Изображения страниц

NNSA missions there. Overall, the NNSA site facilities, particularly with the completion of the consolidation project I mentioned earlier, are really in excellent shape and we have been able to reinvest the savings that we have had over the years in those facilities to be able to maintain and keep those facilities in good order.

In closing, I would like to respond to the concern of a potential waterside terrorist threat against Savannah River Site that was mentioned earlier. As General Gordon mentioned, the site is a large site. We are 310 square miles of area. None of our nuclear facilities are near the river. In fact, they are multiple miles away from the river. We have dismantled our heavywater facility, which is the only facility that was on the river, and we have relocated all of the heavywater inventory away from the river complex. We also do have the capability to patrol the river and do it with our protective force.

Finally we have made significant progress in cleaning up the site to reduce the overall threat. 70 percent of the materials have been stabilized. Over 50 percent of the site environmental remediation activity is completed, and we have poured over 1,200 canisters of waste. And we are now in the process of shutting down one of our two canyon facilities. So we are bringing closure to the facilities there and eliminating the risk.

We are proud to continue the support that we have had for the national security missions that have been located at Savannah River. SRS has tremendous support from the area, and we appreciate the confidence that has been shown in us over the years. And, again, I thank you for the opportunity to present to you today. Mr. WELDON. Thank you for your testimony.

[The prepared statement of Mr. Pedde can be found in the Appendix on page 109.]

Mr. WELDON. Thank all five of you for your leadership on behalf of the country.

Mr. Ruddy, I understand you have a personal commitment. You are excused to leave whenever you like if you have to run.

Mr. RUDDY. I think I have missed that commitment.

Mr. WELDON. I am sorry.

Mr. RUDDY. It is not a problem.

Mr. WELDON. The thing I would ask you all to do, for the record, is provide a list of the unfunded improvements that you need at your site. I know you give that to General Gordon, but we would like to have that so we can independently assess what your needs are. The Members who represent your areas typically give that to us through the appropriations process, but we also would like to see what are the priorities that would help you better improve your ability to deliver the services that you are providing.

I am not going to ask any questions right now. I am going to let my colleagues Gene Taylor and Mac Thornberry, who is an expert on your operations, ask-and then I will come back with one or two, if they don't ask them before we adjourn.

Mr. Taylor.

Mr. TAYLOR. I would like to pose the same question to this panel as the previous panel. If you have two major concerns about the security of your installations, what would they be? If you don't have any, I would hope you would tell me so.

Dr. TARANTINO. I would say, sir, the two major concerns would be, one, the people, the expertise of the work force; and then, secondly, the readiness of the facilities and the equipment even on the site to support our experimental activities.

Mr. RUDDY. At Pantex I think we have outlined what we need to do to support the missions. We understand them with enough flexibility on an ongoing basis, but obviously your over-year funding is an important aspect of that. And as you know, we are in a different environment than we were a few years ago in terms of our funding meeting our needs. But if that were to change in any way, that certainly would be of a concern to all of us.

Mr. MITCHELL. My initial concern would be to figure which of the list I have to choose the two to talk about. We have lots of work. Two is a good number to choose from. Probably the one that is most urgent to me is the fragility of most of the processes we have. Many of our manufacturing processes depend on single machines or single capabilities that we have. We are bringing back new capabilities, but we are bringing back just enough to meet the nearterm life extension program needs. If we have a series of failures or some kind of event, something that reduces that, we will be actually unable to reproduce the capability in the short term. So it is a very fragile infrastructure for specific systems as we bring it back. The other is the long-term infrastructure.

Mr. TAYLOR. Can I follow up, very quickly? Where do you go to find the machines?

Mr. MITCHELL. In this case, the machines we have are either something we have designed ourselves that could be rebuilt, or we take a commercial machine and adapt it to our unique purposes. So they exist. But many times it is not just getting the machine; it is getting it installed and getting it inside the correct environment and the safety environment. And the support we get from the defense facilities and safety board and others makes it not easy to qualify new equipment quickly. And we have to operate under very special conditions. So it makes it one-we have very large rolling mills. If you need one of those you can get them, but they take a long time in the ordering process.

The second major concern I have is the long-term infrastructure. The plant suffered from a lack of care and a lack of investment for a very long period of time. It is a very, very old plant. If you saw it, you would see something that from the outside you would be convinced couldn't do much of anything. The nice thing is when you go inside you will find that the people have done marvelous jobs inside the infrastructure of putting in a modern manufacturing capability. But it is dependent on a utilities infrastructure and outside infrastructure which are very, very old.

Again, being able to talk about sustaining that capability for 20, 30, 40 years means we have to make very major investments in the near term.

Mr. DOUGLASS. At Kansas City it is the people. We have no trouble hiring talented new people. But the challenge to managing the eventual transition is taking the knowledge of the people that are leaving and making sure it doesn't leave with them but it remains behind in the heads of the new people that are taking their places.

The other challenge for us is we rely very heavily on our commercial suppliers, over 300 commercial suppliers. As we go into the life extension programs, the viability of a commercial supply base where we buy everything from nuts and bolts to complex integrated circuits is a challenge that we are going to have to manage.

Mr. PEDDE. For Savannah River I would reiterate my comment that we are an EM site. We have a very strong infrastructure today, but EM is not investing in the infrastructure. Their direction is for closure. If we go 20 years when we complete the EM mission and don't reinvest in that infrastructure, it will not be there to support the ongoing missions as necessary. So we need to make a conscious effort to make that transition at the right time and do the right investments for the enduring benefit of the site.

Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, gentlemen.

Mr. WELDON. Mr. Thornberry.

Mr. THORNBERRY. Let me just go back briefly to the question I asked about balance between the scientific tools and the stockpile work/slash infrastructure, I guess the buildings and the tools we need to do the stockpile work that the Foster Commission talked about. I think all of you have said we are moving in the right direction on infrastructure.

What I am not quite clear about is does that mean that we are— maybe this was Pantex reducing the backlog of maintenance. Or are we going so far as to be able to actually do things-like I know we have talked a lot about Kansas City reducing the footprint and thereby reducing the operating costs. Have we gotten that far in our infrastructure plans and implementing, or are we just plugging the holes in the dike so it doesn't get any worse?

Let me start with Savannah River and go back.

Mr. PEDDE. From the Savannah River perspective, I would say we are not just plugging the dike. The investment is there. And I will use the tritium consolidation project as the example. That project will take one of our old facilities which is used to clean up waste gases, and we will put that facility in complete lay-up, and that will then be transferred into an expansion area in our new tritium facility.

The technology has changed. We have got improved technology. We are able to put what is now a very large facility into a fairly small space. So that is a good example, I believe, of us getting out of the old and into the new. We will have new loading facilities. We will then have new gas clean-up facilities with the tritium extraction capability. All three of our major facilities will be brand new facilities.

Mr. THORNBERRY. Mr. Douglass, are you all about where you need to be right now?

Mr. DOUGLASS. We are a fair ways towards reducing the footprint. We still have a couple of years to go on the project. But it was never really meant to be a modernization project. It was really meant to be let's just move some things around and consolidate operations. So from a deferred maintenance backlog, it really has not had an impact on reducing maintenance backlog.

The facilities and infrastructure and committee capitalization program that has been started in the last year is beginning to bring down that long-term deferred maintenance backlog.

So it is a two-part answer. Size Reduction Machine (SRM) project will help us long term on their operational costs. Facilities and Infrastructure (FNI) program, the Facilities and Infrastructure Recapitalization Program (FIRP), will help us with the near-term maintenance costs that we have to incur to sustain a very aging infrastructure.

Mr. THORNBERRY. Mr. Mitchell, I worry that the tasks before you all are so enormous that—are we making a start?

Mr. MITCHELL. Yes, but if I were to take a snapshot in time I would have to give you a mixed review. We have lots of dikes and lots of holes. We spend days plugging dikes and we don't have a choice not to do that.

On the other hand, I believe we made a major step forward in getting the current maintenance backlog down to where it is manageable or making progress. We have got a number of different ways of doing maintenance, and I believe we are making a major difference. We do planned outages now like the nuclear plant guys do. We have seen a remarkable increase in efficiency. So I think as far as pure maintenance goes, we are starting to get that under control. The question is can we make investments fast enough in recapitalization and modernization or, in some cases, large capital investments needed to allow us to reduce the footprint fast enough before the infrastructure catches us.

Mr. MITCHELL. That is an active conversation we have with NNSA today. It is a budget priority balance trade-off, like everything else. I will be glad to assure you that we are getting an absolutely open hearing and a chance to say what we need to say. It is being seriously considered. I am comfortable that the process is fair and straightforward.

It is just a race that says can we we started from awfully far behind. Can we catch up fast enough? And we will find out.

Mr. THORNBERRY. Thank you. Mr. Ruddy, anything you want to add where you stand?

Mr. RUDDY. Well, we are different at Pantex in the sense that we are not looking to significantly reduce the footprint of the manufacturing facilities. We have had an epiphany in thinking in the way we handle safety at the site. So the capacity to take weapons apart is a lot different than the capacity to put things together, as we did in the 1970s and the 1980s at the height of the Cold War. We also learn something new every day. And I think the lab directors talked about that. We started into the refurbishment programs, the life extension programs, and the surveillance programs almost with the challenge of how do you take apart an omelette? It went together in a particular way to meet a particular purpose, but it wasn't at all clear how we were going to take things apart. Our challenge at Pantex is to use an infrastructure that from the outside would look more than sufficient to meet the demands that are being put on it today, but the operating modes are so much different that we are rationalizing those two things. And I think we are doing it successfully, but it is a process of discovery as we go through.

Mr. THORNBERRY. Dr. Tarantino, do you have particular infrastructure issues that you feel like you need to catch up on? And, second, for as long as I have been in Congress, I have been hearing

about the Device Assembly Facility (DAF) and all of the wonderful things that it can be used for. What is the status of-how are you using it now? What are your plans for that?

Dr. TARANTINO. Yes, sir. This year we will reduce our footprint by 190,000 square feet in Nevada. With respect to our infrastructure and the balance issue, we do have issues with it being out of balance.

Our infrastructure is the average wage of a building on the test site is 35 years old. It is—I would say that the good thing that is happening is the five-year budget planning that is going on right now in NNSA, and that has given us an opportunity to look throughout the multiyear and to address the imbalances that we currently have at the site.

I am hopeful that they will be addressed in the process that we are going through right now of preparing the 2004 budget submission and the 2004 to 2008 5-year plan.

With respect to the DAF, the DAF is currently being utilizedwe are currently taking advantage of the DAF, because of its high security condition, to prepare targets for the Joint Actinides Shock Physics Experimental Research (JASPER) gas gun, which we have completed construction on under budget and ahead of schedule, and which has begun operating this year with inert targets, and which very soon should be going operational with plutonium.

Mr. THORNBERRY. Thank you.

Mr. WELDON. Thank you. Gentlemen, just one final question. Dr. Tarantino, if the President declared a national emergency and said he wanted to have a test, what is your best estimate of the time required from the time the President said we had a national emergency for you to be able to conduct a test?

Mr. TARANTINO. Sir, it would depend on what the test was. Historically the role of the workforce at the Nevada Test Site has been to provide services to the national laboratories in tests: services of providing nuclear diagnostics, the engineering and construction of underground test beds, the acquisition of experimental data, and also safety analysis to support Federal safety basis decisions.

Mr. WELDON. So you wouldn't be able to make a determination as to what the time would be; you would have to let the labs do it?

Dr. TARANTINO. The time line that we would need in order to provide our services would depend on what the nature of the test


Mr. WELDON. Do you agree with General Gordon's assessment that that time perhaps should be in the 18-month range?

Dr. TARANTINO. I certainly agree that the 24- to 36-month posture that we are maintaining right now in general is not adequate. Mr. WELDON. Very good. If there are no further questions-anyone have any additional comments they would like to make?

We thank you all for being here. Mr. Pedde, you did quite well for your first appearance. And Mr. Ruddy, we are sorry, we hope we didn't mess up your whatever your situation was.

Thank you all for being here. Thank you for your service to the country. The hearing now stands adjourned.

[Whereupon, at 5:03 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »