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Trying to prop up nuke lab budgets

By John Fleck / Journal Staff Writer on Tue, Sep 13, 2011

Not everyone in New Mexico is supportive of Rep. Martin Heinrich’s effort to protect budget cuts at the state’s nuclear weapons labs, which I wrote about this morning. Greg Mello of the Los Alamos Study Group sent around a note to his mailing list over the weekend blasting the move:

The letter is quoted as saying the special exception is needed to keep “on track the tight schedule for infrastructure modernization and life extensions of our current warhead types.”

The “infrastructure modernization” in question is primarily the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility (CMRR-NF) and related projects at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and the Uranium Processing Facility (UPF) at the Y-12 facility in Tennessee, which two facilities are expected to cost about $12 billion, according to both appropriations committees. (Privately, some government analysts are using much higher numbers.)

In so doing, Heinrich is again leading the House Democrats in turning the Energy and Water Appropriations bill against renewable energy, home weatherization, levee repair, environmental cleanup at LANL and elsewhere, and all its other non-military purposes. Given the extremely high inefficiency of the nuclear weapons program as a job creator, much less efficient even than broad tax cuts (a low bar against which to compare), Heinrich is not just working against green jobs, but against jobs altogether.

For those interested, here’s the Heinrich-Turner letter to the administration:

9-12-11 Turner-Heinrich Letter to POTUS


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