House appropriators want to provide the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) with all the funding it requested in 2023 to build plutonium pit factories in New Mexico and South Carolina and fund a megaton-capable bomb the White House wanted to kill.

The 2023 energy and water development appropriations act, slated for a vote in the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday

, would keep the B83 gravity bomb in warm storage with nearly $59 million of unrequested funding but kill development of a sea-launched nuclear cruise missile warhead, according to a 276-page bill report released Monday morning. The Biden administration wanted to eliminate both weapons.

The bill would also provide about $2.6 billion, some $24 million less than requested but over $850 more than the 2022 appropriation, for planned plutonium pit factories at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. The money is part of the Primary Capability Modernization line within the Production Modernization account that funds construction of new NNSA nuclear-weapons production facilities.

The $24 million the House Appropriations energy and water development subcommittee declined to provide for primary capability modernization was for the chemistry and metallurgy replacement project at Los Alamos, one of a number of construction projects that will help turn the lab into a small-scale factory to produce pits: the fissile cores of nuclear-weapon first stages. 

Overall, the planned Los Alamos pit factory would get about $1.5 billion, in line with the request, less the $24 million yanked out of the chemistry and metallurgy replacement project, while the Savannah River pit factory would get about $758 million, as requested. For Savannah River, the bill would provide a year-over-year funding boost of about $155 million. For Los Alamos, it would be about a $538 million annual increase, according to the bill report.

Federal law, based on military needs, requires NNSA to produce at least 80 pits annually by the end of 2030. The agency acknowledged in 2021 that it cannot do this because of unforeseen difficulties discovered during design of the Savannah River Plutonium Processing Facility, which is supposed to produce 50 pits annually — something that may not happen until 2035, NNSA has said. Los Alamos should still be able to produce 30 pits annually in 2026, the agency has said.

Meanwhile, the House budget bill provides the requested $2.9 billion or so for the NNSA’s ongoing major nuclear-weapons refurbishments: 

  • The B61-12 gravity bomb that will eventually replace the B83 and four previous B61 variants, including the earth-penetrating B61-11.
  • The W88-370 major alteration, which will replace certain parts, and the conventional explosives of, the larger of the Navy’s two submarine-launched, ballistic-missile warheads.
  • The W80-4, which will prepare W80 cruise missile warheads for decades more service on the Air Force’s Long Range Standoff Weapon cruise missile starting in 2030 or so.
  • The W80-4 sea-launched alteration, which will adapt the warhead for the Air Force missile for sea-launch.
  • The W87-1, which calls for fresh copies of the existing W87design, with new pits, to install on Sentinel Ground Based Strategic Deterrent intercontinental ballistic missile that will replace Minuteman III missiles around 2030.
  • The W93, a new submarine-launched ballistic missile warhead that will be based on a nuclear explosive package tested at full yield before the U.S. ceased conducting nuclear-explosive tests in 1992. The weapon could eventually replace the Navy’s W76 and W88 missiles.