SCHUMER, TONKO ANNOUNCE $1.238 BILLION IN FED FUNDING SECURED FOR NAVAL REACTORS; PROVIDES FUNDING CAPITAL REGION’S KESSELRING NEEDS TO KEEP TRAINING PROGRAM RUNNING
Schumer & Tonko Have Fought to Protect & Secure More Funds to Keep Kesselring Site in West Milton & Knolls Atomic Power Lab in Niskayuna Thriving – Schumer Wrote to Appropriations Committee Asking for Full Funding – Schumer Recently Pushed Appropriators Working on 2015 Energy and Water Bill to Consider Funding Program At Highest Level
In May, Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory’s (KAPL) Kesselring Site in West Milton, Which Employs 700 & Trains 1,000+ Navy Personnel, Was At Risk of Having to Shut Down One of Its Training Reactors Due To Major Funding Gap – Schumer, After Personal Calls with DOE Secretary Moniz & Navy Secretary Mabus, Secured An Additional $16 Million in FY14 Funds to Keep The Facility Open
Schumer, Tonko: The Kesselring Program Is Officially Off the Chopping Block
Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and Representative Paul Tonko announced that the Omnibus budget bill, which includes $1.238 billion in funding for the Naval Reactors program, has passed Congress and now heads to the President’s desk. This funding will help maintain and grow sites like the Kenneth A. Kesselring site in West Milton, which is operated by Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory (KAPL), and KAPL in Niskayuna. The bill also includes a special provision that specifically says the Kesselring site should receive the “full amount requested for operations and maintenance of the prototype reactors”. Kesselring trains over 1,000 cadets per year on how to operate the 97 nuclear reactors that provide propulsion to Navy aircraft carriers and submarines. Schumer previously urged the Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development to provide the highest level of funding requested to the Naval Reactors program in order to help keep sites like Kenneth A. Kesselring in West Milton and KAPL in Niskayuna thriving. Schumer urged appropriators to consider the higher funding level being requested by the House, $1.215 billion; the amount being requested by the Senate was $1.208 billion. The final amount included in the bill is $1.238 billion, which will greatly benefit all naval reactors sites.
“This federal funding is critical for keeping sites like Kenneth A. Kesselring in West Milton and KAPL in Niskayuna growing and thriving. This funding goes a long way toward helping us avoid a situation like the one we faced back in May, where the future of this program in the Capital Region, and the jobs that go with it, were in doubt,” said Senator Schumer. “I am pleased that, with this funding, we will be able to maintain and expand these programs.”
“Our local economy and national security depend on the work done in Niskayuna and Saratoga County, and this funding will ensure that work will continue. I thank Senators Schumer and Gillibrand for their work in the Senate and with the administration on this integral program. Together, we made sure decision makers were aware that the research, development, support and training that takes place in these Capital Region facilities are critical to our fleet’s readiness and operation success – as well as millions of dollars of economic activity in our area. I will continue to work across the aisle and with Secretaries Moniz and Mabus to make sure Kesselring and KAPL continue to play a role in our region’s and nation’s success and security,” said Rep. Paul Tonko.
Schumer and Tonko have long been proponents of ensuring KAPL has the necessary funding to keep its vital nuclear training reactor on line. The program, which trains over 1,000 cadets per year on how to operate the 97 nuclear reactors that provide propulsion to Navy aircraft carriers and submarines, was at risk of having to shut down one of its nuclear training reactors on October 1, 2014 due to a $151 million cut in the budget for the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program (NNPP). In May, Schumer placed personal phone calls to both Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and Secretary of the Department of Energy (DOE) Ernest Moniz, asking them to provide an additional $16 million in FY14 needed to keep the Naval Reactor at the Kesselring site open. After Schumer’s push, the Navy and DOE eventually agreed to provide the funding.
Schumer and Tonko said that the funding included in the Omnibus Bill will help keep operations running smoothly and critical infrastructure sustainment work from being deferred, all of which will help the Kesselring site preserve 700 jobs and 1,000 Navy trainees who were at risk of being relocated earlier this year.
KAPL is a world-class research and development facility dedicated to support of the United States Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program (NNPP). KAPL’s more than 2,600 employees develop advanced nuclear propulsion technology, provide technical support for the safe and reliable operation of existing naval reactors and provide training to naval personnel who operate them.
Schumer and Tonko vowed to continue to fight for funding for this program during future appropriation rounds.
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