Legislators say DoE nuclear spending contains too much waste

Published 9 March 2006

The Department of Energy’s (DoE) $6.4 billion nuclear weapons maintenance and research programs may be wasteful, said congressional committee members during a hearing earlier this week. Senate Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee chairman Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama), told National Nuclear Security Administration chief Linton Brooks he has “concerns about the efficiency” of DoE activities. “I am unconvinced that we are getting all we can for every dollar,” Sessions said, echoing comments he made last month to Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman that suggested $1 billion in savings could be made. Brooks told the committee that DoE’s nuclear programs, which also include nuclear nonproliferation and Navy propulsion system work, took “dramatic reductions” in size and spending following the cold war. He said that efforts were under way to shrink the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal by nearly half by 2012. Stockpile maintenance absorbs a majority of the program’s budget. The administration has requested $6.4 billion for the stockpile work in fiscal 2007 — the amount it received for this fiscal year — and $9.3 billion for all its nuclear activities. “We are transforming into a more efficient, more secure complex, but more work needs to be done. NNSA’s 2007 budget request will allow us to continue our efforts,” Brooks said.

-read more in David Ruppe’s Govexec.com report