Will $293.4 billion be enough?

The Government Accountability Office today released a 60-page report assessing the National Nuclear Security Administration’s long-term estimates for modernizing the nuclear security enterprise, citing the 25-year estimate of $293.4 billion that was contained in the Fiscal Year 2015 documents — up significantly from estimates a year earlier — and questioning the adequacy. The report noted that some program projections are better, more substantiated than others and there are weaknesses in the overall process.

“For example, stockpile budget estimates to refurbish nuclear weapons through life extension programs decreased by 31 percent in part due to changes in programs’ production schedules,” the budget summary states. “In contrast infrastructure budget estimates for construction projects increased by 71 largely because the estimates were more complete than those GAO evaluated in 2014.”

Another excerpt: “NNSA’s infrastructure budget estimates are not adequate to address its reported $3.6 billion deferred maintenance backlog, and the backlog will continue to grow.”

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About Frank Munger

Senior Writer Frank Munger covers the Dept. of Energy's Oak Ridge facilities and many related topics — nuclear weapons, nuclear waste and other things nuclear, environmental cleanup and science of all sorts. Atomic City Underground is, first and foremost, a news blog, but there's room for analysis, opinion and random thoughts that have no place else to go.