[Presidential Decision Directives - PDD]

Stockpile Stewardship
[05 October 1993 / November 1993]

The November 1993 Presidential Decision Directive (PDD) [and the National Defense Authorization Act of 1994 (P.L. 103-160)] directed DoE "to establish a stewardship program to ensure the preservation of the core intellectual and technical competence of the U.S. in nuclear weapons" The Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program is a single, highly integrated technical program for maintaining the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile in an era without nuclear testing and without new weapons development and production The Directive established that DOE's Stockpile Stewardship Program will use past nuclear test data along with future non-nuclear test data, computational modeling and simulations, and experimental facilities to advance understanding of nuclear weapons. It will include stockpile surveillance; experimental research, development and engineering programs; and a small-scale production capability to support stockpile requirements. This integrated national program will require continued use of current facilities and programs along with new experimental facilities and computational enhancements to support these programs.

The PDD initially identified several general program elements consistent with both the old Research, Development and Testing/Surveillance and Support program and with the emerging science-based Stockpile Stewardship and Stockpile Support programs.

The PDD referred to a Task Force Report which provided an approximate funding level for the Stockpile Stewardship program. The PDD explicitly stated that the precise funding requirements will be determined in conjunction with the appropriate fiscal year budget cycle." It did not include any detail on the major new construction starts which the Assistant Secretary for Defense Programs identified through consultation with stakeholders in the national security community beginning in February 1994. The PDD includes several general program elements which are part of the technology areas spanned by Interial Confinement Fusion (ICF). The ICF program is considered by DOE to be a major component of several of the PDD program elements.

As required by this Presidential directive, the DOE will maintain the readiness and capability to conduct nuclear tests within 2 to 3 years if directed by the President. This directive means that Defense Program efforts would continue to maintain the required infrastructure and critical personnel necessary to meet this requirement. The DOE will maintain personnel skills through the conduct of dynamic experiments, (including subcritical experiments, involving special nuclear material) hydrodynamic tests, and exercises. The few capabilities essential for nuclear testing not used during the experimental program will be exercised periodically to maintain the relevant skill bases. Laboratory personnel will maintain the necessary technical competency by performing selected nuclear explosive operations at the Device Assembly Facility. The necessary infrastructure, including facilities, will be maintained in compliance with all regulatory, safety, and programmatic requirements.

DOE's "dual track" strategy to develop a new assured source of tritium to support national security requirements is a key element in DOE's Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program to ensure the safety and reliability of the nuclear weapons stockpile without testing. Tritium is an isotope of hydrogen that is required by all U.S. nuclear weapons in order to function as designed. Because it decays at a rate of about 5 percent per year, it must be replaced periodically. The U.S. has not produced tritium since 1988, when the last tritium production reactor was shut down at DOE's Savannah River Site. By Presidential Directive, the department must have a new supply of tritium available by 2005.