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servicability, and reliability. To aid in this work, the laboratories develop highly sophisticated computing codes and capabilities to determine and evaluate the interrelationships within the reactor and between reactor systems and components. The laboratories also develop better production processes to realize these per formance gains reliably and efficiently at ninimum cost.
Testing of candidate materials, fuels and poisons, and new cores and components goes on for years, and continues after an item is introduced into the fleet to ensure data is available ahead of fleet experience. Data obtained from operating fleet plants and through exanining spent cores is also a valuable source of information for new reactor designs and safety evaluations.
Work underway will include fabricating the Developmental Materials
Core which will be used to prove out new materials and material
concepts, completing the qualification of a second source of supply for naval nuclear fuel material, examining expended cores and irradiated test specimens, developing advanced core and reactor
concepts, continuing refinement of the Modified Fuel Process,
selecting an advanced fuel element manufacturing process for irradiation qualification and vendor development, replacing the beryllium shield components for the Advanced Test Reactor, continuing research into thermal hydraulic processes, and determining mechanical properties of reactor components.
We need to replace the 17-year old computers at the Knolls laboratory. This is the main cause for the increase in capital equipnent funds. The remaining funds will be used to replace aging equipment in the laboratories and prototype plants and upgrade efficiency in test and analytical areas.
Construction fund needs drop substantially. The principal requirements in Fiscal Year 1987 are to start upgrading the Kesselring Site Facilities to handle the prototype plant servicing work and to put an addition on the Bettis computation facility to accommodate needed computer and support equipment and security improvements. General Plant Project funds are needed to maintain the laboratories and provide test facilities.
The overall per formance of a nuclear propulsion plant depends on the capabiities of all systems and components. Maximizing the performance gains acheived through advanced reactor designs requires corresponding improvements in all other components and systems.
Toward this end, we carry out plant arrangement optimization studies, instrumentation design and development, and primary plant fluid, mechanical and electrical system development. We are working to ensure safe and reliable plant operation. For instance, water and radiation are corrosive agents which limit component per formance over the long term, leading to operational restrictions and costly overhauls and equipnent replacement. We are finding ways to improve water chemistry and purification nethods, develop corrosion resistant structural materials and come up with better methods to decontaminate
We are also evolving better means of quality control and carrying out facility decontamination work. This work will continue in PY 1987.
Reactor- Operation and Evaluation
Naval Reactors operates eight prototype naval nuclear propulsion plants to test new cores, components, and systens, and to train Navy personnel as reactor plant operators. New equipment is subject to a number of tests during development, but final design confirmation is only possible through testing in these plants. This approach allows several years of operating experience prior to fleet application. We continue to operate new equipment in the prototypes after fleet introduction to uncover problens before they are encountered in the fleet.
In 1984 we commenced an extended period of servicing the prototype plants which will continue into the early 1990's. This is a growing effort. In addition to inserting new test cores and components, we will overhaul the plants. The work is more extensive than previously conducted due to the increasing age of the plants, which now average 25 years. The experience gained and methods used in this work is directly applicable to the fleet plants, whose average age is also
This area provides salaries and associated costs for the 213 full-time
Energy Department employees in my office and in my Pittsburgh and
These people are crucial to our ability to develop SSN-21 as well as support operating ships. Their responsibilities continue to grow as rewards and staffing remain constant. We cannot afford to take their dedication for granted.
Water cooled Breeder
Fiscal Year 1987 also sees the completion of my civilian nuclear energy program -- the Water cooled Breeder effort. Twenty years of work on this program culminated with successful operation of the Light Water Breeder Reactor core in the shippingport Atomic Power Station for five years. The core is now at the Expended Core Facility in Idaho where we are confirming the performance, which is expected to prove that breeding can be achieved in a light water nuclear power plant. This will confirm a practical way to use thorium, a plentiful fuel for which there has been no na jor energy-related use.
The FY 1987 Water cooled Breeder Budget request is $13.8 million. This is $5.2 million less than the FY 1986 appropriation as adjusted by the Grana-Rudman-Hollings Act. The major areas are:
De fueling activities will consist of: spent fuel handling and shipment to the Idaho Chemical Processing Plant for long term storage; cleaning up light water breeder reactor facilities; and publishing final reports on defueling activities.
Core evaluation work will include: completing non-destructive assay of about 38 of the light water breeder core's fuel rods to confirm breeding. disposing and cleaning up examination equipnent at. the Expended Core Facility, completing core and structural naterials
exaninations, and documentation of the final progran results for use
The Argonne National Laboratory will complete cleanup and waste treatment activities associated with their chenical analysis work which is funded under the DOE Fuel Cycle Program.
SUBMITTED QUESTIONS Chairman HATFIELD. Admiral, you give me particular reason, and all of us for that matter, to be proud of the Navy's record in safety and other parts of your program.
Admiral MCKEE. Thank you, Senator.
Chairman HATFIELD. You have no ships in the submarine fleet, only boats; is that correct?
Admiral McKEE. Submarines are boats; surface ships are ships. That is an old tradition from the time there used to be torpedo boats. They called them submersible torpedo boats. I guess we call Trident submarines ships because they are so big, but I am sorry if I slipped back into my old lingo.
Chairman HATFIELD. I just wanted to update you on what I understood. (Laughter.]
Admiral, also I wonder if you would write me an excuse today to the Superintendent of the Naval Academy for my absence at the Board of Visitors meeting which I was scheduled to attend, but canceled, so I could hear you today.
Admiral McKEE. I appreciate that very much.
Senator JOHNSTON. No, Mr. Chairman, except to echo your comments about the Admiral, his program, and the great record that he has made. It is very persuasive and an excellent presentation.
Chairman HATFIELD. Thank you, Admiral, we do have a number of questions that have been prepared by staff and we will present those to you and we would like the response as soon as possible. Admiral MCKEE. We would be happy to do that. Chairman HATFIELD. Senator McClure. Senator MCCLURE. I have no questions, Mr. Chairman. Chairman HATFIELD. Thank you very much, Admiral. (The questions and answers follow:)