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NNSA Administrator Delivers Keynote Address on Nuclear Forces, Nonproliferation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Thomas D’Agostino, Administrator for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), today delivered the keynote address at a conference on nuclear forces and nonproliferation at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

The conference, co-sponsored by Los Alamos National Laboratory, focused on the United States’ evolving nuclear forces and international nonproliferation efforts. Specifically, participants discussed the implementation of the Nuclear Posture Review and long-term prospects for the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT).

In his remarks, Administrator D’Agostino highlighted the President’s unprecedented nuclear security agenda, the national commitment to modernizing the nuclear security enterprise infrastructure and NNSA’s many accomplishments over the past year.

The following are excerpts from D’Agostino’s speech. The full text, as prepared for delivery, is posted here.

ON THE CURRENT CONSENSUS TO TRANSFORM THE NUCLEAR SECURITY ENTERPRISE: “Taken together, all of these developments – the Nuclear Posture Review, New START, and Nuclear Security Summit – point to the emergence of a new national consensus on the importance of our mission and the need to invest in the resources and infrastructure required to transform a Cold War nuclear weapons complex into a modern, 21st Century Nuclear Security Enterprise. For too long, our nation lacked that consensus, and as a result our enterprise lacked clear direction. Now, thanks to the hard work of many people – including many here in this room – we have a clear path forward.”

ON NNSA’S ACCOMPLISHMENTS IN SUPPORT OF THE PRESIDENT’S AGENDA: “I also think this has been a year of impressive accomplishments across our enterprise. As President Obama said in his Prague speech, the threat of a terrorist acquiring nuclear weapons ‘is the most immediate and extreme threat to global security.’ The President has outlined an ambitious, three-pronged strategy for addressing this threat: reduce nuclear arsenals; halt the proliferation of weapons to additional states; and prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons or the materials to build them. In each of those areas, NNSA has taken impressive steps forward. “

ON MODERNIZING THE NUCLEAR SECURITY ENTERPRISE: “It is critical that we complete the design and construction of key facilities like the Uranium Processing Facility (UPF) at Y-12 and the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement (CMRR) project at Los Alamos. We need to continue to push the frontiers of science and discovery. We are leading the way on exa-scale computing, improving our understanding of the behavior of materials in extreme environments, and pioneering inertial fusion energy. These are ground breaking developments that are supporting our stockpile requirements, while also providing the nation the tools to tackle broader challenges.”

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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.