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QUESTIONS SUBMITTED BY CHAIRMAN HATFIELD
Naval Fuel Factory
Question: Describe the status of the Materials Facility
Answer: The Materials Facility is expected to be completed in the next few months and will provide a second source for the manufacture of Navy nuclear fuel. Design work and delivery of facility equipment are essentially done and construction is 98% complete. As portions of the facility are completed they are being turned over to operations personnel who conduct equipment and facility checkout and carry-out start-up procedures prior to beginning fuel processing operations. Puel processing is expected to begin this year.
Question: What is status of the fuel fabrication facility at Brvia, Tennessee? Do you expect this facility to continue in operation for the foreseeable future?
Answer: The strike at Nuclear Fuel Services (NFS) in Erwin, Tennessee, is over and the company is working to get back up to full production under the current contract which will run about two more years. The facility is expected to continue in operation for the foreseeable future thereafter.
New Attack Submarine Question: Please describe the progress being made on the Advanced Pleet Reactor.
Answer: All of the Advanced Fleet Reactor's basic features have been decided upon and work continues to proceed on schedule. Testing and analysis to date indicate the reactor should meet performance requirements. A lead control drive mechanism and test module have been completed and fabrication of several major prototype test components is underway. (Deleted). Additionally, fuel element and structural fabrication development and material procurement to support core fabrication is on schedule.
Question: How will the SSN-21 Class be an improvement over our current attack submarines?
Answer: In summary, SSN-21 will have greater usable tactical speed and depth, superior acoustic performance, greater firepower, better target detection and engagement potential, improved Arctic operation capabilities, and greater resiliency than SSN-688 Class submarines.
Question: Please describe the relative capabilities of the United
States and the Soviet's submarine fleet.
Although the Soviet submarine fleet has outnumbered tbe U. S. submarine fleet by nearly three to one over the years, the U. s. has been able to maintain technical
superiority in submarine design and performance.
Please describe the advances you see necessary for the United States to maintain its nuclear strength compared to the USSR.
To counter the threat I have just outlined, a new attack
Question: What is the status of the DOD shipbuilding program with regard to nuclear submarines and surface ships?
Answer: We are building three different classes of nuclear powered ships, as follows:
The FY 1987 Navy budget requests funds for the construction of four SSN 688 Clase submarines and one TRIDENT submarine, and advance procurement funds for the SSN-21.
Naval Reactors Development Budget
Question: Please describe the need for the significant increase in operating expenses.
Answer: The primary cause of the operating expense increase is due to an increase in prototype plant servicing work. Approximately $28M of the operating expense increase is due to this work. The Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program operates and maintains eight landbased prototype plants to test developmental components, cores and servicing and operating nethods, as well as to provide hands-on training for Navy nuclear plant operator trainees. The plants are . key Progra resource. These plants are old with an average age
over 22 years. To maintain these plants in a safe and reliable condition, a significant amount of effort is required. We are in the midst of a ten-year prototype servicing and refueling effort which involves all eight plants.
The remainder of the increase, approximately $20M, is due to escalation, Advanced Fleet Reactor work, which is proceeding well, facility decontamination work and fuel and beryllium shield changeout requirements for the Advanced Test Reactor located at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory. Naval Reactors uses the Advanced Test Reactor for materials development work.
Question: Describe the need to nearly double your capital equipment requirements in FY 1987 and the impact of a delay in this effort.
Answer: The significant increase in capital equipment requirements is due to the replacement of the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory's three CDC 7600 Computers. These machines represent half of the laboratories computing capabilities; they are old, having an average age of 15 years, and considered obsolete. Maintenance and repair support for this equipment is increasingly difficult to obtain making continued reliance on these computers unwise. By the time a replacement computer is installed and programs transferred the existing computers will be 18 years old.
The CDC 7600 Computers are an essential tool for reactor core design and reactor safety analysis. The Bettis and Knolls laboratories carry out continuing safety analyses of all operating naval nuclear reactors. The conduct of these analyses is heavily rependent on the laboratories' computer resources.
A delay of this acquisition will extend the period of dependence on these old computers, thus increasing tbe possibility of failure which would affect program work and the ability to assure safe operation of nuclear powered ships, including support of the POSE LDON and TRIDENT strategic deterrence. Specifically, reduced computing capability will delay TRIDENT and LOS ANGELES Class submarines and nuclear cruiser reactor safety analysis; design and analysis of the Advanced Pleet Reactor core; and verification of the overall ss1-21 plant design.
Question: What is the long-runge forecast for increased capital equipment funding?
Ansver: I expect my future requirements will be about the same as PY 87 due to i continuing need to replace and upgrade computer equipment and prototype plant components.
Question: Please describe the need for the increase in Generıl Plant Project funding.
Answer: Naval Reactors General Plant Project funding requirements increase by $ 800,000 in Py87. The increase is due to safeguards and security upgrades necessary to reet the DOE-wide push for improved security. The construction of prototype plant servicing facilities and test facilities constitute most of the remaining work in 1787.
Question: Please describe the requirement for increased uranium enrichment included in the special nuclear materials budget.
Answer: Increased uranium enrichment is needed to support Naval fuel fabrication at both Nuclear Fuel Services (NFS) and at the Savannah River Plant Fuel Materials Facility. NFS has a contract to fabricate fuel at full production for about two more years. Savannah River will reach full production in FY1987 and will be operated at capacity to qualify the facility and to build needed inventory to cover possible increases in the shipbuilding program, shutdown, or other problems.
Reactor Plant Disposal
Question: What is the status of Navy plans to dispose of reactor plants from decommissioned nuclear powered ship?
Answer: The Navy prepared an Environmental Impact Statement which evaluated the impact of disposing decommissioned, de fueled submarine reactor plants. On December 6, 1984, the Secretary of the Navy issued a Record of Decision in which he decided to dispose of de fueled reactor plants by land burial at Department of Energy sites. In April 1986, the Navy disposed of the de fueled reactor plant from the decommissioned submarine ex-PATRICK HENRY at the DOE Hanford Site.
Question: Is the plan for sea disposal - as opposed to land disposal still a live option? What are the relative costs of the two options?
Answer: Based upon the analysis in the Environmental Impact Statement, the Navy considers that permanent disposal would be environmentally safe and feasible using either the land burial or ocean disposal options. In his Record of Decision, the Secretary of the Navy chose land burial. The Record of Decision discusses the reasons for this decision. These included Congressional action in December 1982 restricting the issuance of ocean disposal permits and requiring Congressional approval before any such penit could be issued, statements by the Environmental Protection Agency that additional regulations may be required before a permit request could be evaluated, and the fact that land burial is the method currently used in the United States for disposal of other low level radioactive waste.
The cost to dispose of the ex-PATRICK HENRY reactor plant at the Hanford Site was approximately $7 million, including about $1.5 million in one time costs that will not be necessary for future disposals. Ocean disposal was estimated in the Environmental Impact Statement to cost approximately $2 million per submarine less than land burial. However, uncertainties in the costs to qualify and gain acceptance of an ocean disposal site and to obtain the necessary permits and approvals could narrow the cost differential between the two options.
Question: What is the status of choosing land sites for disposal? How will land disposal be accomplished?
Answer: The Navy Environmental Impact Statement evaluated land burial at both the DOE Savannah River Site in South Carolina and the DOE Hanford Site in Washington State, and concluded that there would be no significant adverse environmental impact at either site. In his Record of Decision, the Secretary of the Navy stated that with all but one of the decommissioned nuclear submarines currently in storage on the West Coast, the Hanford site is appropriate for use in the near future.
The de fueled reactor plant from the ex-PATRICK HENRY was disposed of by the methods described in the Environmental Impact Statement. The reactor compartment was removed from the submarine, sealed, and secured to a barge at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. The barge was towed up the Columbia River to a barge slip adjacent to the DOE Hanford site. The reactor compartment was then moved by overland transporter to the burial area on the Hanford site. .
Question: What is the schedule and site for disposal of the ten decommissioned submarines on the West Coast?
Answer: The reactor plant of the ex-PATRICK HENRY has already been moved to its burial place at the DOE Hanford Site. The Navy intends to proceed with disposal of the defueled reactor plants from other decommissioned submarines in the same manner. The schedule for these additional disposals is dependent upon the availability of funding and other shipyard work.
Water Cooled Breeder Program
Question: How much funding is needed to complete work on this reactor?
Answer: The FY 1987 funding request of $13.8 million will allow completion of the Water Cooled Breeder Program.
Question: What is needed in FY 87 to complete documentation and data collection/evaluation in FY 1987?
Answer: Work planned under the Core Evaluation portion ($10.2 million) of the Water Cooled Breeder budget request encompasses full documentation of the light water breeder concept and performance.
In effect, the core evaluation is the "frosting on the cake" to validate this 20-year effort which gives every indication of being highly successful. Assuming the evaluation work confirms core performance, technology will have been tested, proven, and documented which can use thorium, an abundant material in the U. 8., as an energy source if the need arises.