The Senate late Wednesday confirmed Marvin Adams to lead the National Nuclear Security Administration’s office of defense programs, clearing the way for the Texas A&M professor and longtime weapons-labs consultant to enter federal service for the first time.
Adams had a whirlwind trip through the Senate, where lawmakers confirmed him Wednesday after the body’s Armed Services Committee gave him a unanimously favorable recommendation on Tuesday. The committee held his confirmation hearing on March 22, about three months after the White House announced President Biden’s intention to nominate Adams for one of D.C.’s top civilian nuclear-weapons jobs.
Adams had a mostly cordial confirmation hearing, during which he pledged support for the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) plan to build two new plutonium pit factories — one at the Los Alamos National Laboratory and another at the Savannah River Site.
Adams also told Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) that he would review the NNSA’s pit strategy, which has fallen about five years behind schedule because the NNSA no longer things it can built a pit factory at the Savannah River Site by 2030, as the agency once said it would try to do.
The Savannah River Plutonium Processing Facility is supposed to be built from the partially completed Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility: a building in which NNSA once planned to convert war-usable, surplus plutonium into fuel for commercial reactors as part of a program canceled in 2018.
Adams will replace Charles Verdon as NNSA’s deputy director for defense programs. Verdon has served in the position since 2018 and, after inauguration day in 2021, did a brief stint as the acting administrator for the entire NNSA.