--2 Los Alamos National 'Maquiladora'?
Oct. 1, 2016
cmrr cost growth

Los Alamos National 'Maquiladora'?

Activists say new pit production support project could derail non-military research

July 21, 2010, 12:00 am
By Corey Pein
Attacking plans for an expensive new nuclear facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory, activists with the non-profit Los Alamos Study Group call the project a "monument of folly."

The LASG website features a detailed and constantly updated compendium of documents (and arguments) over the project, called CMRR. The above chart, showing the skyrocketing cost estimates for CMRR, comes courtesy of LASG.

This week's SFR story picks apart the spin surrounding the $4 billion-and-counting CMRR project, beginning with LANL management's big-cat stretch of a claim that the facility's function has little to do with nuclear weapons.

Taking a similar tack, a spokeswoman for US Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-NM, tells SFR in an email that "it’s also important to note that plutonium research will have a broader application than supporting pit operations."

The Pentagon, at least, seems more concerned about pit production than those other, broader applications. (Read the Institute for Defense Analysis report cited in this week's SFR story here.)

And LASG Executive Director Greg Mello predicts CMRR will be so costly to operate, and its construction so disruptive, that pit production will inevitably crowd out the lab's other missions.

"It turns Los Alamos into a maquiladora," Mello says.

Read LASG's letter to US Energy Secretary Steven Chu, opposing CMRR on environmental grounds, here (PDF).


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