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Schumer Pushes House & Senate Appropriators Working on 2015 Energy and Water Bill to Consider Funding Program At Level Requested By The House, $1.215 Billion – House Funding Request Is Significantly Higher Than Senate Request & Will Better Position Kesselring For The Future

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: Highest Level of Funding Will Help Keep Kesselring Reactor Off Chopping Block

Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer 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 maintain and grow sites like Kenneth A. Kesselring site in West Milton, which is operated by Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory (KAPL), and KAPL in Schenectady. Appropriators from the Senate and House of Representatives are currently in the process of negotiating a final compromise version of the Energy and Water Appropriations Bill and Schumer is urging them to consider the higher funding level being requested by the House, $1.215 billion; the amount being requested by the Senate is $1.208 billion. Schumer said that every dollar counts when it comes to the Naval Reactors program, as evidenced by the situation earlier this year where a $16 million funding shortfall threatened to shut a reactor at the Kesselring site, which Schumer fought to stave off. Schumer said that, in this case, the higher level of funding that the House is requesting 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.

Schumer is also urging the conference committee to honor the Senate’s Naval Reactors Operations and Infrastructure (NOI) and Naval Reactors Development (NRD) funding requests of $408,480,000 and $425,600,000 respectively. Schumer said that, if this funding receives its highest level, Naval Reactors like those at Kesselring in Saratoga County would be able to continue their research and development, which is critical for the Navy’s nuclear-powered fleet. Schumer explained that, over the past five years, Naval Reactor program budgets have been reduced by more than $500 million and the brunt of those reductions has been born by Naval Reactors base operations, infrastructure and development. 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.

“The Kesselring site is important to both our national security and to the Capital Region's economy, and we must do everything in our power to make sure Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory, and the entire Naval Reactors Training Program, gets the funding it needs in 2015 to thrive,” said Schumer. “There have been far too many cuts to the Naval Reactors program over the past few years, and for the sake of Kesselring and other sites, we must fund this program at the highest level requested. Kesselring is a major driver of the local economy and I will fight to ensure it continues to stay that way.”

Schumer continued, “Earlier in the year, The Navy and DOE heard our case loud and clear and made the right decision to stave off a disruptive and very unwise closure, and provide the financial fuel to keep Kesselring’s vital nuclear training reactor humming. But our work is not yet complete: we also must make sure it has the funding it needs to keep running for years to come.”

Schumer has long been a proponent of ensuring KAPL has the necessary funding to keep this 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.  

A copy of Senator Schumer’s letter to Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) appears below:

Dear Chairman Feinstein and Ranking Member Alexander,

As the House and Senate move toward conference on Fiscal Year 2015 Energy and Water Development Appropriations, I write to express strong support for Naval Reactors’ conference request and ask your consideration for the highest funding level possible.  In particular, I ask that you consider the House funding level of $1,215,342,000 while also honoring the Naval Reactors Operations and Infrastructure and Naval Reactors Development amounts of $408,480,000 and $425,600,000 respectively.

A funding level of $1,215,342,000 will ensure smooth Naval Reactors laboratory operations and will prevent crucial planed infrastructure sustainment work from being deferred. In addition, this funding level will ensure timely disposal of radioactive waste equipment and it will allow Naval Reactors to retain employees in these critical areas. The House funding level will keep planned decontamination and dismantlement (D&D) work in New York from being scaled back and will allow Naval Reactors to continue with planned capital investment projects. Naval Reactors will be able to continue research and development needed for the nation’s nuclear powered fleet by keeping the extremely important OHIO-class Replacement and Land-based Prototype Refueling Overhaul on schedule, both of which play an integral role in the Navy’s compliance with strategic deterrence requirements.

Over the past five years, Naval Reactors budgets have been reduced by more than $500M.  The brunt of those reductions has been born by Naval Reactors base operations, the very activities and infrastructure that ensures the nuclear-powered fleet is operational and on-station when needed and that nuclear-qualified sailors are trained and certified to meet the rigors required of their responsibilities. I hope that this year, we are able to provide Naval Reactors with funding that equips them with the resources and manpower to manage the defense operations our nation depends on.

Thank you for your continued support of Naval Reactors.  The work of Naval Reactors and its laboratories in New York are crucial facets of our nation’s defenses.  


Charles E. Schumer

United States Senator