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NNSA Participates in Sandia Ceremony Honoring Sen. Domenici

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Nuclear Security Administration’s Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs today praised former New Mexico Sen. Pete V. Domenici for his decades of service in the United States Senate and for his record of supporting critical investments in the nuclear security enterprise.

Domenici BldgDuring a ceremony at Sandia National Laboratories to rededicate the Weapons Integration Facility as the Pete V. Domenici National Security Innovation Center, NNSA Deputy Administrator Don Cook praised Sen. Domenici for working to ensure that NNSA has the resources to invest for the future and build the modern nuclear security enterprise required to implement today’s nuclear security missions.

“In the same week we released a budget that provides the resources to invest in NNSA’s future and implement the president’s agenda, we have the opportunity to honor one of the true champions of investing in the people, the science and engineering capabilities, and the facilities that underpin our nuclear security,” said Dr. Cook. “We are all grateful for support we at NNSA received from Sen. Pete Domenici and for his lasting commitment to modernizing the nation’s nuclear security enterprise.”

The morning ceremony took place in front of the facility at the southeast corner of Sandia’s Microsystems and Engineering Sciences Applications (MESA) Complex.

The center, which is part of the MESA Complex, houses approximately 350 Sandia staff, mostly working on weapon subsystem engineering, modeling and simulation, and engineering sciences. The $518 million MESA project, the largest in Sandia history, was formally dedicated on Aug. 23, 2007. The construction program, which was completed three years ahead of schedule and $50 million under budget, was originally scheduled to conclude this year.

Sandia has the primary role of developing and designing the electronic systems that operate nuclear warheads. Key components of those systems are radiation hardened microelectronics, devices that are designed, qualified, and fabricated at MESA.

MESA is also part of Sandia’s Innovation Corridor which includes the Red Storm High Performance Computing Facility, and the Joint Computation and Engineering Lab (JCEL). The Computational Science Research Institute (CSRI) and the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT), located in the Sandia Science & Technology Park, are also part of the Innovation Corridor.

Earlier this week, the president delivered to Congress a budget request for FY 2012 that includes $11.78 billion to invest in a modern, 21st century national security enterprise, implement the president’s nuclear security agenda, and improves the way the NNSA does business and manages its resources. It represents an increase of 5.1 percent from the $11.2 billion requested for FY 2011.

Included in that request is $7.6 billion for NNSA’s Weapons Activities appropriation, an 8.9 percent ($621 million) increase over the President’s FY 2011 request. These resources will support the operation and construction of the modern research facilities needed to do cutting edge science and attract the next generation of nuclear security experts. It is the first step in implementing President Obama’s commitment to invest $85 billion over the next decade to sustain the nuclear deterrent and to modernize the infrastructure that supports it.

The request includes an increase of 3.1 percent over the FY 2011 level to protect and advance the scientific capabilities at the U.S. national security laboratories and a 21 percent increase for infrastructure improvements.

Sen. Domenici served six terms as a United States Senator from New Mexico, from 1973 to 2009, the longest tenure in state’s history. At the time of his retirement, he was the ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and the Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee.

For more photos from the ceremony, please click here.

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Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science in the nation’s national security enterprise. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability, and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; reduces the global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad.