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Since 2005, as part of the settlement between the Los Alamos National Laboratory and a network of community groups, it was required that the lab hold semi-annual meetings in regards to the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Project.
On Thursday night at Fuller Lodge, the 11th such meeting was held as a standing-room only crowd was in attendance.
Greg Mello of the Los Alamos Study Group perhaps may have summed it up best near the end of the meeting when he said, “there is nothing to sink your teeth into.”
Steve Fong and Tom Whitacre, members of the CMRR team, talked about the nearly completed Radiological Lab, showing pictures of inside the building, outside the building and all the different amenities.
Also as part of the slideshow, Fong talked about the improvements to safety and security, how the NNSA was taking environmental and energy concerns into consideration and how the CMRR nuclear facility would be a major boost to the economy.
Fong said the lab would purchase billions of dollars in goods and services from businesses around the state and country and he also said there would be the creation of up to 1,000 new jobs, mostly in construction crafts.
If there was any meat to Thursday’s discussion, it revolved around the presentation by Steve Kovac of Nuclear Watch New Mexico.
Most of the talk revolved around the cost of the project in regards to the Nuclear Facility. Kovac showed a slide that said the original cost of the project would be $300 million, but now the project is between $3.5 billion and may grow to close to $6 billion.
The FY 2012 budget request of $300 million also was discussed as close to $30 million was slated for equipment for the Radiological Lab.
Some in the crowd wanted to know what the other $270 million would go to.
Fong said if the budget is passed, the money would be spent on early infrastructure for the Nuclear Facility.
“But we don’t have a budget yet,” Fong said.