U.S. Nuclear Security Enterprise Infrastructure Modernization
Key Point: The U.S. Government is committed to the modernization of the nuclear weapons infrastructure in order to support a safe, secure and effective nuclear weapons stockpile in the absence of nuclear explosive testing.
In accordance with the Nuclear Posture Review, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) identified a path for sustaining the nuclear deterrent while modernizing the supporting infrastructure without nuclear explosive testing. This modernization is implemented by focusing on recapitalization and refurbishment of existing infrastructure for plutonium, uranium, tritium, high-explosive production, non-nuclear component production, high-fidelity testing and waste disposition. In addition, the modernization effort preserves and enhances essential science and technology tools for assessing and certifying weapons without nuclear explosive testing. These investments in science, technology, engineering, manufacturing, and information technology infrastructure will sustain the capabilities that underpin the stockpile and other national security missions.
Modernization of the nuclear weapons infrastructure requires a balanced application of the following elements:
- Construction of replacement facilities;
- Sustainment of existing facilities; and
- Decommissioning and disposition of excess facilities
The NNSA is also addressing needs in uranium and plutonium infrastructure to support the Stockpile Stewardship mission. To address the operational and programmatic risk associated with current uranium facilities, NNSA will accelerate construction plans for the Uranium Processing Facility (UPF) at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Tennessee. To maintain continuity in plutonium capabilities, NNSA is using existing infrastructure across the Nuclear Security Enterprise in addition to the first phase of the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement (CMRR) project — the new Radiological Laboratory, Utility, and Office Building at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in New Mexico. Consistent with feedback from an independent Department of Defense review of plans for UPF and the CMRR Facility, NNSA is deferring construction of the final phase of CMRR, the CMRR-Nuclear Facility, for at least five years, and accelerating UPF construction.
NNSA will continue to modernize and refurbish the balance of its physical infrastructure over the next ten years on the basis of mission need, safety and security requirements, and lifecycle cost reduction. As it strives to consolidate its operations to a scale appropriate to support the reduced stockpile, NNSA will sustain its assets, identify opportunities to reduce operating costs, and prioritize maintenance to focus on its most mission critical facilities.
The final key element of NNSA’s modernization is the elimination of facilities that have no future mission and are considered excess. Disposing of excess facilities will help facilitate new construction over the next decade, which should help control operating costs and allow available resources to be applied to areas that more directly support the mission of maintaining a safe, secure and effective U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear explosive testing.