Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

FY 1995 BUDGET - ATOMIC ENERGY DEFENSE ACTIVITIES, 05/03/1994, Question and Answer

Basis Date:
19940810
Chairperson:
S. Nunn
Committee:
Senate Armed Services
Docfile Number:
Q94AB193
Hearing Date:
19940503
DOE Lead Office:
DP/NN SUB
Committee:
Nuclear Deterrence, Arms Control and Defense Intelligence
Hearing Subject:
FY 1995 BUDGET - ATOMIC ENERGY DEFENSE ACTIVITIES
Witness Name:
C. Curtis
Hearing Text:

                       QUESTIONS FROM SENATOR LOTT
 Underground Nuclear Testing
 Question #1:   Mr. Secretary, your prepared testimony states that you
                will be able to conduct "simple" nuclear test within 6
                months if the President so directs.  From what I
                understand from your experts, a "simple" test will be
                more symbolic than useful. Isn't it true that you have
                taken down the infrastructure needed to conduct truly
                useful tests, and it will take years to rebuild it?
 Answer:        No, the infrastructure for nuclear testing has not been
                dismantled. However, the Department has been
                periodically reviewing the maintenance requirements of
                the Nevada Test Site and the national laboratories to
                assure consistency with national objectives as
                established by Presidential direction. Current
                guidelines are to maintain the resources at the national
                laboratories and the Nevada Test Site for a capability
                to  conduct a nuclear test within 6 months up to FY
                1996, and within 2-3 years after that time. The "simple"
                test currently planned as a contingency would, in fact,
                provide useful technical information. Practically
                speaking, it would be difficult and expensive to
                maintain a highly sophisticated nuclear test unit in a
                continued state of readiness for a long period.
                The nuclear testing infrastructure, we believe, has been
                maintained at the appropriate levels. Congress
                appropriated $419.4 million in FY 1993 to support
                possible continued nuclear testing.  Recognizing the
                new requirements of the President's nuclear testing
                moratorium, the DOE provided the Congress with a
                revised FY 1994 budget request of $397.4 million to
                maintain a nuclear test readiness capability during the
                moratorium. Congress is currently considering the
                Department's FY 1995 request for $362.4 million to
                continue to maintain that capability.
                            QUESTIONS FROM SENATOR LOTT
 DOE Support of HR 1432
 Question 2:    Mr. Secretary, Mrs. Lloyd from the House Armed Services
                Committee has introduced a bill governing technology
                transfer activities at the labs. It reportedly deals
                with man), of the problems people have raised with bills
                from other committees. Does the department support Mrs.
                Lloyd's bill?
 Answer:        On April 11, 1994, Secretary O'Leary sent a letter
                (attached) to Congresswoman Marilyn Lloyd supporting
                the goals of H.R. 1432, the Department of Energy
                Laboratory Technology Act.
                           QUESTIONS FROM SENATOR LOTT
 Inertial Fusion
 Question 3:    Mr. Secretary, I am pleased that you have included the
                Inertial Confinement Fusion program as part of Stockpile
                Stewardship. I agree. Does this mean you can assure the
                Committee that DOE will always keep this program under
                Defense Programs, and not move it over to Magnetic
                Fusion?
 Answer:        The DOE intent is to keep Inertial Confinement Fusion
                (ICF) under Defense Programs. ICF is a critical
                component of the science-based stockpile stewardship
                program. Though the program also has the long-range
                mission of investigating the potential of ICF as a
                commercial energy source, the primary mission for the
                foreseeable future is to perform weapon physics
                experiments and weapon effects experiments and analyses
                to maintain nuclear competency. This function requires
                keeping the ICF program within Defense Programs.
                    QUESTIONS FROM SENATOR LOTT
 Task Force on Alternative Futures for the Department of Energy National
 Laboratories
 Question 4:    Mr. Secretary, as I mentioned in my opening statement,
                you are in the midst of a review of the laboratories.
                Over the years there have been six comprehensive reviews
                of the nuclear weapons programs; they have all concluded
                that the nuclear weapons program should remain
                independent of the DoD.  Will your task force examine
                this issue again?
 Answer:        To some extent, yes. The Task Force is exploring not
                only the appropriateness of the laboratories' Missions
                now and for the future, but their efficiency and
                effectiveness in carrying out those missions. The
                question of "ownership" of the nuclear weapons program
                is natural in that context, and has already been asked
                by some of the Task Force members at their April 21,
                1994 meeting. The Task Force, however, has already
                indicated their intent to learn from previous reports
                from other such advisory groups, and they have not
                expressed the need for an intensive review of this
                issue.
                        Questions from Senator Trent Lott
 Reconfiguration
 Question 6:    Mr. Secretary, I have to say that it is difficult to
                believe that you are really serious about
                reconfiguration of the nuclear weapon manufacturing
                complex, when you dis-established the reconfiguration
                office in Defense Programs. It certainly does not look
                like one of your highest priorities.
 Answer:        The Office of Reconfiguration has not been disbanded,
                but instead has been integrated into the Office of the
                Deputy Assistant Secretary for Military Applications and
                Stockpile Support. This was done as part of the recent
                reorganization of the Office of Defense Programs. The
                Office of Reconfiguration remains responsible for
                completing the Programmatic Environmental Impact
                Statement (PEIS) to address weapons complex functions.
                As a result of stakeholder input, the lack of any new
                weapons requirements for the foreseeable future and
                pressing budget priorities, the Department is no longer
                considering the relocation of most weapons complex
                functions or the construction of major new weapons
                facilities.
                Therefore, the focus of the PEIS will be on alternative
                sites and technologies for providing a new source of
                tritium. The technology alternatives for a new tritium
                production facility are a Heavy Water Reactor, Modular
                High Temperature Gas-Cooled Reactor, Advanced Light
                Water Reactor, and a Proton Accelerator. In addition,
                the PEIS will discuss the environmental impacts
                associated with the purchase of irradiation services
                from an existing commercial light water' reactor for the
                production of tritium. The Draft PEIS will be published
                for public review and comment no later than March 1,
                1995, and will contain the Department's preferred
                alternative site and/or technology for tritium
                production and recycle facilities. The Department
                currently expects a Record of Decision by the Secretary
                regarding tritium production and recycle facilities in
                November, 1995.
                             QUESTIONS FROM SENATOR LOTT
 Kansas City Plant
 Question 6:    Mr. Curtis, the centerpiece of your non-nuclear
                reconfiguration is the Kansas City Plant. It is critical
                that this be an efficient and reliable part of the
                complex. Yet during the fiscal year you redirected $20
                million to other uses, with the result that the Kansas
                City Plant had to lay off some uniquely skilled workers.
                Some reports are that you plan to fire one third of the
                workforce in FY94 and FY95. Already the Navy is saying
                that they cannot get enough tritium reservoirs. How long
                can this go on? When will we see a really viable
                program?
 Answer:        We have not yet determined the size of the layoffs we
                will have to execute throughout the nuclear weapons
                complex as a result of the FY 1995 budget request. We
                are taking action to increase the available FY 1995
                funding for the Plant.  We believe that once we have
                completed non-nuclear consolidation, the nuclear weapons
                stockpile support program will be fully viable.
                            QUESTIONS FROM SENATOR LOTT
 Omega West Reactor
 Question 7:    Mr. Secretary, you allowed and encouraged Los Alamos
                to modify the OMEGA reactor to produce medical isotopes,
                only to have forces in DOE headquarters oppose
                restarting it. This is another example of the
                antinuclear forces in charge of DOE doing anything,
                including wasting money, rather than start a reactor.
                DOE used to feel a sense of responsibility for the
                production of medical isotopes in the US. Do you still
                feel such a sense?
 Answer:        The Omega West Reactor at the Los Alamos National
                Laboratory was considered the primary candidate to be
                converted to production of molybdenum-99 and related
                isotopes until about mid-1994. At that time, two new
                discoveries, (a) the extent (cost and time) of the
                required upgrades at Omega West and (b) the capability
                and availability of the Annular Core Research Reactor,
                caused the Department to reconsider the Omega West
                Reactor.
                The Advanced Test Reactor at the Idaho National
                Engineering Laboratory was also identified as a possible
                candidate for molybdenum-99 production.
                A comparison among the three candidate reactors, Omega
                West, the Advanced Test Reactor, and the Annular Core
                Research Reactor, has identified the Annular Core
                Research Reactor as the most appropriate choice relative
                to both time and cost. Based on current estimates, the
                Annular Core Research Reactor and support facilities can
                be ready for production within about 18 months. Both of
                the other candidate reactors are estimated to require a
                longer time period and higher cost to produce molybdenum
                and related isotopes.
                Although a final decision has not yet been made
                regarding which reactor to convert, the Department
                intends to convert a reactor to the production of
                molybdenum-99 and related isotopes as soon as practical.
                       QUESTION FROM SENATOR LOTT
 Question 10:   Dr. Reis, DOE seems to have completely abandoned its
                policy that the government is ultimately responsible for
                any nuclear accidents; now you want the operating
                contractors to take full financial responsibility for
                overseas accidents or accidents with Russian material.
                Is this change your idea, from within DP, or did this
                come down from the Secretary's level?
 Answer:        The Department's policy regarding nuclear
                liability and indemnification generally
                reflects the philosophy underlying the Price-
                Anderson Act, 42 U.S.C. 2210. That Act
                establishes a comprehensive framework for
                indemnification for liability resulting from
                a nuclear incident occurring in the United States
                Its applicability to nuclear incidents outside the
                United States involving DOE-contractor activities is
                limited, however, to activities involving U.S.-owned
                material that is used by or under contract with the
                United States. Furthermore, Indemnification for such
                work is limited to $100 million. Recently, this
                limitation on indemnification has become an Issue for
                certain DOE contractors when the United States began to
                engage in nuclear work involving non-U.S. owned
                material, such as Russian and Ukrainian nuclear reactor
                safety assistance, and when our weapons laboratories
                became aware that some of their work abroad involved
                non-indemnified risks.
                      QUESTION FROM SENATOR LOTT
 Question 11:   Dr Reis, in a February 24 letter, the
                President of Sandia Labs notified you that he
                "cannot permit SNL to undertake .. repairs
                outside the US until Sandia obtains the
                necessary contractual protection." This
                protection, I understand, is a contract
                modification that is fully in accord with
                Public, Law 85-804. Have you made this
                modification? If not, why not?
 Answer:        On May 10, 1994, we received the formal
                request for indemnification from the
                President of Sandia National Laboratories and
                we expect that an interim indemnification
                under Public Law No. 85-804 will be approved
                by Secretary in the next month. The request
                Is limited to indemnification for a period of
                6 months, during which time we plan to seek
                Administration advice on whether
                indemnification should be extended beyond
                that time frame. The Department is somewhat
                reluctant to grant broad indemnification that
                may result in the U.S. taxpayer accepting
                financial responsibility for claims arising
                abroad involving non-U.S. owned nuclear
                materials.
                             QUESTIONS FROM SENATOR L0TT
 Hydronuclear Tests and Confidence
 Question 13:   Dr. Reis, I understand that without hydronuclear tests,
                you can never recapture the level of confidence you had
                with actual weapons tests, but you will have to settle
                for some lower level of confidence. Is that correct?
 Answer:        Our level of confidence in the stockpile is based on
                theory and calculations supported by experimental proof
                of the validity of those calculations. Ultimately, all
                assessments are subjective judgements based on
                the interplay between theory and the experimental data
                available. Clearly, there is no substitute for the
                absolute proof of a fully yield nuclear test. However,
                in a regime where underground nuclear testing is not
                available, I believe the science-based Stockpile
                Stewardship Program would make a valuable contribution
                to maintaining our current level of confidence in the
                stockpile.
                           QUESTIONS FROM SENATOR LOTT
 W-48
 Question 15:   Dr. Reis, in a recent unclassified publication,
                Livermore had a very useful discussion of the W-48
                warhead that cracked during disassembly. There could
                have been a plutonium dispersal, but there was not. I
                understand that the cause has been isolated, and has to
                do  with adhesives that had to be used because this was
                an artillery round. Is there likely to be a similar
                problem with the W-82 or W79?
 Answer:        The problem with the W-48 was not due to adhesives; it
                was caused by a flaw in a weld in the metallic shell
                surrounding the pit which had been present since the
                warhead was built. We have changed the dismantlement
                procedures for this warhead to account for the
                possibility of a similar flaw existing in another W-48.
                There is no W-82 system, and  the W-79 is of a different
                design, a similar problem is highly unlikely.
                             QUESTIONS FROM SENATOR HUTCHISON
 Stand Down at Pantex
 Question 1:    Mr. Curtis, recently Mason and Hanger, the operating
                contractor at Pantex, initiated a stand down to examine
                fully maintenance procedures for safety systems after
                discovering a problem in one of the filter banks. This
                was clearly the right thing to do. As a result of the
                stand down, there is a possibility that Pantex may not
                meet its dismantlement schedule. Can you assure me that
                the DOE will not place production or dismantlement over
                safety and penalize the contractor for taking a very
                appropriate response to a safety concern?  Is safety
                truly the paramount concern at Pantex?
 Answer:        Safety is the Department's number one priority within
                the nuclear weapons complex. Production or disassembly
                schedules do not take precedence over insuring safety to
                the worker, public, and environment. Contractor
                performance is evaluated using a weighing system which
                makes the importance of meeting schedules secondary to
                the importance of environment, safety, and health of
                workers and the public.
                           QUESTIONS FROM SENATOR EXON
 Inertial Confinement Fusion
 Question 1(a)  Dr. Reis, in the budget request for Inertial
                Confinement Fusion, funding is provided for continuation
                of the OMEGA upgrade and for operating activities. The
                DOE- approved funding in the cooperative agreement for
                OMEGA sets the operating budget for fiscal year 1995 at
                $17,165,770 and the capital equipment budget for $3.6
                million.  In the budget request as submitted, it appears
                that $13 million is provided for operating and $9.7 for
                capital equipment. This is too much for capital and not
                enough for operating. Should these amounts be adjusted
                to reflect the cooperative agreement?
 Answer:        In the budget request for Inertial Confinement Fusion,
                $166.7M is requested for operating expenses and
                $9.7M is requested for capital equipment. Of these
                totals, $2.5M of the $9.7M for capital equipment and
                $16.5M of the $166.7M for operating expenses is planned
                for the University of Rochester Omega Upgrade and
                operating activities.
                The Cooperative Agreement with the University of
                Rochester, like all Government contracts, is governed by
                the availability of funds.  In light of all the program
                priorities, the Department of Energy program office has
                determined that a total funding level for the University
                of Rochester of $19.0M for FY 1995 is justified if the
                total program budget request is approved at $176.5M
                             QUESTIONS FROM SENATOR EXON
 Inertial Confinement Fusion
 Question 1b):  Dr. Reis, is the overall funding level for FY 1995 for
                Inertial Confinement Fusion consistent with the
                National Academy of Sciences Recommendations.
 Answer:        The recommendations of the 1990 National Academy of
                Sciences (NAS) report have been implemented. The NAS
                recognized that budget realities are such that all
                candidate driver programs could not be supported in
                view of the cost of planning for  and attempting an
                ignition demonstration. However, they did establish
                program priorities and those priorities have been
                followed by DOE management.
                             QUESTIONS FROM SENATOR EXON
 Aging Nuclear Weapons Stockpile
 Question 2:    Mr. Curtis, in your statement you indicate that many of
                the weapons that we will continue to have in the
                stockpile either have or will soon exceed their design
                life. Thus, we need new methods of stockpile
                surveillance to be able to identify new problems that
                will come with the natural process of aging materials.
                (1) What are some examples of these new methods?
                (2) What types of problems can we expect?
                (3) Have we begun to see problems associated with aging?
                (4) Can you cite some examples in an unclassified
                    manner?
 Answer:        (1)  We are utilizing accelerated aging units (AAU) to
                     project potential problems. AAUs subject a system
                     to temperature cycling over a 1-year period which
                     will accelerate chemical reactions. This allows a
                     knowledgeable engineer to develop additional
                     monitoring methods to check for chemical
                     degradation over the life of a system. We have been
                     and continue to install environmental monitoring
                     devices in weapon storage locations to determine
                     the actual environments weapons are being stored
                     in. These monitors check for temperature and
                     humidity conditions. We are developing methods to
                     look  more closely, at safety critical components
                     to verify that there is no degradation in their
                     functioning. We are evaluating components from
                     weapons that are being retired from the stockpile
                     that have common design features to weapons that
                     remain in the stockpile. This will increase our
                     data base and give us more information on
                     components that have seen longer aging effects.
                (2)  We would expect to see problems associated with
                     corrosion, chemical degradation, wear on cables,
                     degradation of nylon parachutes used with our bomb,
                     dielectric breakdown in vitamin Q impregnated
                     kraft paper capacitors, shorts or opens in
                     junctions of integrated circuits, etc.
                (3)  We have always seen problems associated with aging.
                     We would expect that the frequency of these
                     problems would accelerate as the stockpile goes
                     significantly beyond its original design life. It
                     is critical to maintain a viable 2nd Aggressive
                     stockpile evaluation program if these problems are
                     to be found and corrected before they have safety
                     impacts or significant impacts on the reliability
                     of the nuclear stockpile,
                (4)  Specific examples would be classified. Some generic
                     examples of problems that have been discovered
                     include bridgewire corrosion, depletion of the
                     stabilizer in propellants, and hardening of "O"
                     rings used to prevent leaking.
                              QUESTIONS FROM SENATOR EXON
 Production of Warhead Components
 Question 3:    Mr. Curtis, there have always been limited life
                components in nuclear weapons that must be replaced,
                such as tritium containers and neutron generators. These
                non-nuclear components will continue to be built and
                handled, primarily at the DOE sites in Kansas City and
                Savannah River. If other components such as high
                explosives and nuclear components must be replaced,
                where will they be built? In your statement, you
                indicate that much of this capability will exist only in
                the laboratories. If there is a problem with the
                plutonium pits in a given weapon, and they have to be
                rebuilt, will that work be done at one of the labs? Is
                this potential mission for the labs covered by the
                existing Environmental Impact Statements for the
                laboratories?
 Answer:        The only warhead component for which we do not have a
                current production capability is the plutonium pit. The
                Pantex Plant retains the capability to produce the
                warhead high explosive. Los Alamos National Laboratory
                has the capability to produce a small number (tens per
                year) of plutonium pits, and the Department is examining
                the actions we would have to take to certify this
                production capability if needed for use in the
                stockpile. We have not determined the actions we would
                take if we had to rebuild the pits for a stockpile
                warhead, but the existing Los Alamos Environmental
                Impact Statement allows for such activities. Also,
                options for pit re-use, using the Pantex Plant, are
                available for such situations.
                               QUESTIONS FROM SENATOR EXON
 Pantex EIS
 Question 5(3): A site-wide Environmental Impact Statement for
                additional pit storage at Pantex.
 Answer:        In the Finding of No Significant Impact for the
                Environmental Assessment for Interim Storage of
                Plutonium Components at the Pantex Plant, the Secretary
                committed the Department to preparing a Pantex
                Site-Wide Environmental Impact Statement (SWEIS) by
                November 15, 1996.
                The Pantex SWEIS will address the potential
                environmental impacts concerning the continued
                operation of the Pantex Plant, including near to mid-
                term foreseeable activities and the nuclear component
                storage activities at other Department sites associated
                with nuclear weapon disassembly at the Pantex Plant. The
                proposed action is to continue operations at the Pantex
                Plant with its current missions and storage of nuclear
                weapons components at various sites. Alternatives to
                continuing operations at the Pantex Plant will also be
                evaluated.
                          QUESTIONS FROM SENATOR EXON
 Environmental Impact Statements
 Question 5(4): Two Environmental Impact Statements for materials at
                Savannah, one to determine what materials are unstable
                for long-term storage and what to do with them and then
                another EIS for long-term storage for stable materials;
                Would this include or exclude spent fuel?
 Answer:        The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Interim
                Management of Nuclear Materials at the Savannah, River
                Site (SRS) will consider all nuclear materials at SRS.
                This includes spent fuel as well as other irradiated
                materials. This EIS will assist the Department in
                determining what actions should be taken, if any, to
                ensure the SRS nuclear materials remain in a safe,
                interim storage condition while disposition decisions
                are made for the surplus nuclear materials. To
                coordinate departmental efforts for the control and
                disposition of surplus fissile materials, a
                Department-wide project has ben established. A Notice of
                Intent announcing the preparation of a nuclear materials
                programmatic EIS is to be published later this month.
                It will consider a range of options for the disposition
                of plutonium, but will not address spent fuel. Spent
                fuel is being addressed in the Spent Fuel Management EIS
                being proposed as part of the Idaho National Engineering
                Laboratory Site Wide EIS.
                           QUESTIONS FROM SENATOR EXON
 Question 5(5)  An Environmental Impact Statement on Spent Fuel that
                would cover the Navy spent fuel at Idaho and the return
                of foreign spent research fuel. Does this EIS cover all
                spent fuel stored in the complex and does it cover
                storage, or disposition?
 Answer:        You are referring to the Environmental Impact Statement
                (EIS) on Programmatic Spent Nuclear Fuel Management and
                Idaho National Engineering Laboratory Environmental
                Restoration and Waste Management Programs. In that
                EIS, the Department is evaluating its options for two
                separate but related sets of decisions pertinent to the
                management of the Department of Energy (DOE) spent
                nuclear fuel.
                The first portion of the EIS involves analysis of
                programmatic (Department-wide) approaches for the
                management of DOE spent nuclear fuel until decisions are
                made and implemented on ultimate disposition. While this
                EIS will not result in decisions on ultimate disposition
                of spent nuclear fuel, it does focus on strategies for
                interim management and storage. (If ultimate disposition
                is assumed to be placement in a geologic repository,
                then such disposition may not be available for
                Department spent nuclear fuel for 40 years.) The EIS
                covers all existing and projected DOE spent nuclear
                fuel inventories (approximately 2,800 metric tons heavy
                metal). This includes spent nuclear fuel from the
                Department's production reactors; the Naval Nuclear
                Propulsion Program; DOE, university, and other research
                and test reactors; special-case commercial power
                reactors; and potential receipts from foreign research
                reactors. (A separate EIS is being prepared on the
                Department's proposal to renew the policy for acceptance
                of U.S.-origin spent nuclear fuel from foreign research
                reactors.)
                The second portion of the EIS analyzes Idaho National
                Engineering Laboratory sitewide actions anticipated over
                the next 10 years for waste and spent fuel management
                and environmental restoration.
                The Draft EIS is expected to be completed by June 30,
                1994, and the Final EIS will be completed by April 30,
                1995.
                            QUESTIONS FROM SENATOR EXON
 Tritium Production
 Question 6:    Mr. Curtis, tritium production will be discussed in
                the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement that
                will appear in draft in March 1995. When this PEIS is
                completed, will it support a decision c)n new tritium
                production? When will this PEIS be completed?
 Answer:        When completed, the Reconfiguration PETS will support
                a decision regarding the site and/or technology for
                tritium production and recycle facilities. In the Draft
                PEIS to be published for public review and comment by
                March 1, 1995, the Department will identify its
                preferred alterative technology and, if the preferred
                alternative is a new facility, the preferred location
                for that facility from among the five candidate sites:
                Savannah River Site, Idaho National Engineering
                Laboratory, Nevada Test Site, Oak Ridge Reservation and
                the Pantex Plant. The Department expects a Record of
                Decision to be issued by the Secretary regarding future
                tritium production and recycle missions in November
                1995.
                         QUESTION FROM SENATOR EXON
 Question 7:    Mr. Curtis, if a reactor is chosen as a method to
                dispose of excess plutonium, will production of tritium
                in that reactor be considered as one of the options for
                tritium production? If not, why not?
 Answer:        The Department is analyzing several disposition options
                for surplus weapons-usable plutonium. If a reactor
                option were to be chosen as the disposition method for
                surplus plutonium, the selected option would be reviewed
                with regard to compatibility to produce tritium. The
                tritium of the two missions, the costs, technical
                feasibility and cumulative environmental impacts would
                likewise be evaluated.
  
                      QUESTIONS FROM SENATOR EXON
 Tritium Production
 Question 8a:   Mr. Curtis, when Secretary O'Leary testified, before us,
                she stated that, for planning purposes, DOE is using the
                amount of tritium that would be necessary to support a
                START II nuclear weapons stockpile level. Is this still
                the case?
 Answer:        Yes, tritium supply and demand calculations are based
                upon compliance with START II stockpile levels.
                              QUESTION FROM SENATOR EXON
 Plutonium Disposition
 Question 9;    The DOE budget request for Fiscal Year Yew 1995 does not
                ask money for plutonium disposition. Was this an
                oversight or is DOE planning to reprogram money in FY
                1995 or should we address the funding issue in the
                Fiscal Year Defense Authorization Bill?
 Answer:        The Department's budget submitted to Congress for FY
                1995 does not request funds specifically for the Surplus
                Fissile Materials Control and Disposition Project. Many
                of the activities under consideration fall within the
                programmatic responsibilities of existing Departmental
                elements and are incorporated within the Department's FY
                1995 budget request. In addition, efforts are currently
                underway to review the Department's FY 1995 submission
                to identify potential sources of funds for new tasks
                identified by, the project, within the FY 1995 budgetary
                levels already proposed. Specific funding needs for
                surplus fissile materials control and disposition will
                be included in the Department's FY 1996 and outyear
                planning and budgeting process.
                      QUESTION FROM SENATOR EXON
 Question: 13   Recently there have [been] some concerns raised
                about the involvement of private sector
                participation in the Nunn-Lugar and other
                cooperative efforts, including reactor safety,
                with Russia and other states of the Former Soviet
                Union. There apparently is some concern about the
                liability associated with such efforts. Dr.
                Keliher, can you or Mr. Curtis address this? Is
                this a problem? Are such concerns preventing
                anything from going forward and, if so, how is DOE
                addressing these concerns?
 Answer:        Some DOE contractors and potential subcontractors
                have expressed concerns about their potential
                liability exposure with respect to work for the
                Department that involves the possibility of a
                nuclear accident outside the United States. In
                general, this work relates to (1) safety
                assistance work at civilian nuclear reactors, (2)
                weapons-related activities, and (3) emergency
                response activities. These concerns have slowed
                progress with respect to some safety work.at
                Russian and Ukrainian civilian nuclear reactors.
                In the area of safety work at civilian nuclear
                reactors, the Department worked closely with the
                State Department to secure comprehensive
                indemnification provisions in our Government-to-
                Government agreements with the Russian Federation
                and Ukraine concerning safety assistance work at
                their civilian nuclear reactors. Under these
                provisions, the Russian and Ukrainian governments
                have agreed (except as to individuals in the case
                of premeditated conduct) not to pursue any claim
                against the United States, its personnel? and its
                contractors that might arise from work under these
                bilateral agreements and also to indemnify the
                United States, its personnel, and its contractors
                for any third-party claims (including the costs of
                defense) that might arise from such work. These
                provisions cover all tiers of persons involved in
                the work, including subcontractors, suppliers, and
                consultants and cover claims brought in any forum
                without regard to its location.
                The Department believes the indemnity provisions
                in the bilateral agreements provide a satisfactory.
                framework for its contractors to conduct safety
                work at Russian and Ukrainian civilian nuclear
                reactors. These provisions effectively channel all
                financial responsibility for any third-party
                claim that might arise from such work to the
                Russian Federation and Ukraine. Nevertheless,
                some firms have indicated a desire for a comprehensive
                indemnification guarantee from the United States
                Government in addition to the provisions in the
                bilateral agreements. The Department does not believe
                such a guarantee, with its financial implications for
                U.S. taxpayers, is necessary and currently does not plan
                to provide any such guarantee. In the event no
                responsible firm is willing to perform necessary safety
                work at Russian or Ukrainian civilian nuclear reactors
                under these circumstances, the Department will seek
                guidance from the President.
                With respect to weapons-related and emergency
                response activities, the situation is somewhat
                different. These activities involve work on
                nuclear weapons, anti-terrorism and nonproliferation
                that is extremely important to U.S. national security
                interests. Some form of indemnification from the United
                States Government may be appropriate for this work.
                Accordingly, the Department is reviewing its
                weapons-related and emergency response activities
                outside the United States to determine which work is
                essential to its national security mission. On the basis
                of that review, the Department will decide whether to
                recommend to the President that the United States
                Government provide some form of indemnification.
                Because this review may take several months to
                complete, the Department is considering providing
                an interim indemnification udder Pub. L. 85-804
                for emergency work relating to weapons, anti-terrorism,
                and nonproliferation that would be valid for 6 months.
                       QUESTIONS FROM SENATOR EXON
 Non-proliferation and National Security
 Question 14:   Dr. Keliher, a growing concern is the integrity of
                weapons materials as the stock of excess materials grows
                world-wide.  Without getting into classified material,
                is DOE looking at response to terrorist threats
                involving these materials?
 Answer:        Yes. Part of DOE's program for monitoring the black
                market in nuclear materials is to look for advance
                indicators of nuclear terrorism. The program is looking
                not only at the types of materials that are on the black
                market but also at the buyers and probable end users. In
                addition, the program provides formal assessments of
                threats that use or purport to use radioactive
                materials. This is generally  considered the first step
                in the determination of the need for deploying a Nuclear
                Emergency Search Team (NEST) of DOE Assistant Secretary
                for Defense Programs' Office of Emergency Response. NEST
                has always considered response to an overseas nuclear
                terrorist emergency a part of its operational mission.
                            QUESTIONS FROM SENATOR EXON
 Stockpile Stewardship
 Question 15(1):Mr. Curtis/Dr. Reis, did the Presidential Decision
                Directive dealing with stockpile stewardship identify
                specific technologies to be included in the stockpile
                stewardship program?
 Answer:        The November 1993 Presidential Decision Directive (PDD)
                initially identified several general program elements
                consistent with both the old Research, Development and
                Testing/Surveillance and Support program and with the
                emerging science-based Stockpile Stewardship and
                Stockpile Support programs. These were not really
                technology-specific at that general level of
                description.
                            QUESTIONS FROM SENATOR EXON
 Stockpile Stewardship
 Question 15(2):Mr. Curtis/Dr. Reis, did the PDD establish a funding
                level for stockpile stewardship?
 Answer:        The Presidential Decision Directive (PDD) referred
                to a Task Force Report which provided an approximate
                funding level for the Stockpile Stewardship program.
                The PDD explicitly stated that the precise funding
                requirements will be determined in conjunction with the
                appropriate fiscal year budget cycle." It did not
                include any detail on the major new construction starts
                which the Assistant Secretary for Defense Programs
                identified through consultation with stakeholders in the
                national security community beginning in February 1994.
                        QUESTIONS FROM SENATOR EXON
 Stockpile Stewardship
 Question 15(3):Did the PDD include Inertial Confinement Fusion in the
                technologies identified in the PDD?
 Answer:        The Presidential Decision Directive (PDD) includes
                several general program elements which are part of the
                technology areas spanned by Interial Confinement Fusion
                (ICF).  The ICF program is definitely considered by DOE
                to be a major component of several of the PDD program
                elements.
                             QUESTIONS FROM SENATOR EXON
 Stockpile Stewardship
 Question 15(4):Was the funding for ICF included in the PDD funding
                discussion?
 Answer:        Since the Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF)) budget is a
                separate budget line, the decision was made by the
                interagency group to not mix that budget with the R&D
                budget when attempting to arrive at the "approximate"
                budget requirements outlined in the plan. That statement
                is made in the plan attached to the Presidential
                Decision Directive (PDD). However, the ICF program and
                its funding requirements are definitely a component of
                the evolving Stockpile Stewardship program.
  
                        QUESTIONS FROM SENATOR EXON
 Technologies for Stockpile Stewardship
 Question 19:   Mr. Curtis, in your statement, you said that "confidence
                in and evaluation of the stockpile (in a test ban
                regime) will require extensive use of "non-nuclear"
                experiments." While certainly the sophisticated computer
                analysis techniques fall into the category of
                "non-nuclear" experiments, I understand that at least
                some of the technologies that we have just discussed in
                the context of the Stockpile Stewardship program use
                nuclear materials. Could you explain these statements?
 Answer:        Nonnuclear experiments can mean two types of activities,
                depending on context. First, there are experiments which
                create physics conditions which mimic those occurring in
                a nuclear explosion (e.g. high temperature plasma
                created by an Inertial Confinement Fusion facility).
                Second is a subset of such experiments which employ
                nuclear material, but which are designed so that they do
                not produce nuclear criticality during the course of the
                experiment. In the latter types of experiments, the
                conventional" physical and chemical properties of the
                material are at issue, rather than the potential for its
                nuclei to fission.
                           QUESTIONS FROM SENATOR EXON
 Personnel Skills
 Question 20:   The Congressional Research Service (CRS) has been
                working for some time on a report on the needs and
                requirements of maintaining the aging stockpile. Are the
                preliminary CRS conclusions that the people who have the
                necessary skills are also aging, but that as they
                retire, the skills they take with them are not being
                replaced. There are relatively few young physicist and
                scientists coming into the program. This is a serious
                problem beginning within the next five years.
                Mr. Curtis/Dr. Reis, do you agree with this conclusion,
                if so, what can DOE do to resolve this problem?
 Answer:        DOE recognizes that this is a real problem. However, it
                is important to recognize that the skills we need to
                cultivate are those that will sustain our new
                science-based stockpile stewardship strategy at the
                laboratories and our emerging stockpile support
                strategy at the plant sites.  Specifically, the skill
                base will be more reliant on advanced physics
                experimentalists, high performance computing scientists
                and modelers, on advanced materials and manufacturing
                technologists, and on transitioning, work assignments
                from research to engineering issues or to stockpile
                safety and reliability issues, as required by the
                program. It will be much less dependent on large
                numbers of people skilled in underground testing or
                weapon engineering and production, as was the case
                during the Cold War. In recognition of new, realities,
                we are planning to do the weapons business in a much
                different way than in the past.
                One of the major features of science-based stockpile
                stewardship is its emphasis on cutting edge science
                facilities (physics and computing) and on understanding
                high technology (materials and manufacturing). We
                believe that this feature will be the essential
                factor which draws the best and brightest young
                scientists and engineers to this vital national security
                program.
                We will also assess a laboratory training program for
                university students Such as that reponed out in the FY
                1995 budget mark-up of the House Armed Services
                Committee.
                           QUESTION FROM SENATOR GLENN
 Weapons Material Disposal Studies
 Question 1     I would like you to describe for us briefly these
                various Senior Level or Policy Development Working
                Groups, and Interagency Task Forces which are working on
                aspects of Special Nuclear Material Production, Storage
                Disposition and associated ES&H issues, which you now
                have in process.  I am particularly interested in what
                you see as the deliverables for each group, milestones
                and schedules, and the degree of public participation in
                these programs through hearings, local interest groups'
                observation of the process, or other appropriate
                mechanism to involve and inform the public in what you
                are doing?
 Answer         To address the urgency of matters related to the
                availability of significant quantities and forms of
                excess nuclear materials resulting form the end of the
                Cold War, Secretary O'Leary created a Department-wide
                project on January 24, 1994 to better coordinate efforts
                within the Department concerning the control and
                disposition of surplus fissile materials.  The project
                reports directly to the Under Secretary and has line
                responsibility for developing Departmental
                recommendations and for directing implementation of
                decisions concerning the control and disposition of
                excess nuclear materials.  The objective of this effort
                is to provide for safe, secure and environmentally sound
                control, storage and ultimate disposition of surplus
                fissile materials.  The project will operate in an open
                and transparent manner and will assure stakeholder
                participation in the decision-making process.  It will
                carry out its responsibilities in a manner that promotes
                effective nonproliferation policies and sets and example
                for other nations to follow.
                Key initial efforts of the project include the
                preparation of a Programmatic Environmental impact
                Statement for the storage and disposition of fissile
                materials and the initiation of a vulnerability
                assessment for the Department's plutonium inventories.
                The Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement
                process will begin with the publication of a Notice of
                Intent early this summer and proceed towards a Record of
                Decision in early 1996. The plutonium vulnerability
                study is underway and scheduled for completion by the
                end of September, 1994. It will be followed by a similar
                assessment of highly enriched uranium inventories.
                In addition, the project coordinates the Department's
                participation on nuclear materials matters being
                addressed by the President's Interagency Working Group
                The Interagency Working Group effort is chaired by Dr.
                Frank Von Hippel of the President's Office of Science
                and Technology Policy and includes participation by the
                Departments of Energy, State and Defense as well as the
                Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, the National
                Security Council, the Office of Management and Budget,
                the Environmental Protection Agency and the Nuclear
                Regulatory Commission.
                The group provides interagency oversight over the
                Administration's phased strategy for separated plutonium
                disposition starting with stabilization and storage
                through possible interim conversion to more
                proliferation resistant forms to ultimate disposition.
                The group contributes to joint discussions and
                cooperation with Russia on disposition of Russian
                separated Plutonium and serves as the U.S. part of
                joint working group with Russia on transparency and
                safeguards of surplus fissile materials.
                A key milestone for the group is the negotiation of a
                cooperative arrangement with the Russians on plutonium
                disposition options. Members of the group were part of a
                U.S delegation to Moscow during the week of May 23,
                1994. The group will monitor and provide interagency
                oversight over the Department of Energy's Programmatic
                Environmental Impact Statement process and provide
                recommendations to the President on narrowing
                disposition options The group held a public meeting in
                Washington on May 4, 1994, and plans to release a status
                report in October.
      



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