The Cost of Maintaining Aging Nuclear Facilities

A new report from the Congressional Research Service finds that spending authorizations for the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) weapons activities increased by more than four percent in fiscal year 2017, with the largest increase coming in the maintenance fund. NNSA facilities are responsible for the safety and reliability of many components of US nuclear weapons systems. The report finds that 2017 NNSA infrastructure and operations spending authority, which includes the maintaining and recapitalizing of existing infrastructure as well as new construction, increased by more than $440 million, or 23 percent, from fiscal year 2016. This money will be spent on maintenance and construction projects at NNSA’s eight facilities, including Los Alamos National Laboratory, N.M., and Sandia National Laboratories. The report says funding for recapitalization efforts has more than doubled “as a part of the effort to address the deteriorating infrastructure and backlog of deferred maintenance at NNSA facilities.”