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December 10, 1999

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Sandia Laboratories' Director Paul Robinson Praises DOE Report on Stockpile Stewardship Program

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The Department of Energy's just-released 30-Day Review of the Stockpile Stewardship Program was praised by Sandia National Laboratories President and Labs Director C. Paul Robinson today as "an important study . . . (that) recognizes the important successes achieved by the program, including those from Sandia."

The study, ordered by Secretary Bill Richardson Oct. 14, included a broad review of the nuclear weapons program and focused on the challenge of continued certification of the stockpile without nuclear testing. Under Secretary Ernest Moniz headed the study team, which included advisors with experience in academia, industry, and the departments of Defense and Energy.

Robinson said its findings include "confirmation that the basic structure of the program, as further refined in the planning actions in the spring and summer of 1999, is sound and on the right track. It also identified key areas for further strengthening the program," said Robinson. "The study recognized the need to balance a heavy and varied workload of stockpile commitments and maintain a robust workforce to develop the enhanced science base for the program."

He said the recommendations will be implemented over the next few months and that Sandia will continue to be heavily involved, along with the other research labs and the production plants that were involved in the study, by providing information about the program and its implementation across the nuclear weapons complex.

The study included a broad review of the nuclear weapons program and focused on the challenge of continued certification of the stockpile without nuclear testing. The recommendations propose actions to strengthen research, while doing a better job of prioritizing long-term capital investments, new security requirements, and facility requirements. It also charges DOE, a new Defense Programs advisory board, and appropriate intergovernmental committees with evaluating some key issues regarding priorities and program definition.

"Sandia is pleased that DOE conducted this important study," Robinson said. "It was conducted in a comprehensive and objective way, and affirms a basic premise: The Stockpile Stewardship Program is critical to the nation's security. We are gratified that our view and the DOE view, as evidenced in this study, are in resonance on the importance of SSP and the critical role of the Laboratories in keeping US weapons safe and reliable without nuclear testing."

Sandia is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a Lockheed Martin Company, for the United States Department of Energy under contract DE-AC04-94AL85000. With main facilities in Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore, Calif., Sandia has major research and development responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness.

Media contact:
Howard Kercheval, hckerch@sandia.gov, (505) 844-7842

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