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Senate Defense Authorization Bill: Report Language on National Ignition Facility

Richard M. Jones
Number 90 - June 21, 2012  |  Search FYI  |   FYI Archives  |   Subscribe to FYI

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In contrast to rather extensive language on the National Ignition Facility in the reports accompanying the House defense authorization bill, and the House and Senate defense appropriations bills, the report of the Senate Armed Services Committee only stated the following:

“The committee remains concerned about the hurdles to ignition at the National Ignition Facility (NIF), which is still several orders of magnitude below the stated energy level to achieve it. The committee recognizes that the NIF has numerous other stockpile, defense related and non-defense related, missions and that important research remains to be done in these other areas. However, none rise to the level as understanding the physics of ignition for stockpile stewardship. The NNSA must strike a careful balance of ensuring there is still focus on this objective within the limited funding allocated for the machine and must not let lack of achieving ignition in the short-term cause long-term drifting to other missions to justify the funding.”

This language was found in the section of the committee’s report on the National Nuclear Security Administration which starts on page 278.  Tables of authorization levels for various NNSA programs start on page 461.

The Senate report also contains the following language on page 294:

Plan for use of Office of Science facilities

“The committee has found that the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) uses a wide range basic science facilities operated by the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science as part of its stockpile stewardship program. These user facilities include the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory, the Spallation Neutron Source at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Linac Coherent Light Source at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. Using DOE’s state the art user facilities is an excellent example of how the NNSA maintains excellence in its science base while supporting Department of Energy facilities as a whole. The committee directs the NNSA to prepare a report to the congressional defense committees a long-term plan for the use of current and future Office of Science facilities such as the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams and the National Synchrotron Light Source relative to support the stockpile stewardship program.”

Richard M. Jones
Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics