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We are now working with the NNSA to ensure that this work is properly funded. There are currently budget shortfalls in FY2003 and FY2004 that cause concern in the areas of Campaigns and Readiness in Technical Base and Facilities (RTBF). Reductions in Campaigns and RTBF funding in FY2003 and FY2004 could delay technological and facility improvements needed to implement the SLEP schedule on time. NNSA is well aware of these issues, and we are working together to assure that we can meet the military's future requirements for the stockpile.
As I have testified to this group before, we have significant infrastructure needs at Pantex. I am happy to report that thanks to the increased funding that we have received, we have made progress in improving our infrastructure. The FY2001 plusup and supplemental funding of approximately $15 million allowed us to make roof repairs to prevent leaks in weapons production facilities and replace some aging equipment necessary for our work. In FY2002, we are receiving $22 million in Facilities and Infrastructure Recapitalization Program (FIRP) funds and a plus-up of at least $20 million. These monies will be carefully used to make additional roof repairs, replace obsolete fire alarm systems and carry out much-needed maintenance in a wide variety of areas.
Still, there is much to be done. We had a $218 million backlog in infrastructure needs in FY2000. That number increased to $262 million in FY2001. The FIRP funds mentioned earlier will allow the FY2002 infrastructure backlog to decrease to approximately $248 million. (See Figure 1.) As this chart shows, we have turned the corner and are beginning to decrease the deferred maintenance backlog. While we are spending our infrastructure funds on the highest-priority items, the fact remains that more than 50 percent of the plants square footage is over 25 years old, and many building elements are at the end of their service life and require restoration.
Another key factor in our ability to support Stockpile Stewardship in the long term is the recruiting and retention of employees with critical skills. BWXT Pantex has taken a proactive approach to recruiting, retaining and developing the critical skills necessary to accomplish future weapons work. We have identified the critical skills in engineering, science and other areas necessary for us to maintain and grow our technical basis for weapons work. Of the 1,174 positions we consider to be critical, we have only 84 vacancies. This is an improvement over the 200 critical skill vacancies we had one year ago. We have also eliminated 33 exempt critical skills positions through the streamlining and reorganization of our Manufacturing Division. In addition to outside hiring, we have initiated two new programs to develop our employees from within. Late last year, BWXT Pantex announced the development of an Engineering Graduate Studies Program in conjunction with Texas Tech University, West Texas A&M University and the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation. This program is allowing our employees and other workers in the community to earn advanced engineering degrees locally. We also worked with West Texas A&M to develop an Employee MBA program to allow our workers to receive advanced instruction in business. Both of these programs have been very well received by our employees and will provide us with a higher quality workforce in the
years to come. As long as our budgets remain stable, we will be able to offer a working environment that helps attract and retain people with the key skills that we need.
As our workload at Pantex increases, so does the amount of oversight at our plant and other sites around the Complex. While we recognize and agree with the need for independent evaluation of our results, the growing oversight into our processes and activities detracts from the attention we are able to give to the day-to-day work that the NNSA requires of us. In this fiscal year alone, we have already had 27 audits from the Inspector General, DOENNSA, General Accounting Office and the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board. This trend is sharply up from FY2000 and FY2001.
Looking to the future, we believe that positive gains will be realized as the reorganization of the NNSA continues. A streamlined path of communication will improve our business and make us more agile in responding to requests. The ability of NNSA to use its resources to better support the sites will increase efficiency. Movement of more decision-making responsibility to the field offices will also lead to more efficient operations. We fully support these changes and look forward to the reorganization being implemented as soon as possible.
As I said at the outset, BWXT Pantex is laying the groundwork for important Stockpile Stewardship work to extend the life of our nuclear weapons stockpile. Improvements in technology and infrastructure will prepare the site to meet NNSA's SLEP goals. In the interim, we will work with NNSA and Congress to address the challenges that we currently face.
Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to present these views to you today. I look forward to continuing to work with you and the members of this committee to ensure the safety and reliability of the stockpile in the future. I will be happy to answer any questions the Committee may have.
Biography of Dennis R. (Denny) Ruddy,
President and General Manager, BWXT Pantex Denny Ruddy has 30 years of experience managing complex nuclear and non-nuclear manufacturing operations. In 25 years at DOE's Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory, he held staff level positions in Quality Assurance and Manufacturing. As Manager of Quality Assurance, he had oversight of design, testing, manufacturing, and prototype reactor operations. As Manager of Core Manufacturing, he was responsible for the production of nuclear reactor cores, fuels, components and test hardware, special nuclear material control, R & D, and design/production interface. With Tenneco, he was responsible for the total Quality Program for the international packaging operations. In his last assignment as head of global manufacturing for Tenneco Automotive, he managed 70 plants in 23 countries, a workforce of 20,000, and an operations budget of $3.2B. In both the DOE and commercial arenas, he has a proven record of guiding change and improving performance and safety.
PREPARED TESTIMONY OF DR. FREDERICK A. TARANTINO
PRESIDENT AND GENERAL MANAGER, BECHTEL NEVADA
UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
SUBCOMMITTEE ON MILITARY PROCUREMENT
JUNE 12, 2002
Mr. Chairman and Committee Members:
Thank you for the opportunity to testify on the Safety, Security, Reliability, and Performance of the United States Nuclear Stockpile. My name is Fred Tarantino and I am the president and general manager of Bechtel Nevada, the Department of Energy (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration's (NNSA) management and operations contractor for the Nevada Test Site (NTS).
1 In accordance with Rule XI, Clause 2(g) of the Rules of the House of Representative, Contract DEAC08–96_NV-11718 with the U.S. Department of Energy, was awarded to Bechtel Nevada with an effective start date of January 1, 1996 for a five-year term at an estimated value of $1.5 billion. The option to extend the contract was exercised for a term of four years and nine months, extending the contract to September 30, 2005, at an estimated value of $1.425 billion.
The Nevada Test Site was established in 1951 as the United States on-continent proving ground for nuclear weapons testing. Today, the NTS remains the nation's sole capability to conduct nuclear testing and provides a test range for a wide variety of other dynamic and high hazard experiments. In the absence of nuclear testing, the NTS has continued to provide unique and vital capabilities for assuring the safety, security, reliability, and performance of the nuclear stockpile thro participation in the Stockpile Stewardship Program. Prominent examples of our work in the Stockpile Stewardship Program include subcritical experiments conducted at the NTS, diagnostics development and operational support of experiments at the National Weapons Laboratories, and construction of new experimental facilities at the NTS for testing aging weapons materials.
The NTS is committed to maintaining underground nuclear test readiness. NTS annual assessments and national studies have confirmed our ability to return to nuclear testing within the Presidential Decision Directive mandated 2-3 year timeframe. However, these assessments indicate a continued decline in critical personnel skills, facilities, infrastructure and equipment as well as the lack of an established authorization basis for nuclear testing within today's regulatory and procedural requirements. We are supporting the NNSA in a current study to determine the cost to achieve and maintain 18-month test readiness, should national policy require it.
Capital investment at the NTS has declined considerably over the past 15 years, leading to deterioration of critical facilities and infrastructure. The NTS also has a significant amount of legacy compliance issues resulting from_40 years of nuclear testing that are borne by the Stockpile Stewardship Program. The recently enacted Facilities and Infrastructure Recapitalization Program will begin to revitalize sitewide infrastructure, but continued attention will be needed to maintain the NTS as an effective asset for conducting high hazard national security programs. Introduction
The Nevada Test Site was established in 1951 as the United States on-continent proving ground for nuclear weapons testing. Today, the NTS remains the United States sole capability to conduct nuclear testing and other major experiments that involve special nuclear materials. The NTS provides the NNSA a test range for a wide variety of other dynamic and high hazard experiments that require a controlled remote location and skilled technical workforce. In the absence of nuclear testing, the NTS has continued to provide unique and vital capabilities for assuring the safety, security, reliability, and performance of the nuclear stockpile through participation in the Stockpile Stewardship Program. Efficacy of the Science-Based Stockpile Stewardship Program
Since July 1997, seventeen large-scale subcritical experiments have been successfully conducted at the NTS. Subcritical experiments use chemical high explosives to generate high pressures that are applied to nuclear materials. These experiments result in no nuclear explosion or self-sustaining nuclear reaction. These complex hydrodynamic experiments provide vital information on the behavior and performance of aging nuclear materials. The most recent of these tests, Oboe-9, was conducted last week. Two additional subcritical experiments are scheduled later this year. NTS and National Weapons Laboratory (Los Alamos, Livermore, and Sandia) personnel skilled in experiment design, test bed engineering and construction, diagnostics development and fielding, and experiment controls have achieved excellent data recovery on all subcritical experiments. Series of subcritical experiments have been developed to optimize experiment productivity and reuse facilities and equipment. These optimized experiments allow quicker collection and analysis of data that is used to understand and predict nuclear weapons behavior. Current Stockpile Stewardship Program plans describe a continuing need for subcritical experiments as part of future weapons certification activities and therefore NTS critical facilities and specialized personnel.
NTS capability to acquire high quality performance data for weapons materials is also being enhanced by the addition of the Joint Actinide Shock Physics Experiment Research (JASPER) facility and the Atlas experiment facility. JASPER is a high velocity gas gun designed for shock physics experiments of nuclear and surrogate materials. JĂSPER will provide equation-of-state data to better understand phase change relationships of weapons materials under varying pressure and temperature. The JASPER facility construction was recently completed on schedule and within budget. The project has received NNSA Defense Programs Excellence and DOE Project Management Awards.
Atlas is a pulsed power experimental facility that will test the hydrodynamic implosion behavior of non-nuclear and surrogate nuclear materials. Atlas will provide
material constitutive property data for computer modeling used in weapons certification. The facility to house the Atlas machine is currently under construction at the NTS. The experimental facility is scheduled to be operational at the NTS near the end of FY 2003.
In addition, the NTS is a major contributor to the Above Ground Experiment (AGEX) programs conducted at the National Weapons Laboratories. NTS scientists and engineers provide diagnostics and data analysis for research aspects of the Dual-Axis Radiographic Hydrodynamic Test (DARHT) facility and the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (LANSCE) Proton Radiography program. Similarly, NTS personnel provide diagnostics and experiment fielding capability to Livermore and Sandia for high energy density physics and radiation transport experiments. NTS personnel based at Livermore are also preparing calibrations facilities for the National Ignition Facility. NTS personnel provide cost effective, technically integrated diagnostics support deployed across the nuclear weapons complex. This diagnostics work is very important for maintaining the overall NTS expertise to collect important scientific information from underground nuclear tests if they are needed.
In the absence of nuclear testing, subcritical experiments and AGEX programs provide best available data relating to baseline material performance consistent with aging materials and conditions observed in the stockpile. These experiments also provide critical data used in developing and validating computational models of weapons behavior in the Advanced Simulation and Computing Campaign. As in the past for underground nuclear tests, the NTS provides the Stockpile Stewardship Program with a test range for hazardous experiments, skilled personnel in experiment fielding and execution, and a mission focused approach for conducting National security programs. NTS Stockpile Stewardship Future Activities
Accelerated Pit Certification-Experiments conducted at the NTS are an integral part of the Pit Certification and Manufacturing Program. NTS will support Los Alamos requirements for testing of a certifiable manufactured pit. All NTS FY2001 and FY2002 milestones have been met or are on track to meet the planned experimental schedule.
On-site Laboratory Diagnostic Support-During nuclear testing, NTS personnel were stationed at the National Weapons Laboratories to facilitate diagnostics development and experiment planning. Today, NTS personnel are working on-site at the National Weapons Laboratories to provide diagnostics support and experiment fielding for a variety of Stockpile Stewardship experiments. For example, NTS personnel based at Livermore will become an integral part of target area operations and diagnostic development at the National Ignition Facility. These weapons related research activities will help maintain similar skills needed for underground nuclear test readiness.
Weapons Systems Certification-Extending the service life of the B6l, W76, and W80 in the coming years will require a variety of experimental and computational certification activities depending on the specific refurbishment options. Although the details of experimental requirements are preliminary, the NTS will be required to support subcritical hydrodynamic experiments as well as a variety of AGEX activities for these weapons systems. As the W88 Pit Certification program is completed, it expected that other weapons system certification programs will require continued experimental workload for the NTS. Adequacy of the Current Underground Nuclear Test Readiness Posture
The historical role of NTS in conducting underground nuclear tests (UGTs) has been to develop nuclear diagnostics, provide engineering and construction of the UGT test bed, acquire experimental data, and provide post experiment data reduction and analysis for the National Weapons Laboratories. In addition, NTS person: el provided integrated management of site and facility operations at the NTS and supported NNSA authorization and safety basis for conducting nuclear tests.
In the years since nuclear testing ceased, the NTS has stored critical UGT related material and equipment, categorized and archived UGT process and procedural information, and documented interviews of critical skilled UGT subject matter experts. Stockpile Stewardship experiments, particularly subcritical experiments, have become the primary means of engaging the technical workforce and developing experience in large-scale integrated experiments similar to UGTs. Other non-nuclear experiments at the NTS and at the National Weapons Laboratories have also contributed to our readiness to execute an underground test.
The NTS is committed to maintaining the long-term viability of personnel technical skills, physical assets, and infrastructure required to safely conduct underground nuclear tests. Since 1996, formal processes have been utilized to evaluate
and report the NTS status of UGT readiness. NTS annual assessments and national studies (e.g. FY1999 & FY2000 OSD Program Analysis & Evaluation) have confirmed our ability to return to nuclear testing within the Presidential Decision Directive mandated 2–3 year timeframe. However, these assessments do indicate a continued decline in critical personnel skills, facilities, infrastructure and equipment as well as the lack of an established authorization basis for UGTs within today's regulatory and procedural requirements. Soon we will have to address the training of a new generation of personnel to support potential future nuclear testing.
Historically, the timeframe necessary to develop and execute a UGT was 18–24 months. Improvements in schedule were typically accomplished by switching priorities of tests already in the pipeline. Bechtel Nevada is supporting the NNSA in a current study to determine the cost to achieve and maintain 18-month test readiness for postulated requirements of nuclear certification testing of a stockpile weapons system. Although this "enhanced test readiness” report is not yet completed, we expect achieving an 18-month readiness posture would require significant investment in field test neutron generators, radiochemical detectors, nuclear diagnostics and calibration, nuclear explosive safety studies and other authorization basis activities.
If national policy for 18-month UGT readiness were enacted, the NTS would seek the resources needed and implement the recommendations of the "enhanced test readiness" report to close the gap between 36 and 18 months. In addition, the NTS must continue to maximize aspects of the Stockpile Stewardship Program to maintain readiness. Examples include subcritical experiments; modernized timing, firing and control systems; and high-speed data recording systems for National Ignition Facility experiments. Capacity of Defense Complex Infrastructure to Maintain the Stockpile
Capital investment in facilities and infrastructure at the NTS has been steadily declining for the last 15 years. Since the cessation of underground nuclear testing, funding for site wide infrastructure has been very limited. The average facility age based on useable square footage is approximately 35 years. Similarly, the age and condition of critical electrical and water systems call for immediate attention. Modernization of telecommunications, roadways, and utilities that support national security programs have been consistently deferred. The recently created Facilities and Infrastructure Recapitalization Program (FIRP) will allow the NTS to compete for funds and begin to correct immediate problems with a failing infrastructure and plan for NTS future needs. Particular focus of this program will be given to utilities and site-wide infrastructure to provide the best crosscutting benefits to all national security efforts on site. An added benefit of the FIRP is the acceleration of NTS facility disposal. During fiscal year 2002, the NTS will excess and demolish over 190,000 square feet of un-useable facilities.
Defense critical facilities (e.g. Device Assembly Facility, Ula Complex, Control Point Complex, North Las Vegas Diagnostics Facility) defined in the Stockpile Stew, ardship Program are victims of general aging and increasing backlog of deferred maintenance. The resulting need for resources to adequately maintain critical facilities is amplified by the addition of new facilities that are coming on-line (e.g. JASPER, Atlas).
The NTS also has a significant amount of legacy compliance issues resulting from 40 years of nuclear testing that are not covered in the Environmental Restoration/ Waste Management program. These issues include those that are regulatory required, and those that represent “good faith efforts” to mitigate environmental problems. Of particular concern at the NTS are (1) housekeeping sites covered in the Federal Facility Agreement and Consent Order (FFACO) with Nevada that require remediation and containment, (2) borehole closure driven by Nevada Water Pollution Control statute, and (3) radioactive contamination driven by Price Anderson Act Amendment. The cost of these compliance activities is substantial and must currently be borne within the Stockpile Stewardship Program.
The average age of existing equipment at the NTS (e.g. drill rigs, material handling equipment, fabrication equipment, heavy fleet) is nearly 20 years. Technological advances have rendered most of this equipment out of date. Suppliers no longer support a large percentage of it which means that maintenance and repairs require work-arounds leading to inefficient operations. Modern equipment safety features are absent. Thus, aging NTS equipment adds considerable risk to safety, operability and our overall cost efficiency.
While the NNSA is championing a progressive three-pronged approach to improve Defense Critical Facilities through facility revitalization & upgrade, deactivation & decommissioning of surplus facilities, and corporate management of non-nuclear fa