Breaking News Fragment, For Immediate Release 2/13/12 6:30 MST.
A second press release to follow this afternoon.
Proposed Plutonium Expansion at Los Alamos To Be "Indefinitely Deferred"
in Today's Budget Request, Trade Publication Reports
Contact: Greg Mello, 505-265-1200. Other Study Group contacts will be available later.
This morning the Nuclear Weapons and Materials Monitor, the most authoritative journal of events concerning the U.S. nuclear warhead complex, is reporting that the proposed Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility (CMRR-NF) at Los Alamos National Laboratory is now slated to be "indefinitely deferred."
This project has been the flagship nuclear weapons complex modernization project and the first priority of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) for the past decade. Nearly one billion dollars has been spent in design and in construction of a support facility. Details of all this can be found at http://www.lasg.org/CMRR/open_page.htm.
Upon information and belief, virtually all the organizations in the U.S. national security establishment came to see the wisdom of deferring this project over the course of the summer and fall last year, a consensus that was reflected in the December 23, 2011 consolidated funding bill that barred project construction during the current fiscal year and cut back design expenditures by 37%.
Technical background to this decision can be found in Reasons Not to Build, or to Delay CMRR-NF (pdf, May 22, 2011).
Further background, including a partial chronology of recent events, can be found in our Bulletin of last night.
We will send out another press release as soon as we have the budget request, probably in the early afternoon MST. Details, including historical spending data, will be available then.
We will also send out another more detailed bulletin tonight, with further background information and interpretation. We encourage interested journalists to subscribe (just send a blank email).
We expect the nuclear warhead budget to grow slightly in both current and constant dollars in FY2013, by the way, albeit at a less rapid pace than the Administration predicted last year, before the Budget Control Act. We'll see.