Posted on April 3, 2019
WASHINGTON, April 3, 2019 – In a hearing on the president’s proposed budget for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) expressed his support for effectively maintaining the United States’ nuclear weapons stockpile; keeping critical projects on time and on budget; and supporting our nuclear Navy.
“The National Nuclear Security Administration is responsible for maintaining the United States’ nuclear weapons stockpile, reducing the global dangers posed by weapons of mass destruction, and providing the Navy with safe and effective nuclear power. Last year, Congress provided $15.2 billion for the NNSA, including $1.9 billion for the six life extension programs, which fix or replace components in weapons systems to make sure they are safe and reliable,” Alexander said.
“I’m pleased to know the department is continuing to maintain and modernize our nuclear weapons stockpile, including the Uranium Processing Facility at Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, which we provided $703 million of funding for last year to continue to keep the project on time and on budget, with a completion year of 2025,” Alexander continued.
“The NNSA is also restarting our ability to make plutonium pits for the stockpile. The NNSA has decided to use existing facilities and expertise in New Mexico to make some pits, and repurpose the MOX facility in South Carolina to make the remainder. That’s a good plan and I support it. I look forward to working with NNSA Administrator Gordon-Hagerty and Senator Feinstein as we begin putting together our Energy and Water Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2020,” Alexander concluded.
Alexander is chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, which oversees the U.S. Department of Energy—a federal agency with three critical missions: nuclear security, science and energy, and environmental management. At today’s hearing, Alexander noted how the subcommittee has a good record of being the first of the appropriations bills to be considered by the committee and by the Senate each year: “For each of the past four years, Senator Feinstein and I have been able to have our bill signed into law. Last year, we worked together in a bipartisan way on the fiscal year 2019 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill that was signed into law before the start of the fiscal year – the first time that happened since 2000.”
Today’s hearing was the second of the subcommittee's four budget hearings this year. At the subcommittee’s first hearing last week, Alexander discussed the president’s fiscal year 2020 budget request for the U.S. Department of Energy with Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry and emphasized how Congress should continue to increase funding for the department’s research and development programs. The senator referenced his “New Manhattan Project for Clean Energy,” a five year project with Ten Grand Challenges that will use American research and technology to put our country and the world firmly on a path toward cleaner, cheaper energy.
Click HERE for Chairman Alexander’s remarks as prepared.