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"Forget the Rest" blog

For immediate release 10/1/10

Huge "emergency" funding increase for nuke labs today

Administration, Congress spurn efforts to help economy, stabilize energy supply or climate, instead provide emergency funds for warhead "modernization"

Largest increase at Los Alamos since World War II, would build plutonium warhead "pit" production complex

New Mexico garners lion's share of loot

Contact: Greg Mello, 505-265-1200


Continuing Resolution (CR) (pdf)
Department of Energy (DOE) congressional budget requests (search under "products and services")
GOP, Dems Agree To Boost Nuclear Budget; Funding Will Go To Modernization, John Fleck, Albuquerque Journal, 10/1/10 (paywall)

Albuquerque -- Early yesterday, Congress completed action on a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the federal government in the new fiscal year (FY), which begins today.  The President signed the bill yesterday.  This CR continues funding for federal agencies at the same level as FY2010, with very few exceptions.   One of those rare exceptions was an emergency increase in nuclear weapons spending in the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).

Prior to this, in its set of requested Continuing Resolution (CR) “anomalies,” (pdf), the White House urged immediate implementation of its proposed FY2011 nuclear weapons budget increase.  House Republicans on the Appropriations Committee argued against passage.

The Los Alamos Study Group argued against this increase in a letter we sent on Monday to the Democratic members of the House Appropriations Committee and others.

According to historical data in Study Group files, today's increase (see chart below) at Los Alamos is the largest annual increase, in both absolute and percentage terms, since the Manhattan Project.

Annual nuclear weapons appropriations in New Mexico increased by about $527 million today, which is 84% of the $625 million net overall increase at all the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) sites.

These emergency appropriations last until December 3, by which time Congress must either pass appropriations bills or another CR.

Proposed increases in related nonproliferation spending at the same sites and others were not included in the emergency measure.

Study Group Director Mello:

It is shocking that the Obama Administration would seek an emergency increase in nuclear weapons spending.  There is no crisis at all.  The only "emergency" concerns a political objective, namely ratification of the New START treaty, which the Administration hopes to accomplish prior to seating a new Congress, widely expected to contain fewer members of the President's party. 

To pick this particular emergency priority over nearly all other objectives of government at this time speaks volumes about the priorities of Congress and this Administration.  These are not the priorities that would put people to work, provide health care or education, protect the environment, or halt what most ordinary people understand to be a continuing economic decline, with no end in sight. 

The increase in spending is mostly directed to large construction projects at Los Alamos and at the Y-12 site in Tennessee and to controversial new modernization programs for the nuclear weapons stockpile.  This twin modernization program -- of the stockpile and the nuclear weapons complex -- has been keenly sought by Republican senators in particular.  The two new facilities are now expected to cost in the neighborhood of $11 billion to build.  The facility at Los Alamos would help make warhead cores ("pits") for future "replacement" warheads.  It is a subject of litigation by this organization.  See related press release today. 

Further background and views on the causes and ramifications of this dramatic spending increase are available upon request.

CR Oct 2010


Greg Mello * Los Alamos Study Group
2901 Summit Place NE * Albuquerque, NM 87106
phone 505-265-1200 * cell 505-577-8563 * fax 505-265-1207

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2901 Summit Place NE Albuquerque, NM 87106, Phone: 505-265-1200

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