths to Closure, we did not articulate that now we have significantly reduced the dollars. That wasn't the point. The point of this was that it reflected the strategies of each of the sites and then how that related then to an overall national plan. That is the key that we see, is how do we get to the point of looking project by project, the sequencing of those projects and the critical path? And then it gives us a path to start working and having discussions.
ROCKY FLATS CLOSURE
Mr. MCDADE. Thank you for a very complete answer.
And may I say that, as you know, you are right in tune with the committee when you talk about that. We, by law, required competitive bidding to introduce competition into the system and urged that sites be brought to closure as promptly as possible.
This is your statement, which was so well done; and I want to quote from it: In fiscal year 1995, not very long ago, the former contractor at Rocky Flats said that cleanup and stabilization would not be concluded until 2030 and would cost $18 billion. We got a new contractor, as you know.
Mr. OWENDOFF. Yes, sir.
Mr. MCDADE. And the current estimate is 2010, a saving of 20 years, and think of the mortgage costs involved in that, at an estimated cost of $7.3 billion, $11 billion on the capital costs, on the operating costs to get rid of the thing.
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So we are going to support that kind of conduct, and we want to hear from you about specific candidates you think we can look at for closure.
This committee wants to try to get this done and assist all of you to get it done as promptly as we can. It is in the best interest of the country and the taxpayers to proceed with due diligence, but to get projects brought to closure, and nothing illustrates it more than that particular contract that you and the Department signed and we fund.
The bad news of that story is that we understand you are about $25 million short in this year's budget; and we will be taking a hard look at that to see what, if anything, can be done.
You released a report called ''Accelerating Cleanup'', and you referred to the Path to Closure. One of the major conclusions was the identification of a potential future shortfall between cleanup and cost estimates and projected available funds, and there is a pretty large delta there. What steps, if any, do you recommend that we take to try to cure that problem?
Mr. OWENDOFF. I want to probably start this by saying, Mr. Chairman, that, through the leadership of this subcommittee last year in establishing a closure account, I believe that what that does is it sets a mindset that at those facilities where there is no longer a DOE mission, it establishes a mindset that the business at this site is to get to cleanup and get to closure. It is no longer to continue and to maintain, you know, work as usual.
So I want to say that it is through the subcommittee's leadership that I believe sent a very important message.
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Welast year, you recommended Rocky Flats be put in that and Fernald. In our 1999 budget request, we have included Weldon Springs, which is really a lot farther along even than Fernald is, as well as the Mound facility in Ohio.
As far as what is in our strategy and how that relates to budgets, I want to say that the strategy is not a budget document, but it shows us what are the opportunities when we look at the compliance requirementshow do we structure projects? What is the critical path? How can we do a better job of sequencing and getting those prices down? I think it provides a vehicle for us in working with the regulators and the stakeholders to decide that we had the agreements that were put into place 10 years ago that had milestones going out many, many years.
We seeand I will give an example at Rocky Flats, I think, which is a good example in working with the regulators where we see that they said, all right, we realize that a lot of our compliance requirements were placed on soil and water cleanup, but the biggest risk and the highest mortgage costs are the storage of plutonium.
So we will agree with you. Let's look at kind of a reordering of priorities and let's put the emphasis on the plutonium disposition and removal, getting down those mortgage costs, and then we will then push the cleanup work. Not that we don't want it, not that we are not expecting you to step up and we are not expecting you to walk away, but let's get these high mortgage costs down and then get on with the cleanup.
Through those discussions, you take a hard look at what is happening in those areas that you are deciding to shift and is there a problem? I believe that certainly today we look and see those outyear and see some of those shortfalls. We are concerned about that.
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I want to take just one other minute.
We believe that there is also a lot that will help us with technology development, but then intersite transfers just like what we are doing at Rocky Flats. But I think the States are concerned that they do not see that we havewe are sustaining our funding levels and, thus, they are concerned about working with us on intersite transfers because they believe that would be our way of saying, okay, you are going to fit within the budget instead of meeting your commitments. And I believe that there is the ability in working with you and in working within the administration of saying, if we can convince you or present to you that we are trying to be efficient, get our support costs down, competitive contracting, that then, with thatand then we can demonstrate to you that there are opportunities for life-cycle cost reductions, the States will then sayand then we convince you that sustained funding levels are reasonable, the States will then come in and say we are willing to work with you.
I think what is going to be difficult is today trying to get the Stateswe are now kind of a chicken-or-the-egg dealso it is going to get difficult for the States to work with us to get efficient and look at intersite transfers if they just see that we are falling off on our budget. I think 1999 demonstrates how each year, as we work the budgets, we look at the compliance agreements, we get to that stabilized funding level.
Mr. MCDADE. I think that the basic thing, as you mentioned, is building confidence in each other; and I think the key to that is the word ''closure''. That is the reason for the committee setting up the account, and that is the reason we are going to keep pushing it as hard as we can.
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I yield to my friend from California, Mr. Fazio.
FOREIGN SPENT NUCLEAR FUEL SHIPMENTS
Mr. FAZIO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Welcome all of you.
I thought, Mr. Owendoff, I would ask you a question related to constituent concerns that I hear out in northern California about the transshipment of waste from research reactors overseas and the ultimate disposition in Idaho of them. Would you give me a background? Maybe the committee would benefit from hearing the rationale for the way this program was originally constructed and how it is operating.
Mr. OWENDOFF. From a nonproliferation standpoint, we believe that it is important to return to the United States this foreign-research fuel. It is fuel that was originally enriched in the United States that went to countries both in Europe and in Asia and in South America. That it is important from a nonproliferation standpoint to return that material.
So the question becomes: Where does it return to? Through what avenues? And this gets back to the whole issue of equity, of who should take what risks.
So it is through our public interaction that we accommodate that. So what we look at is principally coming from the West Coast or from the East Coast, how do we get things principally to Idaho or to Savannah River where we have interim storage until we can have the long-term storage?
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So it is through the Concord area that we believe that provides the most appropriate shipping route. We are taking great strides in working with the community, working with the shippers, to ensure that certainly everything is safe and that people are knowledgeable about what we are doing. So we believewe have more work to do, and we are committed to do that.
Mr. FAZIO. Just to clarify, this is not material that has been developed in any other country? This was developed in the United States and shipped overseas
Mr. OWENDOFF. That is correct.
Mr. FAZIO [continuing]. To the research reactors? This has not been commercial reactor material or certainly weapons grade material; is that correct? It could be, but it wasn't originally?
Mr. OWENDOFF. It wasn't shipped as that. It was shipped for research activities in foreign countries. At the time when we were
Mr. FAZIO. Was this in the '50s?
Mr. OWENDOFF. Yes, beginning in 1958.
Mr. FAZIO. The material we fear could be misused for other purposes and that is why we have attempted to comply with agreements we made, we thought for our own benefit upfront, to dispose of it properly here.
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Mr. OWENDOFF. That is correct.
DISPOSING OF NUCLEAR MATERIALS
Mr. FAZIO. Is there concern that we may expand this concept to other kinds of nuclear materials that might also be rationalized to be disposed of here as the safest and best place to do it?
Mr. OWENDOFF. I don't know if Mr. Canter might be able to help me. I just know that, within our area, within the Environmental Management piece, Mr. Fazio, we do not have other things in the pipeline under consideration.
Mr. FAZIO. Mr. Canter, since I am just ranging around, maybe you could comment. If you use this rationale, and I know we have a specific commitment in this case, you could expand this greatly, couldn't you?
Mr. CANTER. Well, this commitment is because this fuel was made with highly enriched uranium, not low enriched uranium. In other words, it is greater than 20 percent uranium 235; and that is the material that you could make weapons out of if somebody were to separate it. There are no plans and I don't think anybody in their right mind would even talk about bringing commercial spent fuel from another nation. Until Lake figures out what he has got.
Mr. FAZIO. But hope springs eternal.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. CANTER. There is no other activity that I am aware of to bring anything else in. Strictly this highly enriched uranium fuel and its unique features that allow the material to be used if somebody chemically separated it out to be used for making clandestine weapons.
Mr. FAZIO. Can you give us some concept as to how much of this material we are talking about? Where it is in the rest of the world and how much is coming to the East Coast and how much to the West Coast?
Mr. OWENDOFF. I can provide that for the record. It is not an easy answer. It is several countries with certain casks, certain containers and amounts; and so if it is agreeable I will provide that.
[The information follows:]
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
FOREIGN SPENT NUCLEAR FUEL SHIPMENTS
Mr. FAZIO. Is it all in the same casks? I mean, is it all being transported in the same manner or are we dealing with a variety of different approaches here?
Mr. OWENDOFF. The fuel itself is in different configurations, but the shipping containers, to my knowledge, they are all designed and built to meet the same regulatory requirements. They have met the NRC standards as far as shipping as well as additional testing. What that means, in the way of testing of those containers, you know, for example, dropping them out of aircraft and things like that so that they meet certain tests.
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Mr. FAZIO. Anything we might be likely to do, I guess.
Mr. OWENDOFF. You try to get the most detrimental impact.
STATE AND LOCAL CONCERNS
Mr. FAZIO. Could you give me some sense of what you may be doing to mollify the concerns of State and local authorities that I know have objected to this?
Mr. OWENDOFF. I think the biggest thing is information, talking with them. We have multiple meetings that we have had with the folks in northern California area to let themto have a discussion with them. Not one that we just present information and then walk out the door but have a discussion with them on what our plans are, what type of fuel it is, what type of shipping container, what our experiences have been in the past, the routes that we plan to take, how we will work with the carriers and the railroads to ensure that the tracks are in good condition, that we don't ship during a snowstorm, you know, those kinds of things in working through with the communities. We believe that that is probably the major concern, is just uncertainty and not knowing what we are talking about.
Mr. FAZIO. Are you going to, therefore, let all the effected communities know when you are shipping the material or is this, for security purposes, better left unknown?
Mr. OWENDOFF. Let me submit that. I don't want to give you a wrong impression.
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[The information follows:]
COMMUNITY AWARENESS OF SHIPMENTS OF NUCLEAR MATERIALS
The governments of the States through which the shipments of foreign research reactor spent nuclear fuel are transported are well aware of these shipments. The Department has worked closely and will continue to work closely at both the State and local levels to provide training and information to emergency responders, radiological health professionals, and law enforcement personnel in preparation for these shipments. The Department is also working to ensure that stakeholders are aware of the program. For example, for the upcoming west coast shipment, the Department has implemented an extensive awareness program, and is in the process of conducting awareness activities along the potential transportation routes. To date over 3,000 stakeholders have participated in this activity. The Department has also supported independent research to evaluate stakeholder awareness and concerns in California and South Carolina.
In accordance with Nuclear Regulatory Commission requirements, specific operational details for spent fuel shipments (such as the date) are not released to the public prior to the shipments. Each State has a designated point of contact who is notified at least 7 days in advance of a shipment. In practice, state officials know about the shipment well in advance through coordination activities undertaken as part of the transportation planning process. The State's point of contract is responsible for notifying the appropriate personnel and organizations within their State who need to know about an upcoming shipment. Typically this includes law enforcement, emergency responders, and radiological authorities. While the designated routes for the shipments are public information, the schedule for the shipments is protected information.
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STATE AND LOCAL CONCERNS
Mr. OWENDOFF. I will tell you, though, as much as we can, we are making information available. I think certainly one has to take a certain amount of precautions in today's world, because we don't want things to happen.
Mr. FAZIO. Right. I get the impression that we have had a kind of bipartisan outbreak of opposition in a number of States directly effected. Is that your impression?
Mr. OWENDOFF. I don't know if that is the characterization. I think that there has been concern, you know, along the routes.
Mr. FAZIO. Governors, mayors, congressmen?
Mr. OWENDOFF. There has been general concern. That is right.
Mr. FAZIO. Those are sometimes pretty specific in their general concern, but I just want to tell you that I personally support what the Department is doing. Because I don't know that you have, frankly, a lot of alternatives; and I think in the larger picture this is important for purposes of moving from places where we would have far less control over this material to other places where we hopefully can dispose of it properly, something that could become very dangerous.
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But I have to take note of people who might be seen on the political spectrum to my right and left, who have tried to make a political issue out of this; and I think they have had some success. I think it is largely because people don't have any context in which to make judgments about this. It is simply something is coming through my neighborhood, why? And why would I want it?
Could you put it into context for the committee how dangerous this may be compared to some other kinds of things that are traveling on the rails or the highways or what have you?
Mr. OWENDOFF. If I can. Again, I am not trying to beg off, but this is a very sensitive issue, and I don't want to have it mischaracterized, and I don't want to have
Mr. FAZIO. Someone may read the record.
Mr. OWENDOFF. I expect that. I don't want to, as I say, to mischaracterize what that is, which is what often happens in this type of situation.
Mr. FAZIO. I don't want to mischaracterize it either, but I think we have failed to characterize to a degree, and that creates problems that really are maybe even greater than they ought to be.
Mr. OWENDOFF. Correct.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [The information follows:]
The transportation of spent nuclear fuel has been conducted safely for decades and presents no difficult technical challenges. The safety record for spent fuel shipments in the U.S. and in other industrialized nations is enviable. Of the thousands of shipments completed world-wide over the last 30 years, none has resulted in an identifiable injury through release of radioactive material. The U.S. Department of Transportation and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission have developed regulations that control virtually every aspect of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste transportation, including the transport packages, physical security, and routing.
These spent nuclear fuel shipments represent a very small fraction of the approximately 300 million shipments of materials per year that are categorized as hazardous. In addition, all shipments will be made in robust containers certified by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that are designed to contain their contents under both normal and severe accident conditions.
The current regulations used in the U.S. provide a regulatory framework adequate for the Department to implement a safe spent fuel shipping program. These regulations are consistent with those used internationally and have world-wide consensus. The U.S. has shipped safely over 2500 shipments in the last 25 years, with an exemplary safety record. This record supports the fact that the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission have developed regulations that provide reasonable assurance for protection of the safety and health of the public, and the environment, and that strict compliance with these regulations provides the Nation with a safe and effective transportation system.
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DISPOSING OF EXCESS PLUTONIUM
Mr. FAZIO. Mr. Canter, we had opposition last year on the floor from the standpoint of opponents of proliferation of potentially weapons grade material to proposals for the MOX fuel fabrication facility and the pit disassembly and conversion facility. I wonder if you could, from the standpoint of the Department, defend your approach versus some others that have been offered by our colleagues who are as concerned as we, or some would say more so about this concern. I think most of us want to do the right thing on nonproliferation, and yet we haven't got a consensus as to what would be the right way to handle this excess plutonium.
Mr. CANTER. The principal concern that has been expressed, not just on the Hill but in certain nongovernment organization groups, is that using mixed oxide fuel will violate 20 years worth of plutonium policy, head us in the wrong direction. As a result some of the research we have done on this 20 years worth of policy, highlight some interesting facts.
The policy originated with President Gerald Ford. In fact, the original policy document was October 28, 1976, and the policy stated that we should defer indefinitely commercial reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel and the separation of plutonium from that spent fuel. The policy is silent on whether plutonium that is already separated couldn't be consumed in reactors.
President Carter, in April 1977, took some steps to implement that policy further. President Reagan came along and rescinded the policy, interestingly enough, but by then the costs of reprocessing had gone so high that there were no utilities in the United States interested in it. And that happened just about the same time as the Nuclear Waste Policy Act was coming down the pike with a different answer on what to do with spent fuel.
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During the Bush administration, there were no changes. In the Clinton administration, the policy statement was put out in late 1993 that says the United States does not encourage the civil use of plutonium and, therefore, does not itself engage in reprocessing for either nuclear weapons or for nuclear power purposes.
So the villain here is the separating of plutonium from spent fuel so that it is readily usable in weapons. We have plutonium that is already separated. It was separated years ago. We are not talking about reprocessing spent fuel. We are talking about consuming, in fact, putting back into spent fuel the very plutonium that was separated. So we believe that we are very consistent with this policy, and it is the right thing to do.
The other concern and the reason why we have the hybrid strategy is there are uncertainties on all of these things, and we want a backup. Each one is a backup for the other.
But the Russians have expressed a very strong opinion. The Russians are concerned that if we were to immobilize plutonium only, number one, you don't destroy a single atom of it; and, number two, it is still weapons grade, that we are just changing the form for storage and sometime in the dead of night we are going to go try to retrieve this stuff and rebuild the arsenal. They express a concern about the irreversibility of the disarmament process.
So we feel that at least some of the plutonium, possibly the better quality, should go the route of mixed oxide fuel, be used in reactors where we destroy about 30 percent of it and we convert the isotopic distribution of the remainder. It can still be used as a weapon if you were to reprocess that spent fuel, but it is harder, it is no longer weapons grade.
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So we think we are very consistent with the policy. I think there are some people who don't believe that, but that is our position.
DEBATE IN THE FORMER SOVIET UNION (FSU) ON PLUTONIUM DISPOSITION
Mr. FAZIO. Would you typify some of the debate that is taking place in the former Soviet Union on this issue? Because, obviously, there is a real need that we track each other in this regard for mutual security, if not security in the rest of the world.
Mr. CANTER. Several things have happened in the last year in the former Soviet Union. For one thing, this issue of what to do with the plutonium has come to President Yeltsin's attention. That dates back to a joint statement between President Yeltsin and President Clinton in January of 1994 where they asked their, quote, experts to look at the problem. And we did that, and we issued a report in 1996.
The Russians were falling behind us. We were proceeding with making plans, and they didn't seem to be moving ahead.
Last year in July, in fact, July 23rd, President Yeltsin signed a decree, and with this decree he established an interagency standing committee. It is not an ad hoc thing. It is a permanent standing committee made up of agency ministers or deputy ministers, very high-level, chaired by Velikhov. And if you have seen his name around, he happens to be the President of the Kurchatov Institute, but he is also the only nonministerial member of the Russian Defense Council. That is about equivalent to our NSC.
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They have taken on, on an interagency basis, this issue; and they have done certain things. They have come up with the initial declaration of what is excess in Russia that the President announced. They started working on an architecture for what the agreements with the United States should be. They are putting together a recommendation to the President.
We had our record of decision in January 1997. They haven't had any such thing as that. So they are moving ahead to do that and get approval of the President; and, in many respects, they are starting to leapfrog here and move forward on it.
We arranged a meetingactually, Harvard University arranged it for us; and it worked out very nicely because it wasn't an official government meeting or we would have spent 6 months preparing briefing papers. It was in November up in Cambridge. Some of the members of that committee and some of the members from the State Department, the NSC, DOD, Department of Energy, attended; and we came up with a mutual agreement on an architecture for getting agreements with the Russians for reciprocal action.
The first step in that is a government-to-government agreement on continuing technical cooperation up to and including pilot-scale facilities.
The week before last, I was over there with a team; and in three-and-a-half days we essentially negotiated that agreement. They were very cooperative. They were very professional, and they were interested in it. We have a few things that are bracketed in the agreement right now that we are exchanging faxes on, but we think that will be ready for signature within a couple of months.
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That is the first step. There will be subsequent agreements, and some of them have already started working. So what we are seeing is that, in the last year, I sense a change in the interest at the highest levels in the Russian Government that this is a serious problem, and I can understand that. They have a fear, particularly of the nations along their southern tier, acquiring some of this material and coming up with a weapon; and that is probably a well-placed fear.
So their interest has increased. They are putting some effort into it. The big question is going to be, where does all the money come from? And that is the thing yet to be solved.
Mr. FAZIO. Harder there even than here?
Mr. CANTER. Yes, sir.
Mr. MCDADE. On that happy note I want to inform the people in the audience we have a vote on in the House, and we have 4 minutes to get there. We will recess for 15 minutes. Thank you.
''PATHS TO CLOSURE'' DRAFT
Mr. KNOLLENBERG [presiding]. I was about to say, the meeting will come to order. But, apparently, it has come to order.
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I will pick up then where Mr. Fazio left off, and I want tothis will be, I think, probably directed more at Mr. Owendoff, but I have a question or two for some others.
It concerns this ''Path to Closure'' draft. On Tuesday we had the opportunity to ask Secretary Pena about that whole process, and I am sure he has shared some of that process with you. I understood by some of what I heard you say, and I was encouraged by some other things. One of the things that disturbed meand maybe this quote was made in reference to something specificbut it said that cost is not what this is about. I am talking about this whole ''Path to Closure'' draft.
You mentioned, for example, that some $57 billion of thatI thought it was $189 billion. That is what we were told the other day, and I think your numbers come close to that so I am not arguing about that$57 billion before 2006 and $90 billion after, and then there is still a $40 billion defense matter that is out there. There is a tiny number, $8 billion. I didn't get what that was.
Mr. OWENDOFF. Newly generated waste. In other words, facilities continue to operate, sir.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. This ''Path to Closure'' draft is a follow-up from the 10-year plan which provided the vision for the whole EM program. I wanted to refer toI would like to remind everybody on this committee that the vision entailed in the environmental management program of 1996 is something I would just simply like to read to you right now. I have copies of that if anybody wants it.
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But, essentially and specifically, it says, within a decadeand, remember, this is 1996the Environmental Management Program will complete cleanup at most sites.
I am encouraged by Fernald. I am encouraged by what is taking place at Mound. It looks like Mound will be done in 2005. I think that is in your written testimony. Fernald in 2006.
''At a small number of sites, treatment will continue for the remaining waste streams. This unifying vision will drive budget decisions, sequencing of projects, and actual actions taken to meet program objectives. The vision will be implemented in collaboration with regulators and stakeholders.'' And the principles: reduce mortgage and support costs to free up funds for further risk reduction.
Although the DOE took the 10-year concept out of the title of what is now called the ''Path to Closure'' draft, I want to make sure that you are still committed to cleaning up and closing the EM sites as quickly and as efficiently as possible, and that you are committed to closing as many as you can and is possible by the year 2006.
I am concerned that it is March 12, 1998, and we still don't have even a final report or closure plan. I have been told several times over the last couple of years that a final version was only a month or so away, but we are still waiting for it.
My staff was told on the 27th of February at a briefing where DOE unveiled the ''Path to Closure'' draft, that we can expect a final version by June of 1998. That is 2 or 3, 4 months away. I guess, apparently, the DOE is still looking for additional public comments.
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My concern is, can we confirm June of 1998 is the date that we will indeed have a final version available to us on the EM closure plan? That is June of this year. Could you respond to that?
Mr. OWENDOFF. Sir, our plan is to have it in the June time frame. But let me try to give you certainly some of the complexities and the realities that we have facing us. But, if I can, I would like to just take a step back on an earlier thought.
The reason that we took 2006 out of the title wasn't that we are falling off of 2006, but there was a perception that we are going to quit the Environmental Management cleanup business at 2006 and walk away from the other sitesin other words, the larger sites that are still remaining.
We have, by site, listed the closing dates and our commitment to meet those dates on closing those sites and a similar lineup to what we had in the previous draft. Please don't think that we are falling off of the 2006.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Let me tell you where I am going. It may not be the same road that you are going to take me.
I want to say this, that the ''Path to Closure'' draft assumes a funding baseline of $6 billion. Now that is more money. This baseline, frankly, will result, it says, in the sunset of the program by the year 2070. I am talking about the whole thing.
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But what I am concerned about is this: DOE doesn't even request enough money, enough funding to meet the draft baseline. In everything that we have seen via the contractors and otherwise, they are talking 2010, and that is a ''maybe.'' That is not good enough. In my judgment, it is not. It is a lackluster draft plan, and under the administration's funding request it won't be closed by the year 2010.
I don't think that is what we envisioned. I don't think that is right for the taxpayers. I think there is something that has to be looked at, something finalized so that we can come up with concrete numbers relatively. So I see some flex, some change, perhaps, in attitude.
You mentioned, I think the word was mindset. Well, I like that. If there is a mindset about this that comes into play, we can begin focusing on cleaning up those sites.
ROCKY FLATS CLOSURE
But, Mr. Owendoff, I know you have been the Acting Assistant Secretary of Environmental Management for a very short time; and I don't expect all of this to be something that you are completely familiar with. But I was assured rather, and I want to remind you, assured by your predecessor, Mr. Alm, when he was Assistant Secretary of EM, and I have also been assured by Secretary Peña and by the contractors at Rocky Flats that we can finish cleanup at Rocky Flats by 2006 if the accelerated level of funding is appropriated. And that is not what we are getting.
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I think it is time that we close one of the major sites. Rocky Flats is a major site, Fernald and, of course, some of the others. Certainly that is worthwhile, what we are doing there, and I think that is a target that you can live up to. But I think we have to make sure that that happens.
And I just want to remind you, and it doesn't call for a comment, but remind you of what we have gotten before, what we have had recommended to us, what we had pledged to us by the various individuals, and we want to make sure that that is consistent.
When you are talking about reducing mortgage and support costs, this is done to free up funds to bring about more closure, more cleanup. I think we have to move in that direction.
So I recognize you want to respond, but I am not asking you to. I just want to make sure you understand where we are on this, and I think the committee feels very strongly about moving quickly with closure on these major locations.
VIABILITY ASSESSMENT SCHEDULE
I want to turn now to Mr. Barrett. You had mentioned that nothing stands in the way of that becoming a repository for our spent fuel; and I want to seeI think most of the people on this committee want to see that happen. They want to see Yucca Mountain become that permanent repository.
It appears to meand this doesn't help you in your workthat the administration is blockingis certainly providing some obstruction to bringing that about so that we can get on with this business of cleanup.
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It is my understanding that the administration would be willing to support the interim storage facility once the permanent repository at Yucca is approved through a DOE viability assessment. I think you referenced that if not in your speech, in your commentary here.
I further understand the viability assessment will be completed by December of this year, December of 1998. Can you confirm that it will be done by December of 1998?
Mr. BARRETT. We will have the scientific technical work completed by that time. It will be given to the Secretary. The Secretary has said that in December 1998, he expects it to be completed; and I have full confidence that will be the case.
YUCCA MOUNTAIN SUITABILITY
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. I don't know why DOE and the administration are slowing us down on this thing in moving the spent fuel away from our communities. It seems to me that, by moving that waste to one safe, central location, the DOE will be able to complyif they can comply with all of those legal obligations, we should be able to bring this about, and so we look forward to that taking place. My judgment is that Yucca is the perfect place in this world to put all of that stuff as we call it, the waste.
But, for the record, I want to discuss and, hopefully, refute any doubts of Members of Congress that they may have about the viability of this repository. So let me direct some questions now.
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCYUCCA MOUNTAIN TECHNICAL ISSUES
Number one, you have been conducting some heat simulation tests inside of the repository in order to place the integrity of the rock under high temperatures. Can you respond now and can you tell me, are there any showstoppers here that would put a halt to any of that process? What have you learned from these tests? Is it going to be practical?
Mr. BARRETT. We have learned a lot from these tests. They are confirming our laboratory experiments, and the rock and the water is behaving in these experiments as our scientific models are basically predicting.
In refining those models, we have seen no physical situation in the mountain that would make the mountain unsuitable to be a geologic repository. On the other hand, we have not gathered sufficient information to convince the regulatory processes that it would be safe to be a geological repository.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. What about volcanic activity? Would that prevent us from storing the spent fuel?
Mr. BARRETT. We have done tremendous state-of-the-art work on volcanism. We have submitted our analyses to all the parties, to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
It is our conclusion regarding volcanism that there is an extremely low probability, on the order of less than one in 100 million chances per year, of a volcanic intrusion into the repository; and that would be perfectly satisfactory, in our opinion. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has done a very thorough scientific review of that, and they have concluded that they do not see this as a major issue to prevent a repository.
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Mr. KNOLLENBERG. What about earthquakes?
Mr. BARRETT. We have also done a lot of work on seismic activity. We do not see any reason that the seismicity or earthquake issues would be a major factor as far as preventing a repository from being built there.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Lately, chlorine-36 has come into play. I understand that the thought is that, from scientists, that it may be from the atmospheric tests that were done back in the 1940s and 1950s. Is there any reason why we should be concerned about that? In other words, again, is there a showstopper? Is there something that would bring this process to a halt, that would prevent us from storing nuclear fuel there as a result of chlorine-36?
Mr. BARRETT. The chlorine-36 tracers that have been used as part of the experiments underground in the tunnel have indicated that there has been some fairly rapid transport of liquid from the surface down to the repository horizon. This is part of our ongoing hydrological study as to how much water there might be in the future and how that water might interact with any waste package.
We are looking at this very carefully. We don't see anything from the hydrologic studies that would preclude Yucca Mountain from being a repository. On the other hand, we don't have enough scientific information to demonstrate before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that it would be satisfactory to be a repository, either.
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. KNOLLENBERG. What about water levels that are within the mountain itself where the spent fuel is stored?
Mr. BARRETT. We have established, as part of our hydrologic studiesthat the actual saturated zone water is almost a thousand feet below where the proposed repository horizon would be. We believe that it is stable, and that is not an issue. But as far as the actual water transport through the repository horizon, that is a major area of our scientific technical work.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Rains or floods have any problem for you?
Mr. BARRETT. We don't see floods. Part of the program is the climatological modeling looking many thousands of years into the future. We believe that we are in a relatively dry period in this interglacial period. When you start to look out thousands of years in the future, we expect it would be wetter at Yucca Mountain; and these analyses are being accounted for in our modeling for thousands of years into the future.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Eventually, it will all be stored, the spent fuel, in casks. Do you have any problem with the reliability of the casks?
Mr. BARRETT. The spent fuel would be in what is known as a waste package, a metallic, very thick package placed underground. We believe the capabilities of modern technology are such that we can build those canisters without any major problem.
TRANSPORTATION OF SPENT FUEL
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Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Another controversy that aboundsand I think it is spawned and fueled by speculationbut what about the transportation issue? For example, how long has the Federal Government been transporting spent fuel around the country?
Mr. BARRETT. Transportation of spent fuel has been going on in this country and worldwide for 40 years with an exemplary safety record.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. How many times has there been an accident with a nuclear waste vehicle?
Mr. BARRETT. There have been several accidents involving nuclear materials when they were being transported. For example, a spent fuel truck in, I believe, the 1960s had an accident on a road in Tennessee; and the driver was killed. However, there were no nuclear aspects to that accident.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Outside of that driver, there has been no death or no other
Mr. BARRETT. There have been routine accidents, but there has been no accident that has been of any nuclear consequence whatsoever over 40 years.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. No radioactive exposure. Thank you.
We have been talking about volcanos and earthquakes and floods and chlorine-36 and heat tests and automobile accidents or truck accidents, if you will. Is there any other material phenomenon that I am not thinking of which could threaten the integrity of the spent nuclear fuel repository?
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Mr. BARRETT. Well, the main
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Like the asteroid that is supposed to be coming in.
Mr. BARRETT. There are scenarios that we consider low-probability events such as the asteroid takes out the world. We haven't studied those type of things. But the main issue we are looking at is the water movement within the mountain, and it is a significant issue, and that is where we are primarily studying today.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Is there any reason why we won't reach viability assessment by the end of the year? Anything at all that you can think of in addition?
Mr. BARRETT. I have high confidence that we will complete the viability assessment, and it will be forwarded to the President and the Congress as provided for in the Appropriations Act.
DECISION PROCESS FOR YUCCA MOUNTAIN
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. And you are prepared to name that facility, Yucca Mountain, as the permanent repository after viability and then thus move nuclear wastes to the mountain?
Mr. BARRETT. In accordance with the statutory laws that we must follow, the viability assessment will provide a lot of important information that will be used in the next major decision, which will be the suitability of Yucca Mountain. Following that will be the recommendation from the Secretary to the President after the completion of Environmental Impact Statements. That is scheduled for 2001. That is the major decision point about the suitability of the mountain.
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It will not be the viability assessment that will be conclusive that Yucca Mountain will truly be a repository. The more important decision will be the 2001 site suitability decision, and then we will submit a license application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
We must then go through an adjudicatory licensing process at which we must demonstrate that we meet all the safety requirements. If we have been able to demonstrate in that adjudicatory process that we meet the requirements we should then have a repository. But that is still a ways away, sir.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Are you optimistic?
Mr. BARRETT. Am I optimistic? I am optimistic with reasonable regulatory standards we can meet that.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Can we help you with those reasonable regulatory standards in any way?
Mr. BARRETT. At this time, I don't see anything that you could do on that matter.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. If you do, let us know.
Mr. BARRETT. Yes, sir.
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Now we recognize Mr. Visclosky, I believe.
COMMUNITY OUTREACH AND STAKEHOLDER PARTICIPATION
Mr. VISCLOSKY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Owendoff, I appreciated earlier in your colloquy with Mr. Fazio about the transportation of spent materials and your relationship with communities and your outreach and publicity programs. Could you just discuss those for a minute or two?
I would also request if you have some specific procedures or outlines of how you do outreach and communication with officials, you could supply that to our office. I would appreciate it very much.
The reason I ask is that another agency of government is going to be shipping 23,000 pounds of napalm to a plant in my district. That is not nuclear material. It is hazardous material. But it has been a horrific experience because this other agency of government has simply not had any communication, any outreach and made any effort to have any empathy with anybody in my district.
I would like any help you could provide me as to the programs and policies you implement to inform officials and to engage them in a dialogue, because I don't expect anyone to like a program such as the one you run or the one that is coming to my district. But I think that type of program can be very helpful to allay people's fears that are only, I think, exacerbated by people, again, stonewalling. If you could for a minute or two, I would appreciate it very much.
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Mr. OWENDOFF. As I mentioned earlier, I think it is very important to inform the public on what we are talking about: What is the material? What is our approach to that?
We also believe in holding public meetings so people have a chance for us to have a discussion. As I mentioned, not just a presentation and then we walk out the door, but have a meaningful discussion so we can answer the questions. Have those public meetings in schools and public buildings so people have access to that.
We also believe that it is very important to discuss that with the local elected officials so that they understandas being representatives of the people locally, that they also understand, first, why are we doing this, why we believe it is important in the national interest, the alternatives. It is very important to discuss what other alternatives have we looked at. Because, naturally, a lot of concern is, why have we been chosen to do this? So we go through that.
We also look at transportationwe get with the Department of Transportation if it involves them. If it involves rail, it is Federal Rail AdministrationRailroad Administrationand go through what we believe are the type of shipments we are making.
We go through certainly what are the standard requirements that they have, and then we look at how often are we going to be shipping things and should there beis it prudent to have some additional precautions, you know, considering again what the material is with the approach and what we are doing.
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So it is really hard work to go in, for people to understand. It is not one where we certainly know that everybody likes it, but we try to be genuine in discussing with them what our approach is.
[The information follows:]
PUBLIC OUTREACH IN REGARDS TO THE SHIPMENT OF NUCLEAR MATERIALS
The Department is engaged in an extensive outreach and communication effort with stakeholders, and Congressional, State, Tribal, and local officials to inform, discuss, and prepare for these research reactor spent nuclear fuel shipments to the Savannah River Site (SRS) and the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL). This dialogue formally began in 1993 as part of the National Environmental Policy Act process. As part of the program's Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) preparation, 9 scoping meetings and 19 Draft EIS meetings and hearings were conducted to engage stakeholders. The Department has continued to participate in local meetings and hearings throughout the entire transportation planning process. Since the acceptance program began in May 1996, senior staff from headquarters and the field have been meeting with State, local and tribal officials to discuss the program and jurisdictional issues and concerns. The Department has been working with members of Congress, their staffs and other Federal agencies to address concerns and issues. For example, the Department is working cooperatively with the Federal Railroad Administration to address concerns raised by officials in California regarding rail transport through the Feather River Canyon area.
Concurrently, the Department has been meeting with State, local and tribal emergency responders, law enforcement, and medical professionals to assess the level of preparedness, and provide incremental training and equipment to ensure that jurisdictions along the transportation route are prepared. For example, for the upcoming west coast shipment to the INEEL, nearly 2,400 personnel have been trained in preparation for the shipment later this year. The Department uses regional forums, such as the Western Governor's Association and the Southern States Energy Board as well as simulated exercises with local officials and professionals to engage in detailed transportation planning activities, including contingency planning and shipment security.
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Procedures for public outreach for INEEL are described in detail in the Foreign Research Reactor West Coast Shipment Institutional Plan, while the Savannah River Site procedures are contained in the Foreign Research Reactor Spent Nuclear Fuel Transportation and Communication Plans.
DEFINITION OF ''SITES''
Mr. VISCLOSKY. If you have some materials, if you would share those with our office, I would appreciate it very much.
Also, in your testimony you mentioned ''sites'' a number of times as far as some of your accomplishments. My understanding of looking at these is that there were approximatelyor are113 contaminated sites, 60 of which have been cleaned up. You have 53 remaining, and my understanding is that you want 43 of those completed by the year 2006.
The question I have is that you also mentioned that this past fiscal year, 1997, you had completed 411 individual waste site cleanups. What is the difference between those types of sites and the 113?
Mr. OWENDOFF. I might mentionI want to just take a step back, if I may, for a half a minute.
What we have attempted to do in the ''Path to Closure'' 2 years ago was to say we need to have a vision, that kind of like the man-on-the-moon vision, that says, what can we do in the next 10 years? What can we accomplish? And how can we really stretch ourselves and not just be business as usual but stretch ourselves into looking at how you get there?
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Certainly with the moon program, we did not know at the time in the 1960s how we were going to get there. But you begin to lay out some framework that says, how can we accomplish that? And you look at each one of the sites that we have and say, what are your current costs? What are the things that are driving your mortgage rates? And then how can you gowhat is the critical path? How can you projectize the work that needs to be done, look at the sequence? How can I bring in technology development to make improvements, integration across the complex?
So, with that, it is really stretching ourselves. We do not have all the answers there, but it allows for there to be, again, some meaningful dialogue. Kind of the previous discussion that we just had, some meaningful dialogue with folks on, what are you planning to do? What are the steps? How are you sequencing? And maybe we can do this or that better.
As far as a particularthe 113, I will refer to those as geographic sites like Rocky Flats or Savannah River. Within each one of those, there are individual what we call release sites. There will be areas where contamination has taken place. The concern is if we don't have some intermediate performance measures that demonstrates how you are progressing say at Savannah River to get the cleanup completed, then everybody is just waiting until the whole site is done.
So what we have done, and you will notice in the 1999 budget submission for the first time that we have done it this year, is to look atwe make some commitments to the Congress on how many buildings will we have decontaminated. How many individual contaminated release sites will we have done? How much volume of low-level waste will we have treated and disposed of? And that is, again on release sites, we have some 4,000 release sites acrosssome geographic sites may have 100 release sites, say, at Hanford or a couple of hundred. So it is the smaller individual areas on a particular geographic site.
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Mr. VISCLOSKY. So you have some standard with which to measure your progress or lack thereof of each of these things?
Mr. OWENDOFF. That is correct. And with next year's budget we will give you the total universe, tell you how many we have done to date and what our plan is then each year to work those off. We were not able to get that in the 1999 budget on the total universe, but we will have that in next year's budget.
Mr. VISCLOSKY. You also mentioned the introduction of new technologies, and you developed 50 new technologies, 40 of you which introduced. Could you also describe that? Because I am an accounting major, and I don't understand the nuances of nuclear technology, but that seems like a lot of new technology. Are they variations on a theme?
Mr. OWENDOFF. I will just give the picture of what we are attempting to do and why counting technologies is a very difficult thing and thus we are not trying to take, you know, large number credit.
I think what we have provided in the budget as you walk through there is we have demonstrated how we are actually using technologies at individual sites for cleanups. And what happens on some of the complex remediation work, you will have one technology that you need to do an analysis of what is the condition, what is the soil sample like and how do you accomplish that? Do you have to dig up the soil through bore holes or can you do punch down with a probe at the end?
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So as you go through a particular cleanup of a release site, you are going to have several technologies that are involved in that. And we may have technologies that were used in one case decontaminating a building and we have not tried that particular technology on soil cleanup. So that is howagain, not trying to triple count.
Probably what is more meaningful is that we have provided a by-site look at innovative technologies that we are actually using at those sites; and we are trying to, again, in our efforts to reduce mortgage costs, to be more cost-effective, putting out competitive contracts, that we are getting in the best and the brightest to look at the cleanup problems we have.
Mr. VISCLOSKY. Thank you very much.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCDADE [presiding]. The gentleman from New Jersey is recognized.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
A question for the gentlemen. Good morning. It is still morning, although you wouldn't know it.
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Mr. Barrett, I just have a question relative to the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management in your statement. Could you explain to me what this sentence means? The fiscal year 1999 budget request will allow us to capitalize on the Yucca Mountain viability assessment as we progress towards a national decision on the geologic disposal option. What does that mean?
Mr. BARRETT. Yes, sir. The viability assessment will be a compilation of all the science and engineering that we have basically done to date, where we will pull it all together in an integrated fashion at the end of this year. That will give us a base of where we are, what additional work needs to be done to complete the remaining work for a presidential decision on the suitability of the site, and the information necessary for a license application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
So we will lay out that work that remains in front of us. So our 1999 work, which is after the viability assessment is completed, will be based upon that.
PROGRESS AT YUCCA MOUNTAIN
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. The operative verbs throughout your statement are to continue, to further refine, to strengthen, to prepare an issue, to support, to work with.
The public has a right to know at some point in time whether we are going to fish or cut bait on Yucca Mountain. The Department was good enough to host me when I went down there 5 miles into the mountain where I thought it was fascinating. But, in reality, a lot of money has been spent on this project.
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I am excited by it. I support the idea of a national repository. But when it is all said and done, all of this money has been spent, an incredible amount of reports have been sent to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and half a dozen and other agencies that may have some responsibility for oversight. Is anything ever going to happen with this project?
Mr. BARRETT. All I can say, from the Department of Energy's perspective, we are doing the world-class science that supports the project. But it is not the Department of Energy's decision to do a repository or not. The Secretary makes a recommendation to the President. The President must make a decision. The governor then has the right of disapproval in accordance with the Act. If that happens
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. This is a colossal undertaking. This must be one of the largest gargantuan public works projects in the history of our Nation. I am fascinated by the people that work in that environment. I salute them. They are amazing. They are the same type of people that do work building tunnels under the Hudson River. They are remarkable by any definition.
But when it is all said and done, is this thing ever going to be used? And I think our job here is to certainly promote the idea. And you are doing the science to back it up. But I would like to know whether you think this thing is ever going to be a reality.
Mr. BARRETT. I hope that it will be a reality. I mean, one of the key things that we do not have at this time are national standards. How safe is safe enough and for how many thousands of years into the future? That is undergoing the processes under the Energy Policy Act of 1992.
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SPENT FUEL STORAGE
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. How safe is it now? How many sites are there on a national basis where these wastes are located?
Mr. BARRETT. These materials are located at the commercial nuclear power plant sites as well as the DOE sites, approximately 80 sites across the Nation.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Eighty sites. Well, in my arguments for this repository I often say is it better to have one site where these things could be located. And I had understand there are transportation issues, there are environmental issues, seismic issues. I mean, I think that the people in the Department of Energy ought to be far more proactive.
I understand the political considerations here. But I think this is a national disaster in the making, allowing 80 sites, even though they may be well protectedand God only knows if they are, in all instancesto continue to allow these wastes to be kept there with really no push from the administration. Everybody seems to be waiting upon the President and the Secretary to sort of change their mind.
But, in terms of your efforts and the amount of money that we have expended here, you are 100 percent behind this option?
SUPPORT FOR GEOLOGIC DISPOSAL
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BARRETT. We are. Secretary Peña has supported me. The President has supported the Secretary and we are proceeding ahead as quickly as due diligence and science allows us on evaluating the Yucca Mountain site. I believe that is a solid commitment from the administration.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Well, I don't get the feeling that the administration is behind this as a possible site. I mean, that is the gut feeling I get.
I am all for the science. I am for checking everything out. But most of us get the gut feelingI will speak for myselfthat this thing is never going to happen. And that would be an absolute tragedy.
At some point in time, and this is a good time to do it since the President is in his last term. This is a time somewhat to be more courageous. Let's do something.
Certainly a lot of people have paid money into this fund, the purposes of which are to see this thing to fruition. So it is an annual plea. It is not so much of a question. Maybe it is rhetorical, but I think the bottom line is that we need to do something. Thank you for your efforts and for being somewhat the apologist for the situation that is not totally within your control.
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MCDADE. Mr. Barrett, a very important issue which we haven't addressed and we have to and we have to get, as usual, your candid answers is the question of the lawsuit that is pending against the Department for contempt of court for failure to comply with the 1998 guideline to receive wastes. You have got a tiger by the tail in the sense of the 50 States and the unified utility industry, don't you?
Mr. BARRETT. It is an extremely complex matter.
Mr. MCDADE. Describe it, would you please? I don't mean to try to simplify it.
Mr. BARRETT. It is an extremely complex issue of economics and legalities going on in multiple arenas that are all intertied. To try to summarize the situation, the Circuit Court of Appeals in November produced a ruling, based on the previous litigation of the utilities in many of the States, and in that they concluded that we should try to proceed to see if the delays clause within the existing contract between the Department and the utilities would be an adequate remedy to resolve the delays. We are in the process and ready to do that.
In addition, the Federal Government, the Department of Justice, asked for a rehearing from that court as to the appropriateness of that ruling and the appropriateness of that court to make that ruling; and that is under consideration by the court.
Forty-one utilities and 49 State organizations also went back to the same court and have requested that the court order DOE to comply with what they originally were asking for, such as escrow the money. Also, if any money was to be paid, it was not to be ratepayer funds; and that, again, rests before the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
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In addition, two utilities have gone to the Federal Court of Claims, claiming a partial breach of contract and are requesting $60 million and $90 million in damages in the Court of Claims.
Mr. FAZIO. Excuse me. Would you tell me who these two are for the record?
Mr. BARRETT. Yes. Yankee Atomic. That is the Massachusetts plant and also the Connecticut Yankee plant. Both of those are shutdown reactors, and the fuel remains on those sites due on our inability to move the fuel.
The Secretary has met with the utilities and with the States, and we have discussions going on to see if there can be an equitable resolution of this matter within the existing statutes that we can do. So
INTERACTIONS WITH UTILITIES
Mr. MCDADE. Are those discussions encompassing everybody that is in this fight, the Court of Claims, the States, the utilities?
Mr. BARRETT. We have offered and the Secretary has personally met with the utility CEOs and the State regulators and also environmental groups. I am in contact with virtually all of those groups at one time or another. There are certain issues that we are discussing in confidence, and then there are many other issues that go on that control the timing.
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Mr. MCDADE. You could say that everybody is under the tent, can't you?
Mr. BARRETT. Everybody is engaged, sir.
Mr. MCDADE. You don't have anybody dissenting and staying outside of the negotiations?
Mr. BARRETT. There are some utility contract holders that for reasons that are theirs, haven't engaged with us in any dialogue. That is their choice.
Mr. MCDADE. That is what I wanted to ask you. What is the number that have taken that position?
Mr. BARRETT. I could providewe have sent official letters in this process over the last year. Most contract holders have responded in one way or another. Some have chosen not to. I could supply for the record the half dozen or so
Mr. MCDADE. Elaborate it on the record, if you like, and give us detailed description of who the people who are not in the negotiations are. And if you care to express your personal opinion as to why, we would like to know that, too.
Mr. BARRETT. Yes, sir.
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DISCUSSIONS WITH CONTRACT HOLDERS
The Department has attempted to engage all of the utility Standard Contract holders through several mechanisms (e.g., written requests, face-to-face). To date, only one utility contract holder, South Carolina Electric and Gas, has not engaged the Department in any way. South Carolina Electric and Gas owns the Summer Nuclear Station in Jenkinsville, South Carolina. The Summer Nuclear Station is a single unit 885 MWe Pressurized Water Reactor that began operation in 1982. The Department is unaware of reasons why this utility has not engaged the Department.
Mr. MCDADE. What is the Department going to do if you have to compensate all of these people?
Mr. BARRETT. That is a complex legal matter, also.
Mr. FAZIO. We will stipulate to that.
Mr. MCDADE. They have you in charge of complexities down there.
Mr. BARRETT. The Federal Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in their November ruling stated that the existing contract was a potentially adequate remedy. Now, under that, I will briefly describe what that process would be.
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Under the avoidable delays clauseand the Court said we could not use the unavoidable delays clause. The way the avoidable delays clause is set up is that either party that causes the delay must address that delay. In this case, it is the Federal Government in the totality that is causing the delay, so I will not discuss the utilities being late, because they are not.
The person who is delayed, which are the utilities in this case, would provide information to the Department of Energy that these are the costs caused by the delay. And the contract states, and I will quote: that charges and schedules specified by this contract will be equitably adjusted to reflect any additional estimated costs incurred.
Now, no utility to date has submitted a claim to us for what the delays are. Most of those have chosen to go back into the court. Now, if they were to submit a claim to us, we would, following due legal process, process that. If we were to determine, and there is an appeals process specified also in the contract
Mr. MCDADE. Outside the court system?
Mr. BARRETT. There is a contracting officer.
Mr. MCDADE. Mediation type?
Mr. BARRETT. Not mediation, sir. What is in the contract is our contracting officer makes the decision. If the utilities do not believe that is a proper decision, they may take it to the Department of Energy Board of Contract Appeals, which is an independent board of appeals within the Department of Energy that reports to the Secretary.
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The Board of Contract Appeals could rule on it; and if they rulelet's assume that they rule for the utility, then we would have to deal with it. If they ruled against the utility, the utility would then have the right to go into the court system. So it is a fairly complex matter, but those are the rights under the contract.
NUCLEAR WASTE FUND FEES
Mr. MCDADE. I didn't mean to divert you.
Mr. BARRETT. Now the charges referred to in the contract is each nuclear utility pays one mil, that is one-tenth of a percent to the Federal Government, for every kilowatt hour of electricity generated by nuclear power. This is approximately $630 million a year based on nuclear electricity generation in the United States now.
What we would do is, whatever the costs of the delay were, we would tell that utility, you may reduce your paymentsyour charges have been adjusted. So they would pay less into the Federal Treasury to cover what the fair cost of the delay would be.
What becomes an inequity in this and why utilities do not like this, is what would happen. We must also look at the adequacy of the waste fund to support this program. The basic premise in the 1982 Act was the generator of this waste shall pay for its ultimate disposition. That is why the utilities paid all of this money. So if we had a lot of these damage claims that were appropriate claims and we reduced charges for operating reactors, it could eventually come to a situation where there may not be enough money in the fund to perform this job.
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Then, under the statute, the Secretary would have to raise the fee and that would lay before the Congress; and what you are doing is reallocating the utility's own money. I do not believe that is what the intent of the Court was, but that is what the reading of the contract and what the Court told us to do.
So this is an issue that the utilities have gone back to the Court over. They are asking the Court of Appeals to rule that this is not an equitable solution under the court order. This will be a matter for the people who wear the black robes to decide, and they will do that.
Mr. MCDADE. Sometime.
Mr. BARRETT. Yes, sir.
Mr. MCDADE. If it goes backyou said if you reach an agreement, it lays in front of Congress. Does that mean that there is a provision within the procedures to place the final decision for an up-or-down vote before the House and the Senate, or is it just an information thing?
Mr. BARRETT. In the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, if the Secretary believes that 1 mil per kilowatt hour must be raised and to date we have said there is adequate money in the waste fund in our analyses to date, the Secretary would propose an increase and that would lay before the Congress.
Page 71 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I will have to check in the Act exactly what the wording would be, because I don't recall at this very moment, but there is a provision in the Act relating to this. I don't know if it takes a vote or if it just happens after a certain time period. I will provide that for the record.
[The information follows:]
CONGRESSIONAL ACTION ON NUCLEAR WASTE FUND FEE
The fee of 1.0 mil per kilowatt-hour for disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste was established by section 302(a)(2) of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (NWPA). It provides Congress with a specific role and time period to act with respect to adjustments to the fee proposed by the Secretary of Energy.
Section 302(a) of the NWPA further specifies that ''. . . [i]n the event the Secretary determines that either insufficient or excess revenues are being collected, in order to recover the costs as defined in subsection (d), the Secretary shall propose an adjustment to the fee to insure full cost recovery. The Secretary shall immediately transmit this proposal for such an adjustment to Congress. The adjusted fee proposed by the Secretary shall be effective after a period of 90 days of continuous session have elapsed following the receipt of such transmittal unless during such 90-day period either House of Congress adopts a resolution disapproving the Secretary's proposed adjustment in accordance with the procedures set forth for congressional review of an energy action under section 551 of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act.''
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Mr. MCDADE. Give us an estimate for the record, too, as to the amount if they did have to do it, how much it would be. You talked about $600 million currently, did you?
Mr. BARRETT. The utilities presently are paying into the nuclear waste fund around $600-plus million a year. The balance in that is about $6 billion today as we speak. The amount of damages is a highly variable number that they may claim. Some statements are it is up to at high as $100 billion. Others might look at it, if it is the true cost of the additional storage, as more in the tens of millions of dollars. But it is a large variance that, until the process is finished, I would hesitate to speculate on what those might be.
[The information follows:]
ESTIMATE OF COSTS OF DAMAGES
It is not possible to estimate the cost of compensating utilities for the Department's delay and the resolution of claims will likely turn on highly fact-specific and individualized decisions about the costs incurred by each contract holder as a result of the delay. To date, only two utilities have filed suits for monetary damages in the Federal Court of Claims, Yankee Atomic Electric Company and Connecticut Yankee Atomic Power Company. Yankee Atomic has claimed more than $70 million in damages and Connecticut Yankee more than $90 million. These two claims are still in a very preliminary stage of litigation and outcomes cannot be predicted at this time.
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PAYMENT OF CLAIMS
Mr. MCDADE. Mr. Barrett, thank you very much.
Mr. FAZIO. Mr. Chairman, could I follow up on that?
Mr. MCDADE. Of course.
Mr. FAZIO. I wonder, at any point do you perceive the General Treasury of the United States vulnerable to any costs?
Mr. BARRETT. It is hard to speculate as to potential outcomes.
There are two of these cases before the Court of Federal Claims. If there was a ruling against the Department of Energy in the Court of Federal Claims, there would then be some discussion about should those paymentsif the Court concluded there were payments to be made, should those come from the judgment fund or should those come from the Nuclear Waste Fund?
That issue will be one that lawyers will debate for some time. So I believe there is some potential vulnerability or jeopardy to the judgment fund which generally is taxpayer funds.
Mr. FAZIO. Replenished by the taxpayers' funds.
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BARRETT. Yes.
Mr. FAZIO. Mr. Rogers should be informed that we may be transferring some of our burdens to him.
Do you think it would be possible to argue that stockholders would have grounds to sue boards of directors, or company management, if they didn't claim that they had been injured? After all, they have spent a good deal of money in this regard over time.
Mr. BARRETT. In the regulated utility world, the public utility commissions and stockholders, it is very possible anything could be claimed by any group.
Mr. FAZIO. And the only constant here is lawyers.
Mr. BARRETT. Yes, sir.
Mr. MCDADE. And, if I may add, complexity.
Mr. FAZIO. Yes, sir, so stipulated.
Mr. MCDADE. The gentleman from Michigan is recognized.
FINAL VERSION OF PATHS TO CLOSURE
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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I have one question, then I will let you get away. I didn't want you to respond, but I do on the basis of additional information here in the last few moments. I mentioned to you that back in February my staff was told that this EM closure plan, the final version, would be available by June of this year; and the gentleman's name that made that, who is apparently someone junior to you, was Eugene Schmidt. That was on the 27th of February, and he stated that a final version will be ready by June of 1998.
Do you want to certify, confirm that that will be available? I am putting you on the spot, but I would like to know if that is going to be here.
Mr. OWENDOFF. Sir, our intent is for the plan to be here in June. But I need to also say that with the plan being out for comment, and whatout for public comment as well as
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. What you are telling me is that it may not be ready. He said it would be.
Mr. OWENDOFF. That is correct. I don't believe Mr. Schmidt was certifying that it would be there. It was the plan for it to be available in June.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. My staff was there. They heard what he said, and he said it would be available. Now you are saying that it won't be?
Mr. OWENDOFF. No, sir, I am not saying that it won't be. I am saying that is our plan, to have it available in June.
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Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Well, I really am looking forward to seeing it in June, because I think we should expect something by June. This is something that has been out there for a long time, and dates shouldn't be tossed out if they are not going to be lived up to, whether it is Mr. Schmidt or certainly anybody from the Department.
Mr. OWENDOFF. I agree. If I may, on that, though, you mentioned earlier that the plan was based on a $6 billion fund level. It is based on a $5.75 billion level.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. That is what bothers me. The $6 billion is what it would take to get closure through by 2006maybemaybe. $5.7 billion, frankly, isn't going to do it.
Here is the sheet, if you want to look at it, put together by contractors that says it ain't going to get done by 2006. That is what is troubling. You are asking for less money to do a job that won't be done by 2006 and won't be done by 2010. That is what is troubling to me.
Mr. OWENDOFF. I would like to characterize that chart. That is the chart that has come in from the contractor. I think that you rely on us as Federal officials to then also look to say what is the basis of those costs and have they been reviewed? And I think that this committeeand we applaud what this committee did last year in saying we believe it is important to have independent reviews and independent validations of costs, and that is what we plan to do.
Page 77 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC What we don't want to do is to come before the committee and to indicate that we have pass-through costs that come in from contractors, because I think in the past you all have been very concerned about that, and we are, too.
Again, as Federal officials, what we believe is we have adequate funding requests in the 1999 budget for Rocky Flats not only to meet their compliance agreements but also to keep them on their critical path. What they presented to you the other day was, if they had some amount of additional monies, then they could do some decontamination and decommissioning work that is not on the critical path but would give them some additional confidence.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Here is what I am going to suggest that we do. Probably the truth is somewhere in the middle.
I don't suggest to you that you are completely wrong. I don't suggest to them that they are completely right. But I think we ought to get together on this because there are some differences here. We could move those goal lines a little closer. So I appreciate what you are saying.
Let me then quickly, if I can, Mr. Chairman, one final question I want to direct at Mr. Canter, who has been left alone for a while here, relative to the Kyoto Treaty. I was one of the folks that went to Japan with the congressional delegation; and one of the things that we found, to our disappointment, was the fact that the U.S. is going to be carrying the major burden of this, having to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions 7 percent below 1990 levels and exempting a host of other countries, almost 80 percent of the rest of the world, India and China being two, namely.
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Japan was a strong proponent of this, and Japan has 44 existing commercial nuclear reactors. They are going to build 20 more. I have just been told that we are down to 105. We had 110 I think it was last year. We are going the other direction. Japan will meet her targets simply with utilization of increasing nuclear power plants.
In the U.S., there appears to be no similar plan. In fact, there is a reverse strategy. There is nothing really being done to build any additional nuclear power plants. In a deregulated electricity market, we may see more older plants shut down.
On the MOX fuel issueand that is what I am getting to here, and I know that you are an authority in that regard, if we can call you thatlast year I sent a letter to the Secretary of Energy urging that we continue the dual-track approach in order to eliminate the excess U.S. weapons plutonium stockpile.
Actually, that would do two things. It would not only include the development of the MOX fuel, but it would also provide an approach to immobilize or the vitrification process would be brought into play. Secretary Peña has mentioned in his written response to the dual-track approach that it will provide us with the flexibility that we need to leverage work with Russia and our other allies in the task of reducing Russia's plutonium stockpiles.
Can you give me quickly an update on where we are with respect to that process? And you might want to include in your answer, has a contractor been named? Has anything happened?
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I understand there has been a delay of some kind. There is no request for proposals for the fuel fabrication and irradiation service. So I would like to know, if you can, what is the current status of that program and do you see it coming about in the near term?
Mr. CANTER. With regards to seeing it come about in the near term, the answer is yes.
Let me give you the status. July 17th of last year, we published for industry comment a procurement strategy. We got a lot of comments. In fact, we held some meetings with representatives of industry and others, and some of the things we had they are uncomfortable with.
We then, in November of last year, published a draft request for proposal, RFP, and then we held meetings. December 11th we had a meeting out in Chicago. And industry commented on that, and we were converging on something. We have now revised this request for proposal. It is ready to go out, and we will solicit proposals.
We have one thing we have to do because it was all based on NRC licensing of this MOX fuel fabrication plant. And under the Atomic Energy Act, anything done under contract with the Department of Energy is exempt from licensing. So, as a result, legislation would be required to give the NRC the authority to license this MOX fuel fabrication plant.
So what we have been doing for the last week or so is putting together a contingency plan that, in the event that legislation does not appear this year and we enter fiscal 1999 where we have requested money for that contractor to do a lot of work, how will we proceed? How will we work it out with the NRC? And we are having dialogue with the NRC staff on laying this plan out. We think that will all be resolved in the next week or two, and that request for proposal will go out by the end of the month, and we will solicit proposals from industry.
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We have to do that. We don't own any of the reactors, and there is no MOX fuel fabrication plant in the United States. So we have to create this, and it will be a private venture, a consortium. We will request that the proposals be submitted by June, and our intention is to award the contract by the end of September so as we approach fiscal 1999 we have a contractor in place to start work.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. That is encouraging.
Lindsey Graham, a colleague of ours, as you are well aware of, I am sure, just this week released a report which declared these same concerns. And you know the threat of weapons grade plutonium falling into the hands of the wrong folks is out there, and it is an ever-increasing threat. So I appreciate that update.
Hopefully, that is a status quo that will not remain, it will continue to go down the line, and we look forward to that coming into being a reality.
I thank you very much, Mr. Canter.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCDADE. The gentleman from New Jersey?
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. No.
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MCDADE. Gentlemen, we thank you very much for your very informative and helpful testimony.
The committee stands in recess until Tuesday, March 17th, 10:00 a.m. Thank you very much.
[The questions and answers and information submitted for the record follow:]
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
Tuesday, March 17, 1998.
ATOMIC ENERGY DEFENSE ACTIVITIES
DR. VICTOR H. REIS, ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR DEFENSE PROGRAMS
ROSE E. GOTTEMOELLER, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF NONPROLIFERATION AND NATIONAL SECURITY
Mr. MCDADE. The committee will come to order. We are pleased this morning to have two distinguished witnesses in front of the committee on one of the most important programs in the world. They are vested with an enormous responsibility. We are glad to have them here.
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We need to remind everybody that pursuant to the vote of the committee on March 10th, 1998, today's hearing will be held in executive session. Dr. Reis, as you know, I need to have you verify that everyone in the room has the appropriate security clearance.
Dr. REIS. I can so verify.
Mr. MCDADE. Thank you, Doctor.
Members of the subcommittee, we just want to keep in mind that nothing is to be discussed outside this room; that the matters that are under consideration have a high degree of classification, and we should keep it that way.
One last reminder, to anybody in the room, please make sure that all cellular phones and two-way pagers and any unauthorized recording devices are turned off during the hearing.
With that, we welcome you, Vic. We welcome you, Ms. Gottemoeller.
Vic, you have the floor. You are extremely welcome in front of the committee. We invite you to proceed as you wish, either filing your statement or reading it and extemporizing it. We encourage, of course, extemporized comments.
Dr. REIS. I recognize that. I will start out with a few extemporized comments. I want to mention, this is my fifth annual appearance before this committee. My first appearance 5 years ago, Mr. Bevill was the chairman, Mr. Myers was the ranking minority member, and then the following year they switched positions. Mr. Myers was the chairman, Mr. Bevill was the ranking minority member. The third year, Mr. Bevill retired and then Mr. Fazio became the ranking minority member. Then Mr. Myers retired. You became the chairman. Now I understand that both you and Mr. Fazio will be retiring at the end of the year, and I wondered if it was something I said.
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Mr. MCDADE. Vic, this is just a very fatal seat to sit in up here. There are other places that have more longevity.
Proceed, my friend. Vic, let me ask you a question, just sort of a personal question. How many years have you been in public service to the country?
Dr. REIS. Altogether, it will be about 15. Those years which I didn't work directly in the government, I have been involved in private industry or academic positions, and even those I was usually a special government employee working as a consultant.
Mr. MCDADE. You have been affiliated with public service for a long time and we want to express our gratitude to you.
Ms. Gottemoeller, how long have you been in public service?
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. I have worked in the Clinton Administration since really the transition in 1992. I headed the ACDA transition in 1992 and went straight into the White House at that time. I was in London for 3 years as Deputy Director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and have only now returned in October.
Mr. MCDADE. Welcome home.
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. Thank you very much. It is a great pleasure to be here. I must say that I worked for the Rand Corporation for many years, for about 11 years, and during that time did a great deal of work for the Air Force and for the Office of the Secretary of Defense overall. So I was in that gray area between government service and academia.
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Mr. MCDADE. I don't know that we would do without Rand. They do some magnificent work for the country.
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. Thank you.
Mr. MCDADE. Vic, please proceed with your opening statement.
Oral Statement of Victor H. Reis
Dr. REIS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the opportunity to testify before you today on the Defense Program's fiscal year 1999 budget request of $4.5 billion of which $4.3 billion is directly devoted to Stockpile Stewardship.
With your permission, I will summarize my testimony by reading the summary of my testimony. Mr. Chairman, the purpose of Stockpile Stewardship is to maintain the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear weapon deterrent under a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. While the program is hardly without risk, I believe we have a high probability of success. Why do I feel as I do?
First, let me reiterate that we start from a solid base. The current stockpile is well tested and well understood. The designers and engineers who built them are available and are active. Indeed, they are the ones who are creating the Stockpile Stewardship Program. They are the ones who are working on the stockpile now and are helping to train their successors.
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Second, we have laid out a plan for the Stockpile Stewardship Program weapon by weapon, part by part, that projects the tasks required to maintain the stockpile over the next 10 years and beyond.
We have concurrence on this program from the Department of Defense, the Joint Chiefs, and the administration has committed to fund this program and all its parts.
Third, the President requires us to annually certify to him directly the safety, reliability and performance of each weapon type. Just this last February 11th, he transmitted that certification to the Congress.
Fourth, we have a backup. Under Safeguard C of the CTBT, the President requires us to maintain the Nevada Test Site in a state of readiness, and the subcritical and other experiments conducted there helps keep the people sharp and ready. The successful experiments bear evidence that the the Nevada Test Site remains a ''can do'' operation.
Fifth, under Safeguard B of the CTBT, the President requires us to maintain the vitality of the nuclear weapons laboratories, Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore and Sandia National Laboratories.
Mr. Chairman, these labs are among the best in the world. In my opinion, they are the best in the world and they are better now than they were 4 years ago because of the enthusiasm and vigor with which they are attacking the Stockpile Stewardship effort.
Page 86 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC History tells us that great labs need great missions, and Stewardship, like the Manhattan and Apollo projects is just such a mission. Our DOE labs will get even better because they are attracting the kinds of people who are drawn to solve tough problems of national importance.
Sixth, and this is most important, we are doing stewardship now, and doing it successfully. It has been 5 years since the last underground test. We have completed our second annual certification and are working on the third.
We have begun construction of new experimental tools. The National Ignition Facility (NIF), the Dual Axis Radiographic Hydrotest Facility (DARHT), ATLAS and our computation program has developed the world's fastest supercomputer by a factor of 3. And we have solved some problems that in the past would have likely required nuclear testing by using stewardship tools. We have done literally hundreds of experiments on existing facilities. The Omega and Nova lasers, Pegasus Z-pulse power devices, PHERMEX and Flash X-Ray (FXR) hydrotest facilities, the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (LANSCE) accelerator that increase our understanding of nuclear weapons.
The subcritical tests have brought new insights to old problems and are preparing the way for resumption of plutonium pit production, and throughout we are using the new computational tools to predict and analyze experiments and connect with the archival underground test data,
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We have safely dismantled over 9,000 nuclear weapons since the end of the Cold War and we have developed new production processes that are much more efficient and environmentally sensitive, and have produced numerous parts on time while continuing to downsize the complex. This is a system that works. And not just at the labs, but also at the plants: Oak Ridge Y12, Pantex, Kansas City, Savannah River, and the Nevada test site.
Mr. Chairman, when President Clinton visited the Los Alamos National Laboratory last month, he stated, I don't think we can get the treaty ratified unless we can convince the Senate that the Stockpile Stewardship Program works. I believe the Stockpile Stewardship Program, if supported appropriately, can meet its goal of a safe and reliable stockpile indefinitely without nuclear testing.
The committee has shown the leadership in Congress in providing that support, and I enthusiastically look forward to working with you. I know of no national security issue that is more important.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Dr. Reis follows:]
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
Oral Statement of Rose E. Gottemoeller
Page 88 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MCDADE. Thank you, Vic, for a fine statement.
Ms. Gottemoeller, we would be delighted to hear your statement, and you can file it if you wish and proceed extemporaneously. We would be glad to hear your testimony.
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, I will file my testimony and speak briefly at this time. Thank you. This is my first appearance before this committee and may I say what a pleasure it is to have the opportunity to meet with you all, and I hope I will be able to provide good answers to all of your questions and comments.
MISSION OF DOE'S OFFICE OF NONPROLIFERATION AND NATIONAL SECURITY
Attacking the problem of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction requires attention at many levels. It is a multifaceted problem, no part of which may be ignored. Particularly, my office, the Office of Nonproliferation and National Security at the Department of Energy, runs a comprehensive program to address all facets of the problem.
First, preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction materials, technology and expertise; second, detecting proliferation weapons of mass destruction worldwide; third, reversing the proliferation of nuclear weapons capabilities; and, fourth, responding to emergencies.
We particularly draw upon 50 years of science and technology expertise resident throughout the DOE National Laboratory Complex to help us achieve these goals.
Page 89 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I am proud to report today that we have been and will continue to work at a rapid pace to confront this critical national security issue.
Today, I will discuss the progress of some of our key programs as well as our new initiatives. Our program of cooperation between DOE laboratories and nuclear facilities in Russia and the Newly Independent States to improve the protection, control and accounting of weapons usable nuclear materials is yielding dramatic results.
MATERIAL PROTECTION, CONTROL AND ACCOUNTING ACTIVITIES IN RUSSIA
Today, I am happy to say that we are working with Russian authorities to upgrade security at every known site where nuclear material is stored in the former Soviet Union. We expect to have completed upgrades at 27 FSU sites by the end of the year. Overall, we are looking at improved security for over a thousand tons of weapons-usable nuclear material.
It is clear from the extensive support of our efforts by the Russian Government that there is a serious dedication to the improvement of nuclear material safety guards and security in Russia. This new developing safeguards culture is important evidence of the success of DOE's cooperative program of MPC&A improvement. We are just now beginning major efforts at the uranium and plutonium producing cities, the Russian weapons laboratories and other sensitive facilities.
Completion of these sites will require a sustained multiyear effort outlined in much more detail in our recently published MPC&A Strategic Plan. I have brought along a copy of that plan that I request be submitted for the record.
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Mr. MCDADE. Without objection.
[The information follows:]
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
REDUCING THE POTENTIAL FOR ''BRAIN DRAIN'' IN RUSSIA
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. Thank you, sir.
Similar to the MPC&A program, the initiatives for proliferation prevention program seeks to draw scientists, engineers and technicians from the former Soviet Union's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs into long-term commercial ventures, thereby working to reduce the potential for brain drain to proliferant states or organizations. This program serves to fulfill a larger goal of the U.S. Government; that is, to downsize the former Soviet nuclear cities.
SUPPORTING NONPROLIFERATION AND ARMS CONTROL TREATIES
Our strong technological capabilities allow us to work today to fulfill future technological needs for implementing important nonproliferation and arms control treaties. My office plays a key role in supporting U.S. efforts to monitor and verify a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. We are developing technologies that will detect nuclear explosions underground, underwater or in the atmosphere. If such an explosion does occur, these technologies can detect, locate and identify its source.
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Additionally, we are currently developing technical solutions to fulfill requirements of the warhead dismantlement transparency provisions of a potential START III agreement, predicated by President Clinton and Yeltsin at the Helsinki Summit. A special task force led by my office is evaluating how the Department of Energy and the U.S. Government should prepare for negotiations with Russia in this area.
TERRORISM AND PROTECTING OUR CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE
As we have seen by events over the past few months in particular, but also particularly since the end of the Cold War, the threat of domestic terrorism is growing. Our research and development program, in part, leverages the chemical and biological science capabilities of the National Laboratories to develop technologies to detect, characterize and facilitate decontamination of chemical and biological threat agents. This program complements efforts of the other Federal agencies and is developing technologies not currently available, but are desperately needed for short-term detection as well as longer term forensic requirements.
We are also working in support of the U.S. Government's overall programs to combat terrorism, as well as protect the Nation's critical infrastructure. In addition to the program areas I have already highlighted, we re responsible for wide-ranging activities to accomplish national security goals and nonproliferation goals of the United States Government. These activities include emergency management programs, in addition to safeguards and security programs for the domestic facilities of the United States in our nuclear weapons complex overall.
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With that, Mr. Chairman, I would like to conclude my remarks by saying, again, how pleased I am to appear before your committee and thank you for your attention.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Gottemoeller follows:]
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
SITES OF MPC&A COOPERATION
Mr. MCDADE. We thank you, Ms. Gottemoeller, for a fine statement, and we want you to know that this committee and the people who work in this area are solidly behind the efforts that are being made. We want to stay in touch with you to make sure you are getting the resources you need and we wish you well in your mission.
Let me ask you to do something, may I. You have brought a very interesting chart with you that is very busy. I would be grateful if you would just spend, say, 2 minutes walking the committee through the interpretation of that chart you brought with you.
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. Certainly, Mr. Chairman. I would be pleased to.
May I rise and go over there?
Mr. MCDADE. Absolutely.
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Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. Would that affect your listening?
Mr. MCDADE. We are very happy to have you do that.
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. Actually, I have to say I am thrilled by this map because when I left government in 1994 to go to London and take up my post there, we were only present in eight sites in the former Soviet Union at that time, and they were limited to civilian and regulatory-related sites. We were not in any of the defense-related sites at that time.
What you see on this map is an explosion.
[The information follows:]
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
COOPERATIVE WORK IN RUSSIA
Mr. MCDADE. What year is that, Doctor?
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. 1994, when I departed government at that time. What you see here is the explosion of our cooperative activity on material protection control and accounting that has occurred just in the last 4 years. It is an extremely, I think, impressive program. We are, as I mentioned, in all of the nuclear cities now, such as Arzamas, Zlatoust, Chelyabinsk. Some of them such as Zlatoust-36 are actually the nuclear weapons production, serial production facilities. So there is quite an expansion of the program over the last couple of years, particularly into defense-related sites.
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I would also like to mention that in the past several months, we have begun working very closely with the Russian Navy for the first time in Murmansk and in Vladivostok in order to put under better control their fresh fuel for their nuclear reactors in the submarine fleet. So we have had a very extensive expansion of the program.
If I could just, in case you can't read it, I will go quickly through the various categories of facilities, where we are present. The uranium and plutonium cities, the weapons complex itself as I mentioned; the maritime fuel arena. Then over on the civilian side, the large fuel facilities for the civilian reactors, the reactor type facilities where they do research and, by the way, I was just in Moscow 2 weeks ago and attended opening ceremonies for four of our sites in this category, such as the Dubna Joint Institute of Nuclear Research.
For several regulatory projects, we are doing hard work to expand the overall regulatory capability of the Russian Government so that there is an independent regulatory organization called GAN that is strengthened and able to really stand up to the Ministry of Atomic Energy and other parts of the Russian Government that are involved in nuclear matters.
We are doing training and education in Russia and then, finally, I should mention our work throughout the NIS. Our work is not limited to Russia. We are in Kazakhstan, Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus and in the Baltic States as well, although I must say that in fiscal year 1998, in this current fiscal year, we are completing our MPC&A work outside of Russia and so for the next few years, until 2002, when the program will finish, we will be concentrating on our work in Russia.
Page 95 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MCDADE. Are there any areas in that vast map that you show there where there is noncooperation?
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. I have found that there has been excellent cooperation. As I said, it was not so in 1994.
Mr. MCDADE. Yes.
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. And the cooperation has expanded quite well. I think part of the reason is that there has been a solid trust building that has gone on over the past few years, and that has been a great help.
Mr. MCDADE. You say there is no site where they are not cooperating?
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. I would say that, you know, on a day in, day out basis, of course, we run into problems from time to time. But in terms of the Russian side being willing to work with us, being willing to work through problems as they arise, I think the working relationship is very good.
FY 1999 DEFENSE PROGRAMS BUDGET
Mr. MCDADE. That is good to hear and a fine report. Thank you very much.
Page 96 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Doctor, let's come back a bit and start talking about the budget here.
The Department gave us a hard and fast figure of about $40 billion, not aboutof $40 billion to do the program that you are in charge of. The program now is $45 billion, as we understand it. Is that a correct number $45 billion?
Dr. REIS. Yes, our best estimate over the next 10 years would be $45 billion.
Mr. MCDADE. Can you tell us what happened that grew it by $5 billion?
Dr. REIS. We have learned a lot more over the past year, especially as we have improved our understanding of what stockpile stewardship was all about, what the challenges were in the area of computations, in the experimental programs in terms of what it takes to get things going, and to really develop a level of confidence.
Mr. MCDADE. Is this out of the laboratories?
Dr. REIS. This is both the laboratories and it is also the production plants as well. We have just learned more.
Mr. MCDADE. So the learning curve went up. Would you be specific and give me, like, four areas? You mentioned computing requirements, et cetera.
Page 97 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. REIS. The computing program requires an increase of $140 million. We have learned more about what it takes in terms of modernizing the plants. Some of that has to do with computations. Some of that has to do with other things as well.
We are learning an awful lot about the subcritical experiments. We are planning a much more vigorous approach of what those experiments are. And I can detail that for you with numbers.
Mr. MCDADE. Submit that for the record, if you would.
Dr. REIS. Sure.
Mr. MCDADE. Send up to the committee, as you do it, an independent letter so we have it.
Dr. REIS. Right.
[The information follows:]
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
Mr. MCDADE. Let me ask you this question: Have you identified facilities that you have got to construct in connection with the new number?
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Dr. REIS. There are no new facilities. The program, when we were talking about for $40 billion, is the same. We have not come up with any new facilities that have to be built.
Mr. MCDADE. Do you have a number for remodeling, for example, or modernization numbers?
Dr. REIS. We have detailed descriptions. Of course, we are dealing with a very large complex of not just the three laboratories, of course, but the production plants and the Nevada Test Site.
Mr. MCDADE. Submit that for the record, will you?
Dr. REIS. Surely.
[The information follows:]
Over a third of our funding goes towards maintaining and modernizing the complex. This funding is used to respond to current and evolving environment, safety, and health, and safeguards and security requirements; and to maintain current capabilities to meet changing mission needs including downsizing where appropriate and the development and placement of new technologies, particularly in the production plants. Over the next ten years, almost all of our facilities will be remodeled or modernized in some manner.
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Most of this effort will be funded with operating dollars as part of our ongoing maintenance and technology development programs. However, some of this effort will be managed through broad-based infrastructure line items, such as the Stockpile Management Restructuring Initiative, and through specific infrastructure line items such as the roof replacement project at Lawrence Livermore, the boiler replacement at Kansas City and the sewage treatment facility upgrade at Pantex. There will also continue to be program specific projects needed to meet our mission requirements, such as the tritium supply projects at Savannah River, the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore and the planned project to support pit production at Los Alamos.
MANAGEMENT OF CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS
Mr. MCDADE. We need to get into this because as we understand it, there are funds requested for 26 projects in fiscal year 1999 and 13 of them are brand new. And the committee has been informed that 13 were started in prior years and of those 13, 7 of them, a little more than half, have had increases in costs, schedule slips, revisions of design, et cetera, et cetera.
As you sit up here and get those numbers, it looks like there are some real problem areas coming up. Can you tell us what is going on and why there are all of these problems that are occurring?
Dr. REIS. When you are dealing with a complex the size of the Nuclear Weapons Complex, you always have to be modernizing. So there will always be new projects that are being developed, and projects for improving those facilities. Many of these facilities date back to World War II and the time thereafter, so that they require modernization, and they are counted, if you will, as new projects. But there are concerns.
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Mr. MCDADE. So the total count of the 26 includes all of the modernization, all the renovation, et cetera, et cetera?
Dr. REIS. Yes, that is correct and let me be frank.
Mr. MCDADE. Please do, Doctor.
LOS ALAMOS CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT
Dr. REIS. We are very concerned about some of the overruns, as you are, particularly at Los Alamos. In any large complex, there will be some that overrun, and there will be some that actually do better than what you had, and you hope over time to match your estimates. You know the same thing is true when you get estimates at home.
But, you know, we have noticed, as has the committee and other committees as well, that there is a larger proportion of those overruns occurring at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Mr. MCDADE. What is your opinion or reason for that, Doctor?
Dr. REIS. I think the program management has not been good. Our oversight of that program management has not been good. We have a new Laboratory Director, John Browne, and we have been working with him and the oversight group at Albuquerque, our oversight group at Headquarters to look at a very different approach to doing this. We are going to start bringing in outside experts. We are used to bringing in outside experts in terms of the science perspective so that any new project that we present, the National Ignition Facility, the DARHT, we vet those very, very carefully in terms of is the science going to work? We work very closely with our friends in the Defense Department to ensure that the requirement is there.
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We have not done a particularly good job at bringing in the outside experts on those specific projects at Los Alamos. So you get concerned that there is a systemic problem and at that point you simply have to dig in harder, bring in those people who have had project management expertise and, not necessarily from a nuclear weapons program.
Mr. MCDADE. And your testimony to the committee is that you are doing that?
Dr. REIS. Yes, sir.
Mr. MCDADE. All of those projects are going to be looked at?
Dr. REIS. Those projects are going to be looked at in that way, but more importantly, I think, is not just the individual projects, but the whole way we manage projects at Los Alamos is going to be given an independent scrub and then, of course, information will be available to you as well.
Mr. MCDADE. Are you confident that the problem of cost growth and continued redesigns, et cetera, et cetera, will be in hand when you do this?
Dr. REIS. I certainly feel a lot more confident that we can do this. I think part of the issue as well and one of the reasons I feel more confident, is thatand this I think relates back to the question you asked before; how come this program has increased and has increased in size, is that we are now at a point where I think we can say that program is stable in terms of funding.
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One of the things we talked aboutthe Administration is talking about is the budget over the next 5 years, which we can budget relatively carefully at, is that it is a stable $4.5 billion a year program. That gives you that stability. That is the point at which you know you have got to look at cost savings ways to do that. The requirements are stabilized as part of that program. So I don't see, if you will, requirements growth, which was certainly part of some of it.
Mr. MCDADE. You are saying then at design you are at maturity kind of
Dr. REIS. I think we are getting close to
Mr. MCDADE. Project management, you are going to take care of that problem?
Dr. REIS. We are going to have to take care of that and I think we have processes in place. We will go right after the management
Mr. MCDADE. Is there a time line on it? Is it going to be done in 3 months or 5 months?
Dr. REIS. I think we are certainly going to get started right away on this. I am hoping that like withinyou know, within 6 months or less, we will be able to get some solid changes in the way we are doing it. This is a team effort involving Los Alamos, the Albuquerque Operations office, the Los Alamos Area office, ourself and the contractors who are working on this. Again, we will be bringing in people who are expert at project management, not just necessarily nuclear weapons or the things that go with that to help us.
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Mr. MCDADE. We encourage you, as you have in the past, to stay in touch.
Dr. REIS. Right.
Mr. MCDADE. We want to know how this is working out because we are deeply concerned about it.
Dr. REIS. Right.
DELAYED CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS
Mr. MCDADE. Will you provide for the record each construction project currently delayed due to design or baseline changes? Explain to us what the problem is and provide a schedule for resolving the concerns and identify potential costs and schedule impacts.
[The information follows:]
offset folios 477 to 478 insert here
PANTEX PLANT CONTRACT ADMINISTRATION
Mr. MCDADE. You have undoubtedly seen, as I have many times, the chart on the Pantex plant in terms of its contract administration, who it reports to, et cetera, et cetera.
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Dr. REIS. Yes.
Mr. MCDADE. And it was examined, as you know, I guess in the authorization bill quite detailed. If we were to look at that chart today, what changes would be in it?
Dr. REIS. Some of the spaghetti would be gone.
Mr. MCDADE. How much?
Dr. REIS. A few meatballs would be left.
Mr. MCDADE. It is beginning to feed the Italian Army.
Dr. REIS. Mr. Fazio, is that
Mr. FAZIO. I am ignoring that.
Dr. REIS. I did, in case just forI did bring this to you.
Mr. MCDADE. You are always prepared.
Dr. REIS. Just in case it was going to be a long hearing.
Page 105 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MCDADE. Why don't you just give us, submit to the committee, the new
Dr. REIS. Yes. Let me say we have done within Defense Program, a reasonably good job of shucking, if you will, some of the extra lines. But as we have described, many of those things are beyond just Defense Programs because they relate to changes in ultimately the structure of how the Department of Energy operates. And the Department of Energy, as a group, has looked at that and is now working to improve those.
I know the Laboratory Operations Board, which was set up, in response to the concern that the Galvin Commission had. It is interesting that Paul Richanbach, who was one of the authors of the 120 Day Study, is now working for the Department of Energy, and so there is a fair amount of energy involved in just those types of organizational changes.
Mr. MCDADE. We want to look at it with you. We hope to see improvements and we know you do, too. We want to work to that end.
Dr. REIS. Yes, sir.
[The information follows:]
offset folios 482 to 483 insert here
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Mr. MCDADE. A lot of people ask the question that, indeed, the size of the stockpile is going down.
Dr. REIS. Yes.
Mr. MCDADE. And we are all happy to know that those breakthroughs have occurred. But the size of the laboratories is going up. How do you justify that?
Dr. REIS. Well, first, the size of the laboratories is not going up dramatically. Certainly, the amount of people that have been involved incompared to where they might have been 5 or 10 years ago, in terms of the defense programs, we have reduced the sizewhat defense programs is doing for the laboratories themselves quite considerably, is almost a factor of two in some cases. But one would expect over time, in the Stewardship Program that one would see some marginal increases starting from now.
The difference is the Stewardship Program's purpose is to maintain those weapons in the stockpile without testing, and that's really a different job.
Mr. MCDADE. We understand that. But we get information, for example, that there has been a 13 percent increase in contractor employment at Los Alamos and that there is an 8 percent increase at Livermore over fiscal year 1997. That's a lot of growth and we don't know why that's happening and we need to have you specifically justify that to make sure that we are
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Dr. REIS. Sure.
Mr. MCDADE [continuing]. Confident that the laboratories are not getting out of control in terms of their appointments.
Dr. REIS. I think youagain, I would be concerned about the same thing. There is some growth in this program and we think that growth is required, but one has to be very careful that the people don't pile on.
Mr. MCDADE. Yes.
Dr. REIS. Other parts of the programs which are not directly related to Stockpile Stewardship.
Mr. MCDADE. Your basic answer is that with the advent of no testing and the requirement for science-based verification, that is the reason for the increase?
Dr. REIS. Yes. It is a very different and very, very difficult and challenging task and the idea of being able to certify year in and year out that these weapons of enormous destructive power without being able to go out and test one is a very, very difficult job. And while I would expect there has been some growth in the laboratory areas, but I believe we can justify every part of that growth.
Mr. MCDADE. We certainly hope so.
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Dr. REIS. Right.
Mr. MCDADE. I yield to my friend from California.
BUDGET IMPACTS OF START III
Mr. FAZIO. Thank you. Mr. Chairman.
I would like to welcome you both. I don't think there is any question that the subject matter of today's hearing is among the most important we deal with, and yet I am not sure that we arecertainly I feel inadequate to the test of providing oversight, but we will do our best.
[Deleted.] And if we are to follow-on as Secretary Cohen has indicated we would, with START III talks, almost immediately, we could begin a process of reducing the number even more.
I am just wondering what kind of impact that would have on your budgets if we were to make the kind of progress that until recently we have been unable to make in this area
Dr. REIS. Let me start on that first. We looked at that several years ago when we did the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement as part of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The law requires that at any time you are making a major change, and stockpile stewardship was certainly a major Federal action, [Deleted.] And what came back was there was no major cost differentials in terms of being able to close plant A and move everything to plant B.
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We have done a considerable amount of downsizing already in that regard.
There certainly would be some impact in terms of the number of limited lifetime components that had to be manufactured. Certainly there would be a change in the tritium requirement. That would be the obvious situation.
If the Department of Defense said, really the President said we are only dealing with that many weapons, that is the amount of tritium you have to deal withI guess we are classified so you canwe can talk specifically about that number. So, in some sense if the reductions are faster than the half life of the tritium, 12 years, then one could delay the tritium decision. Or if you didn't, you could take options which allow you to basically take that into consideration.
So there would be those basic impacts.
[Deleted.] In fact, you could almost argue that if you have fewer of them, you have to be more careful about the ones that are left.
We have not done any detailed analyses at this stage of the game, of what that would entail. But, again, clearly there would be some changes. We get our requirements from, literally from the Stockpile Memorandum which is signed by the President every year. So one would have to see how that would play out.
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Mr. FAZIO. Well, speaking specifically of the tritium issue, the budget request currently assumes that we would maintain the current START I levels.
Dr. REIS. That is correct.
Mr. FAZIO. So I think there would be some sort of immediate ability to stretch out from 2005.
Dr. REIS. There would be an immediate ability to stretch out because as you recall the requirement for START I was 2005while we were moving to START II and the requirement there was at 2011. We have all of those numbers, but if that requirement got changed, we are certainly prepared to change. We are holding to the numbers. However, the budget we have presented to you did not anticipate any changes. So it was fixed at START I.
Mr. FAZIO. If the Duma, which is to adjourn in June, were to make its decision prior to that, obviously that would impact on our ultimate decision on this bill?
Dr. REIS. I am sure it would.
Mr. FAZIO. And you would come back and ask for a budget amendment that would reflect the changing requirements?
Dr. REIS. [Deleted.] So if the Secretary chose any other choice, we would have to come back in any event and ask for more money. That is sort of built into the system right now.
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Mr. FAZIO. I was assuming we would get into this discussion because my understanding is, and I think you have just confirmed it, that the dual option approach that we continue to consider in terms of what new tritium production facility would be required has not been funded.
Dr. REIS. That is correct.
Mr. FAZIO. We base that on a single option funding.
Dr. REIS. That is correct, single option.
Mr. FAZIO. Well, isn't the option of having made a decision in effect?
Dr. REIS. Let me make that clear. The option is not a single option. It is a dual track. The question is which is primary and which is secondary. Because you always have the ability, if something happens on one of those, to go back and, in time, replace the other.
Mr. FAZIO. We are funding the primary track at the moment?
Dr. REIS. Right now you would belet me be very careful about how I say that because I don't want to get ahead of the Secretary's decision on that part. What the FY 99 budget supports is the radiation services of the commercial light water reactor as the primary track with the accelerator production of tritium as the secondary track. If there was a change inthat decision has not yet been made. But if the Secretary makes that decision, what you see is the budget. If the Secretary makes another decision, which, again, has not been made, why we would have to come back and ask for additional funds.
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Mr. FAZIO. So we shouldn't even use primary and secondary? That would be
Dr. REIS. Well, I have got to be careful, that is right.
Mr. FAZIO. That would be the beginning of biasing the decision?
Dr. REIS. Yes, that's right,
Mr. FAZIO. One of the options would be to use a light water reactor at TVA; Is that correct?
Dr. REIS. That is correct.
Mr. FAZIO. Is that the only conventional reactor proposal that is available?
Dr. REIS. That is the only conventional light water reactor proposal that is on the table. As you know, we went out for bids and they were the only that responded.
Mr. FAZIO. They had an old reactor laying around looking for something to do?
Page 113 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. REIS. Well, I wouldn't say an old reactor laying around looking for something to do. There are two proposals.
Mr. FAZIO. I am obviously being facetious.
Dr. REIS. I understand.
Mr. FAZIO. We don't have a lot of extra reactors these days, though.
Dr. REIS. You don't want to get me in trouble do you, Mr. Fazio?
Mr. FAZIO. Not on Saint Patrick's day, no.
Dr. REIS. Any other day is all right?
ACCELERATOR PRODUCTION OF TRITIUM
Mr. FAZIO. It might be.
Could you discuss with the committee what the other option really is in the sense of what is involved if we chose it?
Dr. REIS. The accelerator production of tritium?
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Mr. FAZIO. Yes.
Dr. REIS. The idea there would be you would take an accelerator, which accelerates protons, to a very high speed. It literally bangs them into a target of lead or tungsten, making neutrons. Those neutrons act just like the neutrons one would have in a reactor. In this case, they would bang into helium and convert an isotope of helium into tritium. That is a very simple explanation.
It would be a large, perhaps kilometer long device. You are probably familiar with a number of accelerators that we have, which are usually used for research purposes. This would be one that would be constructed, if you will, as a neutron factory to make neutrons.
Over the past several years, we have looked at a number of the components of that machine and tried to determine, from an engineering perspective, whether we had any problems.
I will say, Mr. Fazio and Mr. Chairman, that is one of the projects, even though it is at Los Alamos, which has been working from an industrial perspective, and from a program management perspective, very well. While Los Alamos is the program manager, they have worked very closely with the prime contractor, Burns and Roe, and with the Savannah River Site and the Westinghouse folks. That is one of the reasons that I am, frankly, optimistic because that program has met its milestones.
Again, they have not constructed a lot of things yet, but in terms of getting the drawings out, in terms of doing the design, in terms of getting the difficult technical problems solved, that has all been right on time, right on schedule, and within budget.
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So from a programmatic perspective, from the ability to do the job, the accelerator production of tritiumand if that is chosen, then I have no question that that would be a successful program.
Mr. FAZIO. Obviously, that would be at much greater cost than the conversion of an existing reactor.
Dr. REIS. The APT that would come out to be more expensive. I am a little hesitant to talk about details now since we are right in procurement-sensitive discussions with the TVA. Clearly, it would cost more than one of the options which would be to just use radiation services.
There would be very little actual conversion of the reactor itself. What you essentially do is take out the control rods and put in burnable absorber rods that you would eventually end up making tritium out of. But as far as the reactor is concerned, and as far as the generation of electricity is concerned, it doesn't even know the difference. It operates exactly the same way. So under those circumstances, clearly it would be considerably lower cost for that approach than one would have to today with an accelerator. If you had to build a new reactor, of course, that would be much more expensive.
Mr. FAZIO. Right. Getting kind of at the cost-benefit ratio issue.
Dr. REIS. Right.
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BENEFITS OF AN ACCELERATOR
Mr. FAZIO. If it is obviously cheaper to convert an existing reactor, why would we want to go to the cost of an accelerator? What would be the benefits we would derive and what would be the mission requirements that would be better provided?
Dr. REIS. From the output perspective in terms of meeting the requirementproviding the amount of tritium you need to make up for the decayed tritium, it doesn't make any difference. They both meet them exactly the same. Tritiumit doesn't know where it came from.
But the major benefit for the accelerator is that itthe concerns were both from a policy perspective and a potentially proliferation concern. Even though it is TVA, those are civilian reactors and with few exceptions we have never made military material in civilian reactors. There have been some examples in the past. And I would turn over to, you know, Ms. Gottemoeller, who has been doing the analysis of what those policy concerns are, but it is a difference.
An accelerator would be an all Defense Program facility. It would be kept in there. There would be noclearly I won't say there would be no litigation. There is litigation, it seems to me, in everything we do now. But, you know there is no, if you will, breaching of the civilian versus military role and that plays a role aroundin terms of our policy around the world, and also in terms of, you know, a proliferation concern as well.
Page 117 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Rose, would you maybe comment?
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. If I may comment on that?
TRITIUM PRODUCTION AND NONPROLIFERATION CONSIDERATIONS
Mr. FAZIO. Sure, I would love to hear your thoughts.
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. We have actually been playing a role in the Department as we have been considering, as a department, this issue of tritium production for the future, and the nonproliferation considerations have been serious ones. We recognize that this, as Dr. Reis said, does represent a stepping up to our policy in this regard. There has been a line carefully drawn between civilian and military reactors in the U.S. system, and so we recognize that it would represent a slight step over the line.
Our view is that with careful mitigation, that one can ensure the continued strength of our nonproliferation goals overall. So we have been looking at the present time at what kinds of insurance policies we would like to see put in place to ensure that our nonproliferation goals can continue to be reached and that the impact on our nonproliferation policy worldwide will be minimized.
Mr. FAZIO. Well, do we have a good deal longer now potentially to make this decision? Isn't that what really the implication of the START II adoption would be and maybe a successful START III? I mean, it keeps pushing the date so we have to make this drop-dead decision further into the next decade and then perhaps into the one after.
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Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. Yes. I agree with Dr. Reis in that regard. It does give us more time to consider these issues.
Mr. FAZIO. So, in effect, we may anticipate some budgetary relief during this fiscal year and perhaps even more significantly in the years following? Is that your view as well?
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. Well, Mr. Fazio
Mr. FAZIO. You know Russia very well.
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. Yes.
Mr. FAZIO. I am wondering what your assessment of this relatively optimistic news story is.
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. I have felt for some time that the leverage Washington is currently exerting in this regard, that is, the promise that a summit meeting between our two Presidents will occur only upon Duma ratification of START II, is effective. This has been the President's position since a press conference in mid December and the Russians are taking it very seriously. They are good negotiators and they recognize strong leverage when they see it. So I think it has had the effect, essentially, of motivating the executive branch in Russia to work more intensively with the Duma than they had up to this point.
Page 119 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So, indeed, not only because of what Mr. Lukin has said publicly now but for a number of reasons. When I was in Moscow a couple of weeks ago, I had an opportunity to talk to several people, both on the legislative side and the executive branch side, and it was clear to me that things are moving now on START II. And I found that very encouraging. So, yes, I agree with Mr. Lukin's assessment that the treaty can be ratified before the Duma departs for its summer holidays.
Mr. FAZIO. And this will be my last follow-up, Mr. Chairman, because I have some other questions, but I know others do, too.
Does START III seem to you to be a lengthy and difficult negotiating process, or does the positive feeling about START II lead you to believe that perhaps we are on a roll now and that maybe fundamental thinking in Russia has changed?
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. May I make two points in that regard? I think that indeed START III can move quickly for two reasons. First of all, the Russians are highly motivated, as you intimated. They have felt that they cannot maintain their nuclear arsenal at its current level and that, in fact, it is going through a somewhat uncontrolled implosion at the present time. So I believe that they will be highly motivated to go into an organized negotiating process in order to get lower numbers.
Mr. FAZIO. An implosion implies that it is simply not functioning as it is required to? It is not being maintained anywhere near its current level?
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. Yes. There have been impacts on their operational capability and there have been impacts on their maintenance. Those two things are linked closely. Their budget crisis in the last 5 years has had a profound impact on their nuclear forces.
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Mr. FAZIO. Yeah.
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. The second thing that I would point out that I think enables a rapid negotiation to take place is the very good homework that we have been doing on the U.S. side in order to prepare. For example, my Office of Nonproliferation and National Security has been responsible for working with the Russians to develop transparency measures at their nuclear weapons dismantlement plants to better understand how they do dismantlements; and as warheads are due to be an aspect of START III, that kind of ''going in'' understanding will be an important factor in speeding the negotiations along.
Mr. FAZIO. I find this very interesting, and I hope we get more chance to get more of this input as the hearing goes on.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCDADE. The gentleman from Kentucky is recognized.
SAFETY AND RELIABILITY OF THE STOCKPILE
Mr. ROGERS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Welcome all of you to this hearing. We appreciate your taking the time for us. Someone once said that democracy, if it is to fail, will fail because lay people will be unable to grasp and properly oversee the delicate functions that the science age brings to mankind; and I think we are at that point here. I am not adequate toI think many of us feel that wayto understand fully what is involved here. I started out, a physics major in college. But as the world is now going to perhaps its longest sigh of reliefand I hope that sigh continues for some timewe still obviously are in a delicate period and will likely remain that way for some time, because it is still a dangerous world out there, not just because of the former Soviet Union, but terrorist states as well that easily could possess these weapons.
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And I guess I want to try to focus on the reliability of the procedures we are now using, or hopefully will use, to assure ourselves entirely that our stockpile of nuclear weapons is reliable and safe. But I want more to focus on reliability than safety. Safety is not as complex as reliability in my opinion.
For those of us who have a limited scientific capacity, assure us in our language that the new computing capabilities will assure us 100 percent of the reliability of nuclear weapons without testing.
Dr. REIS. I can't assure you 100 percent in this business. In fact, if I could, I think you should question my trustworthiness to do this. Yesterday we were discussing this with a group of Senate staffers who were meeting at the Brookings Institution to talk about this from the perspective of the Comprehensive Test Ban, they asked, what do you worry about? And I said, honestly, I worry that we stop to worry. If you stop to worry, if you stop to ask those kinds of questions that is when you really should be concerned, because this is a very difficult job. I don't want to underestimate that.
I can't tell you that the reliability of these weapons will be okay 20 years from now to 100 percent. That is why, among other things, we have tried to build in a system that continually asks that question. Every year we ask that question. Every year that is why we have gone through two very rigorous looks at the stockpile, warts and all; and we prepared a detailed report for the President. The President has sent that to Congress.
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Mr. ROGERS. What I am looking for is, tell us how it works.
Dr. REIS. Okay. The system itself works, the Stockpile Stewardship System worksfirst of all, it starts off with this look, the same way you go every year to get your physical, to find out how that is done. What you care about is not just your own health; you care about what the level ofhow good the doctors are who are analyzing you? Are they working? Do they have the best machines? Are they the best doctors? That is in large measure what we are trying to do, is put a system in place so that we not just ask that question every year, but ensure ourselves that the people are the best, they have got the best tools to do that.
Mr. ROGERS. Tell us how it works.
Dr. REIS. Once a year each of the laboratories review in detail every single weapon with the weapons designers, the engineers who built those. They provide an estimate in their bestthey use the tools that they have available. They use theirthe archive data from the weapons themselves; and then they provide the Secretary of Energy and the Secretary of Defense, and then ultimately the President, a detailed analysis ofweapon by weapon, whether there are any problems with those weapons?
Mr. ROGERS. What do they measure when they are looking at the weapons?
Dr. REIS. What they do, the first thing they do is they start off each weaponeach type of weaponlet me back up.
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Eleven weapons of each type are taken out of the stockpile. Ten of those areyou know, they are taken apart, they are examined, the potential problems with them are identified.
One type of each weapon is destroyed in that process. The pits are taken apart, the secondaries are taken apart, the explosive is taken apart, and then it is examined with the best tools that one has available. The radiography, spectroscopy and all the tools itself. And then we look and see what changes have been made.
There will inevitably be changes.
And then using the computational tools that we are developing, we assess whether there have been any changes in the reliability or the safety of these weapons. For example, has the yield dropped? Has our estimate of the yield, the amount of explosive product dropped? Then we look and say, is that within the specifications that the military has given us to do that? Okay?
So we go through that process once a year, weapon by weapon, wart by wart.
That same information is provided to the Commander of Strategic Command of the Department of Defense. They again make up what their estimates are in terms of what are the results. That then flows through the Nuclear Weapons Council where again a series of military experts review that data.
Page 124 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It goes to the Secretaries of Energy and Defense. They send a letter to the President. And then the President sends a letter to the Congress saying, we have gone through that process; and then they specifically ask the question as part of that, in the next year, are nuclear tests required to solve any of those issues?
So, in essence, that's the way it starts with a surveillance process and then goes through assessment.
Now, if there are any particular issues, then we have to remanufacturewe will have to remanufacture a part. We are continually remanufacturing some parts that we know only last for a certain length of time, and we have to assure ourselves that if we change the specifications of those partsagain, we go through this process where we assess, is that change going to affect the specification?
Now, those changes are now only made where we have had previous test data, not just doing the new experiments, but we have had previous test data, so it is, if you will, within the envelope of our understanding of what those systems will be.
Mr. ROGERS. In the time that you have been testing these new procedures, have you encountered anything that was a surprise to you?
Dr. REIS. Yes, we have encountered several problems. One example, perhaps I could, if you have the time, I could go through, because it was a very interesting one. It is classified. We don't discuss this in open session.
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[Deleted.] When we first did our analysis of that, we did not have the real computational ability at the time to understand that. With what we could do we asked one of the laboratories, we asked the other laboratory to say is this going to be a problem or not? [Deleted.]
Now, in the past, that probably would have been something we would have gone back and tested because we didn't have the capability to do that. Well, we didn't want to test. It was only one, so before we, you know, had a whole big deal, we said, let's see if we can understand that a lot better. [Deleted.]
We did some very detailed analysis using new types of computer codes. We used a lot of computer time to do this. Then the question is, are these computer codes useful or not? I mean, are they valid?
Again, what both labs did was to devise new experiments to determine whether those codes were valid or not. [Deleted.]
[Deleted.] We were able to go back using the validated codes and we were able to predict that result which we had been unable to understand before.
Page 126 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [Deleted.] That is not necessarily acceptable. You wouldn't really want to wait 2 years to be able to find this out.
The new tools that we are developing, the computing is much faster now, so one could get to this type of answer literally in a matter of weeks, or perhaps even less time to be able to get that answer.
But that is one example, and there are others as well. If we have time, I could go through it, perhaps even for the record include some of those. If it is a classified record, we could describe some of those devices where we have done that.
[The information follows:]
The fielding of an earth-penetrating version of the B61 presented one of the first opportunities to certify a change in the stockpile without nuclear testing.
The unique underground environment of the B6111 earth penetrator presented a new challenge. The primary and secondary designers had to determine the relevant differences between this and tested configurations of the B61, and then quantify the effect and uncertainty bounds on nuclear performance. The secondary designer is responsible for the overall performance of the weapon while the primary designer must assure that adequate yield is produced to drive the secondary under all conditions. A structured methodology that develops computer models, normalized to nuclear and non-nuclear experiments, to predict the range of performance was employed and rigorously reviewed.
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[Deleted.] Uncertainties associated with computation-simulation were also being reduced by demonstrating the ability to predict accurately the performance of a broader range of systems. Then, calculating the B6111 primary becomes more like interpolation than extrapolation of performance.
The challenge for the secondary designer is to minimize the uncertainties in performance associated with the untested configuration. Several independent computer models are normalized against numerous nuclear test events to determine a range of calculated behavior that includes such uncertainties as the accuracy of measured data in NTS events and variations in the numerical methods. This computer simulation system is then used to calculate a range of performance due to environmental conditions, aging and production tolerances to produce the stated range of performance in the certification. Independent calculations are run by the designer and by peers at Livermore.
Mr. ROGERS. That would be very helpful if you could do that.
Dr. REIS. But we have been at this for several years and the question always comes up, as it should, how do you know whether this thing is working or not? What will happen 10 or 15 years from now if we have a situation, or will it be 10 or 15 years before you really learn whether this thing works or not?
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That is the right question to ask. I mean, that really is. The gut issue is not, is it working or how are we doing now; but what happens 10 or 15 years from now when we no longer have the people available to answer these questions or any questions that you might have.
Mr. ROGERS. And as time passes, the number of people who were active when we had actual nuclear testing taking place is going to decrease, and we are going to be dealing with weapons who no one alive has ever seen or exploded. And then it becomes even more complicated, it seems to me.
Dr. REIS. That is thethat represents the reason why we are sowhy this program, if you will, has gone from $4.0 billion to $4.5 billion is that in the sense that we have a time frame, we have to show this is working. [Deleted.] So we have to get this programagain, which is working now, but we have to convince ourselves and you that it is continually working all through that period. And that is why we are making the investments in some of these facilities now. That is why we are making the investments now in the computing, because we have to have those in place, and you have to feel comfortable that we are working before the people with the real test experience are actually no longer with us.
Mr. ROGERS. Well, it is certainly a big part of your increase in budget.
In your Stockpile Stewardship Program, you want almost 18 percent more than you currently have, an increase of $330 million. And then your Accelerated Strategic Computing Initiative, you are requesting from $226.6 to $329 million. And the National Ignition Facility from $229 to $291 million. So these are sizable increases. And obviously you feel it is necessary.
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Dr. REIS. Yes, sir. I thinkagain, I think you have put your finger on what is the sense of urgency about this program. And that is, you know, why can't we wait, perhaps START III, perhaps START IV or something like that? What will happen is that we have to have the program in place, working through that process I described to you earlier with weapons that are considerably older that they are now. And, you know, we don't want to have to go back and test if we don't have to.
On the other hand, if we have to, you want to be very sure that you really have to. I am saying that requires really the best and the brightest to work on this and they have to have the tools to make that happen.
Mr. ROGERS. Well, and in a National Journal article some time ago, Donald Wolkersdoerfer.
Dr. REIS. Wolkdersdoerfer.
Mr. ROGERS. Program manager and weapons designer at Los Alamos calls the Stewardship Program a scientific, quote, ''leap of faith.'' He says it won't be clear until 2005 whether or nor the program has allowed the laboratories to keep pace with their earlier work projections.
Is that an accurate statement, do you think?
Dr. REIS. Well, people have different levels of faith. I guess I think that he is certainly working the right problem. My confidenceand again if we support the program the way I believe it ought to be supported, and certainly the way Congress has felt it ought to be supported, I feeland again, you don't get the opportunity to ask the laboratory directors and other people as well, but I think it is more than a leap of faith.
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I think it would have been a leap of faith 4 years ago; I think that clearly was a leap of faith. But I thinkwhat we have been able to do in the past 3 or 4 years gives me the feeling much more than if we stay the course in this, we will have a very good confidence of being able to succeed.
Mr. ROGERS. Will it take us 7 years to know whether or not it is working?
Dr. REIS. Again, we ask that question every year rigorously. You also ask that question every year; we ask that question of ourselves every year. I think it is working now. And it gets progressively more difficult as the years go on, but we get progressively better.
But I think, Mr. Rogers, you put your finger on the, if you will, you know, the years where, you know, by the year 2005, it will beI think it will be in place by then.
Mr. ROGERS. One final question. A number of scientists agree that the elimination of nuclear weapons production is a weak element of the stewardship program. If I am not mistaken, all of the nuclear states that have endorsed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty have continued to manufacture new nuclear weapons. We have not produced anything new in 10 years. I think I am correct on this.
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Dr. REIS. That is correct.
Mr. ROGERS. Is that a wise policy?
Dr. REIS. The policy we are choosing is one where we will be remanufacturing, but we are not going to remanufacture the whole thing at once. We expect over time that almost every part of every weapon will have been remanufactured, assessed and replaced. But what we are not doing, which some other countries do, certainly Russia does, is remanufacturer the whole system at one time.
What we are trying to do, if I could use an analogy with your automobile, we are replacing part by part as it needs to be done and maintaining that weapon. We are not sort of sending it back to the factory and redoing the entire weapon. We do not have the funds, A, to do that; B, many of the facilities that we had, even if we wanted to lookRocky Flats, some part of the Y12 complex, again the tritiumwe no longer have those factors available to us. So the approach we are doing is to, one, very carefully assess what part has to be replaced and must manufacture those.
BUILDING NEW WEAPONS
Mr. ROGERS. Are we researching new weapons?
Dr. REIS. No. We would only do such at the request of the Department of Defense.
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Mr. ROGERS. Ae are staying with our pat hand?
Dr. REIS. We are staying with our pat hand, and I think it is at least a straight, maybe a flush.
Mr. ROGERS. Are others researching new weapons?
Dr. REIS. I have no idea.
Mr. ROGERS. Does anybody care to answer?
RUSSIANUCLEAR WEAPONS MANUFACTURING AND DISMANTLEMENT
Mr. GOTTEMOELLER. Well, the Russians continue to both manufacturer weapons and also dismantle weapons. [Deleted.]
Mr. ROBERTS. I have other questions I can ask later.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCDADE. The gentleman from Texas is recognized.
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Mr. EDWARDS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you both for what you are doing. I wish we could get as much interest in these issues that are so important to our children and grandchildren's future as we can in highway spending and filling potholes, but I guess one of the imperfections of this process is that this is not one of the issues that many people focus on. Thank goodness you are committed to it.
Let me ask, Dr. Reis, if you say that we have to spend $45 billion over 10 years to ensure the safety and reliability of our nuclear stockpile, what are the risks and implications of the former Soviet states that cannot even afford to pay their army soldiers their monthly salaries regarding their nuclear stockpile? Is it a reliability problem that could become very severe in the next couple of years, or a safety problem? Surely their nuclear missiles are facing the same challenges as ours.
Dr. REIS. As Ms. Gottemoeller has mentioned, they have a somewhat different system where they do tend to go back and remanufacture the whole system. Their system, as best we understand it, is perhaps not quite as finely tuned as ours, so they are perhaps less, you know, less scienceif you will, science-based to some degree. On the other hand, our discussions with them indicate that they are very concerned about this.
We have had a number of discussions with the nuclear weapons designers in Russia and certainly we have a lot of lab-to-lab work and a lot of informal discussions. They are very concerned about that issue.
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Interestingly enough, Mr. Edwards, it gets down to some of the questions that you and the committee have asked, that really do have to do with people. Nuclear weapons require a very high level of expertise, if you willnot everybody can do these sorts of thingsand they are very concerned about where are they going to get the people to do the job, you know, in the future, as well as, how do I maintain the current, you know, the current system as well.
RUSSIAN STOCKPILE STEWARDSHIP
Mr. EDWARDS. And I assume they have nothing close to the resources that we are putting into our Stockpile Stewardship Program.
Dr. REIS. Rose.
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. It is difficult to know, Mr. Edwards, exactly what their budget is for Stockpile Stewardship. I am afraid we simply don't have a lot of information on that topic overall. We do know from recent discussions that they are concerned about how they are going to keep up the pace.
CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL ROLE
Mr. EDWARDS. Thank you. That is a concern I would like to follow over the next couple of years.
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Ms. Gottemoeller, in regard to chemical and biological weapons, I understand that DOE's primary focus, and its resources in the past, has been on nuclear issues. Tell me, if you would, what you think the appropriate role of DOE should be vis-a-vis the Department of Defense, public health agencies, CIA.
I am curious because in some parts of your budget, while President Clinton is saying this is a national emergency, you freeze your intelligence budget. You have a 5 percent increase in your programs overall. That ismaybe in today's limited budget that is better than other Federal agencies, but it is hardly a crisis response.
Tell me what you think the appropriate role of DOE should be in chemical and biological weapons, if you would.
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. Certainly, Mr. Edwards, I would be happy to do that.
The Department of Energy's primary mission will always reside in the nuclear arena. That is what we do, and we do that for the government as a whole and for the Department of Defense, as Dr. Reis mentioned a few minutes ago. Over the years, however, a great deal of capacity for chemical and biological work has developed at the laboratories as a product of the work that we are doing in the nuclear arena.
For example, things like remediation after a nuclear attack; that has brought in a great deal of chemical research overall. Detection systems that would be useful after a nuclear attack again has brought in quite a bit of chemical research.
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The effect of radiation on the human body has taken us into the biological arena.
So over time a great deal of capability and expertise has developed in the lab system, and we are currently, I think, in an excellent position and are already leveraging that expertise in order to be able to provide capability to a newnot a new, but certainly a burgeoningboth domestic counterterrorism threat in the biological and chemical area, and also to continue to serve the Armed Forces abroad.
And I would like to underscore we have done work for the Department of Defense to help them with their protection of soldiers in the field. This new work is somewhat different in that it really does focus on the domestic, the threat to the United States and specifically on the counterterrorism threat.
So we are working in a number of specific areas. Many of them have to do with the way a biological or chemical agent would spread in an urban environment; for example, through our Metro system here in the Washington area.
That kind of work is also very, very much benefiting from the kind of computer expertise that the labs have at their fingertips, because it involves a great deal of modeling work, plume modeling for the movement of these agents through urban areas.
So I think that it is a service to the Nation, really, to use the capability that has been developed over time in our nuclear mission areas and now turn it to these new weapons-of-mass-destruction kinds of threats in the chemical and biological area. Weagain, the program began in fiscal 1997 under the aegis of the Nunn-Lugar-Domenici legislation, and it is continuing at the level of $19 million we are requesting in fiscal year 1999.
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I think this is an area that we really see to be one where we can provide some relative advantages. But also I would like to end by saying that we are working very carefully with agencies all over town, with the Defense Department and with other organizations such as the Justice Department, to make sure both that we are not repeating work that is being done elsewhere and that we are also partnering with them in very effective ways to ensure that we are filling in gaps where they need new technologies and the labs are able to provide them.
Mr. EDWARDS. Let me ask. Sitting in my seat, it is difficult, since we only have one piece of the pie, both nuclear and chemical and biological weapons. Personally, I think there should be a quantum increase in funding in some of these nonproliferation programs; but I would also want to see that that money was coordinated well. Is there a functioning committee or entity that meets on a regular basis? Who is responsible for seeing that all of these dollars are being spent without a great deal of waste and duplication, or just as bad, a great deal of gaps left in funding for programs?
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. If I may, I will just refer quickly to my notes because there are actually three interagency organizations that work very closely together to ensure that both the DOE is getting input, proper input from the DOD and other interested agencies, and to ensure that there is no duplication.
We work very, very closely annually with three organizations. One is the central MASINT office, or CMO, which is under the chairmanship of DIA; and that group specificallyunder that group, we work specifically with the so-called Biological Seniors Group.
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The second group is chaired by DOD and that is the Nonproliferation and Arms Control Technology Working Group which has a Chem/Bio Detection Focus Group, so we here working very, very closely with the DOD.
And finallythis is an organization that was started a few years ago as we began to work in the Nunn-Lugar-Domenici context, the Counterproliferation Review Committee, CPRC. We are going to have a meeting with them in the next week. That is a group that is jointly chaired by DOE and DOD with the participation of the Intelligence Community as well.
So I feel like we are working quite vigorously with agencies all over town. This last summer, in August, we had a program review, very successful, and invited in agencies from all over the government to both discover their needs and to ensure that there was no duplication in our programs.
Mr. EDWARDS. Good. There are a number of other questions I might want to consider, but let me just ask one more right now because I want to defer to the Chair and his questions.
But it seems to me that both of you are working in an extraordinarily important arena, albeit an arena that most people don't worry about because there is not a daily, visible, tangible threat to the standard American family. But clearly you have to hire people that have very specialized expertise to do their jobs.
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Do Department of Labor standards require when there are layoffs that you have to lay off some of the very specialized people that you have hired in order to keep on board those that have greater seniority, or do you have some leeway to designate or develop an exemption so that if there are any reductions in staffing that you can actually keep those thatnot everybody can review the safety and reliability of a nuclear warhead. Do you have all of the authority that is needed to see that these people are not laid off because of budget reductions?
Dr. REIS. Certainly the laboratories have the flexibility to do that. I think in the production plants where there are contracts, you know, working with unions and things like that, there is less flexibility. I do know, in discussing this with the people at the plants, that we have hadthey have gone through significant measures to ensure that the skills mix is all right.
I have not sensed at this stage whether that becomes an issue, but it is worthwhile relooking.
COMMISSION ON MAINTAINING NUCLEAR EXPERTISE
I would add that, you know, the Congress, we are working with a Commission created by Congress to look in the nuclear area, certainly to look at the nuclear expertise. That Commission is just getting going. It is chaired by Admiral Chiles, who formerly was the commander in chief of STRATCOM and includes a former Deputy Secretary Curtis, General Larry Welch, who was formerly head of STRATCOM who is president of the Institute of Defense Analysis, several other quite distinguished people who are going to look at that information, Mr. Edwards, in some detail.
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Both at the laboratories and in the production complexes as well, because I think the point you raised is, it is not just the laboratories in terms of the scientists; we are going to have to remanufacture things. We know that. And some of the manufacturing is similar to others, but a lot of it really does require special training. So they are going to be looking at all the details.
I haven't bumped up to that. I frankly haven't bumped into that specific problem yet in terms of Department of Labor standards, but I know that the scientificthe issue of maintaining a trained work force and, in addition, ensuring that the trained work force will be available 10 or 15 years from now is one that is very high on my agenda.
Mr. EDWARDS. Do you have any idea what the timetable is for this group's study and report?
Dr. REIS. I think they are supposed to report back in March of 1999.
Mr. EDWARDS. So not in time for this legislative year, but perhaps next year.
You know, as a Democrat, I try to work with civil service groups and labor unions, but when it comes to national security interests, it seems to me that that ought to be the top priority when you have to decide who to fire and who to hire and who to keep and who not to keep.
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I understand why it would be maybe politically sensitive for this administration to make a proposal, but I am very interested in hearing the results of this effort and being part of an effort to try to designate some sort of exemption that is narrow enough that it wouldn't be a threat to the general membership of, you know, AFSCME or any other Federal union that represents Federal employees. Just, we should not have to compromise national security interests in order to meet civil service laws designed with the best intentions of protecting the rights of a broader group of Federal employees.
Ifshort of waiting for March of 1999 to come about, if I could ask perhaps a written response to any limitations you presently have, either under program direction or other areas under your jurisdiction where youby law, you could not keep the people that you felt were crucial to keep for our country's interest. I would be very appreciative of your sending that information. You can send it without editorial comment.
Dr. REIS. Just the facts.
Mr. EDWARDS. And we will add our own editorial to that.
Dr. REIS. Glad to provide that.
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. We will as well.
[The information follows:]
Page 142 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCCRITICAL EMPLOYEES
To meet funding reductions in the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act, 1998, and to comply with personnel ceilings, the DP Headquarters organization conducted a reduction-in-force (RIF) in January 1998. Additional RIFs may be required in the future, both in DP Headquarters and at field sites. This recent experience demonstrated that certain critical skills areas were vulnerable to ''unintended consequences'' of the RIF process under existing laws and regulations. To minimize this vulnerability, specifically the displacement of highly skilled employees from positions requiring a high level of technical competency, the Department is developing a model for preserving critical technical skills. The model will ensure that employees with critical skills are properly categorized in competitive levels which accurately reflect the unique technical competencies essential to many DP jobs. This more precise and specific definition of the competitive levels used in a RIF may provide greater protection for critical technical staff from displacement due to the unpredictable results of the bumping and retreating by employees with higher retention standings. This model will enable DP to assure the maximum retention of critical scientific and engineering skills to the extent possible under current legal and regulatory constraints.
The Office of Nonproliferation and National Security (NN) shares the concerns expressed by Defense Programs. When plans for a potential NN reduction-in-force were developed during the late summer and early fall of 1997, it became clear that under current regulations involuntary separations would inevitably impact disproportionately staff in positions requiring a high level of technical competency. The critical skills model under development by the Department should be helpful to NN if involuntary separations become necessary in the future.
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RUSSIAN COMMAND AND CONTROL
Mr. KNOLLENBERG [presiding]. First of all, I want to thank both of you for attending today, and for, particularly, Dr. Reis, your arranging to allow me and others to attend or visit the laboratories last fall. We got to all three of them, and as you were going through some of your response to Mr. Rogers, I began to relive some of the experiences and familiarity with some of the discussion items that we got into when we were out there.
I want to focus, if I can, on some of the proliferation problems that we have; and to begin, there was an article that appeared in the Post over the weekend. You probably both have had an opportunity to read that. And as you know, it focused on Russia's nuclear deterrents and its nuclear situation, its collapsing, as it pointed out, command system or allegedly it could be in a state of collapse.
And as you know if you read the article, it focused on a joint effort between Norway and the U.S. in 1995 that was simply a research vehicle that was beingthat was triggered in Norway, and the result of that was to send a signal to Russia. At least their response was that this thing was not a research item; it was, in fact, something far more scary. And apparently, even though the U.S. andI guess in conjunction with Norway, did send a letter advising them of this being a forthcoming event.
They blew it. There was some bureaucracy obstruction, and I happen to know a little bit about that because I am dealing with it on a totally different issue. In any event, President Yeltsin had to almostin fact, he did get his hand pretty close to the trigger.
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I am not trying to sensationalize this 1995 event, but I think it does play intovery closely into the heart of what is our situation today and would there or could there have been some kind of misstep by the Russians' assuming that it was nuclear, that it wasn't research that was not a harmless vehicle?
I would like your idea as to, how do we in the future, or how do we at any time combat that kind of accident from starting?
I guess, Ms. Gottemoeller, it would be you I would turn to for a response to that.
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. I will be happy to start, Mr. Chairman. And Dr. Reis may have something he wishes to add.
I would noteI remember that event well, because I was in London at the time, and the Europeans got very spun up about it because it was very, very, very close to home for them so they were very, very concerned about it.
I would say that what, in the end, prevented disaster in that case was that there was a decent existing communication system from their headquarters in Moscow out to the field, and that continues to function fairly well, except when the SRF does not pay its bills and the local electricity authority closes them down, which has also happened in the past. But generally, I think the Strategic Rocket Forces has done quite well in maintaining their command and control system as it has traditionally operated.
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So that was a saving grace in this case. And the other saving grace was simply the fact that, bureaucratic bungling aside, there is such good communications these days between the various capitals, between Moscow and Washington, for example, that this could be checked fairly quickly. It is quite routine for test rocket launches, and it has been for many years, to be prenotified to the various capitals; and so everyone knew, I think, in Moscow to check quickly and make sure that something hadn't gotten lost so to speak.
So the assumption was that that was probably not, you know, reliving the Cold War in some ways, a shot fired in anger; but it was probably a test launch, and they simply didn't know.
My point is that the world has changed somewhat in a positive direction and there is a lot more communications, a lot more ability to just pick up the phone and say, hey, what was that?
RESPONDING TO A NUCLEAR TERRORISM ATTACK
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Let's turn this into something that may be a little more a matter of concern of not so much just Russia and the U.S., but also some of the rogue states. For example, and I know that you probably know what is comingby the way, I am concerned about another comment that was made in that article by I believeI can't pronounce his name, Rodionov, is that closewho said that Russia might soon reach the threshold beyond which its rockets could not be controlled; and there was another so-called well-informed source who said that today it is not dangerous, but tomorrow it might be. It is going down. It has not reached the critical point, but the trends are down.
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In the days when designers are not paid and when money is allocated for upkeep, and we know the problem that Russia has had with paying its people many times, and there is a problem therethey are unpaid or underpaid, and that creates a problem. The question I would like to relate to now is a nuclear strike by a group of terrorists, and that is still out there. I know it has got to be something that you are preoccupied with, both of you.
Let's say a device was stolen by or created by such a rogue nation or a group of terrorists. What would be Russia's response if a nuclear warhead were launched against Moscow, not by the U.S., but how would they respond? And conversely what would the U.S. response be if a nuclear warhead were launched against Washington, D.C.? I guess I would like to have a response on both of those questions.
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. Those kinds of threats, I think, have been, for many years, a concern to both sides. Those kinds of threats created, even in the early 1960s, an impetus to the establishment of the Hotline, for example. So for many years, I think there has been an effort by Moscow and Washington to ensure that accidental launch, or launch by a third party, whether a terrorist or a state, could be checked adequately; and that it would not necessarily lead to an all-out attack, Moscow against Washington, the United States against Russia. So my view of this, Mr. Knollenberg, is that the two sides would be cautious and would not immediately assume the worst.
But there is a danger there, and any time a nuclear device goes off anywhere in the world, whether it is launched by missile or it goes off in a truck somewhere, it will be an enormous catastrophe and will cause not only a great deal of pain and suffering in the local area, but a great perturbation, I think, in the international arena and in the major capitals.
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So I don't want to in any way say that such an event would not be a very, very serious problem, but I do think that both countries would be very cautious about checking to make sure before they acted precipitously.
PROLIFERATION PREVENTION PRIORITIES
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Russia, as you knowit has been quoted a number of times and in this article as wellhas so-called ''graveyards'' of nuclear weapons; and I know thatand they say they don't know what to do with them. This article, what it pointed out I think is somewhat frightening becauseyou have already provided in your testimony that confronting the worldwide proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is one of the U.S.'s highest priorities, and I know that Mr. Edwards engaged in a little bit of that. Please, if you would for this committee, tell us what should be the order of our priorities preventing proliferation, both weapons and materials from the Soviet Union.
And also, through which responses can we get the most prevention? If you could give us a little order of priority of how you would go about it.
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. I think that you really have to come at this problem as a multilayered problem. But in the first instanceand this is the basis upon which our material protection, control and accounting system is based, you have to control the materials and weapons at their source. If you can keep them at home, so to speak
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. The submarines and
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Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. Yes, the submarines, the weapons and also the nuclear materials in whatever form they occur. So if you can keep the nuclear materials and weapons systems safe at home, protected and in a storage situation where they cannot easily walk away, be carried out by illicit actors, whether through terrorist attack or just simply insiders saying, you know, here is a way I can make some easy money. That is the most important thing, and that is why we have initially placed such a great emphasis on making sure that we are building good fence systems, that we are building good detection systems.
I walked into these vaults in Moscow 2 weeks ago, and it was very good to see that we had helped to establish a better container system in the vaults that were there. The containers were actually wired, so if anybody tried to move them, it would set off alarms all over the place. They hadn't had anything like that before. So it is veryin many ways, they are very simple technological steps; they are not very glamorous, but I think they are very high payoff. And that is the way that you prevent at the most basic level your proliferation problem.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. What is the top priority in your mind when it comes to proliferation with respect to Russia and the varying presence of nuclear material of one kind or another? What is the number one priority?
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. The number one priority is weapons usable material that is more or less readily accessible.
I spoke to one director of a facility in Moscow. His reactor was the closest to the Kremlin and therefore it was somewhat high visibility. After Chernobyl, the Politburo had called him up and said, Shut that reactor down; we don't want an accident here in Moscow. And he told me that during the Chechen war he had been constantly getting advisories from the government warning that there were Chechen terrorists in Moscow and that he needed to get his materials protected.
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So that was a facility where there was a very poor fencing system, and he said he was quite concerned that he would have people driving through it in a truck and picking things up. So it is those situations that I think we have to work on.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. What about the nuclear experts, for example, that are no longer employed? Is it conceivable they could have gone to Iran or Pakistan? They could have gone to India or wherever; is that possible?
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. That issue of the brain drain is also a very important problem area that we have to tackle. You have to physically make sure that the materials and weapons are secure, but you also have to provide employment and alternative economic activities for people of that kind so that they are not tempted to walk away.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. It strikes me as the brightest and the best, as Dr. Reis talked about. These folks are the brightest and the best in Russia and they are not going to get a job waiting on tables. Is there any tracking system for those folks at all?
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. MINATOM itself, the Ministry of Atomic Energy, is a very large organization with traditionally a very good social service capacity. It has had a kind of cradle-to-grave policy for nuclear scientists and their families. That has begun to crumble in recent years, and so I would say that the tracking system and the kind of social services that surrounded every nuclear scientist have definitely begun to dissipate at the present time. That is one reason why we have worked so energetically on our Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention, which is a program that the DOE sponsors in partnership with other agenciesthe State Department has the International Science and Technology Center.
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But these are programs that help not only to keep nuclear scientists gainfully employed, but also to provide them economic alternatives that are interesting work outside of the nuclear weapons complex, per se.
CONSTRUCTION OF NUCLEAR REACTORS IN CUBA
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. I know that that is ongoing. I hope it is proceeding in the way that you describe it and that there are some safeguards built in.
I have a quick question on Cuba. What can you tell us about the current status when it comes to the nuclear reactors that are being built in Cuba by Russia? What is the status on that?
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. We are not yet sure, to tell you the truth, if the Russians are going to come through with the necessary financing for that project. If the Russians do commit and come through with the financing, then it could be completed in 2 or 3 years' time and be up and running essentially.
It is notthe reactors that are being built in Cuba are not Chernobyl-style reactors. [Deleted.] So it is not quite the same as the Chernobyl situation. But I think the big question is whether the Russians are actually going to come through with the funds.
SPENT FUEL CANNING IN NORTH KOREA
Page 151 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Describe if you can, jumping to North Korea, the spent fuel program up there and when will it be completed. What will the U.S. role be as this continues, once the spent fuel is canned? What are we going to do?
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. Yes, I am happy to tell you, Mr. Chairman, that the canning process has now been completed. We will continue to work with the IAEA in North Korea in order to establishin order to establish all the basic conditions to keep the materials under safeguards over an extended period of time. And that has been a difficult set of activities to carry out because the North Koreans have not always been easy to work with by any means. But the canning is now completed, and we will continue to be working to ensure that the materials are adequately safeguarded.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. I am going to conclude my questions at this point.
The Chairman didn't leave without reason. He had a couple of things in tow. But I do want to make sure that we get the additional questions that Mr. Fazio, Mr. Edwards, and of course, now we have Mr. Frelinghuysen joining us. I think it would be appropriate to return to Mr. Fazio, who has returned.
US/RUSSIAN STRATEGIC COMMAND AND CONTROL COOPERATION
Mr. FAZIO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I really appreciated your questions, some of which were similar to some that I had. The series of articles in the Washington Post, and the New York Times Magazine were all very timely for members of the committee. And I thought perhaps we ought to engage in some further discussion of them.
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Ms. Gottemoeller, you talked about the avenues of communication that exist between the two powers, giving you the confidence that perhaps the hair trigger concerns that some people have talked about are overblown. But, you know, it seems that there has been talk, but not recently, of a direct link between NORAD and the Soviet command, the Russian command post. And that still does not exist. And so when we have these research rockets fired off from Norway that nobody knows about because some bureaucrat forgot to take note of a letter to that effect and forward it to the right people, or, some sort of computer chip failure, as occurred in our system in 1980, occurs, we don't have any ability to quickly reassure the other side at the highest level that, in fact, there is no reason, put your forces on alert or launch on warning or, use it or lose it or any of the things that we have heard thrown around for years.
Don't you think that would be a reasonable and relatively inexpensive thing to engage in?
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. I have understood, Mr. Fazio, thatand this would be a good inquiry for colleagues at the Defense Department; that, in fact, there is quite active consideration at the present time of returning to the idea of having a Russian presence in the U.S. NORAD system somewhere, and perhaps vice versa as well. This idea has been out there for some years and has been under discussion, as you pointed out. I think it is one to which people are returning now and I think it is a good idea.
Mr. FAZIO. Why do you think we have kind of neglected it? It was a Sam Nunn idea. I remembered it at the time he mentioned it, but it simply has dropped off the list of things to do. Do you think that is because we basically have assumed that things are going in the right direction; we didn't have the level of hostility and accidents don't happen, therefor?
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Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. As I understand it, sir, I don't think that people believe accidents don't happen, but I do think in general people felt that things were going in the right direction and that communications were improving overall, as I mentioned before. So that was one factor.
And, frankly, some other priorities began to take precedence, when the Soviet Union fell apart, and there were thousands of warheads in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus. That was an area that the administration and the Russian side, as well as Ukranians, Kazakhstans and Belarusans put a great priority on.
So some of the issues we were considering very intensively in the waning years of the Cold War simply, I think, got set aside. I won't say got pushed to the background, but I think now it is a good time to return to them. We have solved some of these pressing problems.
RUSSIA'S NUCLEAR STOCKPILE
Mr. FAZIO. Do you think the deterioration of the Soviet weapons stockpile, essentially now there seems to be some consensus that their nuclear warheads are, in operational terms, below 2,000 is accurate, as some of these assertions in the public press. We are in a secure room here and you know that answers, and I am wondering if you can confirm some of the things that are now being put in the public domain?
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. The Russians have now been very public, and I have heard it directly from specialists in Moscow, as well have seen it in the press. They are saying very openly that they cannot maintain readiness levels as they did in the past, and that the reliability of their nuclear forces is going down.
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I would ask, sir, if we might, I would be happy to provide some additional details in a classified forum for the record. At the moment, I do not personally have a particular view on this issue.
Mr. FAZIO. Do you think this creates more or less stability, given their declining ability to utilize what had been a formidable nuclear response at least, if not initiate a very, very effective strike? There are theories on both sides. I would be interested in your doing on the one hand, and on the other.
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. Yes, I was going to take that tack, actually.
Mr. FAZIO. I figured you were. I wanted you to feel better about it.
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. Thank you. Thank you, sir.
On the one hand, you know, the Russians have felt that they must depend on their nuclear forces now because their conventional forces are, indeed, in catastrophic shape at the present time. And so we do continue to see evidence of investment in the nuclear forces.
I believe the current Commander in Chief, the current Minister of Defense, excuse me, General Sergeyev, who is the former Commander in Chief of the Strategic Rocket Forces, when he says that the SRF is still at this time a very capable force and is fully capable of meeting its requirements for maintaining a deterrence, a deterrent force, so I agree with that assessment, but I also agree that the level of investment in the forces has not kept pace with requirements for maintenance particularly, and for maintaining operational readiness.
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So I think that there are troubles on the horizons, and I think this is one good reason for us to be considering moving expeditiously once the Duma ratifies START II into a START III negotiation.
[The information follows:]
REDUCTION IN RUSSIAN STOCKPILE
START II AND III
Mr. FAZIO. Well, we started negotiating START II before START I had actually been ratified, as I remember. So there is really no reason to even delay at this point, hoping that, of course, the Duma does act.
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. Well, as I mentioned, Mr. Fazio, before, the Russians are very good negotiators, they are crack negotiators and they recognize good leverage when they see it. So I think that the executive branch and Russia is keen to get the START II treaty ratified because they are facing tremendous budgetary pressures and they recognize that START II will free them up to proceed in directions they would like, and may be forced to go anyway.
Mr. FAZIO. Yes.
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Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. So my view is that we should continue to exercise that leverage. And I believe, as I said earlier, that it will pay off within a short time.
Mr. FAZIO. This leads me more to question the number of weapons that we find are required as a result. It is my assumption that we havegiven our desire to cannibalize older weapons, if need be, for materials that are harder to come by, have kept sometimes twice the number that we have agreed to limit deployment of in order to have the back-ups, the spares, the things that we feel more secure having in our arsenal.
Is that correct, Vic? Maybe you want to jump in.
Dr. REIS. Well, we maintain an inactive reserve and then we also maintain certain components, bits, you know, as part of that reserve. Then, we also have a reserve of material, of plutonium and, you know, uranium. And I would imagine, Mr. Fazio, you know, as one moves towards a START II, START III, one would relook that whole issue. The Department of Defense and the State Department spend a lot of time considering those issues.
Mr. FAZIO. [Deleted.]
That's the reference you are just making; is that correct
Page 157 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. REIS. That's right.
Mr. FAZIO. Does Russia do the same?
Dr. REIS. By the way, I should add that we are responsible for those weapons, whether active and inactive, to ensure that if they areyou know, if they ever did have to maintain, you know, be moved into the active stockpile or whatever, it is all part of the
Mr. FAZIO. If there was a break out
Dr. REIS. Or something like that.
Mr. FAZIO [continuing]. And the treaty was trashed, we could immediately make them operational?
Dr. REIS. We could have a reserve, and in addition, the production complex also has to, you know, over time, beyou know, our responsibility is to maintain the capability ofcurrently, but be able to produce a START I in that situation.
Mr. FAZIO. Do we permit in the treaties we have negotiated or are hoping to ratify, do the Russians do the same? Are they in the same position we are in in terms of having multiples of currently deployable weapons in the reserve in one status or another?
Dr. REIS. The treaties, START I and START II, really have to do with launchers. It is only when we get to START III that we are looking at these things
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RUSSIAN TACTICAL WEAPONS
Mr. FAZIO. There is no real limit until III?
Dr. REIS. Of course, as Ms. Gottemoeller said, she is actively involved, as are we, in trying to understand what all of these issues are.
The other aspect, which I don't think was mentioned in there, is the large number of tactical nuclear weapons.
Mr. FAZIO. Right.
Dr. REIS. That the Russians maintain, which is a much larger number.
Mr. FAZIO. Which is probably a major security issue, more than in the tactical area. Is that so? Am I making an assumption I shouldn't make?
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. Mr. Fazio, we have been concerned.
Mr. FAZIO. Terrorism, et cetera.
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. [Deleted.]
Page 159 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I have to say, to the credit of first the Soviet Union and now Russia, they have taken steps to consolidate those weapons in a very small number of storage facilities. So they are not spread out all over. The Soviet Union, even before its breakup, had brought those systems back into Russia and they have continued to consolidate since. So that is a helpful step, but it is still a significant concern.
RUSSIAN STOCKPILE SIZE
Mr. FAZIO. Do we have any number of spares or nonactive weapons that would be equivalent to the number we have in reserve; not tactical, strategic weapons?
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. I would defer to Dr. Reis on that.
Dr. REIS. Do you mean do we know what they have?
Mr. FAZIO. Yes, what do we know about what they may have that is comparable to us.
Dr. REIS. Then I would refer back to Ms. Gottemoeller.
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. I am sorry. I thought you were talking about the blue side.
Mr. FAZIO. Whichever.
Page 160 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. Yes, they do have similar kinds of numbers. [Deleted] to really dismantle those weapons.
There is an arrangement in the parallel unilateral agreements between Presidents Bush and Gorbachev and then Yeltsin in the early 1990s to reduce tactical nuclear weapons, and we have been doing that very energetically. The Russians have also been doing reductions in those forces, somewhat less energetically. So there have been reductions, but there is still a very large number on their side.
STRATEGIC DEPLOYMENT LEVELS
Mr. FAZIO. Do we assume that they are having problems maintaining that kind of stockpile of weapons if everything else we know is true about the deterioration of their forces? Do we know much about the status of these weapons in terms of their operational ability?
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. As I noted before, I think on the strategic nuclear side, they continue to be in good shape in terms of maintaining their operational capability, generally speaking. But we do know that their deployment rates are down for things like the submarine force. In the past, they would have several boats at sea at any one time. Now they typically have one or perhaps two boats at sea at any one time.
Mr. FAZIO. So they would have
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. So their deployment rates are down. Their operational performance rates are down. But in terms of the actual reliability of the nuclear warheads on those systems, I think they are probably still in pretty good condition.
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Mr. FAZIO. They are probably, what, 20, 30 ballistic missiles at sea at any given time; we have got probably 300 or so, is thataccording to this article?
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. Yes. If they have a single boat at sea, that range is correct; two would double that number.
Mr. FAZIO. I guess one of the questions that was sort of the hook for this article was why we developed the B6111. Could you give us the rationale?
Dr. REIS. Sure.
Mr. FAZIO. I think it would probably be better coming from you than extrapolating it from this critic's article.
Dr. REIS. You can't always believe what you read in the newspapers.
Mr. FAZIO. That's true. They can't certainly always do the job you would otherwise, if you could, in rebutting.
Dr. REIS. Right, indeed.
Page 162 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The requirement for developing the B6111 came from the Department of Defense several years ago. And the purpose was to maintain the same military requirement, but do it without using the B53.
As you remember, the firstthe first approximationyou can tell when a weapon was first designed by the number that comes after it now. So 53 was started back in 1953. So it is a very oldit is a very large weapon, I can say [deleted].
Mr. FAZIO. This is the earth penetrator we are talking about?
Dr. REIS. It is not an earth penetrator. What it does byit is a surface burstwould it be an air burst? A surface burst. So you can imagine.
Mr. FAZIO. You are talking about the B53?
Dr. REIS. The B53. The B53, as you can imagine would be a horrendous sort of device. And alsoagain, when one is on an aircraft, one is always concerned about it. Safety really is a very, very important aspect. And even though it met specs, you still are always trying to make it safer. So what was done on the B6111 was to take a B61 and essentially just change the nose cone and tail assembly so it would penetrate. The electronics is much the same.
Ordinarily, a B61 lands and just, you know, waits a while and then goes off. This would penetrate, give you better coupling to the target. The specific group of targets, there weren't very many of them, that the B53 was designed to go after, the B61 is designed to do. It uses the exact same physics package. In other words, the bomb itself is identical to what it was before. Much of the electronics are all the same, but it does penetrate, as you might imagine. Its fusing is basically a little different.
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There is an argument, continued, you know, discussion, is this a new weapon or is this not a new weapon? And, you know, you can go forever on that one. As far as we are concerned, from the Department of Energy perspective, it meets the requirement that came over from the Department of Defense. They have reduced the potential for accidents. They have reduced the amount of nuclear material that they have to have, you know, in their stockpile. I will leave it to the, you know, the people to worry about semantics as to whether it isspecifically whether it is a new weapon or not.
Mr. FAZIO. But the reason for it?
Dr. REIS. The reason was to improve safety across the board, to do the same mission with considerably less yield but essentially with more effectiveness.
Mr. FAZIO. And this is to essentially go after command and control underground?
Dr. REIS. It is to go after specific underground targets.
Mr. FAZIO. All right.
Dr. REIS. And I think that iswe can give you certainly more details on this. By the way, one of the issues that came up, I think Mr. Rogers asked, to give some examples of how stockpile stewardship is working, there is an example in the B6111 where we did have to put it in a new case, and we have been able to certify that by using the new techniques, by using the new systems. In the past, we probably would have trieddone some underground testing on that, and we were able to certify it without underground testing.
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Mr. FAZIO. The fact that it is new in the sense of the new mission
Dr. REIS. Well, it is an old
Mr. FAZIO [continuing]. Occurred in the last couple of years.
Dr. REIS. No, it is an old mission. It is the exact same mission it was before, but it is using
Mr. FAZIO. A newer and better approach?
Dr. REIS. A new and better approach which is safer and much less yield, right.
Mr. FAZIO. And the third digit, which in this case, went from B617 to 11
Dr. REIS. Right.
Mr. FAZIO [continuing]. Is what? The third digit tells us something.
Dr. REIS. Well, I think what has happened is, every one of those are modifications because the original B61 was built instarted off in 1961 and there have been a number of modifications.
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Mr. FAZIO. Right.
Dr. REIS. A number of those modifications are still in. The 8, the 9, were other modifications which were not deployed. Okay?
Mr. FAZIO. Yes. They were designed, but never implemented in the sense of developed?
Dr. REIS. That is right. They were neverthey were never entered into the stockpile.
Mr. FAZIO. I see. I see. This is an area of some arcanity, and I guess we are all learning just enough to get in trouble and make the day of the people behind you. But, you know, it seems to me that we need to delve into this depth occasionally in order to get some sense of what is really appropriate.
Dr. REIS. Sure.
[The information follows:]
NEED FOR B61 MOD 11
The DoD established the military need for development of the B61 Mod 11. DoD requested a nuclear weapon with modern safety features for carriage on the B2 to replace the B53 gravity bomb carried by the B52. The B53 gravity bomb was designed before the development of modern safety and use control features. While the DoD and DOE agreed that the continued military deployment of the B53 did not pose an unacceptable safety risk, we also agreed that overall safety would be enhanced by replacing the B53 with a weapon which embodied modern safety features and existing B2 delivery capability and qualification.
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Mr. FAZIO. Could you tell me whether the Armed Services Committee hearings are reallyI know they are also
Dr. REIS. The Congress was fully informed about this. Now, again I think Iyou know, before, during
Mr. FAZIO. There was a reprogramming request, I am told.
Dr. REIS. Yes.
Mr. FAZIO. Never are we fully informed by reprogramming requests, I can assure you, although I am sure the people who need to know in theory were, which is like 4 to 8 people.
Dr. REIS. Part of the concern on this one was the Air Force was anxious to get that out of the stockpile as rapidly as possible.
Mr. FAZIO. Yes.
Dr. REIS. So there was some degree of urgency specifically on that.
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Mr. FAZIO. Right.
Dr. REIS. Of course, from our perspective, it also allowed us, frankly, from a programmatic perspective, to see, can you do Stewardship, albeit on a modest scale, can you actually do something that perhaps one in the past would have gone in a very different way
Mr. FAZIO. Right.
Dr. REIS [continuing]. And do it rapidly?
And by the way, if I could get back to one of the points that Chairman McDade was saying, that one was done on time, on budget, throughout the complex.
Mr. FAZIO. Well, I am not saying I would have come to any different conclusion.
Dr. REIS. Sure.
Mr. FAZIO. I am saying that sometimes we don't have the discussion, and I understand why better than most people here would like to admit. Thank you.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Thank you. The idea iswe will wrap this up a little later, but we want to hear obviously from both Mr. Frelinghuysen, who hasn't as yet had an opportunity, and then we will come back to Mr. Edwards. And then we will conclude and we can adjourn then until tomorrow at 2:00.
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So Mr. Frelinghuysen, you are recognized.
NEW YORK TIMES ARTICLE AND NUCLEAR WEAPONS
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Very briefly. I apologize, I was in another hearing, Mr. Chairman.
The New York Times article, was there anything in there that surprised you?
Dr. REIS. Not really, to be honest with you. I mean, it had a point of view. It was well written. I think it made thenot necessarily do I agree with it, but I can't say anything surprised me.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. A lot of peopleI read it as provocative.
Dr. REIS. We have been talking about this degree, you know, in some sense
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Just coincidentally you are here today.
Dr. REIS. There is always something, isn't there?
Page 169 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I didn't have anything to do with The New York Times.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. I wasn't suggesting that, Dr. Reis.
Dr. REIS. All right. But I do think it is important, and I thinkas has been the tone of this hearing today, which I thought was very usefulis that these are extraordinarily important issues and ones that the public frequently is not aware. With the end of the Cold War and with the so-called threat of these things, you don't get the type ofthe type of understanding across the board.
If I could, you remember the discussions you had with Secretary Peña
last week was, gee, this is important. We just don't hear enough about it. Now you have got a job to do to convince not just the Congress, but the public that this is very important.
I mean, we are talking about a lot of money. These are very important issues, and frequently the public doesn't understand what they are. So, frankly, even though I didn't necessarily agree with all of The New York Times, I welcomed that because I do think it brings out the type of debate that I think it is very important that we have.
And this isn'tyou know, we have been at this stuff several years, and some people think we are putting too much money in, some people think we are not putting enough money in. But unless you recognize the importance of the issue itself, then I don't think you really can get at a full debate, and it is only with a full debate that you will feel comfortable and confident that you are putting the money in the right way; and that is the only way we will be able to convince you we are putting the money in the right way.
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So I really do look forward to that kind of athose kinds of articles, and that is why I frankly spend time debatingor not debating, but even discussing with, you know, various outside groups, peace groups or whatever there is, just to ensure that we have the right type of debate. Because as I said, I can't think of anything that is more important, because we are really talking about the survival of the planet.
YEAR 2000 COMPUTER PROBLEM
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Thank you for your reaction.
The year 2000 problem, you have probably more advanced computers in the DOE. Where do you stand relative to that situation and what sort of money are you spending to address it, specifically?
Dr. REIS. Let me separate two things. One is the type of scientific computing that we are dealing with in terms of the Stockpile Stewardship Program, the things that we are dealing with in terms ofare not subject to thethere is no issue as far as the year 2000 in terms of those kinds of computers. It is far more the business aspects.
Now, those are very important, and I think we arecertainly from a defense program perspective, I think we are now in good shape in terms of those but we can give you the details on that.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. But to answer my question.
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Dr. REIS. In terms of how much money we are spending on it?
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. How much money have we spent? You are giving us a high level of assurance.
Dr. REIS. Sure. We will get that for you.
From my perspective, Mr. Frelinghuysen, I am just looking for the check that says these things are going to work and I will get back to you in terms of what it has taken to do that.
[The information follows:]
YEAR 2000 COMPUTER PROBLEM
It is estimated that Defense Programs will have spent by the end of FY 1998 approximately $12 million to address year 2000 issues.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. This may not be in the same category. What is going on relative to work at DOE facilities, both defense and nondefense, on land mines? Could somebody give me a synopsis? I would like the specifics that relate to fundings for 1997, 1998 and 1999 DOD relationships.
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Dr. REIS. Let me
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Give me just a short, brief overview.
Dr. REIS. Let me give you a highlight on that and let me get back to you on the details. We are doing a study right now with the Department of Defense. I met with General Ralston, who is concerned about that specific area, and we agreed we would work together with the Department of Defense on that to help put together a joint program in that area.
We really just started that. I am sure there are individual areas as well.
So that is one that we are, again, working with them on directly. General Gioconda from my office is working with General Campbell in his office on the Joint Staff to ensure ourselves that the Department of Defense gets full advantage of the technical ability of the DOE laboratories working that problem.
So that is a very high priority for us, and we will get back to you, you know, in terms of the specifics in terms of where we are in dollars that would be spent.
[The information follows:]
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
LABORATORY DIRECTED RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT (LDRD)
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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Some remarkable work is being done at some of our national labs. It is true that 6 cents of every dollar goes to discretionary funding of the laboratory directors?
Dr. REIS. That is correct.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Yes?
Dr. REIS. Yes, the laboratory directors.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Yes, I would like to know what the specific amounts are and what, in factgive me maybe one or two examples from a laboratory that these dollars are being spent on. I would like the specifics for all.
Dr. REIS. Surely. We have a report.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. There may be some exciting things occurring, but there is actually an annual report?
Dr. REIS. There is a report. We have submitted that to Congress. Congress has been verynot just this committee, other committees, are concerned about that. We have put together an annual report which describes in detail where all the money goes and what those programs are.
Page 174 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC If you would like, I could mention one, for example, off the top of my head.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Maybe give me one and maybe give meI want the specifics for each lab and what the specific overall amount is.
Dr. REIS. All right.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. What would 6 percentor 6 cents of the overall amount be?
Dr. REIS. Okay. If we can make that perhaps part of the record?
[The information follows:]
LABORATORY DIRECTED RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT FUNDING
The total amount of funding for LDRD in FY 1997, FY 1998, and FY 1999 is provided on the following table. Note that for FY 1997 funds are actual amounts while those for FY 1998 and FY 1999 are best estimates.
LABORATORY DIRECTED RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT REPORT
A copy of the Fiscal Year 1997 Laboratory Directed Research and Development Report, dated February 1998, was provided to the Committee on January 30, 1998.
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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Give me one example.
Dr. REIS. Let me give you one example of a program that is being done ata very interesting program that comes out of LDRD at Lawrence Livermore, called the Perigrine Project. What it does is make use of the calculation ability of our ability to, if you will, follow how radiative particles go through soft tissue. In other words, when people are trying to diagnosis cancer of all sorts. And it uses the mathematical techniques and it uses the type of computers we now have available to us, but on a much smaller scale, to make much better diagnoses so that one can indeedwhen one uses radiation therapy, one can put the radiation exactly in the right places.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. I saw that when I was at the Livermore Lab, but in reality, these are discretionary.
Dr. REIS. That is right.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. But they fall under, you know, the nuclear stockpile umbrella.
Dr. REIS. That is right. You wonder why?
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. While I think it is exciting and I am all for itbasic science, fundamental science, basic researchI am just wondering whether
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Dr. REIS. The reason I mentioned that one is that a number of the mathematical techniques that we have had to use, it originally started from looking at the nuclear weapons program. We have been able to apply them to, if you will, radiation therapy. To really make that work properly, we have had to advance the technology of understanding where these particles go, which in turn feeds back to the calculations that we are doing in terms of maintaining the stockpile indefinitely.
Another example, if I could just give you one more, also happens to be a Livermore one
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. I don't mind your having to do some advertising. I think the work is important.
Dr. REIS [continuing]. Is the idea of using laser cutting. Did you get a chance toan opportunity to look at that?
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Yes.
Dr. REIS. Well, there is one where we had a specific
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. You have got a whole lot more of them.
Dr. REIS. Let me just take that one because that is a very specific example where we are able to cut through uranium, which is what we deal with in terms of the pits, and do it in such a way that there is no heat. The laser is so intense that it essentially takes itcuts through atom by atom, and there is no heat, that gets transferred to the uranium material. So if you look at a cut, you cannot see where the cut from either side of the cut, it looks like real material.
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Well, it turns out nowagain, we used that primarily for specific problems we are having in the stockpile when we have to cut these weapons open for surveillance. That developed out of one of these LDRD problems but it also turns out to be useful for, for example, dentistry. It is the same sort of a system you might want to
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. We won't put anyone through any more of a drill here. I believe you.
Dr. REIS. Okay. With that
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Thank you, Dr. Reis.
Dr. REIS. Thank you.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Mr. Edwards.
NONPROLIFERATION PRIORITIES AND FUNDING.
Mr. EDWARDS. Mr. Chairman, thank you. And I will be brief.
Ms. Gottemoeller, I would like to follow up on the Chairman's questions about focusing on where the priority problems in the area of nonproliferation are. Your answer was control materials and weapons at their source.
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Where in your fiscal year 1999 budget could I determine how much total funding is focused on what you said is the top priority? Does that cut across these budget categories or is it in one particular category?
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. I think the answer, Mr. Edwards, is that it is primarily in the material protection, control and accounting budget.
Mr. EDWARDS. Is that
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. In arms control overall.
Mr. EDWARDS. And in that area, we went from about $234 million to $256 million. That is an increase of about $22 million?
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. Yes, sir.
Mr. EDWARDS. Which, on a percentage basis, is significant, somewhere in the range of 10 percent; but in terms of theyou know, if that is the number one priority in the area of protecting millions of American citizens against attacks by terrorists or rogue nations, I have got to wonder. You know, we will spend more money than that building part of a loop around Austin, Texas, in the next couple of years.
Let me ask one final question. We focused a lot today on the priority that you have mentioned. Are you or is any other Federal agency going back and looking at the inventory control systems prior to these efforts you have made in material controls and accounting to determine what is alreadywhat waswhat left the barn before we shut the door?
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Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. That, of course, has been a very, very difficult question all along, knowing what the baseline is overall, because we are dealing with areas and with facilities that were the most secret facilities of the Cold War years, and it is really quite an amazing change that now these facilities are opening their doors to us, and that we can also now talk to the scientists and other specialists who have been involved in these programs.
But I would say that we are still far, far from knowing exactly what the baseline was. How much the Russians produced in terms of weapons-usable materials overall, we have some estimates in that amount; how many warheads they produced overall, we have some estimates. But in terms of knowing exactly, there are significant questions.
Mr. EDWARDS. Recognizing that inventory control is difficult after the fact, then based on the knowledge you have of what other agencies do, including DIA, CIA, are you confident we have a pretty extensive and effective on-ground intelligence system to be able to identify if there are certain identified, you know, rogues around the world or organized criminals that would deal in the sale of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons? That somehow our intelligence is good enough, we would pick up on this if they were actively trying to buy or sell weapons of mass destruction, based on your knowledge?
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. Since the events of 1994, when you will recallwell, the attention of the world was caught, really, by the appearance of some weapons-usable nuclear material in the Munich airport, there has been a great deal of attention focused on this matter by the intelligence agencies around the world and by law enforcement organizations as well.
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So it has led to a partnership between law enforcement, customs agencies and so forth, with the Intelligence Community, to establish a better base of knowledge on this set of issues.
I will not say, however, that it is a perfect system at the present time. But it is an area that has caught people's attention. There is no question about it.
Mr. EDWARDS. Would that primarily, in the United States, be the responsibility of the CIA or the DOD?
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. Well, for information that is developed on countries outside of U.S. borders, clearly, the CIA places the emphasis there. For domestic law enforcement and issues related to the territory of the United States, FBI and the other domestic agencies are involved.
Mr. EDWARDS. Okay. Very good. Thank you.
Mr. Chairman, thank you.
YEAR 2000 COMPUTER PROBLEM
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Thank you, Mr. Edwards. I just have a couple of quick questions in following up on Mr. Frelinghuysen's question about the computer year 2000 situation. What I would like to focus on is Russia.
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What do you know about their being alert to and on top of this thing? Do we have any idea about that? Because if you wanted to create a scenario for a forthcoming fiction, I think you might start with perhaps something like that. Any thoughts?
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. Mr. Chairman, this is a question I have not wrestled with in the past, so I will have to look into it and see if I can get you any information on that question.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Isn't that something we should be concerned about?
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. I would think that around the world this has been a question.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Not just Russia?
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. Not just in Russia, but all over the world. And because of the multinational character of corporations and so forth, I know that many corporate structures such as the banking industry have been quite focused on this. So I know that individual parts of the burgeoning Russian economy have quite likely been acutely focused on this.
But I would like to do a little research and be able to provide you with a more detailed answer.
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RUSSIAN NUCLEAR C2 SYSTEMS AND THE Y2K PROBLEM
MANUFACTURING BY NUCLEAR WEAPONS STATES
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Could you do that? I think that might be helpful for us.
Also, do we know what countries are makingI know we are not, but what countries are actually making new nuclear weapons?
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. As far as I know, of the five nuclear weapons states, four are still in the process of manufacturing nuclear weapons.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. So we are the only one that does not?
Ms. GOTTEMOELLER. As far as I know, yes.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. I am going to submit some additional questions, as I am sure the rest of the committee will. But we do appreciate your coming before us. This is very serious business, I know, and we appreciate the work that all of you do and the work that is being done by all of the folks in DOE and particularly the labs.
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We do have some concerns, the committee does, about the amount of funding that has been raised from $4 billion a year to $4.5 billion, and from $40 billion to $45 billion over 10 years, and obviously we are going to ask a lot of questions, I think, in addition to the ones that we have asked today about, as we go along, as to how that money is spent.
But we do want to thank both of you for coming before the committee. We appreciate your time. And it has been awhile, so thank you very much.
This committee will adjourn until tomorrow at 2:00 p.m.
Thank you very much.
[The questions and answers for the record follow:]
offset folios 586 to 821 insert here
Wednesday, March 18, 1998.
ADMIRAL FRANK L. BOWMAN, U.S. NAVY, DIRECTOR, NAVY NUCLEAR PROPULSION
Page 184 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCOpening Remarks
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. The meeting will come to order. Chairman McDade is going to be here later this afternoon. In the interim, I will be presiding or one of my colleagues, probably Mr. Frelinghuysen. We welcome you this afternoon, Admiral.
Pursuant to the vote of this committee on the 10th of March 1998, today's hearing on the Department of Energy's Atomic Energy Defense Activities will be held in executive session. Admiral Bowman, can you verify that everyone in the room has the appropriate security clearance?
Admiral BOWMAN. Yes, sir.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Thank you. For the members of the subcommittee, I would like to remind you that some of the information discussed today will be classified and should not be discussed outside of this room. Also, please do not remove anything from the hearing room that is classified.
Then, one last reminder. I would ask that all cellular phones, two-way pagers and authorizedor unauthorized, rather, recording devices be turned off during the hearing. I assume that will be done. Thank you.
With that in mind, then, Admiral, we look forward to your testimony and the entirety of your submission will be, of course, put in the record. I presume you will want to make an opening statement and refer to that and maybe make just some comments off the cuff. So the floor is yours. Thank you.
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Oral Statement of Admiral Frank L. Bowman
Admiral BOWMAN. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, as you know this is my first opportunity to testify before this committee. I thank you for inviting me to represent the dedicated men and women of this program.
Mr. Chairman, to your point, I would appreciate it if my written statement could be made a part of the record.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. So ordered.
Admiral BOWMAN. I know and appreciate that this committee has historically been a very strong supporter of the Navy and of our Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program. On my watch as Director of the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, I intend to continue to earn your support through frank and open discussions and exchange of ideas.
I think the record is very clear that our Navy's nuclear-powered warships have made and continue to make a major contribution to the Nation's defense and are doing so without any harm to the environment.
I would be grateful, Mr. Chairman, if the program's annual environmental safety and health performance records could also be included in the record as has been the tradition for almost 30 years, starting with this first book of Environmental Monitoring and moving through the other performance records.
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Mr. KNOLLENBERG. So ordered.
[The information is included at the end of this hearing record.]
Statement of Admiral Bowman
Admiral BOWMAN. Mr. Chairman, with your agreement, what I would like to do is use a few prepared poster boards to briefly explain the scope and the organization and the activities of the program and then to address any questions that the committee might have, and I have also prepared a few poster boards in anticipation of questions of interest to the committee.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Very good. These are those poster boards?
Admiral BOWMAN. Yes, sir, they are.
Rather than sitting at the table, if I could just stand over here and do this.
INTEGRATED PROGRAM OF DEPARTMENTS OF ENERGY AND NAVY
This first board attempts to summarize the underlying law that underwrites this program. The Naval Reactors' responsibilities for this program are extremely broad and colloquially we say cradle to grave, and it truly is that. The law was put into being in 1984 and has, indeed, undergirded this program since that time. It tasked me with research, development, designthe cradle part, all the way down to the burial part, the refueling and disposal, and including the operational parts of this.
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I think that this organizational construct brings an awful lot to the country, to the Navy, and to what we are trying to get accomplished; efficiency, and then a real sense of responsibility comes with this.
This fellow who is shown here in one of our laboratories designing, developing something, knows that some day he might well get a phone call from someone who is using his design out in the fleet and has experienced some difficulty or has some question about it. That sense of responsibility pervades the operation and organization of thisof this operation, and I think it is a very important part of our business.
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
NAVAL NUCLEAR PROPULSION
In execution of that law that runs the gamut from design all the way through burial and disposal of spent fuel, the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program is centrally controlled, here in Washington, with the Director of Naval Nuclear Propulsion, me, at the head of that. It is a very lean organization. It is composed of some of the most dedicated citizens of this country you will ever want to talk to, and it has been eminently successful for the 50 years of its operation.
We run the gamut from our field offices that take care of the regulatory aspects and oversee the operations, the day-to-day business of our organization in the field, two dedicated laboratories, one in Pittsburgh, one in Schenectady, New York; that is the Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory and Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory for the design and development aspect; and a specialized industrial base. And it is specialized, it is small, it is very lean today for procurement of our components to go on these important warships.
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The shipyards that put the ships together with the components, with the design engineering that came from the laboratories, the training aspects and even before the training, my selection process that has me interviewing every officer who comes into this program and personally saying yes or no to his or her selection into the Program; and then, of course, the operating fleet, which today is comprised of some 95 warships that constitute about 40 percent of the Navy's major combatants in today's day and age.
These 115 operating reactors that we oversee are more reactors than the commercial nuclear industry in this country at 105 reactors today. In fact, 115 operating reactors are more reactors than the next two largest users of nuclear energy in the world: France and Japan. It is a big job, but it has been done very successfully for these 50 years.
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
90,000 TONS OF DIPLOMACY ANYTIME, ANYWHERE
This is a little bit of an advertisement, and I do it without shame. CNN has been telling this story very well for us. Unfortunately, Saddam shows again and again that he doesn't quite understand. But most recently, the nuclear carrier NIMITZ, was scrambled from a Singapore port visit that never quite happened over into the Arabian Gulf to take care of the new contingency.
Page 189 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This quotation is a recent quotation from President Clinton, but it could easily come from any one of the Presidents, especially since the end of the Cold War.
I had the opportunity, and indeed the pleasure, of serving as the Director of Political Military Affairs for both General Colin Powell and General John Shalikashvili at the beginning of his term as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
In that role as the Director of Political Military Affairs of the Joint Staff, I represented the uniformed services in the White House in the Situation Room; more hours than I want to remember spent in that Situation Room, and more hours than I want to remember spent trying to field the current, the latest issue, crisis in the country. And it is true that the National Security Adviser, Sandy Berger, does ask this question: Where is the nearest carrier?
Beyond where is the nearest carrier, the Unified Commander in the Pacific Fleet, Admiral Joe Prueher, says that it goes a little bit beyond that. He is recently on record as having said that in this large theater, this large AOR that he is responsible for in the Pacific, there is no more sought after asset than the nuclear carrier.
Ninety thousand tons of diplomacy and 90,000 tons of sovereign territory, and we truly don't have to ask any other country's permission to use this asset as we deploy our military force.
In this day and age, it is extremely important, and let me explain, if I may. In the Cold War, I think that both classified and more and more unclassified literature is coming to the fore that tells us the impact of the nuclear Navy during that Cold War period, during that eyeball-to-eyeball nuclear gridlock period with the Soviet Union.
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The Soviets apparently were absolutely convinced that behind every one of their submarines lay a U.S. submarine. Again, both in classified and in unclassified writings, we are finding that to be true.
Furthermore, they knew without a shadow of a doubt that they could not find our strategic submarines. We don't have one instance of counterdetection of any of our Polaris, Poseidon or Trident strategic ballistic missile submarines throughout their history.
On top of that, when the Navy's maritime strategy was changed in recognition that independently operating nuclear carrier battle groups could take the battle into the Barents Sea on this side of the world and into the Sea of Okhotsk on the other side, it actually caused, I believe, the Soviet Union to change their entire order of battle and their entire scheme for operating their Naval fleet.
No longer did we hear about the Soviet Union coming down into the Atlantic or into the Pacific but, rather out of fear for protection of the motherland of Russia, the Soviet Union decided to retrench, and the Bastion defense, the layered defense of the homeland came into being.
I think that was absolutely instrumental in the ultimate outcome of the Cold War. I think that that ability to influence events continues today. This is an era of instability, as the board says; an awful lot of entanglement, even more enmeshment of our country and our people in the world events than back in the Cold War days.
Page 191 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [Chart 3.]
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
CRUCIAL TO NATION'S DEFENSE AND MILITARY PRESENCE
A couple of statistics. This says fewer bases and uncertain world politics. We built 172 air bases after World War II and up to today. Only twenty-four of those today we still have access to. So the country is, indeed, dependent on the Navy to carry the flag, both for the forward presence, the painting of the orphanages that didn't use to be a part of our bag of tricks, but is very, very important today, all the way up to what the USS NIMITZ had to do just in the month of January, flexing muscle and showing resolve.
We are the ones who were there, and I think Admiral Jay Johnson, the Chief of Naval Operations' new bumper sticker, ''Anytime, Anywhere,'' is right on the mark. And this nuclear power that we are going to talk about today I would argue is what allows this much smaller Navyremember, we were about 600 ships at one time. We are now at 347 ships to dateallows this smaller Navy to stretch to do what needs to be done in this more entangled world.
The work force of this nuclear fleet are these three categories of ships. We have 8 of 12 nuclear carriers with two more being constructed at Newport News today. All 66 of the United States attack submarines, of course, are nuclear-powered, and all 18 strategic missile submarines are nuclear-powered. These ships are being called on every day, all day, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. That's what we do.
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This is the Navy of today.
Naval Reactors must continue our unblemished record. Can you imagine for just a minute a Three Mile Island or a Chernobyl occurring on one of these nuclear ships? If the Navy is 40 percent dependent on this capability and with the major ships of our dependency being nuclear powered, imagine the outfall of that. We must continue this unblemished record and we intend to do so.
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
FIFTY YEARS OF UNPARALLELED SUCCESS
This summer, Mr. Chairman, will mark the 50th anniversary of Naval Reactors. I believe that the record and, indeed, the very open records of accomplishments of this program speak for themselves. One hundred thirteen million miles of safe steaming in the ocean, 4,900 reactor years, let me put that in perspective for just a minute. Four thousand nine hundred reactor years almost equals the rest of the world's experience if you take away the Soviet Navy's operating reactor experience.
Specifically, the rest of the commercial world, exclusive of the United States, has generated 5,800 reactor years and in this country about 2,700 reactor years. So this is about half of the operating experience of the nuclear industry in this entire world, exclusive of the Soviet Navy situation.
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We have, indeed, been a leader in environmental performance. Some of the ideas that Admiral Rickover had back at day one are certainly seeing us through to good end today.
We are open. You allowed me to read into the record these four reports, Mr. Chairman, and I commented that one of them has been in existence for over 30 years, since 1966, in fact. This is a report of the environmental monitoring effects of all our nuclear-powered ships and bases and the entire program on the entire environment around the world.
The other three books address other aspects of our environmental safety and health program, and I believe it is very open.
I also like to think of our congressional ship visits as being an important part of this openness, and once again extend to you the option to come any time; we will go find a submarine or an aircraft carrier to show off.
A recent accelerated part of our businessI felt that it was very important, when I took over the reins at Naval Reactors, for us to emphasize the cooperation with State and other Federal level regulators and interfaces that we have in the local communities. And we are doing that. We are inviting, for example, the EPA and the State regulators in for a cup of coffee; come on in, let me show you what we do, what we are about. Here are these open books. I would like for you to know what is taking place in your backyard.
All of that sounds good, but I would end on this one note that puts a little chill back into me, and that is that this is very unforgiving technology we deal with. Chernobyl and Three Miles Island are just examples. The Soviets can tell us some other examples of how you have to keep your eye on this ball or suffer the consequences.
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This unforgiving technology has required and will continue to require constant work. This work is underwrittenhonestly, and I have used this twice and I apologizeundergirded by the R&D work that this committee supports. That's the name of the game for us. And our continued success that is so important to the Nation's security from the previous board is absolutely dependent on ongoing and continual congressional support.
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
PRIMARY JOB IS TO SUPPORT PLANTS IN OPERATING SHIPS
Our primary job with 115 operating reactors and 95 ships in the ocean is to maintain the safe operation of those operating plants, and that is where the vast amount of our resources, both human and monetary, are poured. It requires this continual testing and analysis and monitoring and R&D and an iterative process that goes through the R&D and back to analysis and testing.
One of the very important successes of this R&D feedback, analysis, testing, more R&D has been the extension of the lifetime of these reactor cores. When Nautilus, the first nuclear-powered ship, hit the water, that reactor core was good for 2 years. Today, we are designing a reactor core for the new attack submarine that will last the life of the ship. That is importantleaps ahead both for the environment, for operational reasons to keep those ships on station, and for a number of other reasons having to do with money.
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It falls to us to stay on top of replacing the equipment as it becomes obsolete, to stay at the edge of the envelope. This R&D that we work on today, that sometimes has to do with problems that are generated in the fleet, those telephone calls I talked about in this area, the first poster board, back to the labs, back to my headquarters, sometime that generates research and development. How can we make a better mousetrap?
Sometimes one of our great people just wakes up with a better idea and says, let me go start churning this around and see what we can come up with.
But that R&D is absolutely crucial, both for today's operating ships and for tomorrow's improvements.
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
A TIGHTLY CONTROLLED BUDGET REQUEST
And finally, this is what our budget looks like. We are about 4 percent of the DOE budget and we are less than 1 percent of the total defense budget of the country. And I think the returns say that that is pretty good leverage, in terms of the Nation's security and what this program brings to the country.
Over the period of time since really the end of the Cold War to today, the Naval Reactors budget in constant dollars has fallen 30 percent. We have done that through the old hard-core downsizing of the laboratories and that certainly has happened; the laboratories have been reduced by about 30 percent, person for person, but we have also shut down six of our eight land-based R&D and training prototype reactor plants.
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We, unfortunately, also shut down two of our shipyards along the way. I say unfortunately because some awfully good people went away with those decisions, but it was an unfortunate necessity and fact of life of today. Overall, a 30 percent reduction over this period.
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
Admiral BOWMAN. Mr. Chairman, subject to your questions, that concludes my opening comments.
[The prepared statement of Admiral Bowman follows:]
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
RECESS FOR VOTE
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Admiral, you are right on target. You finished just at the right moment because we have a vote on right now. I thought it would be most appropriate if we would recess for just a handful of minutes, vote, come back and then we will commence with questioning. We very much appreciate the testimony, and we will get into that just as soon as we get back from our vote. So we will be in recess, then, for just a short time. Thank you.
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Admiral BOWMAN. I promise to be here.
RUSSIAN SUBMARINE DEVELOPMENT
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. The committee will come to order, and we will resume from where we left off. Again, Admiral, thank you very much for the testimony. We appreciate very much what you do and what your people do and what the military does and certainly the Navy, and your reach in terms of the spectrum of activity and supervision that you have.
I want to talk maybe not so much about the U.S. situation first, but I will get into that, but first let's talk a little bit about a concern that I have, this committee has, regarding Russia. You know, only a decade ago, the Soviet arsenal hit its peak, and they were talking then about, I think, it was a Typhoon was the ballistic missile submarine, which I guess never really materialized to any great point. But in any event, that whole thing changed when the United States, through the efforts of the Navy and the strength of the Navy, among other branches of the service, did rise to challenge the Russians, the USSR, and a whole lot of things stopped.
They tell me that of 62 strategic submarines deployed by the Soviet Union in the 1990s, the Russian Navy currently has only 28, and by some reports as few as [deleted] are operational, and at the peak of the Cold War tensions between 20 and 22 submarines, Russian submarines, were at sea. Today, there are usually [deleted] I have been told, and they do not go far. I believe, as you mentioned in your commentary, I think, they stay pretty close to the mother country.
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I think so far some [deleted] submarines have been retired officially or unofficially are in line to be retired. I think the credit, again, for all this coming into play or happening, the credit should go to the U.S. Navy and to the armed forces branches. This fact was pointed out in a recent article in the Washington Post that you may have been privy to and may have seen, I think it occurred over the weekend, the buildup of our forces did bring an end to the Cold War, brought the Soviet Union to its knees. And certainly I am a strong supporter for maintaining a strong defense and our world superiority.
However, with tighter budgets in recent years, the military, like the rest of the Federal Government, has been forced to prioritize their programs. While we maintain our world superiority, and I hope that we do maintain our superiority, how does the decline of the Russian submarine force play into the U.S. Navy's plans?
Admiral BOWMAN. Mr. Chairman, that is a very good question. [Deleted.]
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. [Deleted.]
Admiral BOWMAN. [Deleted.]
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Does that compare at all with the NIMITZ category?
Admiral BOWMAN. The SEVERODVINSK is a submarine which would be their response to our improved 688 class submarine. It is about at that level. Certainly, our SEAWOLF, and without question our next generation, our New Attack Submarines are better submarines.
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Mr. KNOLLENBERG. I didn't mean to say thewhat did I say?
Admiral BOWMAN. I think you meant New Attack Submarine, yes.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Yes, the attack submarine is what I meant to say.
Admiral BOWMAN. Yes, sir. But it would be their response really to trying to close the gap between the AKULA II and our improved 688's. So we are still a generation or two ahead of the Russians.
On the operational side, what we saw this last year was indeed a slow down. You might remember just a year ago, I believe it was, and it mightI believe a year ago, summer1996 summer, we had a very firm indication and then the press picked up the fact that the Russians had deployed a submarine, an AKULA, the best that they have, just off Kings Bay, Georgia. You remember that series of articles that followed?
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Uh-huh.
Admiral BOWMAN. That did happen. That same year there were a couple of our carrier battle groups that were shadowed by other Russian submarines. [Deleted.]
Page 200 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Now, the year before it was Kings Bay Trident base. [Deleted.]
So they are still out there. They have slowed down. You are absolutely right in your premise, they have slowed.
OFFSET FOLIOS 869 INSERT HERE
WORLDWIDE SUBMARINE FORCES
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. But you are not going to rest on that because you are concerned that they still have the capability to start up at any time if they should choose to, to extend or promote that in some other way, with more of those
Admiral BOWMAN. I am absolutely concerned about that. And if I could address one other thing, please, sir, there is another piece of this.
The New Attack Submarine today was not necessarily and is not necessarily being developed against a specific threat. We are no longer in thiswe are no longer in this numbers game that we were in the Cold War. The New Attack Submarine today brings to the table capability that our unified Commanders need in their theaters for multimission execution of military responsibilities.
Several studies have been conducted that show, as recently as last summer, a study that shows that we really need about 72 attack submarines to make do with the post Cold War peacetime presence requirements. So the New Attack Submarine needs to be delivered to bring capability to the country, and irrespective of SovietI keep saying Soviet. I apologize. Irrespective of Russian deployments or construction.
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I am going to show you something while you are making your next question here just very quickly.
What this was intended to do was give you a few numbers in this regard about what is going on in the rest of the world, submarine world, submarine business.
It says 445 submarines operated by 42 other nations and here are some headlines from
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Admiral, if I might, is there a waythat we could have some smaller copy of that? I can't see much from here. I am not sure the committee can.
Admiral BOWMAN. You bet. This big one says 445 submarines operated by 42 other nations. And then there are just some headlines here from some of the stories that I just recounted about the Russian deployments and what is going on.
The committee might be interested in knowing that there are four other countries, other than the United States, that operate nuclear submarines today. About 90 of those 445 are nuclear submarines. That includes Russia, China, France and the UK.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. How about Iran and Iraq?
Admiral BOWMAN. Iran has diesel submarines, KILO class submarines that have been bought from Russia. A new wrinkle in thatagain, this is recent information from the Office of Naval Intelligence, says that where the Russians were only exporting an exportable version of the KILO, they began this last year with the first sale to China to sell their very top of the line KILO class. That is a KILO class submarine that includes all the quieting and all the capability that the Russians would use if they were operating that KILO class for themselves. That's a new turn and it is an important one.
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Mr. KNOLLENBERG. That would be sold perhaps to whom?
Admiral BOWMAN. KILOs have been soldI would have toif you will let me take that for the recordfor sure to Iran, three of them to Iran; to India, to China and I would have to provide for the record the other countries.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. And those were the countries I was concerned about, too, in terms of their nuclear capability.
Admiral BOWMAN. Yes sir. [Deleted].
TYPES OF SUBMARINE PROPULSION
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Let me turn now to a question about the types of propulsion, nuclear versus alternatives. And it is my understanding that there are several types of propulsion systems, from the smaller ships all the way up to the carriers.
Can you give us some indication, give the committee some indication, of the various types of propulsion systems and the pros and cons briefly? I know that is a tough order, but very quickly and maybe in terms of how that connects to the preference for one or the other in certain battle conditions? Could you maybe move in from the types and then into what would be preferential, perhaps, for battle conditions?
Admiral BOWMAN. Yes, sir. I hope I don't put anyone to sleep here.
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Mr. KNOLLENBERG. You can be brief.
Admiral BOWMAN. Yes sir.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Just give us some quick, if you can, read on that.
Admiral BOWMAN. On the submarine side, there are two fundamental types of propulsion for submarines. There is nuclear propulsion, which makes a true submarine, and then there is diesel power or battery-powered submarines.
The diesel submarines today use a combination of electric power that is stored in batteries and carried on board, and a diesel generator that generates electricity to drive the ship service requirements, the lights, the combat control systems, as well as the motors that push the submarine through the water, while on or near the surface.
So there are diesel submarines, colloquially called diesel, even though they are battery powered when they are not on the diesel, and the nuclear submarines. In the diesel submarine area, new technology is pushing toward investigations to extend the underwater endurance of those diesel submarines. Today's diesel electric battery powered submarine can stay underwater for about 7 days, 9 days at a time. Those are rough numbers. There are new kinds of systems that sometimes involve storage of hydrogen and oxygen, not a very nice thing to think about storing together on a submarine or even in this room, but much less on a submarine, that would extend that underwater endurance all the way up to 17 days of operation.
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In fact, there was a recent, ''Eureka, we have made a major breakthrough with this air-independent propulsion.'' It is call AIP, you see it in the newspaper, that got the diesel submarines, the battery-powered submarines, all the way up to 17 days.
For us, for the United States, with our global interests and with our broad range of responsibilities, that is not very interesting, very honestly.
Now, for Iran or for Singapore, if you are a small island nation, if you sit astride a choke point, a natural geographical choke point in the world, those kinds of submarines can be a formidable problem for us. So they are out there.
Those are the two propulsion systems for submarines.
AIRCRAFT CARRIER PROPULSION
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Can we move into the aircraft carriers on that?
Admiral BOWMAN. Yes, sir. On the aircraft carrier side, there really are fundamentally in existence today nuclear power and then fossil fueled steam power. Nuclear power also uses steam to turn the turbines that turn the screw that makes the thing go through the water. So the real difference is the heat source, the thing that generates the heat.
On the conventional powered carriers, it is oil. On the nuclear-powered carriers, it is nuclear power. It's uranium that is fissioning that causes the heat. From there on back it is essentially the same kind of vehicle. Some people are investigating the possibility of sizing up gas turbine generators to be able to power a large aircraft carrier. That has not been done before and especially with the military ruggedness that is required for these aircraft carriers.
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To compare very quickly, and this will not do it justice, but very quickly to compare in my view the operational advantages and disadvantages, as I said on that one chart earlier, nuclear power allows, with this small Navy that we have today, allows the carriers in this case that we can afford to operate like the carriers that we need. Now, that sounds like a catchy bumper sticker, but let me explain just a minute.
What I mean by that is that all of these studies that have been conducted in the Navy say that wenot just in the Navy, but independent studies, say that the country can certainly use today 15 carriers. Instead, we have 12. We can afford 12. As a result, we are operating these carriers today on what is called a tether, a tethered operational method.
The carrier that belongs to the Mediterranean that would be doing service off Bosnia is also a carrier that might be called on to go to the Arabian Gulf. How recently has that happened? How long ago did that happen? Last month, the GEORGE WASHINGTON nuclear carrier was forced to leave Bosnia, leave the Mediterranean and get down as quickly as possible to join the NIMITZ battle group in the Arabian Gulf because of the Saddam thing.
Likewise, there is a tether attached to the carrier that is deployed to the western Pacific and the Indian Ocean. That carrier is shared, robbing Peter to pay Paul, again, between the western Pacific and the Arabian Gulf. When did that last happen? In January, when the NIMITZ was scampered over to take care of the Saddam situation.
What nuclear power allows is, with its endurance and with its lack of dependency on a logistics train, is it allows those nuclear carriers to scamper about and be shared like that. So I think that that is one primary advantage.
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RELIABILITY OF NUCLEAR PROPULSION
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. What about reliability, the factor of reliability in comparing nuclear with the other?
Admiral BOWMAN. Without any hesitation, the reliability of the nuclear plant is head and shoulders above the reliability of conventional plants from anecdotal information that I have received from operators.
I brought with me at the urging of Mr. McDade a real operator. He is sitting on the second row here. If you would like to hear from him, I don't know how much time you want to devote to this issue.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. At some point we may want to get back to hear his commentary. At this point, we will move ahead, but we would like to, obviously, hear from him.
And I am going to wrap up here in just a minute because there is going to be some moving about up here. I am going to shift briefly and turn the Chair over to another individual. But I will conclude my questions for now and I believe we can turn to the ranking member, Mr. Vic Fazio, who I am sure has some questions.
Mr. FAZIO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have got to be somewhere in about 15 minutes, but I thought I would yield my time to Mr. Visclosky at this point, who I know had the real interest in having, although I think it was shared by others, this hearing, and who I think has some specific issues. I would like to hear the interplay between the Admiral and Mr. Visclosky.
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Mr. VISCLOSKY. I appreciate the gentleman yielding.
Mr. Chairman, I have a prepared opening statement. If I could have that entered into the record I would appreciate that very much.
[The information follows:]
As the Subcommittee may be aware, I also serve on the National Security Subcommittee, where I have heard testimony from a number of Navy officials over the last several years about several of their most critical shipbuilding programs, including the New Attack Submarine and the next-generation aircraft carrier, known as the CVX.
My ultimate goal in serving on these two subcommittees is to help provide proper congressional oversight of Naval Reactors. The Congress should be closely monitoring the design and development activities that are occurring at Naval Reactors because these activities ultimately have serious consequences for the costs and capabilities of Navy warships that are eventually procured with funds appropriated by the National Security Subcommittee.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN [presiding]. Consider it done.
IMPACT OF SHIP PROPULSION TYPE ON AIRCRAFT CARRIER OPERATIONS
Page 208 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. VISCLOSKY. Admiral, I do have a number of very specific questions, but just following up for a moment on the chairman's line of questioning about the fossil fuel and nuclear carriers. In the Persian Gulf, my understanding is there were six carriers during the Gulf War. Am I correct in that, do you know?
Admiral BOWMAN. I believe that's correct.
Mr. VISCLOSKY. Do you know how many of those were fossil fuel and how many of those were nuclear?
Admiral BOWMAN. I think all but one were fossil fuel at that time.
Mr. VISCLOSKY. Were there any serious comments or complaints that you know of as far as their effectiveness because they were fossil fuel?
Admiral BOWMAN. Under those circumstances, there were no problems. Those carriers and the crews aboard performed in perfect fashion, recognizing that the spin up to that war allowed some 6 months to develop the logistics train, to develop the oil, necessary refuelers and so forth.
Mr. VISCLOSKY. I appreciate that. And I appreciate the fact that speed may be of the essence, flexibility may be of the essence, as far as carriers' mobility.
When carriers are at sea, are they by themselves?
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Admiral BOWMAN. Carriers are sometimes by themselves and especially
Mr. VISCLOSKY. Are they often by themselves?
Admiral BOWMAN. Could I yield that question to my expert witness?
Mr. VISCLOSKY. Sure.
Admiral BOWMAN. Let me introduce, if I may, please, Admiral John Natham. Admiral Natham has just returned from being the battle group commander, the admiral in charge of that NIMITZ battle group, that just made that scamper from Singapore into the Persian Gulf.
Admiral Natham, you can help me.
I would be glad, Mr. Visclosky, to give you my considered views, but I think an aviatorI am a submariner. I have spent
Mr. VISCLOSKY. I would rather talk to you, to be honest with you, about reactors but again, just to keep the flow of the questioning consistent, if I could finish the line that would be great. Admiral.
Page 210 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Admiral NATHMAN. All right, sir. Maybe I can talk to you about some recent experiences that we had in the Persian Gulf.
Mr. VISCLOSKY. My interest specifically here is
Admiral NATHMAN. Traveling alone?
Mr. VISCLOSKY [continuing]. The concern about refueling, and if you are nuclear you don't have to worry about that, you don't have to get the oil up in advance. I would like to know the period of time when nuclear carriers, conventional carriers, if you would, diesel powered, are by themselves. My understanding is the majority of the time, at least more than half the time, they are in a carrier group.
Admiral NATHMAN. Yes, sir. I think that'syes.
Mr. VISCLOSKY. And the ships with them. Are those ships with them, are they nuclear-powered or are they powered by diesel fuel?
Admiral NATHMAN. Sir, most of them are conventionally powered. Most of them are now gas turbine in terms of their power. In the battle group that we were in, the cruisers are gas turbine. The AOE was steam-powered or fossil fuel powered.
Mr. VISCLOSKY. So those escort vessels and the other vessels in that group would have, from time to time, whether it be a combat or peacetime situation, be refueled?
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Admiral NATHMAN. Yes, sir.
Mr. VISCLOSKY. So there would be ships available to do that and they would be available for the carriers as well?
Admiral NATHMAN. Yes, sir.
NAVAL REACTORS FUNDING SITUATION
Mr. VISCLOSKY. Okay. Thank you very much.
Admiral Bowman, if I could get back to you. You had mentioned that your budget has gone down in the last couple of years. Are you experiencing any funding constraints that are causing problems in carrying out your basic mission that we should be concerned about?
Admiral BOWMAN. Thank you for asking that.
The budget request fully supports my technological requirements for 1999, the budget that is here before us today.
The budget request that is here before us today does not represent the optimum program for my remediation and inactivation program that is going on at three of our prototype sites thatremember earlier, I stated that we had decommissioned or inactivated six of the eight. The money that is requested today does not allow for the optimum execution of that inactivation or remediation program at those prototype sites.
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It is off by about 20 percent of the optimum amount needed, or $16 million.
Mr. VISCLOSKY. And, Admiral, if you could share that precise figure for the record with us I would appreciate knowing that if there is a shortfall, I think it would be beneficial to know that.
Admiral BOWMAN. Yes, sir. It is $16 million, yes.
DISTRIBUTION OF NAVAL REACTORS DEVELOPMENT FUNDING
Mr. VISCLOSKY. Admiral, the next question I would have is as far as the expenditure of your monies. Could you, in a general sense today address this, and then for the record with some specificity, the percentage of the funds that are appropriated to contractors, to government laboratories and then to government employees themselves?
Admiral BOWMAN. Yes, sir.
Mr. VISCLOSKY. Again, I would be looking for a general response today and then more specificity, if you could.
Admiral BOWMAN. And I will certainly provide that specificity for the record.
Page 213 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC If I use, Mr. Visclosky, the budget request that is before us today, the $665.5 million request, about 90 percent of that, or $500 millionI am sorry, $600 million would go to the laboratories. Of that 90 percent, of that $600 million, about 40 percent of it would go to our subcontractors who are engaged in the research and development activities that are assigned to the Department of Energy responsibilities.
Back to the $665 million, about 8 percent of the $665 million total request goes to operate the advanced test reactor in Idaho. That test reactor, it is very important to our business in the research and development side of our work.
It provides in-pile, in-core, in-reactor core, radiation measurements and testing of materials, both fuel and structural material.
So about 8 percent of that $665 million, $50 million goes to that. About 3 percent, and I realize that I am now at 101 percentabout 3 percent goes to the salary side of our business. So 3 percent of the $665 million, or roughly $20 million of the $665 million, would go to the pay, benefits, salaries of our employees, scattered around that first chart that I had. That adds to $670 million and it adds up to 101 percent, but rough numbers.
[The information follows:]
RECIPIENTS OF NAVAL REACTORS DEVELOPMENT FUNDING
The Naval Reactors Development budget breaks down into seven functional areas: Reactor Technology and Analysis, Materials Development and Verification, Plant Technology, Evaluation & Servicing, Facilities Operations, Construction, and Program Direction. The vast bulk, about 90% of these funds, go to the Bettis and Knolls Laboratories, which are government-owned, contractor-operated facilities. They are currently operated by CBS, Inc., and Lockheed-Martin, respectively. A small amount, around 8%, goes to the Advanced Test Reactor Facility at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory to carry out a key materials effort, irradiations testing. The remaining amount of 3% goes for salaries of Naval Reactors' 214 DOE employees.
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Of the operating funds going to the laboratories, about 40% on average goes to subcontractors. Of this subcontracted effort, about 25% goes to inactivation and remediation, 20% to infrastructure related to the laboratories, for example, utilities, repairs, supplies and services, 10% to materials evaluations, 10% to general reactor technology, 10% to reactor plant arrangements, 8% to instrumentation and control development, 6% to next generation reactor core and mechanism development, 4% to steam generator work, 4% to prototype plant operations, and 2% to spent core examinations.
In addition, the laboratories subcontract the vast majority of the Facilities Operations and Construction funds, which are for equipment and facilities at the laboratories. This increases the overall subcontracted percentage on average to about 50%.
STATUS OF NUCLEAR INDUSTRIAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL BASE
Mr. VISCLOSKY. Admiral, I am very concerned also about the technological base and the industrial base as far as the support of Naval reactors. What is the situation as far as the industrial and technological base from your perspective? Clearly, we have many fewer submarines coming on-line. Obviously, it is an open question, which may not be open as far as carriers in the future. What does the industrial base look like from your perspective?
Admiral BOWMAN. Thank you for being concerned about it. I am, too.
The current industrial base workload is as low a workload as it has been since the early, early days of the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program. We have worked very hard in this program to reengineer and to work with those subcontractors and those vendors to ensure that they can support the program.
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As an aside, if I may, one of the things I did in my first year in this job, Mr. Visclosky, was travel around to these various single source, in most cases, suppliers and make an effort to talk to the people, talk to the blue collar workers primarily, and tell them the story that I tried to tell very quickly here before the committee earlier today, and that is the importance of their lives and work in the country's defense and security.
I would typically begin these sessions by saying, if your job is to measure the ''framits'' everyday, it is difficult for you to realize how important this really has been. And I think we have a solid core of people out there who understand the importance of the program.
We are today holding on and can maintain that very crucial, very critical industrial base, with about one submarine ship set per year. That is about the break-even point, or I should say the break point. And we believe that we have that. Specifically, we have five of these submarine ship sets in the program of record over the next 6 years, a little less than the one per year that I would like to have, but I think that it is holding us there and it has also put us in a reasonable position to be able to increase that workload if such a need arises; that is, to increase the number of submarines or, as you said, the potential carrier requirements.
Mr. VISCLOSKY. Any subsets as far as critical suppliers that may be in some danger here? Or with one set a year, we will be able to maintain the base that you do need?
Admiral BOWMAN. Sir, I believe that one set a year will maintain that base. We are, indeed, down to single source suppliers in a number of these very critical areas, but to my knowledge none of them are having difficulty making ends meet today.
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Mr. VISCLOSKY. As long as we can maintain consistency as far as that workload?
Admiral BOWMAN. Yes, sir, that is very important, the consistency.
IMPACT OF CVX PROGRAM ON INDUSTRIAL BASE
Mr. VISCLOSKY. How does the CVX figure into the industrial base, if I could ask? Because you specifically talk about submarine subsets and that clearly is a question for the future. How does that play into the industrial base?
Admiral BOWMAN. Well, it would be a very important adjunct to the underlying foundation for the industrial base. That is to say, we could share overhead costs. We could share infrastructure costs across a broader number of components and a broader base.
We are not dependent on it. The industrial base, as I said, is dependent on about one submarine set a year. Any CVX work that would come the nuclear way would just make matters easier.
Mr. VISCLOSKY. Mr. Chairman, if you would indulge me, if I could develop one other line of questioning, then I would yield for a second round if that would be possible.
Page 217 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MCDADE [presiding]. Mr. Visclosky, you continue with your questioning and if we need to shift over to someone else to convenience a Member, we will let you know, but you are doing a fine job and you continue your questioning, please.
CVX PROPULSION PLANT STUDIES
Mr. VISCLOSKY. Admiral, we had talked earlier in the office about the propulsion plant for the CVX, and I had expressed to you at that time a concern about the analysis of alternatives being prejudiced before a final decision is made as to the power plant that would be in a new generation of aircraft carriers.
The question I have is, where are you today at the Office of Naval Reactors in developing or designing a nuclear propulsion plant for the CVX, and how these activities relate to the analysis of alternatives currently under way for the CVX? And do you think the activities prejudice or bias the outcome of the analysis?
Admiral BOWMAN. Mr. Visclosky, the Office of Naval Reactors is an active participant in the ongoing analysis of alternatives. Specifically, we are developing conceptually, that is conducting conceptual studies and scoping studies, for a large, a medium and a small carrier.
We are focusing on the large carrier; that is to say, the 100,000-ton variant of the three studies that were initiated. We are responsibleI personally am responsible for providing to the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of the Navy my very best considered opinion of what is possible, what can be done.
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To do that, and to do that with honesty and integrity and not promise the world when it is a back of the envelope kind of calculation requires some degree of fidelity. So the scoping studies are, indeed, evaluating and, as I said, focusing on the large carrier, focusing on the 100,000 ton carrier, to ask the questions at least at the conceptual level, questions such as can we field a life of the ship core for this 50-year carrier of the future? That would be another huge step. You may recall that the one chart said 30 years.
Mr. VISCLOSKY. Thirty years.
Admiral BOWMAN. Yes, sir. We would be talking about a 50-year reactor core. I better not, and I will not, say to the Secretary of Defense that we think we can do that or that we will do that unless I have something to back it up. I worry that any hand signal might be interpreted wrong and might even sway the cost analysis without having some firm foundation to back it up.
So there is some degree of fidelity involved in this. There is no design, there is no designno detailed design, I should say. There is nothing beyond these kinds of studies. There is nothing that Naval Reactors is doing that would in any shape, form or fashion limit the Chief of Naval Operations options for mission capabilities, size, shape or any of the other important factors that he has to consider.
Mr. VISCLOSKY. And the office is not engaged in any detailed design?
Page 219 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Admiral BOWMAN. There is no detailed design going on for the CVX.
Mr. VISCLOSKY. So it would be your position that the Department would still have an option to choose, if they would, a fossil fuel-powered carrier?
Admiral BOWMAN. I think very clearly the Department of Defense has the option to choose any one of the several types of propulsion.
Mr. VISCLOSKY. Okay. I would yield my time for now. Thank you, Admiral.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCDADE. Mr. Knollenbergoh, the gentleman from New Jersey, the distinguished gentleman from New Jersey, is recognized.
RUSSIAN POST-COLD WAR EMPHASIS ON SUBMARINES
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Admirals, congratulations to both of you for the work you do.
In your opening remarks and in your prepared statement you say during the Cold War the Soviets placed greater emphasis on their submarine force, recognizing the advantage of submarines for sea control and power projections.
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How would you characterize the post-Cold War emphasis?
Admiral BOWMAN. Sir, the statements of the Russian Navy leaders, the statements of the Russian defense leaders, have led us to believe that a great deal of their energy and effort was going to be poured into the submarine pipeline; that, indeed, they did consider the submarine to be the capital ship of the Navy. If you count merely the numbers, I think that the numbers would back up that opinion.
As I said earlier, though, recent information shows that the Russian overall financial situation across the country is taking its toll on ideas to build and operate more and more and more of these submarine capital ships.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Yes, but the public perception, a lot of thisthe public perception is that just because the Cold War is over, that somehow the Russians are less frightening. I get the impression that they are still very much in the business of gathering intelligence, doing espionage, counterespionage. That theyif these article headlines are any indication, they are extremely active in monitoring our activities. And one can't disagree with the number of articles in the Washington Post that Congressman Knollenberg referred to entitled, ''Downsizing a Mighty Arsenal,'' but they still have potential.
I assume they still have a potential force that we have to contend with.
Admiral BOWMAN. You are absolutely correct.
Page 221 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. We are no less vigilant as a result of the fact that they have two operative submarines out of a peak time in the Cold War of 20 to 22; we are still just as vigilant?
Admiral BOWMAN. We are absolutely just as vigilant and, sir, I would caution you, I believe that that article is referring to their fleet ballistic missile submarines, their strategic submarines, when talking 2 out of 23 active.
On the attack submarine side, I think that the numbers are somewhat different, and the attack submarines were the ones that I referred to earlier, operating out of area, off Kings Bay, off Oregon, [deleted] shadowing the battle groups. Those are not the strategic submarines that are in that article, but your point is well taken.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Those types of actions are not the mark of a nation that is in decline
Admiral BOWMAN. Or one that has quit.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN [continuing]. In terms of considering itself a world power.
You have mentioned they have enhanced China's submarine capacity. Is that something that we have monitored pretty closely?
Admiral BOWMAN. Yes, sir, it is something we have monitored closely.
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SALE OF RUSSIAN SUBMARINES TO CHINA
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Could you expand on that a little bit? Do they sell submarines or do they do them as part of trade agreements, and what capacity do they have? Are any of those nuclear submarines?
Admiral BOWMAN. They do sell submarines. They have sold at least one KILO class diesel submarine to China. None of them are nuclear. The Chinese have an indigenous capability to develop and are developing their own nuclear submarines as well as their own diesel submarines. They are currently constructing those submarines today.
My concern, and the concern that I would bring to this committee, is out of this new intelligence that indicates that the Russians this last year sold their very, very best diesel submarine, not the old export version that banged and clanged, but the version that the Russians operate for themselves that that is going to provide the capability to the Chinese to reverse engineer some of the sound quieting techniques and some of the other capabilities on board that submarine.
I am not fearful of that submarine, if I were still in command of my nuclear submarine in a one-on-one kind of situation, but reverse engineering, the sound quieting, and the weapons systems, and all the other capability can only make the Chinese indigenous submarines that much better.
NORTH KOREAN SUBMARINE INCIDENT
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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. What did you make of the stranded North Korean submarine? To the average person, it appeared that maybe there was some incompetence on the North Koreans' part, but in reality I thought it somewhat represented a warning shot. Quite honestly, as a Member of Congress, I never knew the North Koreans had any submarine capacity at all.
Was there anything that you took from that incident as a warning?
Admiral BOWMAN. We took that incident very seriously, as you did. And I would agree with you that it does represent a warning shot.
Now, of course, we have known and do know that the North Koreans have infiltration-capable submarines and that is their primary job to sneak special forces ashore in South Korea. They are not so much built to represent a specific threat to our ships or our submarines but, rather, to infiltrate the South.
We will continue to watch that situation very closely.
WORLDWIDE SUBMARINE DEVELOPMENT
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. [Deleted.]
Admiral BOWMAN. [Deleted.]
Page 224 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. [Deleted.]
Admiral BOWMAN. [Deleted.]
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. And other countries, how many other countries? There are 445 submarines operated by 42 nations, which is what you said earlier, but are other countries building new submarines?
Admiral BOWMAN. Yes, sir, other countries are building submarines. To be
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. For the record, what are those countries?
Admiral BOWMAN. If I may take that for the record, I can go through severalcertainly, Germany is building a diesel submarine. Australia is building a diesel submarine; China I mentioned earlier; Russia I have already mentioned. There are a number of countries, and if you would allow me to provide an accurate list for the record, and I will also provide some specificity in terms of numbers and capability.
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Page 225 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING OF RUSSIAN SUBMARINES LOST AT SEA
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Yes. In your environmental monitoring book, you mentioned the loss of two nuclear-powered submarines, one in 1963 and one in 1968. How many have the Russians lost?
Admiral BOWMAN. Sir, I believe the number
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. And their losses, we obviously have monitored, according to the data you provided, what was the impact of those losses on the environment? Has there been environmental monitoring of what the Russian losses have caused surrounding those vessels?
Admiral BOWMAN. The answer to how many, I believe the number is 5, and we are not entirely certain about intentional scuttling versus unintentional losses at sea or at least one of those. But I believe the number is 5.
In terms of environmental monitoring, the most recent Russian losses at sea have been monitored not only by the Russians, but by the international community. A great deal of interest, especially inthe most recent, the Mike submarine that was lost in the Norwegian Sea. That submarine has been the object of a great deal of investigation by the international environmental community to just see that the outfall really is.
DEFENSE OF DEPLOYED AIRCRAFT CARRIERS
Page 226 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. And the last question, satisfy my curiosity. We have 35,000 troops and sailors over in the Persian Gulf. I guess we have two aircraft carriers there. At one point, we had three. I often get questions from my constituents as to whether our sailors are at risk in any way by either submarines or other, you know, land missiles. What sort of cover and protection do we have for those, other than, obviously, destroyers that are surrounding them and other ships; what mechanisms do we actually have to protect those carriers which by any definition are large, huge and vulnerable?
How would you answer that to a lay audience?
Admiral BOWMAN. I would agree with your question and the premise of your question right up to the last word, ''vulnerable.'' These carriers arecarry a great deal of self protection as well, as Mr. Visclosky mentioned the protection and the synergy afforded by the rest of that battle group. There is always risk. A military operation involves risk. Flying off an aircraft carrier, flying off an aircraft carrier at night, involves risk.
And I am going to shut up because I am out of my league, and if you would allow me to
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. We all have tremendous admiration for those who fly, as well as those who are backing up those flights.
Admiral BOWMAN. Yes, sir.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. But I would certainly be interested in your perspective.
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Admiral BOWMAN. The battle group commander of the NIMITZ, I believe, can answer that question probably better than I.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. All right. Thank you.
Admiral NATHAM. Yes, sir. I will introduce myself. I am Rear Admiral John Nathman. I just left the NIMITZ battle group as the battle group commander, and in the Persian Gulf you are the force commander for the ships that arethe Navy combatant ships that are in the Gulf. So the time that I was there, we initially went in with USS NIMITZ and GEORGE WASHINGTON arrived about a month later, to respond to the further worsening of that crisis, specifically with the United Nations special commission in Iraq as our inspectors were kicked out and then removed.
To answer your question specifically about the defense of those ships, as you know, we do often operatewe operate most frequently as a battle group or battle force, where the carriers have their own built-in defense, which is primarily their air wing, which can project power from, of course, those flight decks hundreds of miles inland. Their layer defense is, of course, with cruisers, with destroyers and with submarines, which support and also provide power projection for those aircraft carriers as well as the rest of the force.
As an example, sir, we had the PELELIU Amphibious Readiness Group in the Gulf with us. That was some 2,500 Marines. And this is the way I would answer the American public on that: We protected those Marines when they were at sea because we included them in the force protection for the rest of the battle force that was in the Gulf. We provided air cover. We provided sea space surveillance so we understood what was out there. We provided a common intelligence picture and collection picture against both the Iranians and the Iraqis.
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So we not only knew what their capabilities were, but what they would most likely do. So we could protect those particular individual sailors and Marines by making sure that they had an umbrella coverage, whether it was ship protection or air protection.
One of our biggest factors out there, of course, is the mobility of our ships, which I think really diminishes greatly the risk that we have when we are at sea, because you are not talking about force protection againstwhen you are land based, as we have had recent experiences with some of our forces in that area. These ships and the men and women on those ships are at sea so they are very well protected by, I think, the fact that we can move them and we can protect them while they are moving.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Thank you very much for that reaction.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
U.S. ASSISTANCE WITH RUSSIAN SUBMARINE DISPOSAL
Mr. MCDADE. My friend from Indiana, Mr. Visclosky.
Mr. VISCLOSKY. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Fazio asked that I ask a question on his behalf, and I think it would be of interest to all of the members.
Page 229 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Admiral, are we helping the Russians dispose of their submarine reactor cores that are in these ships that are at dock side? And if so, are we providing technical assistance? Is there a monetary assistance involved?
Admiral BOWMAN. The answer to the question is, yes, we are assisting, both through the Nunn-Lugar funds and that whole program effort.
The Russians today, Mr. Visclosky, have ten sets of defueling equipment available for their use. In point of fact, they are defueling two to three submarines a year with this 10 sets of equipment that we have provided them.
Last year, a delegation from Russia came to the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and the shipyard commander, and some of my people, walked the Russian delegation through the methodology that the United States uses very competently and professionally in inactivating our submarines.
We are helping. They have a backlog right now of [deleted] submarines that they haven't started on yet that have been inactivated or removed from service and still have fuel in them. They have another [deleted] submarines that are in some state of inactivation, fuel removal, so on and so forth.
In total, I believe my numbers are correct that [deleted] only [deleted] of the Russian submarines out of this total number have now been completely inactivated, with the fuel removed, and with the reactor compartments cut out similar to what we do, but left afloat in the water.
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So we are watching what
Mr. VISCLOSKY. The reactors are?
Admiral BOWMAN. The reactor compartment, the fuel has been removed.
Mr. VISCLOSKY. Yes.
Admiral BOWMAN. And is land stored. But the reactor compartment isthe reactor compartment with the vessel and the piping and all of that has been chopped out of the submarine and is floating there alongside.
Now, that is unlikeyou may recall one of my pictures when I said cradle to grave, the grave part was our latest picture of our 71 reactor compartments that are stored neatly in the trench in Hanford, Washington. That is what we do with ours.
To your question, we are helping the Russians. There is money involved. There is a more recent effort to direct some of this Nunn-Lugar money more directly into the Russians' hands, either through an intermediary in this country or directly to the Russian shipyards. The resource constraint that I spoke of in the construction business is making itself felt in the deconstruction business, too.
I worry a little bit that becauseexactly as you pointed out, because the wherewithal, the expertise, the design experts, the methodology to push the button and recommence their construction of new submarines is just beneath the surface; that we watch closely that the assets that we are providing to the Russians out of concern for environment, out of concern for moving on with the START treaties, that we be careful that that resource is being directed in that direction and not being diverted to some other use that could be to our dismay some day.
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Mr. VISCLOSKY. Admiral, if you could, for the record provide the subcommittee with a dollar amount, and if it is exclusively from the Nunn-Lugar pot, I would appreciate that very much.
Admiral BOWMAN. Yes, sir.
[The information follows:]
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN NAVAL REACTORS' DOE AND NAVY FUNDING
Mr. VISCLOSKY. As you know, Admiral, the chairman and I serve on the National Security Subcommittee and one of the reasonsand I really appreciate the fact that the hearing is being held and therefore you are here today, is that you almost have two committees of jurisdiction here and you have two pots of money, to make sure that we are focusing on the activities as a whole.
One of the questions I have is, we have a Program Element for Advanced Nuclear Power Systems in the National Security Subcommittee. And my understanding for fiscal year 1998, about $80.8 million of that is going to your shop for R&D on the propulsion plant for the New Attack Submarine.
A couple of questions I have. One, is that part of the pie chart that you have up here, is that part of the 665 or is that in addition to the 665?
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Admiral BOWMAN. That is in addition to.
Mr. VISCLOSKY. Okay. So that is a separate pot of money? That is not included in that chart?
Admiral BOWMAN. That is correct, yes, sir.
Mr. VISCLOSKY. At what point did funding for the work on the S9G power plant transition from DOE to DOD? Is there a transition where the money spent on a new plant like that transitions from this subcommittee to defense? Is it a shared cost? Is there a dual track that we should be following?
Admiral BOWMAN. The DOE technical and regulatory responsibilities and the associated funding that goes with that are for reactor development, reactor plant development.
Mr. VISCLOSKY. You are talking about the national security pot?
Admiral BOWMAN. No, sir. The pot
Mr. VISCLOSKY. DOE?
Page 233 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Admiral BOWMAN. Yes, sir, the DOE pot is for reactor system, reactor plant development.
The Navy or the National Security Committee R&D money is for the propulsion plant developmentresearch and development. It is easy to get confused about where that line is. And I am sympathetic.
Mr. VISCLOSKY. I am confused.
Admiral BOWMAN. Yes, sir. The reactor plant moneythis really goes back to the reason for the dual nature of our business; that it is the Department of Energy and Department of Navy. My Department of Energy responsibilities and that associated funding, I think the arrangementwell, first of all, that funding is crucial to executing my responsibilities in regards to reactor safety.
The arrangement recognizes that reactor safety begins with design and it goes through test and it continues on for the lifetime of that equipment and of that core, literally for the lifetime.
Secondly, the Department of Energy responsibility and the associated funding give me the arm's length that I need for hard hitting assessments of Navy activities and for intervention, if that should become necessary. And I would note that this arrangement, this DOE/Department of Navy, dual hat arrangement, was first introduced as a part of the Atomic Energy Act at the beginning. And that act, and the Congress, suggested that the right formula would be to separate those activities that were involved in developing the nuclear energy from those activities that were involved in using that nuclear energy. So I think that the formula works today.
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Now, specifically, the Energy money goes to developing the reactor core and the reactor physics and the thermal analysis, the hydraulic analysis, the flow through the core, the instrumentation that is directly associated with that reactor plant; the reactor vessel that contains this reactor core; the components that are directly associated with the generation of energy.
The propulsion plant portions that are overseen by the Navyor, I am sorry, by the National Security Committee are the other pieces of the plant, the propulsion plant, that convert that reactor energy and heat to usable steam and energy on downstream.
So on lead ships, such as the New Attack Submarine first ship will be, we are responsible and that National Security Committee oversight and money funding includes all the way back to the main turbines, the turbines that turn the screw, to make the ship go. It includes the turbine generators that provide the electrical power for the ship.
So the Navy's R&D side is responsible for developing that propulsion plant material while the DOE committee's side has to do with the energy side. Again, consistent with that first Atomic Energy Act notion that the generation of atomic energy should be separate from the user side.
Mr. VISCLOSKY. And you are comfortable with that arrangement then?
Admiral BOWMAN. Sir, I am extremely comfortable. I have spent a great number of hours asking myself about that and trying to learn the inside out of this. And I am extremely comfortable and furthermore convinced that it is the right formula for today and that it makes sense.
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Mr. VISCLOSKY. We have had a number of conversations, Admiral, and the chairman and I certainly have, but for the benefit of the other Members, I, first of all, really respect the work that your office has done. I really respect the openness you have shown to me in all of our discussions, despite the fact that we have not entirely agreed all the time.
The concern I have fundamentally is to ensure that the Navy and the Office of Naval Reactors are acting as one and that they are complementary of each other as opposed to one driving either way.
Admiral BOWMAN. You bet.
S9G FUNDING HISTORY
Mr. VISCLOSKY. And I do think that hasn't always happened, and I am not suggesting it is happening today. I would propose that part of the failure, and I take some of that responsibility, is oversight, making sure we follow it from the beginning to the end. And I think too oftenand I would say myself, I am looking at your program, by the time it gets over to the National Security Subcommittee, and then I become suspicious or questioning.
If I could have you, for the record, and it might take some doing, but just so I have a better appreciation for where that transition and how that transition take place, if I could have your office provide a detailed funding history for S9G, showing the various DOE and DOD research funding lines and program elements involved over time, and the amounts of funding in each of these research funding lines on an annualized basis. Because I think if I could take one case example and see it from beginning to end, it might make this situation much clearer for me and I would find that very, very helpful. And I realize that is going to be a burden for somebody, but it is not a request lightly made.
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Admiral BOWMAN. I will certainly do that, sir.
[The information follows:]
S9G FUNDING HISTORY
The following table identifies New Attack Submarine R&D funding. The DOE Naval Reactors Development costs reflect best estimates of the effort relevant to the S9G reactor plant for New Attack Submarine. Note that there is overlap in this effort with other plant types, given the generic nature of much of the Program's work because all current plants, as well as this plant, are of the same general type. The same is true for the Navy Advanced Power Systems R&D funding category. Also note the New Attack Submarine plant benefited from work in technology areas leading up to the time frames noted in the table. For example, the modified fuel process development began in the 1970s, was applied to the advanced fleet reactor for the SEAWOLF Class, and ongoing refinements made possible the commitment to a life-of-the-ship-core for the New Attack Submarine. This is the first ship class for which there has been such a commitment made at the outset.
POTENTIAL TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES ASSOCIATED WITH CVX
Mr. VISCLOSKY. If I could just, on the CVX plant, from your perspective, Admiral, do you think that the new plant, assuming it occurs, would represent a technological leap ahead from what you have in the New Attack Submarine, or will it represent generally the same level of technology?
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Admiral BOWMAN. Mr. Visclosky, in my wildest imagination, I can't fathom that it wouldn't represent a leap ahead in technology. Specifically, the New Attack Submarine should deliver and hit the water in the year 2004. If the decision is made by the Department of Defense, through the AOA that is ongoing now for the carrier to become nuclear, that ship hits the water in the year 2013.
What we do in general, and what we do specifically, I should say, there is always ongoing research and development and technological pushes at the envelope. I said that on a couple of these poster boards, that R&D is what it is all about.
When the time comes to begin pulling together out of the Naval Reactors' tool box those technologies that are mature enough and developed enough for that next generation submarine or surface ship, that is exactly what we do. We look down across the spectrum of all our technology areas and say, where are we with fuel? Where are we with cladding? Where are we with the structures? Where are we with pumps? Where are we with the steam generators? Where are we with everything? And what's mature enough to go on board this next thing that's coming down line?
We have a view right now, we have a vision right now, I know what is mature enough to go on board the New Attack Submarine, and I believe I know what is coming that will be available to go on the carriers if DOD turns that way. I would be flabbergasted if that carrier doesn't represent a dramatic improvement in technology.
Now, it may not be exactly the same. It is not a one-size-fits all kind of situation, but as an example, in instrumentation and control, if I may share with the committee, and I will probably get in trouble, I took Dr. Shirley Jackson, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman, on a carrier, the JOHN C. STENNIS, the latest of our carriers to operate. She went down with me into the nuclear propulsion plant, looked around. We visited with the people. We saw the technology.
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On the airplane on the way home, she said, your instrumentation and control is beyond that we have in our commercial plants by a lot.
I was pretty pleased with that, but it representsI think it is a sea story, shore story, that tells you that we are constantly pushing the envelope.
I said obsolete equipment replacement. Every time that happens, we put the next generation, the next best. The fellow who is driving my submarine around in the water today, if you look at my biography it says that I was the commanding officer of the USS CITY OF CORPUS CHRISTI, one of our LOS ANGELES Class submarines back in the eighties. That scoundrel who is now the commanding officer of my ship, [laughter] has a lot more capability at his fingertips than I did, and we haven't changed the core. We haven't changed the fundamental plant. What we have done is work through this research and development and feedback from analysis and computer simulations and computer studies, and found ways to squeeze a little bit more energy, a little bit more capability, along the way.
[Deleted.] Now, that is important for an operator. If I had had that, I probably would have gotten in big trouble back then. But it represents, sirthe answer to your question, if it is not better, shame on me.
AIRCRAFT CARRIER PROPULSION
Mr. VISCLOSKY. I have a couple more questions, but I would submit those for the record. But I think I would be remiss if I just didn't make a final comment, and, Admiral, again, it is repetitive for the two of us, but for the members on the committee, a final decision hasn't been made by the Navy as to whether the next generation of carriers will be nuclear-powered.
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I believe in my heart the Navy has made that decision, but technically the analysis is taking place. My concern is not on the quality of your work or the research, the development or the efficacy in many instance of nuclear power. The great concern, I have, sitting on the National Security Subcommittee, is that we are at about 300 ships today, and I assume there is no absolute magical answer or number of ships, but I feel much more comfortable today as a citizen of this country, if we have a 300-ship Navy, than if 20 years from now we have a 200-ship Navy.
And my concern, and obviously it is a matter of study and dispute and controversy, is the carrying costs, the life cycle costs of various options the Navy is looking at, and my concern is that overall shipbuilding budget as to whether or not we can afford a particular alternative today and also afford to have 300 ships 20 years from now.
And I am very sincere in that desire to maintain our current strength level, because I think the Navy is where it is at, given the current world situation. And, again, my concern is, it is not a perfect world. I would like it to be a good world, and I would like us to have 300 good ships out there.
Admiral BOWMAN. Exactly.
Mr. VISCLOSKY. Instead of 200 perfect ships, and that is my great, great concern on the carrier issue, I must tell you.
And I didn't mean to be rude earlier, Admiral, by cutting you off, but I had a lot to talk about.
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Admiral NATHMAN. Yes, sir.
Mr. VISCLOSKY. So I just hope you understand what my concern is. But with that, again, I thank you very much and I do respect the work both of you do.
Thank you very, very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCDADE. We thank the gentleman from Indiana.
May I say to the witnesses that we have served together on the National Security Committee for quite some time, and the gentleman from Indiana has been thoughtful enough and careful enough to undertake a series of salient investigations, where he engaged in oversight activities for the benefit of the country, and we are grateful to you, Mr. Visclosky, for your efforts and, Admirals, certainly to both of you for being here. Mr. Knollenberg?
NUCLEAR WASTE PRODUCTION: NAVY COMPARED TO COMMERCIAL NUCLEAR POWER INDUSTRY
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much.
Admiral Bowman and Rear Admiral Nathman, again, a couple of quick, short questions.
You gave me, Admiral, some very compelling figures concerning what percentage of all nuclear waste produced in the United States will be produced by the U.S. Navy.
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Would you care to repeat those numbers and express them in terms of percentage and tonnage or whatever, but give us a read on how it compares with the commercial nuclear industry?
Admiral BOWMAN. Yes, sir.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. And by the way, I think that of the 12 carriers, aren't eight nuclear?
Admiral BOWMAN. That is correct. Of the 12 operating carriers today, eight of them are nuclear today. Two more, the HARRY S. TRUMAN and the RONALD REAGAN, are being built at Newport News today, so soon there will be 10 of the 12.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. What about those percentages as it compares to the information that you have given me a short time ago about how it compares with the nuclear waste on the commercial scene versus the Naval scene?
Admiral BOWMAN. Yes, sir. Mr. Knollenberg, what we were talking about was the totalthe units that are used on this in the industry are metric tons of heavy metal. Today's inventory in this country of total spent fuel, metric tons of heavy metal from the commercial industry, is on the order of 30,000 tons, 30,000 metric tons of heavy metal. The Navy's inventory today is 15 tons.
I also shared with you that the year 2035 is important, because by the year 2035, we have promised the citizens of Idaho that we will have removed the Navy's spent fuel from the State of Idaho and into the ultimate repository in this country.
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So the other numbers that I shared with you were the expected numbers, in the year 2035 are 80,000 tons of commercial spent fuel and the Navy at that time will have 65 tons; not 65,000 but 65 of 80,000 metric tons of heavy metal, less than a 10th of 1 percent.
For perspective, and I went back and played with this after our meeting the other day. If you took all of the Navy spent fuel that we expect to have on hand by the year 2035 and put it in the storage containers that have already been designed 3 years ahead of when we promised the citizens of Idaho, already designed and already selected, you could stack up all of the Navy's spent fuel side-by-side in these containers between the goal line and your own 25 yard line on a football field. It is not a huge volume. It is notit is certainly a very small percentage of the country's spent waste.
NO IMPACT ON NUCLEAR POWERED WARSHIPS ON THE ENVIRONMENT
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. It would be very minimal.
Let me ask you a couple of additional quick questions. We discussed the propulsion systems and we discussed a little bit about the advantages. I think that you indicated what nuclear provided in terms of reliability and the ability to stay below the surface longer and that kind of thing.
The questions that a lot of folks raise about nuclear, whether it is on the sea, under the sea, or at Fermi II in my state of Michigan, it doesn't matter where it is. I know you covered some of this with Mr. Frelinghuysen, from the Russian perspective, but what about from the U.S. perspective? What kind of nuclear problems, or problems have we had with any nuclear-powered vessel, whether it is a submarine or aircraft carrier in our history? How many such incidents and were any of them problematic with respect to environmental concerns, radioactive leaks, that type of thing?
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Admiral BOWMAN. These books that I read into the record earlier will tell you, and it is absolutely factual, that there has been no impact on the environment, from the beginning of the operation of the Navy Nuclear Power Program in this country.
We have a report system. You used the word ''incident.'' I have a report system that is called an incident report system. It includes things like an operator failing to wait the prescribed 45 seconds to look at a test tube and instead only waited 30 seconds.
My threshold for pain is very, very, very low. That is part of the goodness of this operation.
We tell each other the truth. We sit down around tables when there are problems and have critiques. And I have been very, very careful to ensure that my skippers know that I don't expect somebody to get shot as a result of those critiques. To the contrary. That would exert a chilling effect on the whole system. But rather, tell me what is happening, tell me how we can do better, tell me where we have design flaws or personnel issues that could be made easier.
We haven't had a problem in the Navy nuclear propulsion world that would meet the criteria that you are talking about. There has not been one.
NAVAL AND COMMERCIAL NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. You also said something that encourages me to wonder if we shouldn't do something about it on the commercial scene. I think I heard you say that the technology or I should say the class of equipment on these carriers and submarines is a level above what is available to the commercial operators of this country?
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Admiral BOWMAN. Sir, I was talking about one aspect of it.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. And what was that aspect?
Admiral BOWMAN. I was wondering whether I would probably get in trouble with that.
Indeed, because the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program has remained active and vibrant during this period of stoppage of new reactors and little new work on the existing commercial plants. We have moved ahead in technology because we fielded a large number of reactor plants since Three Mile Island.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Right.
Admiral BOWMAN. The commercial industry has not. Virtually all contracts were cancelled that were pending and certainly no new plant contracts have been let.
So what I was referring to was in the instrumentation and control area, we are now using microprocessor technology that is light-years ahead of what I was introduced to in 1966 when I first came into this program. And it was that that I am so very proud.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. It is probably the fact that you have been actively engaged in increasing the quality of the technology and the commercial folks are in a frozen position. In fact, as you, I think, pointed out in a declining position. Currently there are only 105.
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Admiral BOWMAN. Yes, sir.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Presences, you might say around the country. You have got 115, I think.
Admiral BOWMAN. Exactly.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. That will conclude my questioning. I appreciate, again, your being here. Thank you very kindly for the time and attention, and I would yield back to the chairman.
ADVANTAGE OF SUBMARINES IN ASSISTING AIRCRAFT CARRIER OPERATIONS
Mr. MCDADE. Thank you, Joe.
May I say that it was a pleasure to have you both here. I am sorry I wasn't here for all the testimony. I had to travel up to my district and back and was delayed.
Admiral Nathman, you are getting off too doggonned easy.
Admiral NATHMAN. Yes, sir.
Mr. MCDADE. Admiral Bowman has been over there earning his pay. You know, I am responsible for you having to be here. I thought it would be good to have an operator sitting next to the man who runs the program in case questions of an operational nature came up.
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And since they didn't, let me ask you just a couple of questions. Can I?
Admiral NATHMAN. Yes, sir.
Mr. MCDADE. As you took a carrier group during the Middle Eastern confrontation, and you had Admiral Bowman's subs now equipped with smart weapons, how do you quantify the advantage that they gave you? Is there a way for you to be able to say, you had X amount more firepower because this stealthy piece of equipment now had a new capability? Is there any way for you to address yourself to that and tell the committee kind of what that was like?
Admiral NATHMAN. Yes, sir. I can talk to a few instances, examples of that.
Mr. MCDADE. Please.
Admiral NATHMAN. When NIMITZ was asked to proceed, the battle group was asked to proceed, at best speed to the Persian Gulf. We had just left Hong Kong and were on our way to Singapore. The speed of advance waswe were asked to be there by the 12th of October. This was the 2nd of October. We were just leaving out of Hong Kong. We were asked to be there by the 12th to support the no fly zone in southern Iraq because of the recent bust by the Iraqis and the Iranians.
I think you recall that small crisis which at that time seemed like a major one.
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Later on, the OLYMPIA, the ANNAPOLIS and the CHARLOTTE all were submarines brought into the Gulf, primarily to support contingency operations against the Iraqis. And you can quantify it by the number of Tomahawk land attack missiles that these submarines brought.
In the case of OLYMPIA, it was some, I believe [deleted] but a submarine like CHARLOTTE, which is very much like the Admiral's submarine CORPUS CHRISTI, she had [deleted] or soI can probably come back with that number, but a tremendous number of Tomahawk land attack missiles.
[The information follows:]
TOMAHAWK MISSILE COMPLEMENT
During the Gulf operations, the USS ANNAPOLIS (SSN 760) and USS CHARLOTTE (SSN 766) each carried [deleted] Tomahawk missiles. The USS OLYMPIA (SSN 717) carried [deleted] Tomahawk missiles.
COMPARISON OF ORDNANCE DELIVERY FROM DIFFERENT PLATFORMS
Mr. MCDADE. Can you tell us, as a fellow who has a few hours in the air, can you quantify the power of his Tomahawk versus the F18 or whatever you wish on a mission dropping ordnance? How do you compare in terms of delivering the ordnance on the enemy?
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Admiral NATHMAN. Well, sir, as you well know, the Tomahawk land attack missile has about a 1,000-pound warhead. It can go a thousand miles, basically, in round terms. It doesn't come back. You send it there. It is very lethal against the right kinds of targets in the sense that if you are looking atwhat we would categorize in our business, when you look at targets, target sets, a slightly softer target, a building that's made out of concrete, but maybe not heavily reinforced, something that is certainly not mobile but those are very efficient systems. The Tomahawk land attack missile is a very good missile to do exactly that.
But I think it has to be used in coordination with what you bring with your tactical air power into the same region. That is what I would call the coherency of Naval forces. You have tactical air power and tactical cruise missiles along with the systems that support the projection in support of that fire power.
So if you send an F18, you could put a precision bomb on it which every one of our weapons in the Gulf, when I just left, that the Navy was going to use, were precision weapons and they would have the opportunity, of course, toagainst certain target sets which are a little bit harder, or maybe mobile, that is the best type of system to use the tactical Air Force against.
ATTACK SUBMARINE WEAPONS LAUNCHING CAPABILITY
Mr. MCDADE. What is the normal complement of TLAMS that an attack sub takes up? You mentioned that there was a wide disparity between one ship and another. How do you pack them, so to speak? Is there a standard number that they take? How do you do that?
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Admiral NATHMAN. Yes, sir. I think the Admiral might want to answer that.
Admiral BOWMAN. We are shifting back and forth between the submariner and the aviator here.
Mr. MCDADE. That is fine.
Admiral BOWMAN. In our 688 class submarines, the first flight of those 688s did not have the vertical launch tubes in the front of the ship. The second flightroughly half the 688s, did have vertical launch tubes. Roughly half the 688s do have vertical launch tubes. It is important because the answer depends on that.
Those with vertical launch tubes have 12 storage spaces exclusively devoted to Tomahawk missiles. So they have at least 12.
Additionally, in the torpedo room, all the 688 class submarines have a storage capacity of around 26 weapons, and that number of weapons can be either torpedoes for antisubmarine warfare for antisurface ship capability, or they can be Tomahawk missiles.
Now, what I am saying, then, is the newer class 688s, the ones with the vertical launch tubes, could carry as many as 38 Tomahawk missiles; whereas, the older ones could only carry as many as 26.
Page 250 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC A typical load out is for thethe ships with the vertical launch tubes, 12 in the bow in the vertical launch tubes and around six or so in the torpedo room, and that is why about 18 or so for those class of ships. And the ones without, maybe six to eight Tomahawk missiles in the torpedo room.
Mr. MCDADE. That's a lot of firepower.
Admiral BOWMAN. It certainly is, sir.
Mr. MCDADE. Have we done an improvement in the target turnaround time to change targets, et cetera, I believe?
Admiral BOWMAN. We have had a light-year improvement in that, yes, sir.
Mr. MCDADE. Can you address yourself to that, please?
Admiral BOWMAN. A little bit, yes, sir. A lot of this development took place, unfortunately, when I hung up my seagoing clothes and came ashore, but I think I understand.
When I was there, to change a target set required a delivery, a hand-to-hand delivery of a new disk to put into the fire control system computer.
A big breakthrough, when I was there, was the ability to start bringing in at a very, very slow update rate, changes to that hard disk that you sailed with. So before I had left in 1986 the operating submarine fleet, there was the capability to very slowly change or update target packages.
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Today, that target package can be changed very, very rapidly and across the entire spectrum of target set assigned to that submarine.
Mr. MCDADE. When you say
Admiral BOWMAN. By message, I should say.
Mr. MCDADE. When you say very rapidly, can you be more specific than that or is that
Admiral BOWMAN. I will do that for the record, and I just worry that I would say the wrong thing. This is out of my field.
Mr. MCDADE. Feel free to amplify the record.
Admiral BOWMAN. Yes, sir.
[The information follows:]
SPEED OF CHANGING TARGET PACKAGES
In today's submarines, target packages can be updated or changed via UHF or EHF satellite communications while a submarine remains at sea. The time to accomplish this update depends on the type of mission and the means by which the submarine receives the update (UHF or EHF). In either event, the time scale is on the order of minutesand the submarine retains its stealth by passively receiving this data.
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Mr. MCDADE. Gentlemen, let me express on behalf of the committee our gratitude for your appearance and our gratitude for your service to the country. We are proud of both of you and we are glad to have you here. Thank you very much.
Admiral BOWMAN. Thank you, sir.
Mr. MCDADE. We will recess until 10:00 tomorrow morning. With that, finito, Admiral.
Admiral BOWMAN. Thank you, sir.
[The questions and answers for the record follow:]
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."