Wenstrup Initiative to Hold DOE Accountable Passes House
Provision requiring independent assessment of DOE uranium policy included in House's NDAA bill
Congressman Brad Wenstrup (OH-2), who represents workers at the American Centrifuge Project (ACP) in Piketon, included a provision in this year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) requiring a 3rdparty assessment of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) recent report on domestic uranium enrichment.
The DOE’s October 2015 report, titled “Tritium and Enriched Uranium Management Plan Through 2060,” asserted that the agency had identified additional sources of enriched uranium to use for the production of tritium, a vital resource for our national defense. Based on this information, DOE decided to shut down the ACP in Piketon and focus instead on smaller-scale research and development activities.
The claims in this report raise concerns because they conflict with previous DOE statements. Specifically, the report claims that the government can maintain tritium production until at least 2038, which is about a decade later than previously estimated.
In order to hold DOE accountable, Wenstrup’s provision in the NDAA requires the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct an independent review of the DOE’s report and assess the accuracy of the agency’s statements, as well as the appropriateness of its proposed actions. The GAO must submit their findings to the House and Senate Armed Services Committees no later than January 31, 2017.
“In the face of increasing threats around the world, we cannot afford to shortchange our military on vital resources like tritium and rely on stockpiles or foreign sources for our defense capabilities,” said Wenstrup. “This GAO report will ensure that the DOE is pursuing policies that are in the best interest of our national security.”
The NDAA passed the House on May 18, 2016. The House will now work with the Senate to create a final version of the bill.
Office of Representative Brad Wenstrup