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The National Nuclear Security Administration is considering spending $9.5 million expansion to its facilities at the Los Alamos National Laboratory so it could conduct biological research .
Such facilities operate at different biosafety (BSL) levels. For example, BSL-1 is for low-risk agents, BSL-2 is for medium-risk agents and BSL-3 is for those agents that cause serious and potentially lethal infections.
LANL is considering opening a facility with two BSL-3 labs.
A recent Department of Energy Inspector General report, however, raised several questions.
“Specifically, NNSA identified the development of a BSL-3 facility at LANL as its preferred alternative for meeting biosafety laboratory needs even though it had not fully considered the need for and cost effectiveness of additional capacity,” the report said.
“ Nor, had it developed a sound basis for measuring the utilization of existing facilities— a critical factor in determining the need for additional capacity.
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