9:54 PM EDT

Dennis Kucinich, D-OH 10th

Mr. KUCINICH. Mr. Chairman, I rise today in support of the Ryan-Kucinich [Page: H5276]

amendment. I rise in support of nuclear nonproliferation and concern for U.S. taxpayers.

The National Ignition Facility, NIF, is planned to be the most powerful laser in the world, a super laser designed to test U.S. nuclear weapons through laboratory simulations of nuclear explosions.

The construction of this facility will promote the expansion of nuclear weapons testing at a time when the United States should be working toward nonproliferation both here and internationally.

I strongly support cutting $74.1 million, the construction budget for the National Ignition Facility. This investment in nuclear weapons research capabilities runs counter to achieving a comprehensive test ban treaty and undermines efforts worldwide to reduce the spread of nuclear weapons.

The NIH would enhance the capability for design of new nuclear weapons and modification of existing weapons. Laboratory directors might then agree that some of the new nuclear weapons cannot be reliably certified without full scale nuclear testing, providing a rationale for future testing.

The creation of new nuclear weapons may serve to ignite a new arms race.

9:54 PM EDT

Dennis Kucinich, D-OH 10th

Mr. KUCINICH. Mr. Chairman, I rise today in support of the Ryan-Kucinich [Page: H5276]

amendment. I rise in support of nuclear nonproliferation and concern for U.S. taxpayers.

The National Ignition Facility, NIF, is planned to be the most powerful laser in the world, a super laser designed to test U.S. nuclear weapons through laboratory simulations of nuclear explosions.

The construction of this facility will promote the expansion of nuclear weapons testing at a time when the United States should be working toward nonproliferation both here and internationally.

I strongly support cutting $74.1 million, the construction budget for the National Ignition Facility. This investment in nuclear weapons research capabilities runs counter to achieving a comprehensive test ban treaty and undermines efforts worldwide to reduce the spread of nuclear weapons.

The NIH would enhance the capability for design of new nuclear weapons and modification of existing weapons. Laboratory directors might then agree that some of the new nuclear weapons cannot be reliably certified without full scale nuclear testing, providing a rationale for future testing.

The creation of new nuclear weapons may serve to ignite a new arms race.

9:54 PM EDT

Dennis Kucinich, D-OH 10th

Mr. KUCINICH. Mr. Chairman, I rise today in support of the Ryan-Kucinich [Page: H5276]

amendment. I rise in support of nuclear nonproliferation and concern for U.S. taxpayers.

The National Ignition Facility, NIF, is planned to be the most powerful laser in the world, a super laser designed to test U.S. nuclear weapons through laboratory simulations of nuclear explosions.

The construction of this facility will promote the expansion of nuclear weapons testing at a time when the United States should be working toward nonproliferation both here and internationally.

I strongly support cutting $74.1 million, the construction budget for the National Ignition Facility. This investment in nuclear weapons research capabilities runs counter to achieving a comprehensive test ban treaty and undermines efforts worldwide to reduce the spread of nuclear weapons.

The NIH would enhance the capability for design of new nuclear weapons and modification of existing weapons. Laboratory directors might then agree that some of the new nuclear weapons cannot be reliably certified without full scale nuclear testing, providing a rationale for future testing.

The creation of new nuclear weapons may serve to ignite a new arms race.

9:55 PM EDT

Ron Packard, R-CA 48th

Mr. PACKARD. Mr. Chairman, I claim the time in opposition to the amendment.

Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, this project has been underway for 5 years now. To interrupt the ongoing construction project, I think, would be very inappropriate, would be a very wasteful effort with monies that have already been expended. I would strongly urge that we oppose the amendment and allow us to continue the project. The committee has provided $80 million for the National Ignition Facility in this bill. This is less than the Department of Energy wanted. The Department requested $95 million, but the

committee did not believe that the Department had provided sufficient information on the new cost schedule. Therefore, we funded it, however, at $80 million. We certainly are not passing judgment on the quality of the project at this time, but we should not take the money away from it.

I also understand that there are several Members that wish to speak on this.

Mr. Chairman, I yield 1 minute to the gentlewoman from California (Mrs. TAUSCHER).

(Mrs. TAUSCHER asked and was given permission to revise and extend her remarks.)

9:55 PM EDT

Ron Packard, R-CA 48th

Mr. PACKARD. Mr. Chairman, I claim the time in opposition to the amendment.

Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, this project has been underway for 5 years now. To interrupt the ongoing construction project, I think, would be very inappropriate, would be a very wasteful effort with monies that have already been expended. I would strongly urge that we oppose the amendment and allow us to continue the project. The committee has provided $80 million for the National Ignition Facility in this bill. This is less than the Department of Energy wanted. The Department requested $95 million, but the

committee did not believe that the Department had provided sufficient information on the new cost schedule. Therefore, we funded it, however, at $80 million. We certainly are not passing judgment on the quality of the project at this time, but we should not take the money away from it.

I also understand that there are several Members that wish to speak on this.

Mr. Chairman, I yield 1 minute to the gentlewoman from California (Mrs. TAUSCHER).

(Mrs. TAUSCHER asked and was given permission to revise and extend her remarks.)

9:56 PM EDT

Ellen Tauscher, D-CA 10th

Mrs. TAUSCHER. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman from California (Mr. PACKARD) for yielding.

Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong opposition to the Kucinich-Ryan amendment. This amendment would eliminate funding for construction of the National Ignition Facility, called the NIF, at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. It would waste nearly $1 billion that has already been spent on development of this important project. It would contradict the action this House took last month when we authorized $175 million for the NIF.

Most importantly, this amendment would severely cripple our Nation's arms control and nonproliferation efforts.

The United States has made a commitment to end nuclear testing, and that commitment is a fundamental tenet of our national security. In the absence of testing, Mr. Chairman, the only way to maintain an effective, secure, reliable nuclear deterrent is through a science-based stockpile stewardship program.

Mr. Chairman, the NIF is the cornerstone of that program. The NIF is the best way to ensure the safety and reliability of our nuclear weapons and to promote arms control and nonproliferation.

I urge my colleagues very strongly to oppose the Kucinich-Ryan amendment.

10:00 PM EDT

John M Spratt Jr., D-SC 5th

Mr. SPRATT. Mr. Chairman, the NIF is esoteric physics, but it is essential to the quest for reliability of nuclear weapons. If my colleagues believe, as I do that we should forebear testing and one day ratify the comprehensive test band treaty, believe me canceling NIF is not the way to do it.

What does the NIF do? The NIF essentially creates the conditions inside of a thermonuclear weapon to an extent we have never been able to explore before, and it helps us to ensure the reliability of our nuclear weapons to validate these complex computer models that we have developed and know that they are reliable.

Mr. Chairman, if we ask anyone to list the challenges to our security, almost everyone will say that this spread of fissile materials and nuclear weapons leads to less. One way to curb the proliferation of nuclear weapons is to stop the testing that proves unfeasible, but it is hard for us to advocate that others should not test if we test.

The CTBT, therefore, is one of the key pieces to this puzzle, but politically, the CTBT is unlikely to be ratified in country until we are satisfied that our arsenal is reliable and secure and to that end, the NIF is essential; that is why we must proceed with this project and defeat this amendment.

10:02 PM EDT

Dennis Kucinich, D-OH 10th

Mr. KUCINICH. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. RYAN) for yielding to me.

Mr. Chairman, many experts agree that the National Ignition Facility has no relevance to its goal of maintaining the nuclear arsenal. Edward Teller, better known as the Father of the Atomic Bomb when asked about the NIF's usefulness in maintaining nuclear weapons he replied, none whatsoever.

Los Alamos's theoretical weapon physicist Rod Schultz wrote that the NIF supposed importance to the weapons stockpile does not reflect the technical judgment of the nuclear weapons designed community. Eliminating funding for the National Ignition Facility does not cut funding for research and development for any future commercial energy technology.

Mr. Chairman, our future energy path is clearly in renewable technologies, such as fuel cells, wind and solar power. As the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. RYAN) has said, NIF is a budgetary black hole. The Department of Energy's initial estimate of NIF's cost overruns were about $350 million, [Page: H5277]

but current cost overruns estimates from the DOE stand between $750 million to $1 billion, 100 percent more than originally estimated.

10:02 PM EDT

Dennis Kucinich, D-OH 10th

Mr. KUCINICH. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. RYAN) for yielding to me.

Mr. Chairman, many experts agree that the National Ignition Facility has no relevance to its goal of maintaining the nuclear arsenal. Edward Teller, better known as the Father of the Atomic Bomb when asked about the NIF's usefulness in maintaining nuclear weapons he replied, none whatsoever.

Los Alamos's theoretical weapon physicist Rod Schultz wrote that the NIF supposed importance to the weapons stockpile does not reflect the technical judgment of the nuclear weapons designed community. Eliminating funding for the National Ignition Facility does not cut funding for research and development for any future commercial energy technology.

Mr. Chairman, our future energy path is clearly in renewable technologies, such as fuel cells, wind and solar power. As the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. RYAN) has said, NIF is a budgetary black hole. The Department of Energy's initial estimate of NIF's cost overruns were about $350 million, [Page: H5277]

but current cost overruns estimates from the DOE stand between $750 million to $1 billion, 100 percent more than originally estimated.

10:02 PM EDT

Dennis Kucinich, D-OH 10th

Mr. KUCINICH. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. RYAN) for yielding to me.

Mr. Chairman, many experts agree that the National Ignition Facility has no relevance to its goal of maintaining the nuclear arsenal. Edward Teller, better known as the Father of the Atomic Bomb when asked about the NIF's usefulness in maintaining nuclear weapons he replied, none whatsoever.

Los Alamos's theoretical weapon physicist Rod Schultz wrote that the NIF supposed importance to the weapons stockpile does not reflect the technical judgment of the nuclear weapons designed community. Eliminating funding for the National Ignition Facility does not cut funding for research and development for any future commercial energy technology.

Mr. Chairman, our future energy path is clearly in renewable technologies, such as fuel cells, wind and solar power. As the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. RYAN) has said, NIF is a budgetary black hole. The Department of Energy's initial estimate of NIF's cost overruns were about $350 million, [Page: H5277]

but current cost overruns estimates from the DOE stand between $750 million to $1 billion, 100 percent more than originally estimated.

10:03 PM EDT

Pete Visclosky, D-IN 1st

Mr. VISCLOSKY. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding me the time.

Mr. Chairman, I also rise in opposition to the amendment. I do think the NIF is an important program. Clearly there have been some very serious problems that have angered everyone in this body, and clearly have angered the Secretary of Energy; that is why a penalty was imposed, that is why $55 million of the proposed $95 million additional investment that needs to be made is going to come out of the hide of the contractor essentially Lawrence Livermore.

I do think that the Department of Energy, finding a very serious problem, is trying to take the appropriate corrective action, I do not believe the amendment of the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. RYAN) is in the best interests of our national security or the testing program and do oppose the amendment.

10:03 PM EDT

Pete Visclosky, D-IN 1st

Mr. VISCLOSKY. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding me the time.

Mr. Chairman, I also rise in opposition to the amendment. I do think the NIF is an important program. Clearly there have been some very serious problems that have angered everyone in this body, and clearly have angered the Secretary of Energy; that is why a penalty was imposed, that is why $55 million of the proposed $95 million additional investment that needs to be made is going to come out of the hide of the contractor essentially Lawrence Livermore.

I do think that the Department of Energy, finding a very serious problem, is trying to take the appropriate corrective action, I do not believe the amendment of the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. RYAN) is in the best interests of our national security or the testing program and do oppose the amendment.

10:03 PM EDT

Pete Visclosky, D-IN 1st

Mr. VISCLOSKY. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding me the time.

Mr. Chairman, I also rise in opposition to the amendment. I do think the NIF is an important program. Clearly there have been some very serious problems that have angered everyone in this body, and clearly have angered the Secretary of Energy; that is why a penalty was imposed, that is why $55 million of the proposed $95 million additional investment that needs to be made is going to come out of the hide of the contractor essentially Lawrence Livermore.

I do think that the Department of Energy, finding a very serious problem, is trying to take the appropriate corrective action, I do not believe the amendment of the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. RYAN) is in the best interests of our national security or the testing program and do oppose the amendment.

10:05 PM EDT

Ron Packard, R-CA 48th

Mr. PACKARD. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

The Ryan amendment would take $74 million from the National Ignition Facility and terminate the project; that is premature. We are aware that the project has not run smoothly, and that it has had its problems both management and fiscally on schedule, but some of this funding will be needed, whether the committee agrees to complete NIF or not.

If the decision is made to cancel NIF, the funds will be needed for termination costs.

For the last remaining few seconds that I have, I will yield to the gentlewoman from New York (Ms. SLAUGHTER).

10:05 PM EDT

Louise Slaughter, D-NY 28th

Ms. SLAUGHTER. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding me the time, and I rise in opposition to this amendment offered by my friend, the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. KUCINICH) and the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Ryan) because of the effect it would have on the nuclear deterrent power of the United States.

The National Ignition Facility is a cornerstone requirement of the stockpile stewardship program and the only facility that would allow the experimental study of fusion burning in the laboratory. The capability is an essential element of our ability to maintain our nuclear deterrent into the future.