Triumph in the Desert
Funding for a new nuclear bomb plant in Los Alamos National Laboratory has been effectively terminated in the Continuing Resolution passed by Congress this week. The facility had been deemed unnecessary and wasteful, and would have cost taxpayers billions of dollars.
In the Continuing Resolution passed by Congress and signed by the president, the construction of the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement (CMRR) facility, a new nuclear bomb plant, at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico was terminated. The Continuing Resolution contained language that did not allocated funds for the new facility. This is viewed as a major victory for nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation activists.
The CMRR was envisioned as a replacement for an existing plutonium research facility and was meant to help update the laboratory’s capabilities to analyze and store plutonium. Originally, it was estimated to cost under $400 million*, but a 2012 Government Accountability Office (GAO) review found that the CMRR’s cost had ballooned up to between $4 and $6 billion, nearly a six-fold increase from the initial price tag. The same review also found that the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) was expecting an 8 to 12 year delay in the construction of the facility**. Furthermore, the NNSA had released information in February saying that it had “existing infrastructure” which could meet its plutonium pit mission needs without the proposed CMRR***.
In addition to the overrun costs and major delays, both the National Nuclear Security Administration and Government Accountability Office found that the construction of the CMRR facility may not have been enough to meet all stockpile and plutonium research-related needs, possibly requiring further construction of yet another facility in the future**.
FCNL, along with the help of other nuclear disarmament organizations, lobbied and argued that the CMRR was unnecessary and an example of wasteful spending. The defunding of the CMRR is yet another step towards a nuclear free world.
To read a letter sent to Senator Levin by FCNL and ten other organizations, click here.