On December 12, 2017, President Trump signed the first law of his administration that will have a significant impact on U.S. efforts to reduce nuclear terrorism. The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) — a $700 billion bill that provides funding for U.S. defense programs — determines how much money should be allocated for U.S. nuclear security programs and what kinds of cooperation the United States can engage in. Not only is this the first major piece of nuclear security-related legislation, but it indicates that the Trump administration is largely continuing the nuclear security policies of the Obama administration.
MOX (Mixed Oxide Fuel):
Section 3121: Requires construction of the MOX facility in South Carolina unless the Secretary of Energy certifies an alternative plan that will dispose of as much plutonium as the currently planned facility, ensuring a sustainable future for the Savannah River site and, and, that the alternative’s life cycle cost, consistent with the Government Accountability Office cost estimating and assessment best practices, must be less than half the current estimated life cycle costs.
HEU to LEU Reactors:
Section 3115: Authorizes $5 million and up to $30 million more (if the Secretary of Energy and the Secretary of the Navy determine such research should continue) for R&D to develop an advanced naval nuclear fuel system based on LEU from funds authorized from nonproliferation.
Nuclear Security Cooperation with Russia:
Section 3122: Prohibits the obligation or expenditure of money on nuclear security for entering into contracts with, or providing assistance to, Russia during fiscal year 2018, unless the Secretary of Energy, with the concurrence of the Secretaries of State and Defense, certifies that a nuclear-related threat has arisen in Russia and must be addressed urgently.
Minimize the Use of HEU for Medical Isotopes:
Section 3143: Requires the Secretary of Energy to develop and submit a plan by April 1, 2018 to promote production of molybdenum-99 and technetium-99m without HEU. At a minimum, the Secretary of Energy should plan to buy back U.S.-origin HEU in raw or target form from global molybdenum-99 suppliers and restrict imports of those produced with HEU targets.
Review of U.S. Nuclear and Radiological Terrorism Prevention Strategy:
Section 3137: Requires a study by the JASONs, a private scientific advisory group, on US nuclear and radiological terrorism prevention. The assessment will identify technical, policy, and resource gaps in (a) identifying national and international nuclear and radiological terrorism risks and critical emerging threats; (2) preventing state-sponsored actors and non-state actors from acquiring the technologies, materials, and critical expertise needed to mount nuclear or radiological attacks, including dual-use technologies, materials, and expertise; (3) countering efforts by state-sponsored actors and nonstate actors to mount such attacks; (4) responding to nuclear and radiological terrorism incidents to attribute their origin and help manage their consequences; and (5) other important matters identified by JASON that are directly relevant to those strategies.
Nonproliferation Program Budget (in Thousands of Dollars)
|International Nuclear Security||46,399|
|Nuclear Smuggling Detection||139,429|
|Nuclear Material Removal||32,925|
|Nonproliferation and Arms Control||129,703|
|Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation R&D||451,095|
|LEU R&D for Naval Reactors||5,000|
|HEU Reactor Conversion||125,500|