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Question: What provisions has DOE made to internally monitor for and correct environmental problems, before they become a matter of public alarm?
Answer: DOE continually monitors its ES&H activities through appraisals, standards development, epidemiology, contractual language and other techniques. The industrial practices of the DOE production complex compare with the practices of the private sector. The problems that have surfaced at our sites reflect the change in regulations and is similar to the experiences of the private sector. Correcting our environmental problems requires budgeting, planning, and characterizing the problems in order to find out if the technology exists to rectify the problem, or bring the facility into compliance. Defense Programs initiated the development of long-range 5-year plans encompassing the environment, safety, and health aspects of our activities a few years ago.
Further, the Secretary of Energy has issued new initiatives to strengthen the functions of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Environment, Safety and Health (ASEH). A new Office of Audit and Compliance has been established with the primary responsibility to conduct an environmental survey of DOE facilities and to develop a strategy with the Program Secretarial Officers to bring the facilities into compliance. We are working closely with the ASEH and staff to characterize better our DOE environmental problems, to keep the EPA, States and public informed of our actions in this area and to avoid undue public concern.
All right, General Abrahamson, will you please continue your presentation.
Senator JOHNSTON. May I ask you one thing about the slide you had
General ABRAHAMSON. Sure.
Senator JOHNSTON. The neutral particle beam, what is it? What do you envision as the power source for that?
General ABRAHAMSON. There are several possible power sources. It will take a large amount of power. Right now we have an operating version of this called White Horse, but it is an experimental version that is in a laboratory.
It uses some very, very large radio frequency generators and electrical power that is available to the base. In a space application of such a weapon, we would have to be able to have probably an SP-100 or even a multimegawatt type of system.
Senator JOHNSTON. SP-100 is what?
General ABRAHAMSON. SP-100 is a nuclear reactor that we are developing jointly with the Department of Energy.
Senator JOHNSTON. How many megawatts?
General ABRAHAMSON. Well, we think it can burst-it is still a little unknown, but we are aiming for going up to 300 kilowatts, sir. That is enough to be able to have a high level of average power but it is not
ough to conduct a [deleted).
Senator JOHNSTON. You need multimegawatts for that.
General ABRAHAMSON. You really need multimegawatts. So, since it can only be used for just a few minutes in any one particular orbit, you either store that energy mechanically, with capacitors, or some other device. If multimegawatt power comes along quickly, then we would like to be able to use that. But right now, multimegawatt power is downstream quite a ways. So we are looking at various energy storage devices to combine with the lower average power SP-100.
Senat . JOHNSTON. Do you think the SP-100 would work with storage
General ABRAHAMSON. Yes, sir; otherwise, I wouldn't be putting SDI money into it.
Senator JOHNSTON. How heavy would SP-100 be?
General ABRAHAMSON. For a 300-kilowatt SP-100 reactor, we are estimating a weight of 8,000 kilograms.
Senator JOHNSTON. It is a big thing, isn't it?
General ABRAHAMSON. Oh, yes, sir. At this point, our estimate is maybe two shuttle loads in terms of size and volume, not in weight, but it is a very large device.
I want to emphasize that these are things that are in the DOD budget or in the DOE budget; if they are in the DOD budget they are reimbursable and the money comes through that payback route to obtain the use of the very fine talent at Los Alamos.
Senator JOHNSTON. How about free electron laser? It takes the same order of magnitude of power of neutral particle beams, doesn't it?
General ABRAHAMSON. Yes, sir; it is a very high powered device.
Senator JOHNSTON. There is no advantage in one over the other as far as power?
General ABRAHAMSON. They are very different, but not in terms of power.
Senator JOHNSTON. Electricity.
General ABRAHAMSON. It is significant. They are both fairly low efficiency devices. It is a little unknown how far it can come out, but perhaps less than 10-percent efficiency.
TECHNOLOGIES RELEVANT TO
Charged Particle Beams
Systems Analysis for SDI
General ABRAHAMSON. Now in contrast to that, here are some of the programs at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory. Once again, you can see the various kinds of activities that are reimbursable or not reimbursable.
Nuclear-directed energy research is an area, of course, that has become controversial. The x-ray laser, a third-generation nuclear weapon, was first seen in the Soviet literature quite early. Lt. Col. Rich Davis will give you some evidence of what we know about Soviet efforts in xray laser technology.
The concept of the x-ray laser is to use a nuclear explosion to get very hard radiation out quickly and then in just a few nanoseconds you cause a lasing material to lase when it is exposed to that radiation. It gives out a big pulse of laser energy that can be directed to boosters as they are coming out of the upper atmosphere. By the way, it can't penetrate the surface or the atmosphere at all.
Senator JOHNSTON. You have had experiments on this (deleted).
Examples of some SDI reimbursable programs include the system analysis work done at Livermore, Sandia, and Los Alamos.
The free electron laser, which is the induction linac version, has made great progress. Based on its success, not only in an integrated experiment but also in components, we are going ahead with the groundbased free electron laser as the primary and what we believe will be the first of our large laser systems, or directed-energy systems, that might be useful for SDI in the future.
General ABRAHAMSON. To get an understanding of the order of magnitude of moneys. This is an estimate. If you would like to comment on it, please do, but I think it is a good estimate, but it varies slightly as you go through the year.
Here you can see the comparison in terms of the amount of reimbursable funding that we are putting back into those laboratories. Primarily, those three-Sandia, Livermore, and Los Alamos.
2. EXPLORE OPTION FOR SDI USE
General ABRAHAMSON. This slide emphasizes the policy of doing nuclear research. I think it is a logical policy. It is the same policy that drives us, on the one hand, to build lasers, and on the other hand to experiment with laser armor. If it were quite clear that laser armor could be built and would not be effective, then it would be wrong for me or foolish for me to come forward with a recommendation that the laser would be the right weapon to destroy a ballistic missile.