Nuclear Security & Deterrence Monitor Vol. 28 No. 20
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Nuclear Security & Deterrence Monitor
Article 2 of 9
May 17, 2024

Pantex award in June; ‘bold’ NNSA weapons budget forecast

By Sarah Salem

WASHINGTON — The National Nuclear Security Administration still plans to announce the new manager of Pantex Plant in June, the head of the agency said here Wednesday.

Jill Hruby, administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), reiterated the timeline during an evening Capitol Hill panel discussion and reception hosted by Bechtel National, the nongovernmental Advanced Nuclear Weapons Alliance and the Congressional Nuclear Security Working Group, co-chaired by Reps. Charles Fleischmann (R-Tenn.) and Bill Foster (D-Ill.).

Hruby spoke alongside Kim Budil, director of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, Calif., Thomas Mason, director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, N.M., and Rita Gonzales, associate laboratories director for the Sandia National Laboratory in Albuquerque, N.M.

Responding to a question from the Exchange Monitor, Hruby said the transition to the new Pantex contractor from incumbent Consolidated Nuclear Security (CNS), which since 2014 has managed that site and the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn., would take four months.

Hruby gave a similar answer in February at the Monitor’s Nuclear Deterrence Summit. Also at the summit, and again on Wednesday, Hruby said NNSA would extend CNS at Y-12 to 2027 to allow the company’s lead team member, Bechtel National, to finish construction of the overbudget Uranium Processing Facility there.

Fleischmann, who represents the district adjacent to Y-12 and chairs the House Appropriations energy and water subcommittee that writes the first draft of NNSA’s annual budget bill, was on hand for Wednesday’s reception.

UPF is “going to take more time and more money,” Fleischmann said. “There’s no doubt about that. But we’re going to get it done… I look forward to seeing the ribbon cutting before 2030.”

Fleischmann also predicted a “very strong, bold House bill,” for the NNSA in fiscal year 2025.

“I can attest that it will be very strong on the weapons side,” Fleischmann said.

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