REP. FORTENBERRY: …
The most important — perhaps one of the most important things that you and I do — can do in our time of public service is to ensure that we decrease the probability of the use of a nuclear device to as close to zero as possible. Now, nuclear deterrence has an important role in achieving that, but so do other essential nonproliferation initiatives.
In the Congress, I’ve helped form a nuclear security working group in order to try to help Congress — it’s a bipartisan initiative — to get our arms around this spectrum of nuclear security issues, which is complicated and cross jurisdictional.
Now, in that regard, I wanted to talk to you about the reduction of the Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation budget. You suggest that the $400 million reduction is somewhat due to the MOX facility issue. But does it impact other nonproliferation initiatives that you’re undertaking, such as the global threat reduction?
SEC. MONIZ: …
Now in terms of the budget, I mean, there’s no question that the — for example, the GTRI program does have a reduction in this — in this budget. I’ve said publicly that I — you know, I’m disappointed that we could not do a little bit better with that budget —
REP. FORTENBERRY: Well, let’s fix that. Why don’t we fix that?
SEC. MONIZ: — but it’s the question of, well, with the 050 constraints, I mean, and balancing these — we felt we just had to get the weapons program on track for, again, an affordable deterrent within the nuclear posture review approach.
Now on the GTRI, I do want — or the rest of the nonproliferation program, I mean, I do want to emphasize that we believe this is a — this is a strong program. Over the last few years, we’ve had a real kind of surge in that program in terms of — in terms of —
REP. FORTENBERRY: Appropriately so.
SEC. MONIZ: — in terms of the materials, but we will — with this budget, we will still continue to have strong nuclear materials repatriation programs. As I mentioned last — I think it was just week in the Hague, made the announcement with Japan, which was a very important announcement in terms of hundreds of kilograms of plutonium and HEU, weapons grade HEU. We will continue reactor conversions.
So I think it — you know, it’s an issue of how much we can do, obviously. But I do want to — we will have a strong program at this level. [emphasis mine.]
The above exchange between Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz is excerpted from the House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee’s April 2 hearing on the FY 2015 Department of Energy budget request.