archive-org.com » ORG » L » LASG.ORG

Total: 881

Choose link from "Titles, links and description words view":

Or switch to "Titles and links view".
  • Senate Panel Moves to Maintain Funding for Los Alamos Plutonium Lab, 29 May 2012
    would mandate completion of the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement project by 2024 though U S government personnel have contended reaching the milestone before 2028 would be unnecessary The legislation would limit project spending at 3 7 billion Last month Republicans and Democrats in the House of Representatives backed plans to suspend spending on the project which would supplant a decades old facility that provides analytical chemistry and other research services for production of plutonium nuclear weapon cores at Los Alamos see GSN April 27 The replacement plant is projected to cost up to 6 billion according to a previous report see GSN Feb 21 The Obama administration is seeking to delay the facility by five years The Senate panel s move on Thursday was intended to second guess the combined wisdom of several agencies on the plan said Greg Mello who heads the watchdog Los Alamos Study Group Senator Jeff Bingaman D N M though on Friday said there is no disagreement on the need to make sure LANL remains the nation s center for plutonium technology and research The Obama administration has said it is committed to ensuring that Los Alamos National Laboratory has a state of the

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2012/GSN_29May2012.html (2016-02-16)
    Open archived version from archive


  • LANL Lab Could Get Funded, ABQ Journal North, 27 May 2012
    about 150 million in fiscal 2013 spending for a replacement of the antiquated Chemistry and Materials Research building at Los Alamos National Laboratory The Senate committee would also require that the CMR replacement building be operational by 2024 four years earlier than federal officials have argued will be necessary Cost of the project would also be capped at 3 7 billion under the committee s proposal A coalition of House Democrats and Republicans in late April agreed to zero out the project a move that has the support of President Barack Obama In House hearings in April officials representing the National Nuclear Security Administration the Pentagon and the Department of Energy all testified that the CMR replacement project could be deferred for at least five years About 450 million has already been spent for project design work Greg Mello of the Los Alamos Study Group said in a press release Friday that the Senate committee was trying to second guess the combined wisdom of several agencies on the subject of the CMR replacement The contradictory requirements for the project the committee inserted in the appropriations bill are creating chaos as well as wasting money Mello said The Study Group has sued to halt the CMR replacement project But New Mexico s ranking Sen Jeff Bingaman said Friday that there is no disagreement on the need to make sure LANL remains the nation s center for plutonium technology and research The Obama administration has said it is committed to ensuring that Los Alamos National Laboratory has a state of the art plutonium facility Bingaman said There are competing visions in Congress and the administration about us getting on track to replace the aging CMR building The outstanding questions are about timing and cost of the project Bingaman said I will be

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2012/ABQ_JRNL_north_27May2012.html (2016-02-16)
    Open archived version from archive

  • More questions in next chapter of CMRR saga, Los Alamos Monitor, 26 May 2012
    LANL remains the nation s center for plutonium technology and research The outstanding questions are about timing and cost to replace the CMR I will be working with my colleagues on the committees of jurisdiction to ensure the funding is in place to maintain all critical near term operations at LANL and for meeting the lab s long term needs Bingaman said A Congressional aide told the trade publication Nuclear Weapons and Materials Monitor that Shipping plutonium around the United States doesn t make good sense Spending a billion dollars on this alternative strategy plus another 2 to 3 billion if you have to eventually bring the CMRR NF project back and you re not satisfying all the baseline capabilities at Los Alamos it didn t add up NNSA spokesperson Josh McConaha did not comment on the story And typically the lab does not comment on bills until they became law As expected the various nuclear watchdog groups had plenty to say Greg Mello of the Los Alamos Study Group said It s very easy for parochial interests on the armed services committees to plus up weapons programs since they don t have to make the budget balance What offsets does this committee propose Why are these two committees requesting a giant project that none of the responsible agencies actually wants right now If there is one thing that government analysts stressed to me last year it was that there was no way on God s green earth that NNSA could build CMRR NF while also undertaking UPF and its big life extension projects This committee is setting NNSA up to fail Paul Gessing Executive Director of the Rio Grande Foundation said Ronald Reagan once said that a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we ll ever see on this earth Nowhere is this statement truer than in the case of the CMRR NF With Washington at least theoretically attempting to reduce the federal budget deficit the CMRR NF has been targeted repeatedly by Obama and Congress only to have some in New Mexico s congressional delegation swoop in to rescue the program seemingly for no other reason than in a misguided attempt to preserve the massive federal presence in their state Jay Coghlan of Nuclear Watch New Mexico said The good news from my perspective is that the fate of the CMRR Nuclear Facility still lies in the hands of the appropriations committees and neither the House or Senate provided any money for it Nevertheless what the House and Senate Armed Services Committees have done is not good creating a lot of political pressure to build CMRR Coghlan said it s not clear whether the CMRR Nuclear Facility can proceed on this basis and what the opposing reactions of both Appropriations Committees might be Both the House and Senate have marked up and reported on Energy and Water Development Appropriations but there is still the opportunity for modifications in the bicameral conference that has to take

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2012/LAMonitor_26May2012.html (2016-02-16)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Los Alamos Study Group
    does not indicate that initial construction on these projects which involves extensive site preparation construction of ancillary structures and concrete batch plants road and utility modifications and other work would be held back for production of this report Quite the contrary Sources in Washington tell one of us Greg Mello that the bill also Requires NNSA to study combining the CMRR NF project with potential replacement of LANL s main plutonium facility PF 4 a suggestion also reported in a Government Accountability Office GAO review of the CMRR project Retains NNSA management of the CMRR NF project unlike the corresponding House bill H R 4310 sections 2804 2805 which transferred control of the project to the Department of Defense DoD The House and Senate appropriations committees have zeroed out CMRR NF for FY13 and the NNSA Pentagon STRATCOM and DOE have all testified to Congress in hearings this year that CMRR NF can be deferred for at least five years since there are alternative means of satisfying the CMRR NF mission for at least that long This deferral implies that the earliest possible operational date for CMRR NF would be 2028 which was confirmed in questioning from Senator Sessions by NNSA Administrator Thomas D Agostino All the defense agencies and both appropriations committees are on record as agreeing with this policy John Harvey Principal Deputy Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Chemical and Biological Defense Programs put it this way in a press interview 1 When you re forced into a situation you have to get smart and if we are smart we may be able to do some things that would enable us to get higher capability from existing facilities Paul Gessing Executive Director of the conservative Rio Grande Foundation had this to say about yesterday s decision Ronald Reagan once said that a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we ll ever see on this earth Nowhere is this statement truer than in the case of the CMRR NF With Washington at least theoretically attempting to reduce the federal budget deficit the CMRR NF has been targeted repeatedly by the Obama and Congress only to have some in New Mexico s congressional delegation swoop in to rescue the program seemingly for no other reason than in a misguided attempt to preserve the massive federal presence in their state Fiscal conservatives including the Rio Grande Foundation and its supporters value a strong defense but reject blatant porkbarrel spending in the guise of actual military needs Greg Mello Executive Director of the Los Alamos Study Group remarked It s very easy for parochial interests on the armed services committees to plus up weapons programs since they don t have to make the budget balance What offsets does this committee propose Why are these two committees requesting a giant project that none of the responsible agencies actually wants right now If there is one thing that government analysts stressed to me last year it was that

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2012/press_release_25May2012.html (2016-02-16)
    Open archived version from archive

  • LASG letter to Jonathan Epstein, Majority Counsel, SASC, 18 May 2012
    sections of this bill could rightly be called the Let s Pretend We Are Still in the Cold War so We Can Enrich Our Contractors bill Here are some of those useful provisions Section 3145 Study on Reuse of Plutonium Pit Section 3154 Independent Cost Assessments for Life Extension Programs New Nuclear Facilities and Other Matters Section 3155 Assessment of Nuclear Weapon Pit Production Requirement Other sections are necessary the basic authorization sections but we believe these need financial adjustments downward because the President s budget request for Weapons Activities in FY2013 is much higher than is necessary to meet all of NNSA s mission requirements There is enormous waste redundancy and grandiosity in NNSA programs but before even getting to that there is nearly 1 billion in excess compensation at the three weapons laboratories here defined as compensation over and above the compensation available to government scientists at federal agencies There is at least the same amount in excess programs at these laboratories We believe that overall addressing the outrageously inefficient management of the weapons complex could save on the order of 2 3 billion per year not instantly but over the course of a few years Costs are now so out of whack it is difficult to just how far they could be lowered Savings from any stockpile reductions would come on top of this Senators responsible for armed services programs are well aware that this is a particularly sensitive moment in our fiscal history NNSA contractors want to lock in federal commitments now committing Congress and decreasing future executive branch flexibility as much as possible because fiscal constraints including but not limited to the sequester provisions of the Budget Control Act are likely to constrain future initiatives This is certainly the case at sections 1058 2804 and 2805 which would substitute the judgement of one or two members of Congress and their young staffers for that of essentially the entire national security establishment in government with respect to the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility CMRR NF The SAP properly makes an explicit veto threat over section 1058 Section 2804 would create a scheme for simultaneous management by two federal departments of CMRR NF the Uranium Processing Facility UPF and other large NNSA projects and which would create isolated pockets of military real estate within NNSA facilities e g within TA 55 at Los Alamos National Laboratory LANL The Army Corps of Engineers ACE has no experience building plutonium laboratories and processing facilities and in practice this would create just another cook in the kitchen on top of NNSA the LANL management and operating contractor LANS which has no construction arm the designers of the facility which reside in various cities e g Chicago and the construction subcontractors Especially under the ill advised design build plan and in the face of unanimous objections to building this structure at the present time from the professional national security community that is actually in government and accountable for their performance this is yet another recipe for disaster ACE did once build a plutonium storage facility at LANL s TA 55 It was a total fiasco as documented by the DOE Inspector General This organization was the complainant The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board documented their concerns here pdf A good contemporary news report is here possibly behind paywall so appended below This TA 55 nuclear facility was finally torn down some time between 2006 and 2009 It had never been used for its intended purpose So much for design and construction by multi agency committee And this was a very simple facility relative to CMRR NF Under today s fiscal constraints this hair brained approach to force feed the LANS goose with CMRR NF has the potential to gravely damage the scientific programs at LANL and elsewhere precisely as the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States Perry Commission warned in 2009 Indeed the House s bill is a prescription for a major train wreck affecting many lives and careers the intellectual infrastructure as that Commission put it It risks the completion of the Uranium Processing Facility UPF as the ACE itself warned along with the completion of Life Extension Projects LEPs and other programs There is simply no way to undertake several multi billion new projects and programs in Weapons Activities at the same time just because a congressional committee would like to make it so What will happen is that somebody will discover as the Administration has already discovered for CMRR NF that after initial cost overruns or other problems that some of the work proposed by NNSA is simply not really needed and those programs will end or be down scoped or delayed It will be called and it will be yet another management failure Then we can have another round of reports explaining what went wrong In the meantime the interim programs for plutonium sustainment endorsed by NNSA DoD and the uniformed military are to be blocked How exactly would this be wise This is not policy It s more like a tantrum This concludes these introductory remarks and I will try to send you specific comments on the above sections later today or this weekend Godspeed in your important work Greg Mello http epaper abqjournal com Repository ml asp Ref QUpMLzE5OTkvMDYvMjcjQXIwODgwMA Mode Html Locale english skin Sunday June 27 1999 LANL Storage Facility Falls Short of Purpose By Ian Hoffman Journal Staff Writer For more than 20 million here is what U S taxpayers got virtually nothing What they were supposed to get was a high tech tomb for tons of nuclear weapons grade plutonium and other metals inside a top security area at Los Alamos National Laboratory Yet quietly the U S nuclear weapons establishment has scuttled the Nuclear Materials Storage Facility or NMSF Los Alamos NMSF is no casualty of the end of the Cold War however It was by all accounts killed primarily by incompetence The NMSF was

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/Epstein_18May2012.html (2016-02-16)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Ohio Rep. pushes funding move, Los Alamos Monitor, May 11, 2012
    in the nuclear watchdog community believe the amendments will not get through Congress It will pass the House but I don t think it will pass Congress as a whole said Nuclear Watch New Mexico s Jay Coghlan The other element I question is whether the Pentagon will like it Everybody can piss and moan about the CMRR But what Turner amendment 1 does in effect is to earmark all of that money for construction of the CMRR Nuclear Facility at the Los Alamos National Laboratory LANL and the Uranium Processing Facility at the Y12 Plant near Oak Ridge TN This might be a big wedge issue between DoD and NNSA because that money was to be also used for Life Extension Programs LEPs of existing nuclear weapons DoD will likely be far more interested in the end product of refurbished nuclear weapons than it is in the facilities that will produce them Further the CMRR NF and UPF aren t scheduled to be completed until 2022 at the earliest after currently proposed LEPs are either finished or already substantially underway The Project on Government Oversight wrote the following in one of its releases Some members such as Representative Loretta Sanchez D Calif put up a good argument against Turner during the mark up as has Rep Ed Markey D Mass on the floor in the past The NDAA is on the floor before the full House next week and we hope the majority of the House will stand up in opposition to funding CMRR NF and to Turner s attempt to facilitate a Pentagon power grab Congress needs to restore the zero on this money pit Greg Mello of the Los Alamos Study Group also weighed in on the Turner amendments Reviving CMRR NF anytime soon appears to be

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2012/LAMonitor_11May2012.html (2016-02-16)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Senate Proposes $160 Million Alternative to $6 Billion Plutonium Project, press release, Apr 26, 2012
    Alamos National Laboratory To maintain pit manufacturing capabilities and begin implementing an alternative plutonium strategy the bill would provide 160 million to make upgrades to existing facilities and better assess the reliability of the nation s current pit inventory The Administration requested no money for the CMRR project this year The Los Alamos Study Group has confirmed from government sources that there is at present over 200 M in unspent balances in the CMRR project Sources in government agree that approximately 120 M of these funds are current available for reprogramming within the Energy and Water bill which funds all the programs of the Department of Energy DOE as well as water harbor and flood control projects in three agencies The House Energy and Water Development Subcommittee rescinded 65 million in these prior year balances see bill here The Nuclear Weapons and Materials Monitor reported this morning that this committee would apply these funds to accelerate work on safety improvements to LANL s main plutonium facility PF 4 30 million and to begin cleaning out the PF 4 vault 35 million Study Group director Greg Mello We are pleased to see that the two appropriations subcommittees as well as all relevant parties in the Administration have chosen to indefinitely delay the unnecessary and wasteful CMRR NF project They appear so far to have chosen infrastructure alternatives we suggested Previous LANL estimates suggest that the capital cost of the alternatives suggested by the Senate 160 M is of the same magnitude as a single year s operating cost in the 6 B CMRR NF if were ever built There are still big problems however The first is that NNSA has no environmental impact statement EIS that includes or addresses its new plutonium plan under the National Environmental Policy Act NEPA This

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2012/press_release_24Apr2012.html (2016-02-16)
    Open archived version from archive

  • LANL doth protest too much, press release, Mar 23, 2012
    billion B per year is one of the largest in the federal government LANS its subcontractors and Los Alamos County have been stung by the indefinite deferral of the proposed 6 B Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility CMRR NF which has been the highest priority infrastructure project in the NNSA weapons program Financially this project was to be the largest single government construction project in New Mexico history by about a factor of ten In fiscal year FY 2010 DOE LANL spending stood at 1 823 B In the following year DOE sought and received 2 166 B an increase of 344 M million M 19 in a single year the largest one year spending increase since the Manhattan Project The Obama Administration sought still more funding for LANL for FY2012 but Congress cut back FY2012 DOE LANL spending to 1 951 B a decrease of 216 M None of that decrease was due to Congress holding back 100 M from proposed CMRR spending That action kept CMRR spending flat from FY2010 to FY2011 instead of funding the requested 100 M increase DOE proposes to trim LANL spending for FY2013 by 57 M a 3 decrease from today s FY2012 level well within historical fluctuations Overall New Mexico DOE spending is also expected to decline slightly 1 6 from today s level of 4 47 B to 4 40 B DOE spending at Sandia National Laboratories SNL increased by 16 M from FY2011 to this year and DOE proposes to increase SNL spending by a whopping 316 M next year Thus DOE has requested a large net increase in spending at the two New Mexico laboratories of 259 million for next year Changes in LANL funding since 1993 are shown in the graph below which illustrates the considerable funding growth experienced at LANL since the end of the Cold War primarily in nuclear weapons programs The proposed cut for FY2013 would return LANL DOE spending to a little more than what it enjoyed two years ago in FY2010 In addition to DOE spending LANL is able to attract some so called work for others WFO which is largely work for other federal military agencies In addition to the congressionally imposed cuts in DOE spending from FY2011 to FY2012 WFO also declined by about 134 M to 249 M about 11 of current LANL funding down from about 15 last year WFO spending levels at LANL are a function of funding in other federal agencies as well as those agencies perceptions of the value of LANL to their projects The DOE nuclear weapons laboratories are very expensive places to do business Sources tell us that in 2009 the average fully burdened cost of a single scientist at these three laboratories was 490 000 per year far higher than cost at Department of Defense laboratories and almost twice the cost of scientists at MIT s Lincoln Laboratories Other factors being equal lower LANL costs would result in more WFO Any

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2012/press_release_23Mar2012.html (2016-02-16)
    Open archived version from archive



  •