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very expensive ships, they will have to be able to operate in waters controlled by the enemy. That leverage is very important.
What do I mean by “leverage”? It is like buying insurance or investing your money. What we want to do is find a system where the amount of resources that we destroy or tie up or force them to reallocate is far out of proportion to the dollar investment that we put in.
Submarines have that kind of leverage. It is a historic theme. You may recall World War I when one German submarine sank three enemy cruisers in one afternoon and forced the redeployment of the entire British fleet. In the Falklands conflict, one British submarine sank one cruiser and the Argentine fleet didn't come outside the 12mile limit for the rest of the war. They didn't even know whether that submarine was still there or not.
What leverage means is the ability to create a certainty and uncertainty: a certainty in the minds of the other guys as to what we can do, what the ships are capable of, and a terrible uncertainty as to what we will do. It is that terrible uncertainty that gnaws at the fabric of the war plans they attempt to put together.
Senator DOMENICI. (Deleted.]
And it is nothing new, Senator Domenici. This concept of military leverage is something that has been well understood in our country for a long time-Stonewall Jackson, folks like that.
So that is the point I am trying to make. New attack submarines are going to be expensive ships, but the leverage that you get is going to be very important and it is going to more than let them pay their way. [Deleted.]
The new submarine we are talking about is going to have improvements in many areas. I understand you don't have time to go into detail this morning. I would love to go through it with you, but those are the kinds of improvements we are going to make.
SOVIET PROGRESS The other point I want to get across to you is to validate some of what I have said because it is important for you to understand that we know what we are talking about. This is the time of year when folks in uniform always come over and holler the Russians are coming and they are getting better. That is what I am going to do.
Senator DOMENICI. Just so they haven't arrived in Wisconsin yet. (Laughter.)
Admiral McKee. They are not in Wisconsin yet, or New Mexico.
Senator DOMENICI. I told somebody that some of you all, not you, act like they already left San Francisco and have arrived in Oshkosh, Wis. I don't know why I picked that.
Admiral MCKEE. All I am going to say is the Soviets are getting better. (Deleted.] The Soviets have been getting better for a couple of years. They are pouring extraordinary resources into the business.
NEW DESIGN ATTACK SUBMARINE Senator DOMENICI. What is in this appropriation request for that advanced submarine?
Admiral McKee. On the Department of Energy side, the total is not specifically set aside, but the figure is around $60 million. The Navy has a delta in there for about $174 million. It is not clear cut because the powerplant is derived from a wide range of R&D lines that we run, just as the submarine R&D is derived from a wide range of lines. The total bill is much more than that, but that is the delta in there this year.
Senator DOMENICI. Is the power system brand new?
Admiral McKEE. Yes, sir. It is a combination of technology we learned in building TRIDENT X, ongoing development work and new building techniques. (Deleted.)
CLOSING REMARKS I think that is about all I should try to tell you because of the time. I have a lot more in the material here.
Senator DOMENICI. Do you mind staying around a little bit?
PREPARED QUESTIONS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD
Let's get the other witnesses in here. They have gone to a lot of trouble as well. I don't want to cut them short.
Thank you for your testimony today, Admiral McKee.
werplant is cine R&D is at, but that isand new? of technology new
QUESTIONS SUBMITTED BY SENATOR HATFIELD
Advanced Fleet Reactor
Question: Please describe the progress being made on the Advanced Fleet Reactor. How much funding is provided in FY 83, 84, and 85 for this effort? What is the total estimated cost?
The final reactor design has been chosen for the Advanced Fleet Reactor. Selected long lead material is presently on order; plant design, development of key components and core manufacturing development are all proceeding; and advanced physics and thermal/hydraulic design and analysis is underway, as well as hydraulic and materials testing. Deleted.
The Advanced Fleet Reactor will benefit from a combination of ongoing research and development efforts which makes it difficult to identify an overall cost. The incremental material funding attributable to the Advanced Fleet Reactor effort is less than $5 million for FY 1983, $27 million for FY 1984, and $59 million for FY 1985. The remainder required is difficult to estimate at this stage, but is expected to be about $ 250 million.
Question: When would you expect the DOD to request a new submarine that would use this reactor?
Answer: The Navy will be requesting authorization of the lead ship of a new class of attack submarines in fiscal year 1989. The Navy presently has development work underway on this new attack submarine class. The Advanced Fleet Reactor, which is the latest generation of pressurized water reactors for naval propulsion, will be used in this class.
Question: Why do you need the large increase in operating expenses? For the record, please provide a detailed breakdown with explanation of the need for each increase.
Answer: Operating expenses increase by $56.4 million in fiscal year 1985. The Advanced Fleet Reactor work is responsible for $32 million of the increase. Major Advanced Fleet Reactor work being performed in fiscal year 1985 includes: core development and preproduction; procurement of long lead material for reactor test and prototype components; component fabrication; design of a prototypical loop for full scale testing of reactor plant components; and confirmation of nuclear characteristics. Aside from a $16.4 million increase for inflation, other items contributing to the requested increase in operating expenses include a $5 million increase for the overhaul and refueling of the S5G prototype reactor, and $3 million for consolidation of laboratory work areas for the handling of radioactive material.
New Design Attack Submarine
Question: What are the estimated costs of the new design attack submarine and how does this compare to our other submarines? How do you respond to the argument that we should build more, less expensive submarines rather than the new attack submarine?
Answer: The Secretary of the Navy has established a ceiling price of $1.6 billion in FY 1985 dollars for the lead ship of the new design attack submarine class, coming down to $1.0 billion each for the fifth and later ships. The FY 1985 budget now before Congress identifies a price of $701.5 million for an improved SSN 688 to be delivered in FY 1989.
Having larger numbers of less expensive and less capable ships would be a waste of money. The qualitative advantage is what enables our submarines to cope with a numerically larger Soviet submarine fleet. If we build less capable ships, but it takes two of them to defeat an adversary or they cannot carry out necessary missions, there is no cost savings.
Question: Describe the status of the Materials Facility construction project at Savannah River.
Answer: The Fuel Materials Facility construction project is proceeding on schedule and should be completed in fiscal year 1986. Presently, design work is more than two-thirds complete. Construction of the main manufacturing building is underway, with the foundation and structural steel work 90 percent complete. After facility start-up and qualification, production of nuclear fuel is scheduled to begin in fiscal year 1987.
Question: What is the status of the fuel fabrication facility at Erwin, Tennessee?
Answer: The Erwin, Tennessee fuel fabrication facility is owned and operated by Nuclear Fuel Services, Inc., and is currently producing nuclear fuel for use in Naval reactor cores.
Question: Do you expect that this facility will continue in operation? How long?
Answer: Current projections of Naval nuclear fuel requirements indicate a continuing need for this facility. This need is expected to continue for the foreseeable future.
Modifications and Additions to Prototype Facilities
Question: Please describe the status of the modification and additions to prototype facilities.
Answer: The modifications and additions to prototype facilities project will enhance the continued safe operation of Naval Reactors prototype reactor plants by adding engineered safety systems to the sic, S3G, and DIG prototypes.
Design work is progressing, though the new design safety systems for operation within existing plants are requiring more design work than previously projected. Construction of buildings and systems is in progress at the sic prototype in Windsor, CT., as is construction of buildings for the dig and s3G prototypes at West Milton, NY.
Water Cooled Breeder Reactor
Question: Describe the status of the Water Cooled Breeder program. Please provide a detailed breakdown of de fueling activities in FY 1985 with funding requirements.
Answer: The Water Cooled Breeder program is a mature effort that will be completed by the end of FY 1987. A light water breeder core operated successfully in the Shippingport Atomic Power Station reactor for five years until shutdown in late 1982. Subsequently, the reactor underwent end-of-life testing and is now being de fueled. Over half the spent fuel assemblies have been shipped to the Naval Reactors Expended Core Facility in Idaho and de fueling of the Light Water Breeder Reactor will be completed by the end of FY 1984.
Preparations are underway for core evaluation at the Expended Core Facility to verify core performance, including breeding characteristics. The equipment needed for fuel disassembly and assay is installed and undergoing final qualification checks. Argonne National Laboratory has completed check-out of their equipment using irradiation test rods and is prepared to begin destructive analysis of selected fuel rods which will provide data to calibrate the assay gage to be used at the Expended Core Facility.
De fueling activities will continue until the last shipment of spent fuel to the Idaho Chemical Processing Plant for long term storage is completed in FY 1987. Defueling work in FY 1985 will include: fuel receipt, handling, and storage at the Expended Core Facility; loading casks for shipping the spent fuel to the Idaho Chemical Processing Plant; safety assessments for shipping casks and loading methods; equipment design, including a system to dewater and dry the spent fuel for long term storage; and publishing reports on Shippingport reactor operation, end-of-life test results, and defueling. Funds necessary to complete de fueling activities scheduled in FY 1985 are estimated to be $8.0 million.
Question: What is the status of the proof-of-breeding program for the Light Water Breeder Reactor?
Answer: Proof-of-breeding work is part of the core evaluation effort. Work is presently going on to prepare for the actual evaluation efforts. The equipment needed for disassembly and assay is installed and undergoing final qualification checks. Also personnel training and preparation of examination procedures are underway. The actual evaluation at the Expended Core Facility will consist of core examination and proof-of-breeding. For the proof-of-breeding aspect, 500 individual fuel rods will be nondestructively assayed. Detailed evaluation of the spent fuel assemblies will determine the extent of breeding.