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In testimony before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development today, National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Administrator Thomas D’Agostino outlined President Obama’s FY 2013 budget request, which gives NNSA the resources it needs to achieve the President’s nuclear security objectives, shape the future of nuclear security, and work to improve the way it does business.
D’Agostino also outlined the reasoning behind deferring the Chemistry Metallurgy Research Replacement facility for at least five years.
“I want you to know that we are committed to being responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars. We have taken steps to ensure that we are building a capabilities-based enterprise,” D’Agostino said. “We view this constrained budget environment as an additional incentive to ask ourselves how we can re-think the way we are operating, how we can innovate, and how we can get better.
“For example, we are adjusting our plutonium strategy by deferring construction of the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility project and focusing instead on how we can meet our plutonium needs on an interim basis by using the capabilities and expertise found at existing facilities. Deferring CMRR-NF will have an estimated cost avoidance from 2013 to 2017 that totals approximately $1.8 billion, which will help offset the costs of other priorities such as Weapons Lifetime Extension programs.”
Submitted to Congress earlier this month, the President’s request includes $11.5 billion for NNSA, an increase of $536 million over the FY12 appropriation. It includes $7.58 billion for NNSA’s defense programs, $2.46 billion for its nuclear nonproliferation program and $1.1 billion for NNSA’s naval reactors program.
Here are excerpts from D’Agostino’s opening remarks during the hearing.
On the FY 2013 budget request: “In April 2009 in Prague, President Obama shared his vision for a world free from the threat of nuclear terrorism and united in our approach to our shared nuclear security goals. His FY13 request for NNSA is $11.5 billion, an increase of $536 million over the FY12 appropriation. The request reaffirms our commitment to building a 21st century nuclear security enterprise through innovative approaches to some of our greatest nuclear security challenges and key investments in our infrastructure.”
On the budget climate: “As you know, due in part to the constraints established by the Budget Control Act, this is a time of fiscal austerity. I want to assure you that NNSA is being thoughtful, pragmatic, and efficient in how we achieve the President’s nuclear security objectives and shape the future of nuclear security. We’ve continuously improved the way we operate, and we’re committed to doing our part in this constrained budget environment.”
ON NNSA’S tools and capabilities: “For over a decade, we have been building the tools and capabilities needed to take care of the stockpile. We are now entering a time when NNSA will fully utilize these analytical tools and capabilities towards the mission of maintaining a safe, secure, and effective stockpile and performing the necessary life extension work. These capabilities also provide the critical base for nonproliferation and counter-terrorism work, allowing us to apply our investments to the full scope of our mission.”
On NNSA’s infrastructure and construction projects: “To support our stockpile and provide us with the world-class capabilities, we need to modernize our Cold War-era facilities and maintain the Nation’s expertise in uranium processing and plutonium research. This budget includes $2.24 billion to maintain our infrastructure, and execute our construction projects.”