Factsheet: FY 2016 Defense Nuclear Non-Proliferation Program Restructuring Explained

By Greg Terryn and Sarah Tully

The National Nuclear Security Agency (NNSA), through the Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation, administers several non-proliferation programs, each working to mitigate nuclear threats. The programs (detailed below) facilitate collaboration with international partners and other US agencies to better secure, monitor, and dispose of vulnerable nuclear material (military and civilian) and other radiological waste.

The Obama Administration has asked for $12.6 billion for the NNSA as part of its Fiscal Year 2016 Department of Energy budget request. $1.9 billion of that request will go towards Defense Nuclear Non-Proliferation (DNN) programs tasked with preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and materials.

While the $1.9 billion request represents a $299 million increase from the previous year, that number is still down significantly from as recently as 2013. Additionally, the FY16 request includes $234 million for “Nuclear Counterterrorism and Incident Response” in the DNN budget. This program was transferred into DNN this year from Weapons Activities, a separate NNSA line item. Therefore, funding for Nuclear Counterterrorism represents a nominal increase in DNN funding, but not a substantive increase in nuclear non-proliferation capabilities. Moreover, a portion of the DNN budget has been requested for the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility, which has been criticized as a funding sinkhole.

In December 2014, U.S. and Russian officials met to discuss the continuation of the nuclear security alliance established in the 1990s. After more than two decades of cooperation, Russia announced that it would not continue joint efforts to protect nuclear and fissile material around the world. The FY16 budget request reflects the structural changes made to accommodate this drawdown in cooperation. According to the FY16 budget request, $1 million for Russian Surplus Fissile Material Disposition, subprogram, a small portion of the HEU conversion subprogram, and the hope for three verification visits to Russian plutonium facilities, are what remain of Russia-U.S. cooperation as reflected in the FY16 Defense Nuclear Non-Proliferation funding request; however, the U.S. will continue to look for opportunities for cooperation with Russia on nuclear security.

In FY16, the programs that comprise the Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation line item have been renamed and restructured. The following graphic demonstrates where elements of FY15 programs were moved in the FY16 request; the subsequent tables demonstrate in detail the funding and name changes from the FY15 enacted budget to the FY16 request per subprogram.Non-Proliferation-Restructuring-Updated

(Dollars in Millions)
FY 2016 Program Name FY 2016 Program Request
Global Material Security 426.75
Material Management and Minimization 311.58
Nonproliferation and Arms Control 126.70
Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Research and Development 419.33
Nonproliferation Construction 345.00
Nuclear Counterterrorism and Incident Response 234.39
Legacy/Pension Costs/Prior Year Balance 76.54
DEFENSE NUCLEAR NONPROLIFERATION TOTAL: $1.94 billion dollars

 

FY16 Program Breakdown

The following is a breakdown of each FY16 program and proposed subprograms. The color-coded key can be used to discern where funding for the FY 2016 request was allocated in FY 2015.

KEY

FY 15 NNSA Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Programs
Global Threat Reduction Initiative
Surplus Fissile Materials Disposition
International Materials Protection and Cooperation
Nonproliferation and International Security
FY 15 NNSA Nuclear Weapons Activity Programs
Nuclear Counterterrorism Incident Response
Counterterrorism and Counterproliferation Programs

FY16 Program: Global Material Security

The new Global Material Security (GMS) program works to reduce and protect vulnerable nuclear and radiological material located around the globe. Funding allocated to GMS is used to install security upgrades at nuclear research reactors and radiological facilities abroad, and to remove and dispose of excess nuclear and radiological waste. GMS plans to upgrade 137 buildings with high-priority radioactive sources, 95 of which are in the United States, and recover 1,850 expended radioactive sources across the United States.

The Nuclear Smuggling Detection and Deterrence (NSDD) subprogram, formerly known as “Second Line of Defense,” builds capacity with foreign governments to secure vulnerable border crossings by providing radiation detection systems, along with training and maintenance support. NSDD plans to deploy 20 mobile radiation detection systems and fixed systems at 24 new sites throughout the former Soviet Union, the Middle East, and Africa, to better detect the trafficking of nuclear materials.

In addition, GMS provides technical and policy support to multilateral agencies, such as the IAEA.

(Dollars in Millions)
FY 16 Proposed Subprogram FY 16 Request by Subprogram FY 15 Subprogram FY 15 Enacted FY 15 Request
International Nuclear Security .17 Weapons Material Protection 4.45 17.15
116.57 Material Consolidation and Civilian Sites 114.86 138.36
1.37 National Infrastructure and Sustainability 3.61 32.31
12.42 *International Nuclear Security ** **
Radiological Security 3.00 International Radiological Material Removal 12.60 12.60
17.00 Domestic Radiological Material Removal 67.99 20.65
58.16 International Material Protection 36.60 51.34
75.59 Domestic Material Protection 20.65 57.99
Nuclear Smuggling Detection and Deterrence 142.48 Second Line of Defense 148.00 117.66
FY16 request for Global Material Security total: $426.75 million
*A portion of this program ended up in Non-Proliferation and Arms Control.
** Neither the FY 15 nor the FY16 budget documents go into this level of detail.

FY16 Program: Material Management and Minimization

The new Material Management and Minimization program (M3) is tasked with reducing and eliminating at-risk nuclear materials and ensuring the security of materials in storage. M3 fulfills this task by converting research reactors from proliferation-threat high enriched uranium fuel to low-enriched uranium fuel, or to a complete shutdown. In 2016, M3 plans to transition or close six facilities. M3 will also remove 225 kilograms of high enriched uranium and plutonium from Kazakhstan, Argentina, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, Poland, and potentially Ghana. Thus far, the NNSA has removed a total of 5,332 kilograms of similar at-risk nuclear material.

The Material Disposition subprogram will dispose of 350 kilograms of excess US plutonium and 3 metric tons of high enriched uranium, down-blending these materials into less dangerous substances. In addition, funding within the Material Disposition program will go towards cooperation with Russia to assist in the down-blending of its surplus plutonium.

(Dollars in Millions)
FY 16 Proposed Subprogram FY 16 Request by Subprogram FY 15 Subprogram FY 15 Enacted FY 15 Request
Conversion 115.00 HEU Reactor Conversion 119.38 122.38
Nuclear Material Removal 114.00 International Nuclear and Radiological Material Removal and Protection 68.54 68.54
Material Disposition 50.50 US Plutonium Disposition 60.00 85.00
31.08 US Uranium Disposition 25.00 25.00
1.00 Russian Surplus Fissile Material Disposition 0 0
FY 16 Request for Material Management and Minimization total: $311.58 million

FY16 Program: Nonproliferation and Arms Control

The role of the Nonproliferation and Arms Control program (NPAC) is to ensure the United States’ safeguards and security policy is adapted to evolving proliferation and terrorism threats. NPAC is designed to limit the spread of nuclear weapons through the regulation of nuclear materials and technology and to verify and strengthen arms control agreements through monitoring and verification. This program develops and implements safeguard technology on nuclear material, facilitates cooperation on controlling transfers of nuclear technology and materials, verifies nuclear reductions, ensures transparency in negotiations, and improves further policies for implementing effective nonproliferation strategy around the globe.

(Dollars in Millions)
FY 16 Proposed Subprogram FY 16 Request by Subprogram FY 15 Subprogram FY15 Enacted FY15 Request
Nuclear Verification 19.20 Warhead Dismantlement and Transparency 29.20 29.20
10.08 Nuclear Noncompliance Verification
Nuclear Controls 13.88 International Nonproliferation Export Control Program 31.92 35.46
15.39 Export Control Review and Compliance
3.86 Weapons of Mass Destruction Interdiction
Nuclear Safeguards and Security 14.12 Safeguards Policy 54.45 66.41
19.06 Safeguards Engagement
19.06 Safeguards Technology Development
.70 *International Nuclear Security
Nonproliferation Policy 4.08 Global Regimes 10.28 10.28
2.00 Regional Analysis and Engagement
5.28 Multilateral Supplier Policy
Nonproliferation and Arms Control total: $126.70 million
*A portion of this program ended up in Global Material Security.

FY16 Program: Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Research and Development

The Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation’s R&D program is responsible for improving the technology and capabilities of the United States’ detection and identification of nuclear detonations and tests, foreign nuclear weapons development programs, and the diversion of nuclear materials. By developing the next generation of monitoring and detection for nuclear testing and smuggling, the Office of Research and Development improves the US’ ability to support and verify arms control treaties.

(Dollars in Millions)
Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation R&D FY 2016 Request FY 2015 Enacted FY 2015 Request
419.33 393.40 360.81

 

(Dollars in Millions)
Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation R&D Subprogram FY 2016 Request FY 2015 Enacted FY 15 Request
Proliferation Detection 251.07 240.21 207.62
Nuclear Detonation Detection 168.27 153.19 153.19

 

FY16 Program: Nonproliferation Construction

The Nonproliferation Construction program is meant to consolidate the construction costs throughout the DNN budget into one account. Currently, only construction for the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility (MOX) is being funded in this line item. The FY16 MOX request mirrors the FY15 enacted budget with identical requests of $345 million.

MOX, a mixed nuclear fuel composed of both uranium and plutonium, has been considered a sink-hole for non-proliferation funding. While proponents consider it an effective way to utilize plutonium stockpiles from the Cold War, others consider MOX too expensive to be economically competitive and a greater proliferation risk because of its use of plutonium. Currently, there are no customers for this fuel. The funding request reflects a prioritization of nuclear fuel development domestically, but does not mitigate the threat of nuclear terrorism.

The “Total Estimated Cost” for the MOX Fuel Fabrication Facility is $12.7 billion, of which $4.1 billion has already been spent.

(Dollars in Millions)
FY 16 Proposed Subprogram FY 16 Request by Subprogram FY 15 Subprogram FY 15 Enacted FY 15 Request
U.S. Construction 335.00 99-D-143 MOX Fuel Fabrication Facility Total Estimated Costs p.615 335.00 196.00
10.00 99-D-143 MOX Fuel Fabrication Facility Other Project Costs 10.00 25.00
FY 16 Request for Nonproliferation Construction Total: $346.00 million

FY16 Program: Nuclear Counterterrorism and Incident Response

The new Nuclear Counterterrorism and Incident Response program (NCTIR) is designed to detect and prevent an act of nuclear terrorism, and, in the event those efforts are unsuccessful, respond to the incident or accident. NCTIR provides technical expertise, equipment, and training for addressing, disarming, and recovering from a nuclear threat. In addition, the NCTIR supports bilateral nuclear counterterrorism cooperation to increase the detection and response capabilities of our allies.

In FY15, this task was divided amongst two programs, both funded as “Weapons Activities” within the NNSA budget. This year, the accounts will transfer into the newly-created NCTIR program and be funded within the Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation budget. While the increased funding shows a nominal growth in the DNN budget, it shows no substantial increase in nuclear safety capabilities.

(Dollars in Millions)
FY 16 Proposed Subprogram FY 16 Request by Subprogram FY 15 Subprogram FY 15 Enacted FY 15 Request
Emergency Response 139.08 Emergency Response 142.58 139.08
National Nuclear Technical Forensics 10.04 National Technical Nuclear Forensics 10.25 10.25
Emergency Management and Operations Center 5.64 Emergency Management 5.67 5.67
14.59 Operations Support 14.85 11.85
Counterterrorism Response and Capacity Building 5.76 International Emergency Management and Cooperation 4.60 6.60
1.50 Counterterrorism and Counterproliferation Programs 44.59 76.90
Nuclear Counter Terrorism Assessment 57.79 Counterterrorism and Counterproliferation Programs
FY16 Request for Nuclear Counterterrorism and Incident Response Total: $234.39 million