Of importance to northern New Mexico is the conclusion to fund the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement (CMRR) Project at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Apparently bowing to pressure from the weapons laboratories, the NPR stated that the CMRR was needed to sustain the nuclear arsenal. But it also goes past that and calls for “some modest capacity [that] will be put in place for surge production in the event of significant geopolitical “surprise.” Once that capacity is installed we believe the door remains open for expanded plutonium pit production at LANL.
Production remains tied to reduction. It's not clear to us how, as stated in the NPR, expanding production infrastructure will allow excess warheads to be retired along with other planned stockpile reductions. “Funding the CMRR allows increased weapons production capacity and has nothing to do with retiring warheads,” said Scott Kovac, operations director of Nuclear Watch New Mexico, “it's surprising that the administration is allowing the funding of this $4.5 billion project to blight an otherwise great NPR.”
[I]t is a status-quo document that makes only minor adjustments in nuclear weapons policy. These it makes in what the Administration hopes will be somewhat more effective global power projection plan overall. It perpetuates all the major nuclear myths, temporizes with respect to all the tough issues, and offers a great deal of what the Bush Administration offered, just in different, Democrat-friendly language. It attaches the greatest salience to nuclear weapons which do not exist and attaches relatively little to which do. Policy continuities from the previous two presidents seem to dominate, by far.
Of special interest to New Mexico journalists, the NPR blesses the massive Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility (CMRR-NF), the largest public works project in New Mexico history in constant dollars by a factor of about 9, not including the interstate highways in New Mexico.