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  • NNSA delays proposed plutonium warhead plant "for at least five years," press release, Feb 13, 2012
    begun on the CMRR Nuclear Facility NNSA has determined in consultation with the national laboratories that existing infrastructure in the nuclear complex has the inherent capacity to provide adequate support for plutonium chemistry plutonium physics and special nuclear materials NNSA proposes deferring CMRR Nuclear Facility construction for at least five years Studies are ongoing to determine long term requirements Instead of the CMRR Nuclear Facility NNSA will maximize use of existing facilities and relocate some nuclear materials Estimated cost avoidance from FY 2013 to FY 2017 totals approximately 1 8 billion In place of the CMRR Nuclear Facility for plutonium chemistry NNSA will maximize use of the recently constructed Radiological Laboratory and Utility Office Building that will be fully equipped in April 2012 approximately one year ahead of schedule In place of CMRR Nuclear Facility for plutonium physics NNSA has options to share workload between other existing plutonium capable facilities at Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories In place of CMRR Nuclear Facility for nuclear material storage the budget request includes 35 million to accelerate actions that process package and dispose of excess nuclear material and reduce material at risk in the plutonium facility at Los Alamos If additional space for special nuclear material is required NNSA can stage plutonium for future program use in the Device Assembly Facility in Nevada The Office of Secure Transportation Asset will execute shipments as needed NNSA warhead budget request for its nuclear Weapons Activities budget line does not propose an overall decline but rather an increase of 5 0 or 363 M from 7 214 M to 7 577 M which is likely to be a significant real inflation adjusted increase as well as a current dollar increase Curiously detailed project data sheets for most NNSA infrastructure projects are absent from this budget request as is any attempt to project spending in future years Future Years National Security Program Placeholders based on inflation rates from the proposed FY2013 levels are shown with the disclaimer that these numbers are not based on program needs These data omissions may be unprecedented NNSA in the face of withering congressional criticism had previously announced its intent to terminate another proposed plutonium facility also after an expenditure of hundreds of millions of dollars with no final design to show for it the Pit Disassembly and Conversion Facility PDCF at NNSA s Savannah River Site SRS in South Carolina Study Group Director Greg Mello We welcome NNSA s understanding that its plutonium warhead programs can be managed within existing buildings an alternative we have been recommending for years We hope that this change of heart augurs a deeper programmatic reexamination and a very aggressive effort to end the poor performance by NNSA s contractors in this case Los Alamos National Security LANS which has contributed to a great waste of taxpayer money In that light we also welcome NNSA s announcement of late last week that it would make public its evaluations of its site contractors The CMRR

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2012/press_release2_13Feb2012.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Breaking News Fragment, Proposed Plutonium Expansion at Los Alamos to be "Indefinitely Deferred," Feb 13, 2012
    Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility CMRR NF at Los Alamos National Laboratory is now slated to be indefinitely deferred This project has been the flagship nuclear weapons complex modernization project and the first priority of the National Nuclear Security Administration NNSA for the past decade Nearly one billion dollars has been spent in design and in construction of a support facility Details of all this can be found at http www lasg org CMRR open page htm Upon information and belief virtually all the organizations in the U S national security establishment came to see the wisdom of deferring this project over the course of the summer and fall last year a consensus that was reflected in the December 23 2011 consolidated funding bill that barred project construction during the current fiscal year and cut back design expenditures by 37 Technical background to this decision can be found in Reasons Not to Build or to Delay CMRR NF pdf May 22 2011 Further background including a partial chronology of recent events can be found in our Bulletin of last night We will send out another press release as soon as we have the budget request probably in the early afternoon

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2012/press_release_13Feb2012.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Multibillion Los Alamos Project Threatened, ABQ Journal, Feb 12, 2012
    Collina research director at the Arms Control Association in Washington D C NNSA and Los Alamos officials declined comment saying they would not speak about the issue before the White House releases its budget request It is widely expected the Tennessee project will get the nod with funding for work on the Los Alamos building either cut or eliminated Rep Mike Turner R Ohio said as much in a statement Wednesday in which he pre emptively promised legislation to try to force full funding for both projects based on a fear the president may walk away from his direct pledge to build the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement CMRR facility at Los Alamos Across the aisle meanwhile Rep Ed Markey D Mass last week introduced legislation the Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures SANE Act of 2012 to kill both the Tennessee and Los Alamos projects The SANE Act will cut spending on outdated wasteful nuclear weapons and related programs over the next ten years and will strengthen our long term economic and national security Markey said in a statement START treaty At issue is an Obama administration promise made during the debate over Senate ratification of the New START nuclear arms limitation deal with Russia In a Feb 2 2010 formal notice to the Senate in support of the treaty the president pledged full funding for both the Tennessee and Los Alamos projects acknowledging their importance to maintaining a credible U S nuclear deterrent I intend to a accelerate to the extent possible the design and engineering phase of the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement CMRR building and the Uranium Processing Facility UPF and b request full funding the president s statement said Based on the spending plan laid out a year ago in support of the administration s treaty commitment full funding meant 300 million this year and another 300 million next year for the Los Alamos project But House Republicans took the first steps to unravel the deal voting last year to cut 100 million from the administration s fiscal year 2012 request for the Los Alamos project The Los Alamos project has been plagued by cost overruns and delays When the National Nuclear Security Administration first asked Congress in 2003 for budget authority to build the replacement building the agency estimated the cost at 500 million and said it would be completed by 2011 The first phase of the project a small lab and office space has been completed but the main building where most of the work with dangerously radioactive plutonium would be done has been delayed repeatedly With final designs not yet completed the agency now estimates the cost at 4 billion to 6 billion and says it would not be completed until the early 2020s While it was the Republican House that took that first budget cutting step last year nuclear weapons spending advocates blame the Obama administration for not pushing back hard enough against the House s proposed cuts Defense policy analyst Baker

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2012/ABQ_JRNL_12Feb2012.html (2016-02-16)
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  • POGO: CMRR funding should be slashed; Lab: Report raises many questions about the project, Jan 21, 2012
    reduce the U S deficit a project of this magnitude that lacks a coherent justification is especially untenable DOE and NNSA have failed to justify the need for an industrial scale nuclear facility with a massive plutonium vault particularly when the United States demands for pit production have significantly evaporated over recent years and will likely continue to do so The ratification of New START signifies a drawdown of nuclear weapons and a future that includes a smaller U S nuclear arsenal Experts many of whom are former nuclear laboratory officials agree that the scale of CMRR NF is not aligned with current U S nuclear strategy Rather than forcing taxpayers to bear the financial burden of constructing an expensive nuclear facility with an obsolete mission the Administration and Congress should eliminate funding for the CMRR NF immediately POGO enlisted the help of Jay Coghlan of Nuclear Watch of New Mexico Greg Mello of the Los Alamos Study Group and Nickolas Roth the center of Arms Control and Non Proliferation in formulating the report Mello said in an email he has just returned to New Mexico after a series of meetings in Washington While most of what transpired on that trip and previous ones must remain confidential I can report that the tide within the national security branches of government has turned strongly against this project last year That tide is now running at the full This project now has very few remaining friends and if present trends continue it will end Mello said Here is the executive summary of the report A growing body of scientific and policy experts challenge the need for the CMRR NF The House Appropriations Committee recommended that construction of CMRR NF be delayed noting in a report for the fiscal year 2008 budget The

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2012/LAMonitor_21Jan2012.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Nuclear Weapons & Materials Monitor, Vol 16, No 3, Jan 20, 2012
    preliminary construction activities in Fiscal Year 2012 the facility is expected to be fully operational in 2023 The facility would provide space for analytical chemistry and vault space for plutonium storage which would free up space in the lab s Plutonium Facility to increase the production of plutonium pits One industry official suggested that CMRR NF s relatively limited mission could be its downfall When you re talking about UPF and CMRR NF there s no comparison the official told NW M Monitor UPF almost all of it is operations space and you ve got to replace the 9212 complex With CMRR NF there s only two programmatic operational functions an analytical lab and vault space for plutonium Everything else is support space so it s not hard to see why there are questions about it It s unclear how the Administration will choose to pursue the project but some industry officials have suggested that design of the facility could be completed during FY2012 with funds that have already been appropriated and potentially used when the budget environment is more friendly That strategy would also appear to fall in line with a staggering approach involving major NNSA construction work allowing construction to begin on UPF while delaying work on CMRR NF Mello suggested however that work on the project be stopped immediately Assuming the current rumors are true the main thing now is to stop additional expenditures immediately mid year rather than winding down the project gradually and wasting even more money he said NNSA should focus on making the existing LANL plutonium facility safe without adding capabilities at the same time continuing its process of abandoning CMR which now has no remaining long term missions NNSA Bracing for Budget Woes While NNSA officials haven t said anything publicly about the project there has been a clear indication that the FY2013 budget request would be lower than previous projections In comments to NW M Monitor last month NNSA Principal Deputy Administrator Neile Miller suggested that the agency would have to make do with less month than expected 7 95 billion had been projected for the weapons program a year ago Lots of consideration has been given now to a lot of things to try and formulate a budget at lower amounts than we planned a year ago Miller told NW M Monitor after her speech That s the Budget Control Act reality Everyone from DoD to you name the D has needed to and has been reexamining assumptions and priorities and program of work POGO Calls for CMRR NF to End Such a decision would be just what the Project on Government Oversight is recommending Calling the project a behemoth of overspending the watchdog group this week urged the Administration and Congress to kill the project over concerns about its price tag and what it said were questions about its need in the current fiscal and national security environments This facility is a poster child for government waste POGO Senior

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2012/NWMM_20Jan2012.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Administration Hints at Smaller Nuclear Force Amid Wider Defense Cutbacks, press release, Jan 5, 2012
    hurried form On the basis of more than two decades of analysis we believe this level of Weapons Activities expenditures to support U S deterrent goals is grossly excessive for today s nuclear stockpile or any smaller one We have written about this extensively through the years such as in this line by line analysis Potential Savings from Reform of DOE Nuclear Weapons Stewardship and from Nuclear Stockpile Reductions Peace Economics Peace Science and Public Policy Vol 5 Issue 2 Article 2 Spring 1999 pdf and its summary in a National Academy publication The Stockpile Stewardship Charade Issues in Science and Technology archived here We believe these analyses are valuable in today s context because they help explain the impetus for and provide a midpoint snapshot of the huge funding increases that occurred in Weapons Activities from 1995 to 2004 which has led to today s normal at NNSA and its laboratories which were especially enriched during this period For graphical history of Weapons Activities spending since 1948 see slide 20 here pdf for the resulting effect at Los Alamos National Laboratory LANL through 2004 only and including all sources of LANL income see slide 21 in the same place Those 1999 articles make the case for a Weapons Activities budget line of 2 03 billion in 1999 dollars which would be 2 76 billion in today s dollars inflated by CPI We still think NNSA were it well managed and lean could maintain today s arsenal for about half what it is currently spending With the greater entrenchment of management problems since the creation of NNSA in 1999 however it would not be possible to get to that lean management similar to commercial high hazard operations in any straightforward manner that would avoid management collapse In many ways the proposed Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility CMRR NF is an example of the latest and most rococo phase of this wasteful pattern which we believe damages NNSA as well as the federal fisc We see three main categories of cuts in NNSA Weapons Activities a cuts in pure waste and puffery House Strategic Forces Subcommittee Chairman s Michael Turner s word who says there isn t any in this context b cuts related to trimming ambitions for novelty in designs e g attempts to provide even greater and more intrinsic warhead security primarily to protect against the insider threat or changing military characteristics to tailor warheads to new delivery systems or producing what amount to new warhead designs for the W78 W88 and W80 1 warheads and c cuts due to the elimination of types of warheads e g nuclear cruise missile warheads or reductions in warhead numbers which are related to cuts in nuclear delivery systems or to changes in policies regarding the undeployed war reserve or hedge arsenal Examples of some possible cuts would include grossly approximate figures only in decade long totals 5 B CMRR NF 5 B LEP reform 10 B Eliminate redundancy waste

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2012/press_release_5Jan2012.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Congress yanks cash away from New Mexico nuke lab, Canadian Business, Dec 24, 2011
    the CMRR Nuclear Facility during Fiscal Year 2012 Lab and federal documents suggest the construction to be deferred this year includes preliminary excavation work the start of construction on a concrete plant for the massive structure and erection of the project s construction management trailers In all the lab has issued at least 45 notices to potential bidders regarding possible contracting opportunities on the project according to a review by Trish Williams Mello of the Los Alamos Study Group which opposes the project In addition to construction related opportunities the announcements include plans for acquiring equipment for the building for fire safety systems and guard facilities While cutting from the administration s funding request for the nuclear facility Congress gave full funding to a similar multibillion dollar project being built in Tennessee for work on uranium nuclear weapon parts That led some observers to speculate that Congress may be setting the stage for further delays in the Los Alamos plutonium lab because of concerns the agency cannot afford to work on both large projects simultaneously Simultaneous construction of these projects is considered difficult to impossible by many in government Greg Mello of the Los Alamos Study Group wrote in a

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2011/Canadian_Bus_24Dec2011.html (2016-02-16)
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  • LANL's New Plutonium Lab Delayed, Journal North, Dec 24, 2011
    for fiscal 2012 which began Oct 1 The money will allow Los Alamos to finish installing equipment in the project s already built first phase a lab and office building a National Nuclear Security Administration spokesman said in a statement The rest would apparently go to design work on the larger second phase a laboratory for work with plutonium a dangerously radioactive metal used in nuclear weapons but construction on that second phase is prohibited In the FY12 budget constrained environment we are pleased the CMRR project will be able to remain on plan to finish equipping the Radiological Laboratory and Utility Office Building ahead of schedule and substantially complete CMRR NF design later this year Josh McConaha said in a statement The conference agreement did delay the FY12 construction activities for the CMRR NF which will defer the first phases of construction for CMRR NF Lab officials referred questions about the budget to NNSA and McConaha did not respond to inquiries this week regarding details of the agency s plans for spending the 200 million The nuclear facility with an estimated price tag of 3 7 billion to 5 7 billion has been plagued by delays and rising costs Even before the congressional vote to delay construction plans called for completion in 2023 more than a decade behind the original schedule when the project was launched Lab and federal documents suggest the construction to be deferred this year includes preliminary excavation work the start of construction on a concrete plant for the massive structure and erection of the project s construction management trailers In all the lab has issued at least 45 notices to potential bidders regarding possible contracting opportunities on the project according to a review by Trish Williams Mello of the Los Alamos Study Group which opposes

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2011/ABQ-JRNL_North_24Dec2011.html (2016-02-16)
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