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FPN04-42

House Mark on Inertial Fusion

June 25, 2004

In marking up the President's FY 2005 budget request for inertial confinement fusion in the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration's budget, the U. S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations issued the following report:

"Inertial Confinement Fusion Ignition and High Yield Campaign.--The Committee recommends $545,034,000 for the inertial confinement fusion program, an increase of $53,000,000 over the budget request of $492,034,000.

"The Committee is greatly concerned by the Department's fiscal year 2005 budget justification as it related to the program goals for the National Ignition Facility (NIF). In the budget justification, the NNSA seemed to waiver in its commitment to NIF by delaying the proposed date for achieving ignition from 2010 to 2014. The Committee views ignition as the sole benchmark for success in this program and is very concerned the four-year slip in the ignition milestone buried in the NNSA's budget justification documents represents a change in the Department's commitment to ignition in favor of less challenging goals for the NIF. The Committee's priority is on completion of the project in 2008 and achieving the functional requirement of first ignition in 2010. The Committee directs that no funds be expended, directly or indirectly, for additional capabilities for NIF that are not specified in the current baseline until the NIF project is completed in 2008 and ignition attempted in 2010. Any diversions represent significant risk to a project that has already experienced well-publicized cost and schedule problems. The Committee's appropriation for the ICF campaign will be controlled at the major technical effort (MTE) subprogram level noted in the Committee Report tables. Neither the Department nor the national laboratory will divert funds from within the control levels as appropriated without first submitting a formal reprogramming request to the Appropriations and Armed Services Committees.

"The Committee directs the NNSA to develop a management process that is consistent with DOE Order 413.3 and manages the ignition, diagnostic, cryogenic and experimental subprograms as projects incorporating a work breakdown structure to track scope, cost, schedule, and key milestones within a management control system. The Committee directs the NNSA to report quarterly on the milestone cost and schedule variance within the respective experimental programs from the NIF 2000 rebaselined program.

"The Committee notes that the Defense Science Board (DSB) has been asked to review the NIF Activation and Early Use Plan. The Committee expects the NNSA to submit a copy of the NIF Activation and Early Use Plan to the Committee by September 30, 2004, and a copy of the DSB report when it is completed. The Committee expects the NNSA to insist on a review body that represents the best independent external review capability, free of professional or personal relationships that may lead to the appearance of partiality in the content of the report.

"The Committee recommendation provides $130,000,000 for construction of the National Ignition Facility (NIF), the same as the budget request.

"The Committee recommendation includes $25,000,000 to continue development of high average power lasers and supporting science and technology within the Inertial Fusion Technology line. The Committee recommendation includes the budget request of $11,049,000 for the Naval Research Laboratory, and $73,469,000 for the University of Rochester, an increase of $28,000,000 over the budget request. The additional funding has been provided for the University of Rochester's Laboratory for Laser Energetics within the High-Energy Petawatt Laser Development MTE to accelerate the OMEGA Extended Performance capability, a four beam super-high-intensity, high-energy laser facility for support of the nation's stockpile stewardship program. The Committee notes that, other than the few operational beams of NIF, the OMEGA facility is the only large laser implosion facility available for NNSA weapons work and will continue to be a primary laser facility for NNSA Stockpile Stewardship activities. The Committee notes that the University of Rochester is providing over $20 million for the building to house the OMEGA extended performance."