Recent changes in national security needs have necessitated corresponding changes in the way the Department of Energy must meet its responsibilities regarding U.S. nuclear weapons. As a result of the START I treaty, the START II agreement, and the recently completed Nuclear Posture Review, the nation's stockpile is being greatly reduced. The Nuclear Posture Review forecasts steady declines in both the size and diversity of the U.S. nuclear stockpile through the year 2003, at which time the strategic accountable warhead base is projected to be 3000 to 3500 weapons of some seven weapon types. The Department will maintain the capability to reconstitute or reduce this force further. The U.S. has halted the development of new nuclear weapons and has begun closing portions of the weapon production complex and consolidating the remaining elements. In addition, the nation is observing a moratorium on nuclear testing and is pursuing a comprehensive test ban.
However, nuclear dangers remain, and the continued maintenance of a safe and reliable U.S. nuclear deterent is a cornerstone of U.S. national security policy. Thus, the Department of Energy's responsibilities for ensuring the safety, security, and reliability of the U.S. nuclear weapon stockpile will also continue for the foreseeable future.
Meeting these stockpile stewardship and management responsibilities will be more challenging now than ever before, given the moratorium on nuclear testing, the termination of new weapons development, and the closure of production facilities. A new approach to ensuring confidence in the U.S. stockpile is needed. This new approach must rely on scientific understanding and expert judgment, not on nuclear testing and the development of new weapons, to predict, identify, and correct problems affecting the safety and reliability of the stockpile.
Meeting this challenge will be neither inexpensive nor without risk. However, if the strategies laid out by the Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program are followed, both in the near term and the long term, we have confidence that we will be able to successfully meet this new challenge.
In this report, we outline the Department of Energy's Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program. We summarize the technical issues that must be addressed and the enhanced capabilities and facilities that are needed. The program strategy includes the preparation of a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement under the National Environmental Policy Act to address the environmental impacts associated with the proposed program and a range of reasonable alternatives. In the judgement of the Department, the Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program is essential if the nation is to properly safeguard its nuclear weapons and maintain an unquestioned nuclear deterrent.
In announcing the extension of the nuclear testing moratorium (July 1993), President Clinton reaffirmed the importance of maintaining confidence in the enduring U.S. nuclear stockpile and the imperative to assure that the nation's nuclear deterrent remains unquestioned during a test ban. He clearly acknowledged the need to explore other ways of maintaining confidence in the safety, reliability, and performance of U.S. nuclear weapons. By Presidential Decision Directive and act of Congress (P.L. 103-160), the Department of Energy was directed to "establish a stewardship program to ensure the preservation of the core intellectual and technical competencies of the U.S. in nuclear weapons."
We have developed the Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program to meet the challenges involved in ensuring the safety, reliability, and performance of the enduring stockpile. This program charts a course that must be stayed over the long term to provide responsible and effective stewardship and management of the nation's nuclear deterrent.
Three particular challenges must be met:
* Fully supporting, at all times, the U.S. nuclear deterrent with safe, secure, reliable nuclear weapons while transforming the nuclear weapon complex (laboratories and production facilities) to one that is more appropriate for the smaller enduring stockpile.
* Preserving the core intellectual and technical competencies of the weapons laboratories. Without nuclear testing, confidence in the U.S. nuclear deterrent will rest with confidence in the competency of the people who must make the scientific and technical judgments related to the safety and reliability of U.S. nuclear weapons. A "science-based" stockpile stewardship and management program will enable those people responsible for maintaining the U.S. nuclear stockpile to increase their fundamental understanding of the basic scientific phenomena associated with nuclear weapons.
* Ensuring that the activities needed to maintain the nation's nuclear deterrent are coordinated and compatible with the nation's arms-control and nonproliferation objectives.
Our preliminary cost analysis suggests that, in the absence of a series of ongoing and planned program and management improvements in the way the Department of Energy operates, the Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program would require increased funding after fiscal year 1996. The Department's National Security Five-Year Budget Plan, based on the assumptions used in preparing the fiscal year 1996 budget, projected that without reinvention, funding requirements for the Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program would rise from $3.6 billion in fiscal year 1996 to about $4 billion by fiscal year 1998. The Department is, however, aggressively changing the way it does business. It is anticipated that the Department''s initiatives will lower the funding required during the 1997-2000 fiscal years while accomplishing the Department's national security mission.
The Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program is a single, highly integrated technical program for maintaining the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile in an era without nuclear testing and without new weapons development and production. Traditionally, the activities of the three weapons laboratories and the nuclear test site in Nevada have been regarded separately, and funded separately, from the activities of the weapon production complex. However, all stockpile stewardship and management activities are closely linked to each other, and all are essential to ensure continued confidence in the nation's nuclear deterrent.
Recently, the Department received recommendations from the Galvin Task Force, which provided a comprehensive review of the Department of Energy laboratory system. The Department is committed to carrying out the majority of the Task Force's recommendations and expects that the implementation of these recommendations will result in a laboratory system that is more efficient, cost-effective, and mission-focused. On the question of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the Department is carefully reviewing the recommended phase-down of Livermore's work in nuclear weapon design and engineering. The timing and details of such a phase-down must depend wholly on how we can best meet our continuing national security responsibilities, as discussed in this report.
The U.S. nuclear weapon stockpile is currently judged to be safe, secure, and reliable. However, decades of experience with the stockpile has often revealed the need for repair or replacement of components and subsystems. Of the weapon systems introduced into the stockpile since 1970, nearly half have required post-development nuclear testing to verify, resolve, or fix problems relating to safety or reliability. Of the seven weapon systems that are candidates for the enduring (START II) stockpile, all seven have already been retrofitted to some degree, including the replacement of major nuclear components in some cases.
The average age of the stockpile has never significantly exceeded the current average age of 12 to 13 years. Although we cannot predict with certainty when age-related changes affecting weapon safety or reliability will occur, we must anticipate they will arise more frequently as the weapons retained in the enduring stockpile age to and beyond their original 20- to 25-year design lifetimes (Figure 1).
Figure 1. Projection of the size and average age of the U.S. nuclear stockpile to the year 2010, assuming current dismantlement plans and current thinking on the composition of the post-START II stockpile. These projections also assume no introduction of new production units and do not account for weapon lifetime extensions.
Today, none of these conditions exist. Thus it is essential that we develop new strategies and approaches to ensure the safety, reliability, and performance of the stockpile (and confidence in our ability to do so) under current conditions--namely, no nuclear testing and no new weapons in development or production. In addition, we must provide a source of tritium.
The primary goal of the Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program is
* High confidence in the safety, security, and reliability of the U.S. stockpile to ensure the effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear deterrent while simultaneously supporting U.S. arms-control and nonproliferation policy.
Because the stockpile must endure, the program must provide:
* A small, affordable, and effective production complex to provide component and weapon replacements when needed, including limited-lifetime components and tritium.
Because the world is uncertain and global nuclear threats persist, the
program must provide:
* The ability to reconstitute U.S. nuclear testing and weapon production capacities (consistent with Presidential directives and the Nuclear Posture Review), should national security so demand in the future.
Nuclear Test Readiness
The capability to resume underground nuclear testing will be preserved in accordance with the direction of the President. We will document past test data, iterview laboratory people with nuclear testing experience, and archive this information for the future. With a steady program of sophisticated related nonnuclear experiments, we expect to be able to retain and refresh the knowledge and skills needed for nuclear testing.
In developing the Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program, we assessed
the scientific and technical issues required to ensure the safety and
reliability of the enduring U.S. stockpile. The enduring stockpile was assumed to be the START II stockpile projected by the Nuclear Posture Review. We "stepped forward" to the needs of the stockpile in 2010, when almost all of the candidate weapon systems for the START II stockpile will have reached or exceeded their original design life. Our goal was to identify strategies that would enable us to maintain these weapons continuously, preserve the program-essential technical competence of the weapons laboratories, and transform the existing laboratory and production complex into a smaller, more efficient, less costly complex appropriate for supporting the smaller, less diverse stockpile of the future. The overall program strategy was driven by Department of Defense requirements of the Department of Energy (as identified by the Nuclear Posture Review) to:
* Maintain U.S. nuclear weapons capabilities without nuclear testing or the production of fissile materials and without the production of new-design warheads.
* Ensure the availability of tritium.
Five critical issues were identified, and strategies were developed to
Maintaining Confidence in Stockpile Safety and Reliability without Nuclear Testing
* Nuclear testing provided data sufficient to assess and maintain confidence in the safety and performance of the stockpile weapons.
* Upgraded or new experimental and computational capabilities are needed to fill in those areas of nuclear weapon science that are incomplete, especially gaps in our physics understanding and holes in the data needed for computational simulations of weapon performance and assessments of weapon safety and reliability.
* An improved science-based program with enhanced experimental and computational capabilities is necessary to prevent loss of confidence in the stockpile. This program must be technically challenging so that it will attract the high-quality scientific and technical talent needed for future stewardship of the stockpile.
* The strategy to address this critical issue is discussed under "Enhanced Experimental and Computational Capabilities."
Reducing the Vulnerability of the Smaller Stockpile to Single-Point and Common-Mode Failures
* A large stockpile, with over 20,000 weapons and more than 25 weapon systems, provided substantial protection against single-point and common-mode failures.
* A smaller stockpile, with fewer than 5000 weapons and 7 weapon systems, will be far more vulnerable to single-point and common-mode failures.
* Enhanced weapon and materials surveillance capabilities are necessary to detect potential problems earlier and lessen the vulnerability of the enduring stockpile to these failures.
* The strategy to address this critical issue is discussed under "Enhanced Weapon and Materials Surveillance Technologies."
Providing an Effective and Efficient Production Complex for the Smaller Stockpile
* In the past, a large weapon production complex of seven plant sites provided the capability and capacity to rapidly fix problems in the stockpile.
* Currently, only four plant sites are available (Kansas City, Pantex, Savannah River, and Oak Ridge). Nonnuclear functions are being consolidated and reestablished, and some nuclear functions are not currently available and will be difficult to reestablish. The existing production complex would be inefficient and ineffective for the smaller enduring stockpile.
* Advanced manufacturing and materials technologies must be developed to provide timely and flexible response in correcting stockpile problems. Research, development, and manufacturing must be highly integrated. The capacity-based production infrastructure of the past, which relied heavily on a production complex geared to continuous upgrading and renewal of a relatively large stockpile, must be replaced by a much smaller and more efficient capability-based complex supported by improved scientific understanding of nuclear weapons and their production processes. • The strategy to address this critical issue is discussed under "Effective and Efficient Production Complex."
Providing for Long-Range Support of the Enduring Stockpile
* In the past, continuous development and production of new weapons maintained the scientific and technical knowledge and skills base essential for maintaining the safety and reliability of the stockpile.
* With no new weapons in development or production, budget reductions, and an aging staff with actual experience in designing, testing, and producing nuclear weapons, the knowledge and skills base unique to nuclear weapons will atrophy.
* A new, long-range planning strategy needs to be developed in conjunction with the Department of Defense. This strategy must allow for a weapons complex (design, development, and production) to maintain the U.S. nuclear stockpile and support the nation's nuclear deterrent in the future while meeting our obligation to maintain the safety and reliability of the stockpile while transitioning to a complex more appropriately sized and structured to ensure efficiency and effectiveness in supporting the nation's nuclear deterrent in the future. This long-range strategy should protect the national security option to develop new nuclear weapons.
* The strategy to address this critical issue is discussed under "Long-Range Stockpile Support."
Ensuring an Adequate Supply of Tritium
* All of the candidate weapons for the START II stockpile require tritium replenishment.
* No production source of new tritium currently exists.
* Although the projected START II stockpile and the mandated five-year reserve can be maintained until about 2011 by recycling existing tritium supplies, it will likely take 10 to 15 years to bring a new tritium production source on line. Reactor and accelerator technologies for producing tritium are currently being evaluated, and a decision as to the preferred approach is expected later this year.
* The Department is also developing a contingency option for the production of tritium in the event of a national emergency.
* The strategy to address this critical issue is discussed under "Tritium Production."
The following strategies have been defined to address the critical
issues related to ensuring the safety, reliability, and performance of the enduring U.S. nuclear stockpile.
Enhanced Experimental and Computational Capabilities
Substantial advances in experimental and computational capabilities are needed to maintain confidence in the safety and performance of the U.S. stockpile without nuclear testing. Without nuclear testing as the final "arbiter," we must fill in those areas of nuclear weapon science that are incomplete, particularly gaps in our physics understanding and holes in the data needed for computational simulations of weapon performance and model-based assessments of safety and reliability issues. Upgraded or new experimental capabilities are needed to meet these requirements and, at the same time, to validate improved or new computational models.
Confidence without Nuclear Testing
* Underground nuclear testing provided data sufficient to assess and maintain confidence in the safety and performance of the U.S. stockpile.
* Enhanced predictive capabilities are needed to assess complex problems affecting an aging stockpile.
* Our fundamental understanding of the physics of nuclear weapons must be improved.
Enhanced capabilities will provide the ability to evaluate some safety
and performance issues that could have significant stockpile consequences. (It
is possible that without enhanced capabilities, some nuclear components
exhibiting changes in composition or structure might have to be retired
because we would not be able to certify the acceptability of repaired or
modified components.) Furthermore, enhanced experimental and computational
capabilities, will enable us to maintain the knowledge and skill base that
is essential for training new weapons program personnel. The Appendix (p. 14)
provides a description of the proposed new facilities and new facilities
under consideration to support the Department of Energy's science-based Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program.
Enhanced Computational Capabilities
* Accelerated Strategic Computing Initiative (ASCI)
-- Increases of more that 1000-fold in computational speed and data storage.
-- Full-system, high-fidelity predictive capability.
Enhanced Experimental Capabilities
* Dynamic radiography:
-- Multiple views at multiple times.
-- Higher resolution.
* Lasers and pulsed power:
-- Higher energy and power density.
-- Broad range of pulse widths.
Primaries. Technical issues of particular concern regarding the
primary stage of a nuclear weapon include nuclear criticality of the assembly,
ignition of the deuterium-tritium boost gas, the three-dimensional shape of
the late-time boost-gas cavity, and the effect of the mix of materials into
the boost gas on burn and ignition. High-resolution, multiple-time,
multiple-view hydrodynamic experiments using simulant materials will be used
to define the implosion characteristics and assess primary safety,
reliability, and performance. Well-diagnosed pulsed-power and laser-based
experiments will also be used to gain an improved understanding of implosion
and ignition physics. Pulsed-power and laser facilities could also be used
for studies of the effects of materials behavior, including age-related material changes, on primary performance. The data gathered in such experiments will be essential for evaluating new and evolving computational models of primary-stage behavior.
Secondaries. Critical issues for weapon secondary stages relate to
the effects on system performance of manufacturing imperfections and age-related changes in materials characteristics. In order to assess the effects of these manufacturing and materials features, we require improved predictive
capabilities regarding radiation transport, secondary hydrodynamics, and
fusion burn. More complete and more accurate experimental data are needed to
improve our understanding of weapon physics issues related to secondary
safety and performance. However, the conditions relevant to secondary performance are extremely difficult to create in a laboratory setting, and most data must be extrapolated to the weapons regime, which requires the expert judgment of weapons scientists. Some of the facilities needed to address issues related to primary stages could also be used to investigate secondary-stage issues, but other facilities specific to secondaries are also needed.
To ensure the safety and reliability of the enduring stockpile, computational simulation must fill the void, to the extent possible, left by the termination of nuclear testing. Computational capabilities underpin every aspect of nuclear weapon design, engineering, and evaluation. Because many aspects of nuclear weapons are extremely complex, a fine balance has existed between physical experiments and numerical simulation. Without nuclear testing, numerical simulations will be the principal way of evaluating the safety of nuclear assemblies and the only way of estimating full system performance. Numerical simulations will also provide an essential tie to the data from past nuclear tests, which is an essential element of ensuring the safety and performance of the enduring stockpile without underground nuclear testing. Computational simulation will be an essential (and sometimes the only) means of predicting the effects of materials aging on component and weapon performance.
Increases of more than a thousand-fold in computational speed and data storage are needed to handle simulations of weapon performance and assessments of weapon safety of the required complexity and detail. Improvements are needed in the spatial resolution (fineness of detail) of the simulation and in the number of dimensions that can be modeled (three dimensions, not just one or two). We must also increase the completeness of our physics models, incorporating improved and extended physics data and more complete physics understanding. This effort is closely linked to experimental efforts to provide improved and expanded physics data and to test the predictions of new or evolving computer models.
The goal of the recently established Accelerated Strategic Computing
Initiative (ASCI) is to meet these computational requirements. The weapons
laboratories will collaborate with industry and other government agencies to
reduce the cost of developing these enhanced capabilities. Clearly, the
advances required in computational capability and many of the experimental
initiatives required for stockpile stewardship and management are
Vulnerability of a Smaller, Less-Diverse Stockpile
* More than 20,000 to fewer than 5000 weapons.
* More than 25 to fewer than 7 weapon types.
* All weapons will age beyond their original design life.
Enhanced Surveillance Capabilities
* Nondestructive technology to examine weapon components.
* Sensors built into stockpile weapons to monitor status.
* Predictive models based on materials science.
Hydronuclear experiments were conducted during the 1958-1961 test moratorium
to address stockpile safety concerns. These experiments combined the normal
high-explosive trigger for a nuclear device with a quantity of fissile
material much less than that required for a nuclear explosion, as the term
is usually understood. The Department of Energy currently has no plans to
conduct hydronuclear experiments in the 1995 and 1996 fiscal years.
Effective and Efficient Production Complex
In years past, a large weapon production complex provided the capability and
capacity to rapidly fix problems with stockpile weapons. Today, elements of
the production complex have already been shut down and manufacturing
capabilities are being consolidated at fewer sites, which are being
downsized as well. At the end of the 1994 fiscal year, the Rocky Flats, Mound, and Pinellas plants completed their last deliveries of products to the
stockpile. Production capabilities formerly located at these sites have been or are being established at other sites. However, it will not be practical or cost effective to meet future manufacturing needs by keeping many of the old
processes or facilities on "standby."
Large Production Complex Ineffective for Smaller Stockpile
* Facility infrastructure costs are high, especially those for nuclear facilities.
* Some production capabilities and capacities have already been lost.
* Older manufacturing processes do not meet modern environmental, safety, and health standards.
Manufacturing and Materials Technology
* Integrate research and development with manufactuing activities.
* Capability-based production capacity.
* Low-cost, rapid, and flexible response to fix stockpile problems.
Computer-based models to predict the performance of weapon components and to describe the associated manufacturing processes are a key element of concurrent engineering. Models of the manufacturing processes will make it possible to identify process-control signatures, and the models can be used on the factory floor to implement sensor-based adaptive process control during manufacture. Detailed process descriptions, especially when combined with process-control instrumentation, will make it possible to produce the small quantities of reliable, high-quality, specialty products needed to maintain the enduring U.S. stockpile. The advanced computational capabilities developed through the ASCI initiative will help realize the full potential of model-based weapon design and manufacturing.
The Department of Energy has established the ADAPT (Advanced Design and
Production Technologies) initiative to develop the tools needed to realize
At first glance, remanufacturing of weapon components to their original specifications appears to be a straightforward, low-cost approach to maintaining the stockpile. One could reason that since the designs for the weapons are available, it should be a matter-of-fact process to simply build identical units to replace aging stockpile weapons. However, upon closer examination, this approach is seen to have many drawbacks. Precise replication would not always be possible because deviations from original specifications would occur as a result of interrupted commercial supply bases for specific materials and products. Changes in commercial technology, such as electronics, are frequent, and previously available parts and devices are discontinued. Materials and manufacturing processes are modified to meet more stringent environment, safety, and health standards. In addition, remanufacturing alone would not permit stockpile improvements to address reliability or safety concerns. Perhaps most important, remanufacturing would not retain the required breadth and depth of nuclear weapon expertise and judgment that will be needed to address future concerns about the safety and reliability of an aging stockpile. Therefore, we conclude that remanufacturing alone is not sufficient to maintain and manage the enduring U.S. stockpile.
A number of unique test facilities must be retained and selectively
enhanced, including environmental test facilities for evaluating model predictions, certifying performance, and assessing safety. Test ranges for conducting joint flight tests with the military to evaluate weapon system performance under realistic weapon delivery conditions will still be required. Enhanced experimental capabilities may also be needed to evaluate weapons and
components in combined environments (e.g., heat plus shock) or to certify
the hardness of replacement components to neutrons, gamma rays, and x rays.
Advanced Production Technology
* Computer-generated solid models of products.
* Electronic information about material properties.
* Predictive computer models of manufacturing processes.
* Sensor-based adaptive process control of manufacturing.
As long as the U.S. has a nuclear weapon stockpile, there will be a
need to evaluate periodically the safety, security, and reliability of each of the weapon types in the stockpile, to repair them when concerns arise, to
upgrade them to meet more demanding safety and security standards and new military requirements, to replace them when refurbishment is not practical or cost effective, and to dismantle them at the end of their useful lifetime. Many of the capabilities needed for long-term support of the stockpile currently exist and will be maintained. However, as a result of the closure of elements of the production complex, some capabilities need to be reestablished and others need to be enhanced.
Long-Range Stockpile Support
* In the past, continuous design, development, and production of nuclear weapons "stabilized" the laboratory and production complex.
* Without a steady flow of new weapon development projects, a different approach to long-range stockpile support is needed.
The Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program calls for new approaches to
ensuring the ability to fix problems that will undoubtedly occur in the
aging stockpile. To start with, safety margins will be increased (which may
include modifications to primaries), use-control technology will be enhanced, and components produced with "sunset" technologies (i.e., products and processes that become obsolete because of, for example, increasingly stringent
environmental or safety regulations) will be replaced. To accomplish these
objectives cost effectively, we will conduct planned product-improvement
programs that will significantly advance the safety, security, reliability,
and/or maintainability of stockpile weapons. To extend the lifetime of
weapon components without jeopardizing safety or reliability, we will use improved predictive capabilities, made possible by a combination of computational modeling and experimentation, to define age-related changes in materials properties and will engage in preventative maintenance (before a problem develops) of the stockpile. This approach has already been used successfully for such limited-lifetime components (LLCs) as neutron generators and tritium reservoirs, and it may be possible to extend this approach to entire weapon systems. Not only will these activities ensure and improve the safety and reliability of the enduring stockpile, but they will also exercise and sustain much of the skill base required for nuclear weapon development and
production and thus help maintain the nation's nuclear competency.
Example of Preventative Maintenance--Neutron Generator
--Correct detonator corrosion problem.
* Life extension:
--Review tube life data annually.
--Develop new generator with improved reliability and durability (in progress).
Improvements to the stockpile must be made through a strategy that does not
call for significant new weapons production or complete rebuilding of the
candidate weapons for the START II stockpile. It is not cost effective, and
perhaps not even feasible, to simply replace individual weapons when they
reach the end of their original design lifetime (20 to 25 years, depending
on weapon type). A new strategy will be developed in conjunction with the
Department of Defense. It will rely extensively on preplanned lifetime
extension projects and, whenever a major retrofit is not cost effective, on
one-for-one complete system replacements. The retrofit/rebuild schedules
will be phased to level the production and recertification workload and to ensure sustainable effectiveness of design, engineering, and production
capabilities in every critical area.
Tritium is required for all weapons in the enduring U.S. stockpile. This radioactive isotope of hydrogen has a half-life of 12.5 years and decays at the rate of about 5% per year. Tritium has not been produced in the U.S. since 1988. Stockpile tritium requirements are currently being met by recycling the tritium from dismantled weapons. Recycling will meet the tritium requirements of all of the weapons in the START II stockpile, including a five-year reserve, until about 2011. Clearly, some means of tritium production will be required to support the stockpile after that time.
Various tritium production technologies are being evaluated by the Department of Energy, and the preferred technology will be selected in the near future. The following technologies for producing tritium are being considered: accelerator, advanced light-water reactor, heavy-water reactor, and modular high-temperature gas-cooled reactor. Candidate sites for tritium production and recycling are the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory, the Nevada Test Site, the Oak Ridge site (Tennessee), the Pantex Plant (Texas), and the Savannah River Plant (South Carolina). It is estimated that, regardless of the technology and site chosen, it will take 10 to 15 years to establish a new tritium production capability. The current plan provides for a technically proven contingency supply of tritium, based on a commercial light-water reactor, to respond in the event of a national emergency.
The tritium recycle and supply proposal has its own programmatic environmental impact statement. A record of decision on the technology and siting is scheduled for this year.
Stockpile stewardship costs include all research and development
activities at the weapons laboratories to implement the program strategies
and maintain the Presidentially directed test-readiness posture at the Nevada
Test Site. The stockpile stewardship cost estimate includes the proposed new
experimental test facilities (the Dual Axis Radiographic Hydrodynamic Test
Facility, the Contained Firing Facility, the Atlas Facility, the National
Ignition Facility, and the Process and Environmental Technology Laboratory;
see the Appendix, p. 14, for descriptions of these facilities). Stockpile
management costs include a new tritium production facility and the
activities associated with dismantling the nonenduring stockpile, with maintenance and surveillance of the enduring stockpile, and with the implementation of new manufacturing and surveillance technologies to support the enduring stockpile.
Figure 2. Budget projection for the Stockpile Stweardship and Management Program in budget-year dollars for the fiscal years 1991 through 2000 before reinvention (costs for 2001 and beyond are in constant fiscal year 1996 dollars). It is anticipated that the Department's initiatives will reduce the funding required for fiscal year 1997 and beyond. Costs for the various elements of the program are cumulative.
Our preliminary cost analysis suggests that, in the absence of a series of ongoing and planned program and management improvements in the way the Department of Energy operates, the Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program would require increased funding after fiscal year 1996. The Department's National Security Five-Year Budget Plan, based on the assumptions used in preparing the fiscal year 1996 budget, projected that without reinvention, funding requirements for the Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program would rise from $3.6 billion in the 1996 fiscal year to about $4 billion by fiscal year 1998. The Department is, however, aggressively changing the way it does business. It is anticipated that the Department's initiatives will lower the funding required during the 1997-2000 fiscal years while accomplishing the Department's national security mission.
May 1995....................................................................Information meeting
June 1995....................................................................Notice of intent
June-August 1995........................................................Scoping meetings
September-October 1995............................................Implementation plan
January-February 1996................................................Draft PEIS
July-August 1996.........................................................Final PEIS
We must take positive steps to preserve the current high
confidence in the safety and (to the extent possible without nuclear testing) the performance of the enduring stockpile. This raises the questions of how one measures confidence and what level of confidence is desired. Confidence is subjective and, as such, rests on the judgment of people. Judgment is based on
information, experience, and trust in the sources of the information and
experience. This link between confidence, judgment, and people is the reason
that the competency and experience of our weapons scientists and engineers
are so crucial to the U.S. nuclear weapons program. As a result, maintaining
this competency base, which exists primarily at the weapons laboratories, is one of the highest priorities of the Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program. We need to preserve and pass on the competency base developed during the years when nuclear testing was permitted. It is this need that drives our efforts to retain the staffs of test-experienced weapons scientists and engineers and to attract talented new people to the program. In turn, these efforts are behind our push to maintain the weapons laboratories with their reputations for scientific and technical excellence, to engage in research and development programs that are nationally important and technically challenging, and to support state-of-the-art experimental facilities and technical capabilities.
Throughout the history of the U.S. nuclear weapons program, we have compensated for less-than-complete knowledge about the physical phenomena governing nuclear weapon operation with nuclear testing and interlaboratory peer review. Without nuclear testing, confidence in the safety and reliability of U.S. nuclear weapons must be based more on judgment and less on data. Peer review is more important now than ever before because judgment-based confidence relies on the knowledge that the judgment has withstood scrutiny. Thus it is essential that we preserve an independent review process.
Clearly then, preserving high confidence in the safety and performance of the enduring U.S. stockpile without nuclear testing will require an improved, more complete, more accurate understanding of the underlying physical principles involved in nuclear weapons. In turn, this will require new experimental capabilities and greatly improved computational capabilities. As these new capabilities come "on line" and we gain experience in their use and demonstrate the validity of the information they provide, we believe we will be able to certify the safety and performance of the stockpile. (Figure 3 summarizes the activities of the Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program.)
Science-based stewardship and management of the U.S. stockpile has
never been done before. Meeting this challenge will be neither inexpensive nor
without risk. However, if the strategies laid out by the Stockpile
Stewardship and Management Program are followed, both in the near term and the long term, we have confidence that we will be able to successfully meet this new challenge.
Figure 3. Summary of the facility closure, consolidation, and construction activities of the Stockpile Stewardship and management Program.
The following new facilities are included in the Department
of Energy's National Security Five-Year Plan. Construction and operation of these facilities is subject to approval at the appropriate Key Decision stages of the Department's major systems acquisition process and to future budget
Dual Axis Radiographic Hydrodynamic Test Facility
The Los Alamos Dual Axis Radiographic Hydrodynamic Test (DARHT) facility would provide substantial improvements in dynamic radiography, which is a major experimental tool for addressing issues of weapon safety and reliability and for validating our physics understanding of and predictive capability for primaries. This facility would produce radiographic images with significantly higher spatial resolution and illumination intensity than are possible with present facilities. The dual-axis capability of DARHT would provide data on implosion symmetry as a function of time. Improvements in hydrodynamic testing capabilities, by which we can probe the implosion of primaries and assess other weapon hydrodynamic effects, are key to our ability to address stockpile reliability and safety issues by means other than nuclear testing. These hydrotesting improvements are also essential for validating improved numerical codes and models of weapon performance.
The construction of DARHT has been halted by court action.
Whether or not construction is resumed will depend on the outcome of an environmental impact statement now being prepared and a record of decision that will follow.
Contained Firing Facility
The Contained Firing Facility (CFF), an addition to the Flash X-Ray (FXR) hydrodynamic testing facility at Lawrence Livermore, would provide for well-diagnosed, contained hydrodynamic tests with up to 60 kg of energetic explosives as well as new diagnostics for improved studies of the behavior of weapon materials under explosive shock conditions.
National Ignition Facility
The National Ignition Facility (NIF) would simulate, on a small but diagnosable scale, conditions of pressure, temperature, and density close to those that occur during the detonation of a nuclear weapon. With the NIF, it would be possible in the laboratory, for the first time ever, to study radiation physics in a regime close to that of secondaries. The NIF would be used to investigate hydrodynamic and mix phenomena relevant to modern nuclear weapons. The NIF would also provide a unique laboratory capability for studying thermonuclear ignition and burn of dense deuterium-tritium gas. Furthermore, by studying NIF-heated targets, we would be able to improve our ability to predict the effects of x-radiation on weapon components and weapon systems; these studies would be a valuable complement to experiments at other Department of Defense and Department of Energy facilities.
Without the capabilities offered only by the NIF, uncertainties about
some physics areas that affect secondary performance would go unanswered, and
improvements in our predictive capabilities would suffer. Equally important,
without the NIF and similar frontier-expanding facilities, the weapons
laboratories would find it increasingly difficult to maintain the necessary
expertise and skill bases unique to nuclear weapons and essential for
science-based stockpile stewardship and management.
The pulsed-power Atlas Facility at Los Alamos would provide implosions of centimeter-scale metallic shells for high-resolution experiments related to secondary hydrodynamics. It would also provide a long-pulse-width, soft-x-ray source for radiation-flow experiments scaled to secondary channel conditions. In addition, Atlas would be used for large-scale hydrodynamic experiments with high-fidelity primary pressures to resolve issues related to implosion stability and boost-gas mixing. Atlas would help us gain a more complete understanding of hydrodynamic and radiation-flow phenomena, improve our predictive capabilities, and assist in our efforts to ensure essential nuclear weapon skill and judgment bases.
Process and Environmental Technology Laboratory
The Process and Environmental Technology Laboratory (PETL) at Sandia would support efforts in advanced and environmentally benign manufacturing, specialty materials formulation, materials aging, and analysis. This materials research facility would also support almost all aspects of nonnuclear component development and production engineering. It would be used for the development of advanced stockpile surveillance technologies, the assessment of age-related defects identified during routine surveillance, and the development of cost-effective manufacturing technologies for retrofit and replacement components. The PETL would replace a number of existing facilities distributed throughout Sandia, some of which would require modification to meet current safety standards in order to be used for planned stockpile stewardship activities. Upgrading existing facilities to meet current safety standards would cost more than the cost of constructing this new facility; even with upgrades, existing facilities would not be able to provide the improvements in operating efficiencies offered by the PETL.
New Facilities under Consideration
A number of additional new facilities are under consideration to meet the challenges of science-based stockpile stewardship and management. Depending on the outcome of the PEIS process, other facilities or major upgrades of existing facilities may be needed.
Integrated Design and Development Center
The Integrated Design and Development (ID&D) Center at Sandia would enable the development and validation of tools for establishing the low-cost supply of nonnuclear components (needed to maintain or upgrade stockpile weapons). It would enable integrated optimization of product designs and manufacturing processes to ensure rapid product realization of highly reliable components at the lowest possible cost. The ID&D Center would also serve as a testbed for rapid prototyping and as a source for specialized products not available from industry.
Advanced Hydrotest Facility
The Advanced Hydrotest Facility (AHF) would provide up to eight radiographic views (compared to the two views that would be provided by DARHT). Such multiple-view, multiple-time radiography is anticipated to be essential for assuring weapon reliability and safety without nuclear testing in the long term. The AHF would provide multiple images (20 or more) that would reveal the evolution of a primary's implosion symmetry and boost-cavity shape under normal conditions and in accident scenarios. The AHF would be based on new and developing accelerator technology, which draws on the rapidly advancing state of the art in high-power, high-speed, solid-state components.
The Jupiter Facility would be an advanced pulsed-power x-ray source to provide enhanced capabilities in areas of weapon physics, radiation-effects science, and pulsed-power technology. It would provide a class of x-ray environments that can be obtained elsewhere only in underground nuclear tests. This facility would enhance our ability to certify that critical weapon components meet military requirements for x-ray hardness.
High-Explosive Pulsed-Power Facility
The High-Explosive Pulsed-Power Facility (HEPPF) would provide experimental capabilities for studying secondary physics issues at shock pressures and velocities approaching those of actual weapon conditions at scale sizes and pulse widths needed to validate numerical simulations. High-explosive pulsed power is a cost-effective means for producing the extraordinary electrical pulses needed for these experiments. This facility would significantly enhance our predictive capabilities regarding secondary aging and remanufacturing. Laboratory Integrated Simulation and Computer Center The Laboratory Integrated Simulation and Computer Center (LISAC) would replace the 1950s facility currently housing Sandia's mainframe computers. It would increase the efficiency and effectiveness of Sandia's computer operations and provide a collaborative setting for the development of advanced software, operating systems, and peripheral equipment. The highly interactive environment made possible by the LISAC would also help attract computer experts to Sandia for extended temporary assignments, a central element of the Accelerated Strategic Computing Initiative (ASCI).