FY 2013 Defense Budget and Nuclear Weapons Spending

February 14th, 2012 - by admin

Tri-Valley CAREs & Defense News – 2012-02-14 00:35:48


A Quick Assessment of the FY 2013 Budget’s Request for Nuclear Weapons Spending
Tri-Valley CAREs

LIVERMORE, CA (February 13, 2012) — Still crunching more numbers, but thought you might want to see our initial response to several key things. See below for 7 key items, including 3 that are specific to Livermore Lab.

1. THE TOP LINE for Department of Energy (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration Nuclear Weapons Activities:

The President’s budget requests $7.577 Billion for nuclear weapons activities, compared with last year’s appropriated level of $7.214 billion, an increase of more than $363 million.

Said Tri-Valley CAREs executive Director, Marylia Kelley, “We find this number excessive and encourage Congress to sharpen its budget ax as the budget request wends its way through the FY13 appropriations process.”


Said Marylia Kelley, “We note with approval that the Obama Administration budget request for Department of Energy nuclear weapons activities zeroes out the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement-Nuclear Facility (CMRR-NF), slated for construction at the Los Alamos Lab in New Mexico. This facility, intended to enable a four-fold increase in the U.S. production of new plutonium bomb cores, was never needed for maintenance of existing weapons in the U.S. arsenal, and we are glad that Obama’s latest budget request reflects that reality.

Moreover, the budget request notes that CMRR-NF will be delayed at least 5 years (with no exact date for resumption given). We believe it can and should be canceled outright.”

UPF more than doubles; from $160 million appropriated for 2012 to $340 million requested for 2013.
“However,” Kelley continued, “We oppose the accelerated funding and construction schedule for the Uranium Processing Facility contained in this budget request. Tri-Valley CAREs supports a smaller facility focused on dismantlement of retired secondaries and downblending of highly enriched uranium rather than the currently-missioned UPF, which is focused on increasing U.S. production of nuclear weapons secondaries at a rate of up to 80 each year.”

For warhead Life Extensions Programs (LEPs), the budget request is $543 million (an increase of 13% over last year’s appropriated level), with the B61-12 requesting a whopping 66% more.

Marylia Kelley said, “Life Extension is a misnomer for a nearly complete rebuild and upgrade to each of DOE’s seven nuclear warhead systems. The need for these rebuilds is doubtful considering that these systems are nowhere near the end of their life and the costs continue to skyrocket.

In a typical LEP, NNSA makes hundreds of changes to the weapons, adding new components and modifying their military characteristics. The most expensive LEP so far is for the B61-12 family of bombs, for which the NNSA has requested $369 million for FY2013 (an increase of 66% over last year’s appropriated level) is especially unnecessary given that the European-based B61s may all be retired before or soon after the LEP is completed.

ICF/NIF holds steady with the request at $460 million for 2013, down a miniscule 3% from the appropriated level.

Kelley stated, “Within the DOE’s stockpile stewardship program, one of the biggest boondoggles is the inertial confinement fusion program, intended to produce thermonuclear ignition at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Livermore Lab. Ignition was first promised in 2003, then fiscal year 2010 and now fiscal year 2012. Although it is widely acknowledged within the government and the scientific community that ignition at NIF is highly unlikely to occur in 2012, the fiscal year 2013 budget request continues to throw good money after bad at the effort by dedicating $460 million next year to this failed effort.”

The monies for the Superfund cleanup of contaminated soil and groundwater at Livermore Lab hold steady in the budget request at about $23 million.

Said Kelley, “We note that the Livermore Lab main site and site 300 receive about the same amount of funding in the FY2013 request as has been appropriated in years past. We do see, and applaud, a small increase in the funding that DOE’s Environmental Management program is contributing. The funds that come directly from NNSA for cleanup do not appear to be going up, thus keeping the overall cleanup budget at “steady,” but barely so.

We call on DOE to reprogram monies being wasted elsewhere in the nuclear weapons budget to clean up toxic and radioactive contamination at Livermore Lab. And, we call on Congress to shift monies to this task in FY2013.”

Save $52 million? The budget request notes that the Livermore Lab plutonium facility will go from Category 1 to Category 3 (housing less than nuclear bomb usable quantities of plutonium and highly enriched uranium). Is a celebration in order?

Kelley explained, “The budget request states that the Livermore Lab plutonium facility, which has proven vulnerable to attack in mock terrorism drills, will drop from Category 1 to Category 3 in fiscal year 2013, enabling a drop in the request for nuclear security monies of $52 million, or 7.5% complex-wide. The budget request also notes that Livermore Lab has repackaged 91% of the plutonium and highly enriched uranium slated to be de-inventoried, with 84% of it shipped to more secure locations. This is cause for celebration.

“However, the budget request also states that ‘in place of the CMRR-Nuclear Facility’ NNSA has options to share workload between other plutonium-capable facilities at Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories.’ This statement mirrors what sources inside the DOE and other government agencies have told Tri-Valley CAREs. These sources say that the Livermore Lab plutonium facility may receive Category 1 & 2 nuclear bomb usable quantities of plutonium in the form of bomb cores from Los Alamos Lab.

We call on DOE to clarify the potential use of the Livermore Lab plutonium facility for continued plutonium bomb activities, and call on Congress to enact language that would specifically prohibit Los Alamos Lab, or any other site, from sending Category 1 & 2 quantities of plutonium to Livermore Lab.”

Full Coverage of Pentagon’s FY2013 Budget
Defense News

(February 12, 2012) — The Defense News staff has complete coverage of the U.S. Defense Department’s FY2013 budget request. (Link to Defense News for complete reports.)

U.S. Army Announces More Program Cuts (Feb. 13)
The U.S. Army plans to buy fewer trucks and terminate a handful of smaller procurement programs to meet its budget targets for the next five years, the service announced Feb. 13.

White House Proposes War Funding Cap Over Next Decade (Feb. 13)
The White House has proposed capping war spending at $450 billion over the next decade, U.S. Defense Department officials said on Feb. 13.

U.S. Air Force Trims Procurement, R&D in 2013 Budget (Feb. 13)
The new U.S. Air Force 2013 budget proposal trims the service’s spending to $154.3 billion, down from $162.5 billion the year before.

Pentagon Plan Would Save $75 Billion Over 5 Years (Feb. 13)
The Pentagon says it will save $75 billion over the next five years by reorganizing its investment spending, according to spending figures for the fiscal 2013 budget proposal released Feb. 13.

Modernization: Pentagon Wants $179 Billion (Feb. 11)
The U.S. Defense Department on Feb. 13 will ask Congress to approve a fiscal 2013 budget request that includes $47.6 billion to buy new fighters jets, tankers, helicopters and cargo planes, according to the document obtained by Defense News.

Projection on Modernization Shows 7% Dip (Feb. 12)
The Pentagon has proposed slashing its 2013 modernization budget more than 7 percent from its spending projections a year ago, according to a U.S. Defense Department document obtained by Defense News. Funds used to buy and develop new weapons, projected to total $193.3 billion in February 2012, will fall to $178.8 billion, down $14.5 billion.

U.S. Army: Helicopters Dominate Modernization Dollars (Feb. 12)
Aircraft programs once again dominate the U.S. Army’s modernization budget request, according to a Defense Department budget document obtained by Defense News. The document, which outlines program costs for major weapon systems, shows the Army is requesting $3.6 billion for its top three helicopter programs.

U.S. Navy: Funds for 10 Ships in Budget Request (Feb. 12)
At least $12.8 billion in shipbuilding funds will be part of the Obama administration’s fiscal 2013 defense budget, according to a Pentagon document prepared for Feb. 13 news briefings and obtained by Defense News. That’s enough for 10 new warships, and includes money to start construction on a new aircraft carrier and refuel another.

U.S. Air Force and Aircraft: 12% Cut in Spending on Aircraft in 2013 (Feb. 12)
Funding for aircraft decreased in the Pentagon’s fiscal year 2013 budget proposal as compared to 2012, according to documents obtained by Defense News. The FY2013 budget calls for $47.6 billion for aircraft programs, down from $54.2 billion.

Modernization: Pentagon Wants $179 Billion (Feb. 11)
The U.S. Defense Department on Feb. 13 will ask Congress to approve a fiscal 2013 budget request that includes $47.6 billion to buy new fighters jets, tankers, helicopters and cargo planes, according to the document obtained by Defense News.

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