Some Senators Want to Waste Big Bucks on Unnecessary Nuke FacilityTweet
August 31, 2012
Congressional attempts to fund a new nuclear weapons facility are “alarming,” given that experts say the facility is unnecessary, according to a letter the Project On Government Oversight sent yesterday to Secretary of Energy Steven Chu.
Several senators did an end-run around Chu earlier this summer when they wrote letters to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta urging him to fund the nuclear weapons facility, known as the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement-Nuclear Facility (CMRR-NF) at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. Chu’s Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) oversee the nation’s nuclear weapons complex.
The facility, which would enable the nation to increase its production of a primary component of nuclear weapons, has seen its estimated cost increase from $375 million to nearly $6 billion over the course of a decade. And experts—including former nuclear weapons facility officials—have said the facility is not necessary to ensure national security, POGO reported in January.
Earlier this year, DOE and NNSA seemed to take this all into account when they proposed zeroing out funding for the nearly $6 billion facility, saying that existing facilities could meet their needs. Members of the congressional committees that make funding decisions about nuclear weapons followed their lead and did not appropriate money for the facility.
The senators who are trying to pour money back into CMRR-NF aren’t members of these committees and shouldn’t be making decisions about nuclear weapons facilities. Simply put, we should be listening to those in the know when it comes to CMRR-NF. As POGO’s letter put it:
Given that experts throughout the Administration are putting their support behind delaying CMRR-NF, and given that the NNSA has said viable alternatives exist for the brand-new facility, we find these congressional attempts to fund this boondoggle alarming. To spend almost $6 billion on a facility the country cannot afford and does not need would be a serious mistake.
Mia Steinle is an investigator for the Project On Government Oversight and the civil society coordinator for the U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. Her work focuses on government management of the oil, gas, and mining industries.
Topics: National Security
Authors: Mia Steinle
- July 13, 2015
- June 29, 2015
- June 17, 2015
- June 10, 2015
- June 9, 2015
- May 29, 2015
- May 27, 2015
- May 18, 2015
Browse POGOBlog by Topic
POGO on Facebook
Podcast; Social Media, Internet Provides Opportunities, Challenges for Lawmakers
The Congressional Management Foundation offers the Gold Mouse Awards annually to members of Congress who make the most of the opportunity the digital world offers them. POGO spoke with members of Rep. Mike Honda's communications team about their award.