SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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[H.A.S.C. No. 10826]
NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT
FOR FISCAL YEAR 2005H.R. 4200
OVERSIGHT OF PREVIOUSLY AUTHORIZED PROGRAMS
COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED EIGHTH CONGRESS
STRATEGIC FORCES SUBCOMMITTEE HEARINGS
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TITLE IIRESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT, TEST, AND EVALUATION
TITLE XGENERAL PROVISIONS
TITLE XXXIDEPARTMENT OF ENERGY NATIONAL SECURITY PROGRAMS
TITLE XXXIIDEFENSE NUCLEAR FACILITIES SAFETY BOARD
FEBRUARY 25, MARCH 18, 25, 2004
STRATEGIC FORCES SUBCOMMITTEE
TERRY EVERETT, Alabama, Chairman
MAC THORNBERRY, Texas
CURT WELDON, Pennsylvania
HEATHER WILSON, New Mexico
ROB BISHOP, Utah
MICHAEL TURNER, Ohio
MIKE ROGERS, Alabama
TRENT FRANKS, Arizona
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSILVESTRE REYES, Texas
JOHN SPRATT, South Carolina
LORETTA SANCHEZ, California
ELLEN O. TAUSCHER, California
KENDRICK MEEK, Florida
TIM RYAN, Ohio
Bill Ostendorff, Professional Staff Member
Hugh Brady, Professional Staff Member
Katherine Croft, Staff Assistant
C O N T E N T S
CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF HEARINGS
Thursday, March 18, 2004, Fiscal Year 2005 National Defense Authorization ActDepartment of Energy's Atomic Energy Defense Activities Budget
Thursday, March 18, 2004
THURSDAY, MARCH 18, 2004
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCFISCAL YEAR 2005 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACTDEPARTMENT OF ENERGY'S ATOMIC ENERGY DEFENSE ACTIVITIES
STATEMENTS PRESENTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
Everett, Hon. Terry, a Representative from Alabama, Chairman, Strategic Forces Subcommittee
Reyes, Hon. Silvestre, a Representative from Texas, Ranking Member, Strategic Forces Subcommittee
Brooks, Ambassador Linton, Administrator, National Nuclear Security Administration, Department of Energy
Roberson, Hon. Jesse H., Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management, Department of Energy
Brooks, Ambassador Linton
Everett, Hon. Terry
Reyes, Hon. Silvestre
Roberson, Hon. Jesse H.
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DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[There were no Documents submitted.]
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
FISCAL YEAR 2005 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACTDEPARTMENT OF ENERGY'S ATOMIC ENERGY DEFENSE ACTIVITIES
House of Representatives,
Committee on Armed Services,
Strategic Forces Subcommittee,
Washington, DC, Thursday, March 18, 2004.
The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 10 a.m., in room 2216, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Terry Everett (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. TERRY EVERETT, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM ALABAMA, CHAIRMAN, STRATEGIC FORCES SUBCOMMITTEE
Mr. EVERETT. The Strategic Forces Subcommittee meets today to receive testimony on the Department of Energy's fiscal year 2005 budget request for atomic energy and defense activities.
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I want to apologize in advance for these somewhat crowded quarters today. We had a committee schedule change that required the shift of locations.
I also apologize for my voice. I seem to have a cold or bronchitis or something.
At any rate, I want to welcome Ambassador Linton Brooks, Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and the Honorable Jesse H. Roberson, Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management of the Department of Energy. Ambassador Brooks will cover the NNSA's budget request for fiscal year 2005.
NNSA's request is for just over $9 billion and consists of funding of weapons activities, defense nuclear nonproliferation, naval reactors and the Office of the Administrator.
Secretary Roberson will also provide testimony on the Department of Energy's request for defense Environmental Management.
She will tell us about the progress the Department is making in accelerating the schedule and reducing the cost of clean-up at numerous sites around the country. The Environmental Management budget request is for just over $7 billion.
We have a lot of ground to cover today.
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We will have votes unfortunately around 11 o'clock that will consist of one 15-minute vote and two five-minute votes. And I do want to allow each of our members as great an opportunity as possible to ask questions, so I will be brief.
Likewise, I would ask our witnesses to please be brief with their prepared remarks. The entirety of your written testimony will be entered into the record.
Last week this subcommittee met in closed session to discuss issues associated with nuclear weapons, including advanced concepts, and the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator (RNEP). This session, in contrast, is open under rule 9 of the committee.
I would ask members for their cooperation in keeping their line of questions unclassified. Questions of a classified nature should be submitted as written questions for the record following appropriate procedures.
Ambassador Brooks, I know you have challenges: restoring capabilities within a defense nuclear complex that was largely built over 50 years ago; continuing to support certification of the nuclear stockpile without testing; and implementing additional security measures to counter the new Design Basis Threat.
While we understand the Department of Defense is in the final stages of completing its Strategic Capabilities Assessment to review the future size of the nuclear stockpile, we can expect nuclear weapons to remain a cornerstone of our national security posture for the foreseeable future.
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Our science-based approach is to stewardship which is critical to the difficult technical challenge of verifying the safety and effectiveness of our nuclear arsenal in the absence of testing.
As the number and variety of weapons in the stockpile come down, it is more important than ever to maintain confidence in those weapons remaining through our science and engineering campaigns.
I look forward to your assessment of where we are with our stockpile today, and where we are headed in the future.
Secretary Roberson has the great task of cleaning up a Cold War legacy of 114 contaminated sites resulting from more than half a century of R&D, production, and testing of nuclear weapons.
The magnitude of the problem is apparent when one considers that over 40 percent of the funds requested for atomic energy defense activities, ($7.7 billion) supports this undertaking.
The Department's Environmental Management team has undertaken a commendable but challenging task to both accelerate site cleanups and reduce costs.
As a result of two years ago, as recent as two years ago, the life cycle cost estimate for cleanup of these legacy sites stood at $220 billion with work at some of our most contaminated sites not reaching completion until 2070.
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In fiscal year 2003, the Department embarked on an aggressive reform effort to refocus emphasis from risk management to risk reduction.
The current plan calls for completion of all remediation efforts by 2035, at a cost savings of over $50 billion. I look forward to hearing your progress on this complex.
I would like to now recognize my good friend and colleague, Mr. Reyes, the ranking member of the subcommittee.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Everett can be viewed in the hard copy.]
STATEMENT OF HON. SILVESTRE REYES, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM TEXAS, RANKING MEMBER, STRATEGIC FORCES SUBCOMMITTEE
Mr. REYES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I join you in welcoming our distinguished witnesses before our subcommittee this morning.
Ambassador Linton Brooks, the Administrator of NNSA, oversees a budget of almost $8.7 billion in 2004 and is requesting a little over $9 billion in 2005.
The Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management at the Department of Energy, Jesse Roberson, oversees a budget of more than $7 billion that falls within the jurisdiction of the committee.
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NNSA is responsible for maintaining our nuclear deterrent and a key player in reducing the spread of nuclear weapons and materials.
Secretary Roberson has a formidable task of managing the clean up of millions of gallons and hundreds of tons of highly radioactive waste throughout the country.
While these programs tend to get overshadowed by the programs of the Department of Defense (DOD), that often fall within our committee's jurisdiction, these however, are critical programs and the dollars are very significant, even by DOD standards.
I want to thank the chairman, my friend and colleague, Mr. Everett, for holding today's hearing, because these programs and the issues that they involve are much too important for us to overlook or take lightly.
Ambassador Brooks, you met with me a few weeks ago and we discussed the difficulties of reports required to Congress and their delivery on time.
I know you are trying not only to get us the reports that are due to Congress this year, but by putting in place the institutional mechanisms that will make future reports, I hope, more timely.
I commend you for this effort, but I do want to let you know that we are still anxiously awaiting several key reports, including the Revised Nuclear Weapons Stockpile Plan, the annual certification of the safety and reliability of the nuclear arsenal and the report on the effect of the repeal of the Spratt-Furse ban on the so-called ''mini-nukes'' on our nonproliferation efforts.
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I hope you can use this public reminder as leverage in your dealing with other agencies to speed up the process and get us those reports.
In deference to the chairman's desire to limit opening statements, I will keep the rest of my opening remarks brief, but I do want and hope that our witnesses will address in their opening statements several topics that I consider to be particularly important.
First: why is the NNSA putting a placeholder for the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator in its out year budget?
Second: what are the goals of the Advanced Concepts program, especially in regard to low-yield weapons?
Third: how are we accelerating clean up at our contaminated sites without comprising clean up standards?
And last: what impact will the recent court decision on waste incidental to reprocessing have on our clean-up programs?
So, Mr. Chairman, I look forward to the testimony of our witnesses and I yield back.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Reyes can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. EVERETT. Thank you. And Secretary Roberson let me apologize for adding my first name to your last name. Ambassador, please proceed.
STATEMENT OF AMBASSADOR LINTON BROOKS, ADMINISTRATOR, NATIONAL NUCLEAR SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
Ambassador BROOKS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you for the opportunity and thank you for the strong support of this subcommittee in years past. As you know, we have several missions at NNSA.
We have to maintain a safe, secure and reliable stockpile, we have to implement the President's Nuclear Posture Review, we have to reduce the threat posed by proliferation, we have to maintain security, we have to reinvest in our nuclear weapons infrastructure and support nuclear propulsion. Let me turn first, and spend most of my time on weapons activities. The Nuclear Posture Review guides our request. The Nuclear Posture Review requires us to maintain safety and reliability of the stockpile, enhance stockpile surveillance, to extend the lives of selected weapons, to maintain a research and development and manufacturing base and support facilities and infrastructure.
Our budget for this request is $6.5 billion.
I am generally pleased with the continuing ability of the stockpile's Stewardship Program to certify to the President safety, security and reliability of our aging nuclear weapons stockpile and to do so without underground testing.
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The annual certification report that the ranking member mentioned, I expect, will be to the committee very shortly. Very shortly means a few days, as will the report on the repeal of the Spratt Amendment.
The revising of our weapons stockpile plan is a little farther out, but we are actively working it.
We are using, as you mentioned in your opening statement, cutting edge, scientific and engineering tools, as well as laboratory testing to improve our understanding of the stockpile.
We are extending the life of several existing weapons through the Life Extension Program and this program is proceeding well.
In this year, we will see the completion of life extension for the W87 ICBM warhead and we will be working toward a first-production of the extended W76 submarine-launched ballistic missile warhead, which will come in 2007; the extended life for the B61 bomb, which will come in 2006; and the extended life production for the W80 cruise missile warhead, which will come in 2008.
And all these dates support the Department of Defense schedules.
National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory will perform its first Stockpile Stewardship experiment this year using 4 of the ultimate 192 beams that it will have; even with these four beams it will be the most powerful laser in the world.
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The Advanced Simulation and Computing Program expects delivery of two new machines this year and the next year.
And these machines will provide important data to support our ability to model nuclear effects and will be, when delivered, the fastest computers in the world.
Nuclear Posture Review gives equal priority to infrastructure and to weapons. In their two complementary accounts in their budget: Readiness in Technical Base and Facilities and the so-called FIRP for Facilities and Infrastructure Recapitalization Program, that are crucial to maintain this infrastructure.
Readiness in Tech Base and Facilities is an on-going account that provides the funding needed to operate and maintain facilities.
In contrast, FIRP is a get-well program authorized by the Congress to eliminate maintenance backlogs, is on schedule to meet the congressional goals.
You will note that of a considerable amount of the increase between last year and this year goes to this program. The programs work together.
We are fixing the backlog and these efforts remain important and I urge the committee to continue to support them.
Now, the programs I have described will let us maintain the stockpile over the next decade.
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The Nuclear Posture Review recognized the need over the long run to design and build what is called a Modern Pit Facility, or a more precise term, would be a pit rework facility, to support remanufacturing needs of the stockpile.
It is important to understand that we need this facility, even if the United States never produces another new nuclear weapon.
All existing plutonium pits will ultimately need to be rebuilt due to aging effects caused by the radioactive decay of plutonium.
We have delayed issuing the final environmental impact statement for the Modern Pit Facility in order to address congressional concerns, many of them tied to the stockpile report that the ranking member mentioned.
That final environmental impact statement would guide the Secretary's decision about site selection and was scheduled for publication by April.
As a result of the delay, we are not in position to identify a preferred site for the construction. I am committed to trying to resolve the issue so we can move on with that.
The decision to delay the environmental impact statement does not affect our limited W88 pit manufacturing and recertification at Los Alamos, which is on schedule to reduce a war-reserved pit for our Triton II missile by 2007.
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Now, while I have no reason to doubt the ability of the Stockpile Stewardship Program, we must maintain our ability to carry out a nuclear weapons test in the event some currently unforeseen problems arise that can't be resolved by other means.
The Defense Authorization Act requires the Secretary of Energy to achieve by October 1st of 2006 a readiness to conduct an underground nuclear test within 18 months.
Our fiscal year 2005 request will allow us to meet this congressional mandate.
At the same time, the President has made it clear we have no current intention for resuming testing and our plans to improve test readiness are our hedge against the possibility of a problem that can't be confirmed or repair certified without a test.
The programs I have described thus far permit us to maintain the stockpile and to deal with unforeseen problems.
Pit review also highlighted the importance of ensuring that the weapons complex can adjust to changing requirements of nuclear deterrence in the coming decades.
In 2005, we are requesting $9 million to continue a modest research and development effort on Advanced Concepts, to meet potential new or emerging Department of Defense requirements.
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And we are requesting $27.6 million to continue the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator feasibility study.
There has been a great deal of discussion on the implication of these two programs and I would like to talk about them in some detail. Some of the discussion has been based on misunderstanding of our intent. Unfortunately, I contributed to that misunderstanding in a December memorandum I sent the weapons laboratory to document the removal of the prohibition on conducting research and development that could lead to development of a new low-yield nuclear weapon.
As I stated in that memorandum, with the removal of this provision, which was supported by this committee, it allows us to explore advance concepts without an artificial constraint.
My memorandum did not direct the conduct of research aimed at developing new weapons, but it was poorly written and invited misinterpretation, and I apologize for the confusion.
We intend to use the Advanced Concepts funds to investigate new ideas, not necessarily new weapons.
For example, with the unfenced portion of the fiscal year 2004 money, we are beginning a study to examine the feasibility of adapting an existing nuclear warhead and provide a cruise missile capability that incorporates enhanced safety and use control.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We also have work underway to examine the feasibility of improving the design margins of existing warheads in order to ensure higher confidence in warhead reliability without nuclear testing.
We are also in discussion with the Air Force on examining the utility of nuclear weapons against chemical and biological agents, although no decision to study this area has yet been reached.
The specific uses for the remaining fiscal year 2004 and the proposed 2005 funds will be determined jointly with the Department of Defense.
Perhaps the single most contentious issue in our budget request is the funding for the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator study.
This study is to determine whether existing warheads, the V61 bomb or the B83 bomb, could be adapted without nuclear testing to improve our ability to hold at risk hardened, deeply buried facilities that may be important to a future adversary.
I want to correct several misconceptions about this effort. There is a clear military utility to this, which is why the Department of Defense asked us to study it.
We submitted a classified report to this committee last year outlining that military utility. That report remains valid and I commend it to the committee's attention.
Despite that utility, we will move beyond the study stage, only if the President approves and if funds are authorized and appropriated by Congress; included funds in our out-year projections, only to preserve the President's option.
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No decisions will be made until the study is completed. The law is very clear that beginning developmental engineering requires Congressional approval.
Finally, even if it were to be authorized, produced and deployed, this weapon does not represent a change from our policy of deterrence.
Deterrence requires we be able to hold at risk that which an adversary values, and once again, I refer you to the classified report of last year to suggest why we believe that this capability would add to deterrence.
As the Congress evaluates our request, it is important to understand that while press accounts have spoken of Administration plans to develop low-yield weapons, there are no such plans.
Nothing we are doing will lower the nuclear threshold; nothing we are doing will blur the distinction between nuclear and non-nuclear weapons.
Only the President can authorize the use of nuclear weapons and no President would make that decision except under the gravest of circumstances.
Mr. Chairman, our request also includes funding for defense non-nuclear proliferation of $1.35 billion and additional details of that program are in my written statement.
We are also requesting just under $800 million for the Naval Reactors Program, which continues to be a prime example of how to manage unforgiving and complex technology. Naval reactors provide safe and reliable nuclear reactors to power the navy's warships.
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The 5 percent budget request increase supports completion of 70 percent of the design of the next generation reactor for an aircraft carrier and continued work the so-called transformational technology core, which will improve operational ability and flexibility of our submarines.
The other large area of increase in this budget has to do with safeguards and security. As you know, safeguards and security at all DOE sites is one of Secretary Abraham's and my top priorities.
The Secretary issued a new Design Basis Threat in May 2003, based on a post September 11th analysis of the threats, against which, we must protect.
Our budget requests $707 million, including $125 million as part of a three-year plan to meet the design basis threat, by improving weapons for our security forces, extending explosive impact zones and consolidating nuclear material.
In addition, I anticipate that we will be submitting a reprogramming request shortly to provide additional funds in this fiscal year.
As the committee may remember, since we did not establish the new design basis threat until after our budget was submitted last year the 2004 budget did not fully fund all of this in view of its importance. I anticipate the committee will see a reprogramming request quite shortly.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We have had, in recent months, some highly publicized security issues: keys that have been lost and allegations of cheating on performance tests. In each instance, we have taken immediate, aggressive action to ensure that any vulnerability is mitigated and longer-term fixes are put into place.
We have also chartered two external review groups to provide independent assessment of our management of security.
I am absolutely confident there has been no compromise of classified material and no nuclear materials at risk. I believe security can and should be improved.
The Secretary and I have both made it clear that we will not tolerate any reduction, perceived or real, in our readiness or in our ability to protect that complex.
Finally, I would like to conclude by discussing some management challenges that NNSA is facing.
First: we are in the final phases of a reengineering effort that follows the principles of the President's management agenda to modernize and streamline operations.
In December of 2002, I announced a major restructuring that eliminated a layer of management, consolidate business and administrative functions and clarified roles and responsibilities. As a result of these, which will be fully implemented by the end of this fiscal year, there will be about a 20 percent reduction in personnel, in all areas, except non-proliferation naval reactors and transportation.
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Second: we are making good progress to overcome some of the management difficulties that beset the weapons laboratory last year. The operating contractor and NNSA have made some changes which I believe will go a long way to correct some of the problems.
Secretary Abraham has outlined the Department's strategy for competing management and operating contracts for weapons laboratories as required by the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act.
We intend to compete at Los Alamos on a full and open basis and we will be prepared to award new contract by September 30th of 2005.
We will also complete Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; the timing is still being determined.
Finally, we are in the early stages of evaluating a new model contract with Sandia, an approach that should result in more effective oversight by NNSA.
Along with our budget, the Administration has submitted a legislative recommendation to alter the NNSA Act to allow the consolidation of counterintelligence into a single office with the Secretary of Energy.
The current arrangement in which responsibilities are fragmented between an office in NNSA and an office in the Department of Energy has proven inefficient.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Proposed legislation in my judgment will not undermine the fundamental principles of the NNSA Act.
Instead, it will put counterintelligence on the basis as intelligence has always been: in a single office, reporting to the Secretary, but supporting the entire Department, including NNSA.
And I urge the committee to support this legislation.
Mr. Chairman, our budget request is completely consistent with the President's policy to reduce the lance on nuclear weapons and with a historic U.S. focus on deterrence.
Our request will support continuing our progress and protecting and certifying our nuclear deterrent, reducing global danger from proliferation and enhancing the forward projection capabilities of the Navy. It will enable us to continue to maintain the safety and security of our people, our information, our materials and our infrastructure. And above all, it will meet the 21st century national security needs of the United States. This concludes my statement and I look forward to your questions.
[The prepared statement of Ambassador Brooks can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. EVERETT. Secretary Roberson, please?
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSTATEMENT OF JESSE ROBERSON, ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT, DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
Secretary ROBERSON. Good morning and thank you, Chairman Everett and members of the subcommittee. Good morning to each of you.
I would like to begin by conveying the Department's appreciation to you for your support and commitment to the Accelerated Cleanup Program.
Your support is allowing us to achieve the dramatic results we forecast, actually in front of this committee, a short two years ago.
I am here today to discuss President Bush's fiscal year 2005 budget request for the Environmental Management Program and its goals of sustaining them in the interim that our work force has labored so hard to achieve: a momentum that benefits the vibrancy of our communities, our environment and our economy.
In these last two years, we have introduced dynamic reforms delivering fundamental change and achieving significant improvements in health, safety and environmental protection.
With your support, these reforms are fully ingrained in our operations and our business practices. We are making a historic contribution to reducing the financial liability associated with the legacy of the Cold War.
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And with your continued support in our team focus on the cleanup enclosure, the momentum can continue. I would like to take a moment and underscore the impacts of refocusing the Environmental Management Program.
We have improved safety performance. We are committed to instilling this philosophy in every worker's day-to-day decisions from start to finish of every project. To that end, with top quality safety standards, we are demonstrating that we can accelerate work and improve safety performance at the same time. We have not, nor will we ever stop paying attention to safety. We will continue to raise the bar and hold ourselves accountable to the highest standards. Complacency is not acceptable in our advance to the safe conclusion of our cleanup objectives.
We have demonstrated cleanup results and risk reduction. Last year, we set a new floor performance not yet seen in the history of this program.
I say floor because we see this as a level of performance that we will continue to build upon. Over the last two years, as examples, six of nine nuclear fuse agents completely deinventoried; none were in our plans before.
Four thousand one hundred of 5,900 containers of plutonium, approximately 80 percent have been packaged; we are almost complete with that effort.
Over 1,300 of 2,400 metric tons, more than half, of the spent nuclear fuel is repackaged. Our work force has accelerated that work.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I can go on and on with examples of risk reduction and clean up and would actually love to, but we have to move on.
Our corporate performance measures, which I have included in my written statement, further demonstrate our deeds, and in combination with our safety performance, we have accomplished consequential outcomes important to the public, the communities that host our sites and the generations that follow us.
Three years ago, the Environmental Management Program was described as lacking a risk-based clean up approach and the hazards at DOE sites and the liability associated with them did not appear to dictate the need for urgency.
Innovative actions in all elements of Enviromental Management's program were needed to transform our processes and operations to reflect an accelerated risk-stage clean up paradigm.
We are more than ever encouraging innovation in safety performance and accelerated risk reduction and in business management.
We believe that, provided an atmosphere that encourages innovation, we can reduce risk to workers and the environment more effectively, and save the resources to be reinvested and furthering the clean up priorities at these sites.
Tying all these accomplishments together has been our driving force to improve performance in our acquisition strategies specifically. Legal actions and court decisions may direct us to alter or modify our activities from the accelerated clean up and closure path. We are committed to work diligently with all concerned parties to avoid interruptions in reducing risks where we can.
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This year has seen dramatic results, demonstrating our steadfast belief that continuing on the accelerated path will resolve the problems that lie before us. We must not lose our momentum and that has so earnestly been established by the work force, we must encourage its continuation. As with all new enterprises, impediments will be many, but we are committed to employ our resources to continue to show meaningful results and we are taking a very staunch view of both those results. The job is not done until it is done; we can't be complacent and we must continue to do better. It is not done when we develop a plan, it is not done when we agree on a milestone, it is not done when we ask for funding and it is not done when we sign a contract; it is not done when we get the money. It is not done until it is done and there is positive and measurable risk reduction for the investment made.
I ask for your support of our fiscal year 2005 budget request of $7.43 billion to continue this momentum. We are safer today than we were last year and we must stay the course so that we are safer next year than today.
We have accelerated clean up by at least 35 years, saving over $50 billion. The potential is there to lose what we have gained, should we fail to stay focused on our commitment.
I look forward to working with you and others to continue this worthy goal. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Secretary Roberson can be viewed in the hard copy.]
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Mr. EVERETT. Thank you, Secretary Roberson.
I am going to continue my recently started agenda of questioning until last and I will also give each member 10 minutes, because I do know the interests in these issues.
And we will start with our ranking member.
Mr. REYES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
My first question, Ambassador Brooks, deals with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL): how important is the work that PNNL performs for NNSA?
Ambassador BROOKS. PNNL performs a work in the nonproliferation area for NNSA.
And in that area, it is quite important.
I believe that although the laboratory is under the responsibility of the Office of Science, I am the largest single customer and the program at Pacific Northwest is roughly comparable in size to the program at the three weapons labs.
They have provided important work in our efforts to support nuclear safety They have provided important work in our efforts at overall detection. So, they are clearly an important part.
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We do nonproliferation work at 10 of the Department's laboratories, but the largest is at the three weapons laboratories in PNNL.
Mr. REYES. Given that, what plans does the Department of Energy and NNSA, in particular, have to address the potential loss of capability at PNNL, if the drop plan for accelerated clean up by 2012 is adopted by E.M. or Hanford?
Ambassador BROOKS. I think I might defer that since Secretary Roberson is here.
Mr. REYES. Okay.
Secretary ROBERSON. Thank you.
The accelerated clean up plan at Hanford, particularly for the 300 area actually began about four years ago and has come to this point as a result of that strategy.
During that time period, it does appear that the work for others that was being conducted in those facilities has increased, not just in the NNSA scope, but also Homeland Security.
We are working with the Department of Science and the Department of Energy's Deputy Secretary to try to identify work-arounds that maintain the capability that is necessary to support those missions and to ensure that we don't lose momentum in the accelerated clean up program.
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We don't have that path in place just yet, but we are working together to achieve it.
Mr. REYES. Before I ask this next question, is the NNSA prepared to contribute to the cost of replacing the facilities that would be lost by area 300 in this clean-up?
Ambassador BROOKS. Well, at the moment, the laboratory is the responsibility of the Office of Science and the Office of Science hasn't asked for my help, so I haven't come to any decision about that.
And as Secretary Roberson said, we are all committed to finding work-arounds; work-arounds tend to cost money and exactly where that comes from within the Department we haven't sorted out.
Mr. REYES. Well, it is my understanding, Secretary Roberson, that the draft plan for accelerated clean up of the Hanford site and the 300 area in particular, that we were addressing, would force evacuation by 2007 of several buildings within the Pacific Northwest National Lab.
These are buildings that are currently active in conducting work for NNSA and the Department of Homeland Security.
We further understand that adequate replacement of these facilities cannot be in place by that 2007 deadline.
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Is this schedule required by the tri-party agreement between the state of Washington and the Department?
Secretary ROBERSON. What we have is a clean up agreement with the state of Washington and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) region that defines the goals and target for accomplishing the clean-up of the Hanford site.
This schedule fits within the context of the Rivershore cleanup, the River Quarter, as it is called for at Hanford.
We obviously will have to work with the regulators to accommodate and extend that period of maintaining those facilities for a longer period of time.
We do have a strategy that has been agreed to with our regulators that does support the 2007 availability for clean up of that area and so it would require some discussion with the regulators.
And we are working very hard to identify a means to keep the clean-up on schedule, but we prioritize; would that rule require working within regulates to achieve.
Mr. REYES. So, there would be no impact, in terms of
Secretary ROBERSON. No. We are trying to establish an approach that would minimize the impact. We are, by theory, that.
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But we are working with the Department of Science and the Department's leadership to do that.
Mr. REYES. Would it be possible for some other utilization from the 2, from the 2018 date that is contained in that agreement, would that be possible without forcing evacuation in 2007, again, from the area 300 site?
Secretary ROBERSON. That is exactly what we are looking at and we just haven't been able to come to a conclusion.
We still have, of course, the need to discuss this issue with our regulators because it will require some reprioritizing of the approach that we had in place to do the work.
So, I can't say that there will be no impact, but we are certainly working very diligently. And I am getting a lot of help to make sure there is minimal impact.
Mr. REYES. Have you done any cost comparison versus benefits in the acceleration that is scheduled to begin with the evacuation of the 300 area in 2009 to one that would accelerate it to begin in 2007?
Has there been any kind of study or
Secretary ROBERSON. Yes.
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Mr. REYES [continuing]. Cost benefit analysis?
Secretary ROBERSON. Yes. The schedule for evacuation beginning the first day of fiscal year 2008, actually, it is October 1 of 2007, is actually based upon starting at the commitment date for clean up of that area and working backward.
So, that is how we arrived at that date.
To support longer existence in those facilities, we actually have to go in and look at how to strategically reprioritize the work scope, because we started at the end date of our commitment and worked in to make sure we gave maximum time.
It is a fairly complex problem; we are working very hard with science to minimize the impact and support they need to stay in the facilities longer. But I just don't have the answer for you, today, sir.
Mr. REYES. So, if I understand your comments correctly, since you don't have the answers to that, then there currently are no plans from Department of Energy and the Office of Environmental Management to address any potential loss in capability that would be associated with this accelerated clean-up?
Secretary ROBERSON. No, that is not what I am saying, sir.
The Department has looked at the scope of work that is being done in the facilities, and even though I don't have a need to know it all, I know enough that the Department is not going to make a decision that would have an adverse impact on NNSA's mission or Homeland Security.
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What the Department is trying to do is to minimize the impact on the cleanup program as well.
Mr. REYES. Okay.
Secretary ROBERSON. At the same time.
Mr. REYES. All right.
Thank you very much. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. EVERETT. Mr. Thornberry.
Mr. THORNBERRY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And I have had a number of areas I would like to briefly touch on with Ambassador Brooks, but I would like to have your position to follow up with some additional written questions, if you and ambassador are amenable?
Mr. EVERETT. Without objection.
Mr. THORNBERRY. Mr. Ambassador, let me first compliment you on the testimony you submitted to the committee.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC You gave us more detailed information, I think, than we have often recieved in the past and some of the things that we have had to ask for.
And so, I appreciate the broad range, but also the detail of the testimony you submitted to us.
I want to start asking about management.
Ms. Tauscher and I, among others, have been working on efforts to try to implement recommendations of a number of outside studies on management issues at NNSA.
You touched on the fact that back in December 2002 you announced reorganization of the field structure at NNSA.
And is it true that you will have eliminated essentially, one layer of management and reduced the number of personnel, at least in headquarters, if not administrative personnel, throughout by the end of this fiscal year, which will be September 2004.
My question is, ''Is that working on schedule?'' And is it working out the way that you had hoped it would when you announced it in December 2002?
Ambassador BROOKS. We have already reduced a layer of management.
We implemented that immediately and that is working well. We are on schedule to meet our reduction goals in both headquarters and the field.
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If I gave you the specific numbers, it would look like we had already met them, but that masks some skill imbalances where there are a couple of areas in which we still have a little way to go and a couple of areas in which we are actually already understaffed and are doing some recruiting.
But we will meet our goals. I think, generally, I am pleased with the restructuring.
There are still occasional growing pains, but I have gotten magnificent support from the men and women who work for me.
We have clearly clarified authority and responsibility and we are seeing the benefits of that. We have clearly adapted the best practices of the three former operations offices, so we are seeing best practices.
And so, I would regard it as very much as I hoped when we implemented it in December.
Mr. THORNBERRY. Well, thank you.
As always, if you see provisions of the law that impede your ability to manage as you would like, then obviously those are things that we want to know about.
And, you know, we have talked about a couple of those.
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Let me ask you about safeguarding securities. I saw an article in one of the papers this morning that basically said we have lowered the standards or guards or security at nuclear weapons installations.
A lot of these stories get recycled over and over again. I don't know if this is something old or something new. Are you familiar with this report?
Can you clarify it?
Ambassador BROOKS. I am. And it is something new.
It is a result of the Inspector General looking at protective force training. It is a report issued by the Inspector General within the last week.
The inspector general looked at a number of sites and found a number of issues. They vary in severity.
Inspector General found that we were not completely consistent in how we were using our core curriculum; that there were some specific things we were not doing that are still formally required, like repelling; and that not all of the sites were submitting enough reports to let us monitor what was going on.
We don't necessarily disagree with the factual basis of the Inspector General's report; we would make a couple of points.
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After September 11th we shifted to a protection strategy, while in the long term that strategy is going to be based on technology, in the short term it is based on putting more guys on watch.
The only way you put more guys on watch is to put them on overtime. And what you give up, to be perfectly frank, is training.
I don't like that. The fix is to get more people.
This committee was very helpful in helping us to modify the law to allow the speeding up of the required security clearances, but nonetheless, that is one of the reasons for the findings in the Inspector General's report.
Another reason for the finding in the Inspector General's report, for example, on repelling the decision the Department made in 1995, because of injuries.
And the legitimate complaint is not that we are not doing it, but that we haven't updated our requirements to recognize that we made a decision not to do it. And we are going to work on that.
We are also, right now, we have gotten ahead in some cases in adapting the rules to specific sites, we have gotten ahead of the formal process, to be frank. And we are working on that.
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It is a little complicated because of making sure that we are following the responsibilities of both the department's rule and my rules. And so what we did was we didn't wait for the paperwork in all cases.
I don't believe that the Inspector General's report should be taken as a reflection on the confidence or the dedication of the security force that is throughout the sites.
I do think it should be taken as indicating a need for the Office of Safeguards and Security and for me to make sure that we are meticulous in documenting what we are doing.
Mr. THORNBERRY. I appreciate it.
One thing you have said made me nervous. You just said that there was some, or I took it to mean that there was some difference in what the Department of Energy required and what NNSA required.
Ambassador BROOKS. No sir, I didn't mean to say that.
Mr. THORNBERRY. Okay.
Ambassador BROOKS. I meant to say that as we adapt specific sites to meet the unique conditions at those sites that we need to make sure that we are doing the paperwork correctly.
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC That was a paperwork comment, it wasn't a real comment. Particularly since the recent reorganization that Secretary Abraham announced in combining the offices of security and oversight under Mr. Podonsky.
There is no daylight between any part of DOE and any part of DOE on security.
Mr. THORNBERRY. I just wanted to make sure we still had that one chain of command that goes through you.
Ambassador BROOKS. We still have one and yes, sir, as you and I have had the opportunity to discuss it.
That is an extremely important point for me.
Mr. THORNBERRY. Me, too. Thank you.
At the headquarters level is there any effort to manage NNSA's relationship with Homeland Security or is that at a lab-by-lab basis, kind of, under the work for others-type work?
And do you see a need to have some different kind of oversight in the future, presumably, as more of that kind of work is done by the labs?
Ambassador BROOKS. There are a couple of things going on.
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First, we have a relationship, in terms of emergency response.
Mr. THORNBERRY. Sure.
Ambassador BROOKS. And there is a relationship with Undersecretary Brown at the Department of Homeland Security. That relationship is generally working well.
It has been tested in exercises. And that is clearly a headquarters relationship.
The relationship at the laboratories is primarily dealt with at the laboratories.
As you recall, the theory was that the Department of Homeland Security was at an equal ability, so it wasn't exactly work for others because that was seen both as having a sense of relative priority and seen as cumbersome.
We are still working on a couple of details, but generally, I don't think there have been any coordination problems.
I don't mean to minimize the importance of the Department of Homeland Security, but they are still very much the tail, I am still very much the dog at these labs.
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. THORNBERRY. Sure. I just think the relationship, and as you said, the cooperation, is important and will be more so as we try to deal with these issues.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. EVERETT. Ms. Tauscher?
Ms. TAUSCHER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Let me take a second to compliment you, Mr. Chairman.
These meetings always start on time and I appreciate you saving the best for last in your questioning and giving us extra time because these are very weighty issues and it takes a few minutes to get into them.
Secretary Roberson, it is always good to see you.
Secretary ROBERSON. Thank you. Same to you; very nice to see you.
Mrs. TAUSCHER. Yes. And thank you for your continued hard work on those E.M. issues.
Always a tough time, it is always good to know that perhaps you might get some money, but you spend it wisely and you have a very, very good record and I appreciate your work at Livermore.
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Ambassador, it is always good to see you.
I agree with my very good colleague, Congressman Thornberry, this is some of the best testimony that I have seen, period, but certainly the best from you.
And I really appreciate your clarification on your memo, issued a couple days after the Spratt-furse Ban was emanated.
And I have a number of issues that I want to talk about. I want to recognize the ever-able Dr. Beckner sitting behind you, who is always coming before us.
I have a number of constituents in the audience from one of the best labs in the world, the Livermore Lab. But I especially see George Miller.
In my office, I have a colleague named George Miller, who shares a county with me and when we say George Miller everybody looks at me and I always have to say, ''The scientist, not the congressman.''
And I fought to dispute the abilities of my colleague, George Miller.
But certainly the National Ignition Facility (NIF) is on my mind.
I want to talk briefly about and get some information from you. I know that we have had some slippage in the funding for the NIF and specifically on the issue of cryogenics and diagnostics.
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And I am pleased to see that we are up four beams and warrant that we are the largest laser in the world.
But getting to 192 is going to take a little longer than I expected and I am concerned that we are not going to achieve ignition as quickly as we had hoped.
And I just want to get a sense from you, Ambassador Brooks, where we are on that and what that implies for the Stockpile Stewardship Program, our ability to maintain the credibility of the stockpile, all of the experiments that we know we want to do?
And if there are any risks that the NIF will not be able to quickly fulfill its mission?
Ambassador BROOKS. Thank you, madam.
We believe that we now have a technically acceptable plan that will result in the first ignition experiment in fiscal year 2010, which is what had been discussed in the past.
We are concerned that what led to the possibility of slippage was to make sure that we didn't make the best of the enemy of the good because there is a near-term stockpile stewardship.
I do want to make it clear ignition is very important, but there are things other than ignition in which the only way, short of nuclear testing, to gain knowledge about some of the conditions that exist in nuclear weapons is through NIF.
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NIF is 80 percent complete; it is meeting its cost and schedule baselines and I believe it is exceptionally well managed now. It has a very impressive record, just as a construction facility, in terms of schedule, performance, and safety.
And I think that we are on track to be able to meet the goal of initial ignition experiments in 2010.
And we tend to keep paying a great deal of attention to that because it is the largest single stockpile stewardship project that we have.
Ms. TAUSCHER. Thank you.
This is the article from today's Washington Post about the security training issues. And I think that perhaps the biggest issue that I have about this is that the optics are just bad.
I think everybody is highly sensitized to the issue of the fact that neither plutonium nor highly enriched uranium exist en masse except for those that the governments create.
And you can find them in two places that we know of, one is power plants and the other is weapons labs in the complex.
And I think we are rightfully sensitized that the security of these things, not only is an imperative, but that there has to be a sense of peace of mind that the average American has that these facilities are always in people's highest priority.
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And I think that the optics of this article are bad for us.
It makes it look as if we are more concerned about whether somebody may bump their elbow repelling off something in a training range, than we are actually making sure that the bad guys are deterred by the information that we are ready and we are going to take them down if they even think about it.
So, the kind of ''don't even think about it'' part is a test I think we have failed. And this leads me to my real question, which is about this issue of the counterintelligence area of NNSA being flapped back up to DOE.
And as you know, Congressman Thornberry and I jokingly call ourselves the parents of the NNSA, along with a few other people.
And we work very hard to create a semi-autonomous agency, dot-dot-dot, away from DOE, because of failures specifically in security, and not only real ones, but a sense of perception.
To flip counterintelligence back up to DOE is very troublesome for me. I want, and I think many of us believe that, resident capability in NNSA is a necessity and an imperative.
Not getting the facts, not getting FAX back and not getting a phone call, or just being in a food chain of information is not good enough.
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And I think that I really need to know from you, since everything seems to be working fine with it resident in NNSA, what is the reason to flip it back over to DOE?
And how can we assure ourselves that we are not in the stovepipe mentality, going back in the stovepipe mentality that led to the failures of September 11th, with people not talking to each other, agencies having information, not disseminating it properly and people really feeling as if they are empowered with good information, that they are able to analyze and digest and collect and archive themselves?
Ambassador BROOKS. Yes, madam.
Let me once again give the analog to intelligence.
Good intelligence is crucial to any NNSA administrator, and yet, we have come to an acceptable approach where we didn't try to have my intelligence organization and a separate DOE intelligence organization.
We use the concept called shared staff.
It isn't double halving, because double halving is illegal, but it is people who provide support to both halves of the organization.
That is because it is basically a small number of people. That has proven to be inefficient.
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We can tell that, that is not just our opinion by the looks of the Hamre Commission, which specifically recommended consolidation.
I met with Dr. Hamre, for whom I have a great deal of respect, to make sure that I fully understood the nuances in his written report and he supported the notion of consolidation in a single office reporting to the Secretary.
The national counterintelligence executive has examined this and supports the notion of consolidation in a single office reporting to the secretary.
And the reason they do is in fact, to avoid the risk of stovepiping, because counterintelligence, more than many things, works across the complex, I have in fact, the things that are most at risk, both secrets and material.
But if you look at the number of actual cases that get opened, the greatest bulk is not in my organization. And why is that?
It is not a question of relative competence, it is a question that the general science labs have much more access and interaction with foreigners, and therefore, much more opportunity.
And we believe that having a common, single organization will allow us to recognize both the plain facts about the numbers and the equally plain facts about where the importance is.
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The legislation we have proposed to you is quite carefully drawn. I mean there are two issues here, frankly.
One issue is, is it a good idea to consolidate counterintelligence? And the other is does this violate the basic principles of a semi-autonomous agency?
And I am convinced that it does not.
It doesn't matter, right now, to be frank, with Secretary Abraham and Deputy Secretary McSlarrow, who are so consistently supportive of NNSA, but I have looked at it for a hypothetical future set of people and I think that the legislation has been very careful and it has been very carefully drawn.
I have considered the counterintelligence, and I don't think it will hurt NNSA at home.
Mrs. TAUSCHER. Well, I will take a look at it. I just want to take one more second to thank you.
I wrote to you on March 8th, he replied on March 17th. That is the high-water mark for returning an answer. I won't hold you to that deadline, I know it is hard to achieve, but I appreciate you getting back so quickly.
And once again, thank you for your very hard work, both of you.
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Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. EVERETT. Thank you.
Mr. ROGERS. Mr. Chairman, I don't have any questions or comments at this time, but would instead yield my time to you.
Mr. EVERETT. I appreciate that. Since Mr. Ryan has left, I think it is my time, so I should just go ahead and take the 10 minutes. But thank you very much.
Ambassador, I want to get on the record at this point that as far as our NIF is concerned, you can't bend metal, nor can you proceed without expressed okay of this Congress.
Ambassador BROOKS. That is correct, sir.
Mr. EVERETT. Okay. Thank you.
Ambassador BROOKS. And there is nobody in the Administration who hasn't heard about that.
Mr. EVERETT. I have a question here. It is a little long, so if you will forgive me, I am going to read it.
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In 2000, U.S. and Russia agreed to pursue parallel paths to eliminate three or four tons of surplus weapons-grade plutonium in each country. Plants are to be built in both Russia and the United States.
The Department of Energy is ready to commence construction of the U.S. parks facility at Savannah River Site in the summer of 2005; however, there is the lack of a liability agreement between the U.S. and Russia on construction work. The Russian Mixed-Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility (MOX) potentially threatens moving forward with its progress.
Can you update the committee on where we stand with negotiations with Russia on this liability agreement?
And what stage will the likely progress in the negotiations drive a further delay in construction, or the start? What do you see as a solution for resolving this impasse?
Ambassador BROOKS. Yes, sir.
The United States has sought consistently the liability protection that the Russians agreed to in the agreement on comprehensive threat reduction program.
That agreement, although it sounds like it just applies to the Department of Defense programs, covers a number of my programs as well.
Page 52 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The agreement has not been ratified by the Russian Duma and we have been urging the Russian government to move forward.
The most recent developments are some confusion in Russia because of a fairly massive government reorganization.
And we continue to work with the Russian Federation to urge them to act promptly on that, which sets up the precedent for the liability agreement that we need to go forward with the Mox facility.
It is important to keep these two facilities in parallel because, while there is obviously an environmental stewardship reason why we ought to get rid of this material, we are principally trying to get rid of it in a particular fashion in order to induce the Russians to eliminate their own material.
Right now, I believe, that this is being worked at the highest levels of the U.S. Government and I believe there is a good chance for resolution in the relatively near future.
I must be candid with you, whenever you use the word, Russia and future, you are taking some risk, because they are not a particularly easy society to predict.
The impact of the government reorganization is not yet clear, but I believe that it is clear that we remain committed to getting the liability issue resolved and I don't now have any reason to believe that further delay in construction will be necessary.
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We are extremely anxious to move forward on this program, which is obviously huge in the largest single, nonproliferation program in the United States.
Mr. EVERETT. At this time, I have a question about Libya, but since my colleague, Mr. Reyes, has been there, I would like to give him the rest of my time to ask that question.
Mr. REYES. I thank you, Mr. Chairman.
There have been two Congressional delegations that have gone into Libya, one in January and I recently went with the latest one and it was an incredible trip.
But my question is, since earlier this year, NNSA teamed up with the Departments of Defense and State to conduct a mission to Libya to secure nuclear materials.
What can you tell us of the plans for other such operations to secure nuclear materials in Libya?
And it is my understanding that there have been two loads that have come out.
Ambassador BROOKS. There have been.
There has been the initial material that was flown out and that is the material that much of it was displayed when Secretary Abraham took some journalists to the Y12 facility, where we wanted to give people an opportunity to see just how much material had come out. That flight also included some actual nuclear material.
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In addition, there has been a shipload of pretty much all the remaining material and that ship will arrive shortly. I would like, in an open session, not to be more specific.
And we think that everything that we care about in that area is now out.
In addition, we have a general program on research reactors and research reactors typically don't have very good byproducts because they are research reactors.
And so, there has been a U.S. program for both ones that we design and ones Russia design to convert them to use lower enriched uranium and then take the highly enriched fuel away.
We repatriated, working with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Russian Federation, all the fresh fuel in Libya back to Russia and it is gone, about 14 kilograms as I recall.
And we are working with the Libyans on the conversion of this Russian-designed reactor so they can use lower fuel, which is not of proliferation concern. And that conversion remains to be done.
But pretty much everything that we want to get out is out.
Mr. REYES. I was wondering, as you were mentioning the Russian reactors.
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I had an opportunity last year to go to, I believe it was one of the closed cities, Krasnoyarsk26 and they had three reactors. They have shut down two and have kept one open.
Are those open
Ambassador BROOKS. Those are production reactors.
There are three functioning production reactors in Russia: two at Sibirsk and one at Zheleznogorsk, which is the new name for Krasnoyarsk.
Mr. REYES. Yes.
Ambassador BROOKS. Our budget supports shutting down all three of those basically by funding replacement fossil fuel plants.
We focused first, not on the one in Krasnoyarsk, but on the two in Sibirsk, because it is twice as many. And we expect to have that plant shut down by 2008.
The one at Zheleznogorsk we expect to have shut down in 2011.
We took this program over about a year ago from the Department of Defense.
We have now gotten an integrating contractor and we are in the process of sort of working with the Russians to move from view graphs to real plans. And I am confident we will meet those dates.
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Those three plutonium production reactors are very important in that they produce collectively about 1.2 tons of plutonium a year, sort of think in rough terms of a bomb a day.
And so, we are eager to get them shut down. And I am confident that we will do that.
Mr. REYES. And perhaps you can't comment on in an open session, but are there any plans to engage any of the former Iraqi scientists?
Ambassador BROOKS. There is a plan, which is actually run by the Department of State, although we are helping to engage former Iraqi weapon scientists in Iran.
It is not a classification issue; it is an issue of what I remember, so I wonder if I could provide you some information on that for the record, sir?
[The information referred to can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. REYES. That would be perfectly fine.
And thank you very much.
Ambassador BROOKS. It may be a classification issue, but I know there is unclassified stuff that I don't remember. Let me provide you an answer for the record.
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Mr. REYES. Okay. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, that is all I have.
Mr. EVERETT. Thank you.
I will say to the committee: would anyone else like a go at the Ambassador or the Secretary?
One more question?
Mrs. TAUSCHER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Ambassador, if we could talk a little bit, there is a dovetailing about the long-awaited stockpile plan; pit facility eight and the amount of money that was cut last year by Water (House Energy & Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee).
The fact that we are looking for, I don't know, $370 billion, I guess, in the end we build these tips.
It seems to me that the nuclear stockpile, it is hard to understand exactly how we are going to size the stockpiles. It is difficult to predict how many kits you are going to need.
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ambassador BROOKS. Yes, madam, that was
Ms. TAUSCHER. You can't predict how big a facility you need until you determine the demand. And I think what we really need to know is when can we expect the stockpile plan?
And in the end, isn't it really about how many kits are retired?
Ambassador BROOKS. It is a little bit, madam. But, let me make a couple of points.
First: the logic you have just set forth, as I understand is exactly the logic that your colleagues down in Energy and Water used in requesting that we not make any further decisions.
In an open session let me use just a little fuzzy math. All right?
We are going to build this thing sometime around 2020. We stopped producing weapons somewhere in the 30 years before that. So, the youngest weapon is going to be 30 years old.
We don't know precisely how frequently we are going to have to redo pits. The technical estimates run from 45 to 60 years.
So that means when this facility starts it is going to have to turn over the entire stockpile somewhere between 15 years and 30 years, because you are starting with another cycle.
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Then after that, it has to turn it over at a 45 to 60 year rate. The lower level that we are analyzing the environmental impact statements 125 pits a year.
You multiply 125 by either 15 years or 30 years and you get a number, unless you believe that we are certain that the total U.S. stockpile in 2020 will be less than those numbers, then we are going to need something of the minimum capacity that we are analyzing in the environmental impact plan.
So, I understand the importance of having a coherent stockpile plan, but it is less closely coupled to the design of the facility than you might think, simply because you are going to have to turn everything over in this compressed time.
That said, the question is, when are we going to do what the Congress told us to do by 1 February of this year. And I must tell you, I don't know.
This fundamental question of military requirements, and therefore, not fundamentally a Department of Energy responsibility, all were involved and it has beamed up worked with the seriousness that it deserves, though not perhaps with the speed that you would like.
And so, I am very reluctant to mislead the Congress. We are committed to doing this right.
We are committed to submitting it to the Congress at the earliest possible moment and we understand very clearly that there are some things we are not allowed to do until we do that.
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But I am very reluctant to give the committee a precise date for a report that is fundamentally the responsibility of another department.
Ms. TAUSCHER. Mr. Chairman, can I make a suggestion?
Mr. EVERETT. Can I stop you?
Ms. TAUSCHER. No.
I think the issue of aging of the stockpile, which we are learning more about all the time has a lot to do with eventually the kind of metrics that we will use to make a decision on, not only the stockpile, but the pit facility.
I happen to be one that believes we have to test in 18 months and I am pleased to see that we have an agreement to make that investment.
It is a hedge as you said earlier to make sure that we don't open a box of weapons and have that, ''Uh oh,'' moment.
I also believe we need to have the resident capability on pits.
We have to get this right and I think that there are many of us on this committee, and many of us in Congress, that are happy to work with you to get the energy and water folks to get the right number, so that we are not flipping ourselves and putting a noose around our neck.
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So, I think perhaps, Mr. Chairman, if we could, think about having a classified briefing with Ambassador Brooks on this issue.
Knowing that you don't know the number on the stockpile plan, but giving us the background in a classified setting on exactly the aging issues so that we actually have some ability to argue for and what we may end up having to advocate for.
Ambassador BROOKS. And that is obviously a chairman's call, but we would be delighted.
As you and I have discussed before, I believe we have a better case than we have articulated and we welcome the chance to try and articulate it in both the classified and the unclassified forum.
Ms. TAUSCHER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. EVERETT. To answer my colleague's question, yes, we can have that, and we will put it on the schedule in addition to some space stuff that this committee needs to take up in closed session, also.
Ms. TAUSCHER. That would be great, Mr. Chairman.
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. EVERETT. Let me say to Mr. Ambassador, I appreciate you being here.
Secretary Roberson, thank you for your excellent testimony. And also Dr. Beckner and Secretary Rood, I appreciate your participation last week in our closed session.
And I am pleased in this committee; I thank them making sure that most of our questions were unclassified in nature. We will have some classified hearings later.
The subcommittee is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 11:19 a.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]