Greg Terryn and Sarah Tully
Since 2004, the NNSA’s nuclear non-proliferation programs have facilitated the removal of all weapons-grade highly enriched uranium (HEU) from 17 countries—165 bombs worth of nuclear material. Nevertheless, “nearly 2,000 metric tons of weapons-usable nuclear materials remain spread across hundreds of sites around the globe,” according to the Nuclear Threat Initiative, some of it poorly secured and at risk of theft. So how did these critical programs fare in the president’s Feb. 2 budget request?
The Administration has asked for $12.6 billion for the National Nuclear Security Agency (NNSA) as part of its FY 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 just a few years ago. 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.
1 Excludes $438 million for MOX
2 Excludes $446.5 million for MOX
3 Excludes $345 million for MOX
4 Excludes $345 million for MOX and $234 million for Nuclear Counterterrorism and Incident Response
Last Updated: February 2015