« PrécédentContinuer »
So that is one of their main systems that Los Alamos is looking at. They are also looking at a concept which I will let Lieutenant Colonel Davis explain to you because I want you to see it in the context of what the Russians have done earlier; then it will make more sense.
Senator JOHNSTON. Do you think the [deleted] would bust the mylar balloons?
General ABRAHAMSON. Yes, there is no question about that.
Senator JOHNSTON. That is what you want them to do? You want to break the balloons rather than agitate them?
General ABRAHAMSON. Yes, sir; and be able to tell the difference.
This is the nuclear-directed energy program and, while there are some things such as certain kinds of effects and support which we could fund with Department of Defense funds, I would like to point out that the legal interpretation of the Atomic Energy Act is that warhead development should be funded by the Department of Energy. Therefore, there are funds included in the proposal by the Department of Energy.
Now, as opposed to that, there are scientific areas such as neutral particle beam (NPB) generators that are funded on a reimbursable basis by DOD. The NPB generator is a very large atomic accelerator that would go into space.
Again, the people at Los Alamos, who are the experts in this area, are doing the research on the NPB. That research, however, is being done on a reimbursable basis and does not appear in the Department of Energy budget. This is money that SDIO can send over on a reimbursable basis to use their scientists on development effort.
Chairman HATFIELD. General, if I may interrupt, and I apologize, we have a very few seconds left on a vote. We are going to have to delay for just a few moments. Is there a dash or a period that you are coming to in your response to Senator Johnston's question?
General ABRAHAMSON. Perhaps here, the best place is go right to the budget. You can see that there are funds that are projected
Chairman HATFIELD. Excuse me. Let us make a pause here, because if we start on the budget, we will miss the vote. General ABRAHAMSON. All right, sir. Chairman HATFIELD. We will be right back.
PREPARED QUESTIONS SUBMITTED BY SENATOR MCLURE Senator MCCLURE. Mr. Chairman, before leaving, I have a number of questions to submit for the record and, unfortunately, I can't stay for the balance of the hearing, but I would like to have those questions included in the record.
Chairman HATFIELD. They will be presented to the panel and to Admiral McKee. Senator Johnston and I will be back very shortly.
[Whereupon, a short recess was taken.) [The questions and answers follow:]
Ston me bresale pouse
QUESTIONS SUBMITTED BY SENATOR MCCLURE
Special Isotope Separation
Question: The Administration did not request funding for the SIS facility in the FY 1986 budget, so I am very pleased to see the Department provides for the option of deployment of this technology "at some future date" in the FY 1987 request. Has the Department of Defense and the National Security Council indicated their support for the SIS facility?
Answer: Both the Department of Defense (DOD) and the National Security Council have indicated their support for a Special Isotope Separation (SIS) production facility. DOD has strengthened the program by making available $35 million within the 050 account for the Department of Energy FY 1987 SIS budget.
Question: The FY 1987 budget request for the Special Isotope Separation Facility is $74,900,000 for research and development and provides an option for deployment of the technology. How much of this funding will be directed towards the deployment of the technology and how much is slated for research and development activities. Has the Department established a date when it would expect to begin deployment of the SIS?
Answer: At present, all of the funding is being directed toward further development of the process. However, should it be decided that the line-item project be continued during FY 1987, a portion of this funding would need to be reprogrammed. The precise amount will depend upon the relative pace of the design and development tasks.
It is anticipated that definitive design will begin during FY 1986. Decisions on future construction activities will depend on future assessments of need, technical progress, and funding availability.
Question: Last year, this Committee appropriated $4,000,000 for design and engineering for the SIS, with the provision that DOE conduct a 120 day process readiness review of the competing SIS processes. This review was to select the process most likely for technical success and have the lowest operating and capital costs, and, if the panel agreed that a technology was ready for plant scale implementation, design of the project could commence using the selected technology. Has this Congressionally-mandated panel completed its review? If so, when can this committee expect to receive the results of the review? What are the Department's plans regarding initiating the project design work?
Answer: The review team submitted the final report to the Department on March 28, 1986.
The results of the review are being made available to the committee.
The Department has considered the results of the process readiness review and has decided that design can begin based on the Atomic Vapor Laser Isotope Separation process. This work is expected to commence in July 1986.
Question: What does DOE project as the total funding requirements for design, construction and operation of the SIS? Will DOD share the cost of this facility?
Answer: A complete engineering estimate of costs will be completed in June 1986 as part of the Conceptual Design Report. Preconceptual estimates indicate that the total project cost, including line-item construction and related operating expenditures, will total $577 million, of which $31 million has been appropriated in prior years. Development costs, including FY 1987 through completion, are estimated to be $143 million. Once in production, the plant will require about $55 million per year for operating expenses.
The Department of Defense has provided $35 million in FY 1987 funding within the 050 account to keep open the option of continuing line-item funding.
Question: Has the Department selected a site for the SIS facility? If the answer to #6 is yes, please explain to the Committee the procedure by which the site was selected. If the answer to #6 is no, please describe the steps that DOE will take to chose a site. Has DOE a tentative date when this Committee could expect an announcement of the site selection to be made?
Answer: No, a site for the SIS facility has not been selected. The final selection of a site must await the completion of appropriate National Environmental Policy Act documentation. The Department of Energy intends to complete an Environmental Impact Statement as part of the site selection process and prior to the start of construction. In the interim, design will continue based on a preferred site, which will be identified during FY 1986 based on an internal review of candidate sites.
Should it be decided to construct the Special Isotope Separation production facility, completion of the environmental impact statement and designation of a site would be accomplished during FY 1988.
Question: Funds provided for activities needed to replace several hundred reactor process tubes in the N Reactor indicate DOE intends to continue operating the N Reactor into the mid-1990's. What is the total projected cost of repairs needed to extend the life of the N Reactor?
Answer: N Reactor life extension can be tailored to meet & range of production complex requirements. If no improvements are made beyond the current programs for facility restoration, environmental upgrades and productivity retention, the economic end 11fe for N Reactor would occur in the early to middle 1990's. The tube replacement funding requested is a continuation of current routine maintenance and surveillance activities to assure safe and
economic operation through that time. That work, in conjunction with flux flattening and a continuation of modest "balance of plant" improvements, can prolong N Reactor life to about the year 2000. The total cost of these activities over this period, considering both operating and capital funds would be approximately $370 million.
Question: Did the Department conduct any cost/benefit studies before making the decision to repair the N Reactor rather than construct a new or replacement production reactor? If so, please provide the committee with the resulting information,
Answer: No cost/benefit study was conducted on repair activities needed to assure continued operation of N Reactor through this decade since these are normal maintenance and improvement activities of a magnitude similar to that historically required to support continued reactor operation. Extension of N Reactor life beyond approximately 2000 is expected to require major refurbishment of the graphite stack and replacement of all the process tubes. This will require major capital funding and will not be undertaken without appropriate cost/benefit studies.
Question: Funding is requested for the operation of four production reactors at the Savannah River Plant (P, K, C, and L). In October 1985, a deep crack was discovered in the C Reactor. There was some concern within the Department that it might not be possible to repair the crack, and studies looking into the severity and the cause of the crack were conducted. Subsequently, repair was begun, What was the cause of the crack and the extent of the damage to the reactor vessel? What is t'ia status of the repair on the crack and what is the cost to date? Does the FY 1987 budget request include funds to continue and complete the repair of the C Reactor, and if so, how much is the request?
Answer: The crack in the C Reactor tank is believed to have been caused by intergranular stress corrosion resulting from the simultaneous presence of sensitized stainless steel (due to initial tank fabrication methods), tensile stress, and an aggressive environment. The other reactor tanks at the Savannah River Plant were fabricated differently and, therefore, are not subject to this problem. The sensitized steel was extensively inspected and all defects were conservatively characterized as cracks. These defects, ranging from about one to eleven inches in length, were grouped in four locations of the sensitized stainless steel.
Minor leaks in the containment tank of the C Reactor at the Savannah River Plant were detected during the last production cycle which ended last June. The leak was not a safety concern because of the low pressure and low operating temperature of the tank. A program to examine and repair the reactor tank was initiated by DuPont, with the assistance of Westinghouse Electric Corporation. A detailed ultrasonic inspection of the region of sensitized stainless steel in the tank resulted in the decision to weld four patches in the tank. All analyses concerning the effects of operating with patches in the tank have shown that the reactor can continue to operate for many more years with no incremental safety or operating concerns. Initial attempts to weld the first patch were unsuccessful due to unexpected characteristics of the metal in the
tank. Further repairs are on hold until the properties of the metal are characterized. This repair has cost about $38.6 million in subcontracts to Westinghouse Electric Corporation and has also caused us to defer lower priority activities.
The FY 1987 budget includes no funds specifically earmarked for repair of the C Reactor.
Question: What effort has the Department made to determine if the problem with the C Reactor could or has occurred in one or more of the other production reactors at Savannah River?
Answer: C Reactor is the only reactor at the Savannah River Plant which incorporates sensitized stainless steel in the region between the tank wall and the tank bottom. The tank wall in the other reactors 18 welded directly to the tank bottom. All inspections to date have identified no defects in the other reactor tanks.
Question: In past years, after several assessment panels had determined the lifetime of the present Savannah River reactors was unpredictable, and that a new reactor should be built and operating sometime in the 1990's, a considerable amount of funding was provided DOE for a new production reactor. What is the status of this project? What funds has DOE requested for this facility in FY 1987.
Answer: Since the earlier assessments were made, the results of ongoing surveillance and life extension studies on the existing production reactors have indicated the feasibility of continuous operation of these reactors at least into the next century with no major capital expenditures beyond that historically required to maintain reactor operation. Therefore, a decision to deploy a new production reactor, NPR, has been deferred for several years. In FY 1985, $3.0 million was expended for the New Production Reactor for preconceptual design activities. In FY 1986, $6.1 million was budgeted for completion of the NPR activities including evaluations of smaller concepts. There are no funds included in the FY 1987 budget for the NPR program.
Funding for Environmental Problems
Question: It appears to me that the FY 1987 budget request from Defense Programs 18 slated to address a number of environmental problems at DOE facilities that have received considerable adverse publicity in recent years. What is the total amount of funding requested by defense programs that will be devoted to environmental cleanup and concerns?
Answer: Defense Programs 18 requesting $551 million in the FY 1987 budget to address environment, safety, and health problems. Not all of the requested budget funds will be used for environmental cleanup activities. Some will be used to bring DOE facilities into compliance with environmental regulations and ensure worker health and safety.