Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today urged federal appropriators to include funding for the United States Navy and the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory (KAPL) in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 budget. The Senators are requesting $1,375,496,000 in federal funding for the Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), particularly the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program (NNPP) at the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory (KAPL). The funding would help maintain operations and upgrade critical infrastructure projects.
Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory operates the Kenneth B. Kesselring site in West Milton, NY. Kesselring is home to two of the Navy’s prototype nuclear training reactors which provide hands-on technical training to all enlisted and officer propulsion plant operators who operate the 96 nuclear reactors that provide propulsion to the aircraft carriers and submarines operated in the U.S. Navy fleet around the world. KAPL develops advanced nuclear propulsion technology, provides technical support for the safe and reliable operation of existing naval reactors and provides technical training to naval personnel who operate them.
“We need this funding for KAPL and Kesselring included in the Energy and Water Appropriations bill for 2017 so we can ensure these world-class facilities continue employing hundreds of local residents across the region and providing our Navy personnel with the top-notch training they need to perform in the field,” said Senator Schumer. “We need to make sure these sites are continually funded at the highest levels possible – so I will fight tooth and nail to make sure this $1.4 billion in funding is included in the final appropriations bill.”
“The Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory is crucial for our Navy’s ability to do its job, for its energy security, and its investment in cutting-edge programs,” said Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “I will continue to work hard to fight for this funding in the Fiscal Year 2017 appropriations bill to help advance the incredible high-tech research and training programs happening in the Capital Region’s military institutions.”
“The good work done at Kesselring boosts our local economy and our national security, and that’s why I partner each year with our Senators to make the case to Congress to fully fund this critical program. We must continue to support the research, development, and training that takes place here in the Capital Region. It is integral to our fleet’s readiness and operational success – as well as millions of dollars in economic activity in our area,” said Rep. Paul Tonko.
Schumer, Gillibrand and Tonko have long been proponents of ensuring KAPL has the necessary funding to keep its vital nuclear training reactor on line. The program, trains over 1,000 cadets per year on how to operate the 97 nuclear reactors that provide propulsion to Navy aircraft carriers and submarines. In their joint letter, the Senators said the NNPP is a critical facet of the national and global security and a vital component of the training and readiness of the U.S. Navy.
Full text of the Senators’ joint letter is included below:
Dear Chairman Feinstein and Ranking Member Alexander,
As you begin your work on the Fiscal Year 2016 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill, we write to request your support for a Department of Energy (DOE) program of critical importance to the United States Navy and the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory (KAPL) located in Niskayuna, NY. We urge you to strongly support the President’s budget request for the DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), particularly the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program (NNPP) at the level of $1,375,496,000.
The NNPP is a critical facet of our national and global security and a vital component of the training and readiness of the US Navy. Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory operates the Kenneth B. Kesselring site in West Milton, NY. Kesselring is home to two of the Navy’s prototype nuclear training reactors, designated MARF and S8G, which provide hands-on technical training to all enlisted and officer propulsion plant operators who operate the 96 nuclear reactors that provide propulsion to the aircraft carriers and submarines operated in the US Navy fleet around the world.
With this in mind, we ask that you strongly support the President’s budget request of $445,196,000 for the Naval Reactors Operations and Infrastructure (NOI). NOI funding supports the operations and maintenance of the two reactor plants at KAPL, management of spent nuclear fuel, regulatory compliance oversight, design and procurement of capital equipment, remediation and demolition of facilities no longer in use, and overall facility design, procurement, and maintenance.
We ask that you also support the President’s Budget request of $444,400,000 and $133,000,000 for Naval Reactors Development and S8G Prototype refueling respectively, which provide for the research required to operate nuclear powered ships and the procurement of a high performance computer to support reactor plant performance modeling efforts. The request for Naval Reactors Development, in addition, would support additional reactor core material development and radioactive test and evaluation efforts. Full support of the S8G Prototype refueling would enable design work required to support life extension of systems and components, overhaul planning, and long lead item procurement.
We also request your support for Naval Reactors construction and Program Direction at the President’s Budget request levels of $121,100,000 and $45,000,000. Full funding of Naval Reactors construction will fund the Materials Characterization Laboratory at KAP, in addition to a variety of new facilities at Kesselring and in Idaho. Full support of program direction will enable Naval Reactors provide oversight of all DOE funded projects.
Finally, we ask that you support the President’s budget request of $186,800,000 for the OHIO-class replacement reactor systems development, which provides for the necessary analysis, engineering, and testing to design the reactor plan for the OHIO class replacement. This amount in FY ’16 funding would support ongoing component testing and work to develop the ship specifications, system descriptions, and component diagrams.
We recognize the difficult budget constraints under which you are working, and thank you for your continued support of Naval Reactors. Funding the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program at the requested levels is critical to New York, the United States Navy, and to long-term national and homeland security. Federal funding to keep both nuclear prototype reactors operational must be a priority as we demand a global presence from our military. Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can provide any additional information in support of this request.
Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator
United States Senator