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It’s been a long week for those involved with the Chemistry Metallurgy Research Replacement facility.
And the extent of the fallout remains uncertain.
Lab director Charlie McMillan has scheduled an all-hands meeting for LANL employees Tuesday to discuss the CMRR project, which was deferred for five years after the funding was yanked in the President’s FY13 budget request.
The Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce has become involved in an attempt to figure out the impact on several businesses and subcontractors.
“Since this was announced, the chamber has started hearing from several businesses who have quite a number of people working on projects that would be affected,” said Kevin Holsapple, the Executive Director, Los Alamos Commerce & Development Corporation/Chamber of Commerce.
“We are trying to get a gauge to get a better idea of how big the problem is. We are engaging a survey with businesses and lab contractors and sub-contractors and we want find out what their situation is.”
Holsapple said anybody interested in taking the survey can get a copy from his office. And the results of the survey should be released within a month or so, he said.
The Regional Development Corporation also is involved. The RDC is the regional economic development organization for Northern New Mexico, with a principal service area of Los Alamos, Rio Arriba, Santa Fe, and Taos, San Miguel, Mora and Sandoval counties. The RDC also works statewide and outside of Northern New Mexico on select projects that fit its areas of expertise and philosophy.
And one of its select projects was the CMRR.
“We are a non profit and our mission is economic development in the region,” said RDC executive director Kathy Keith.
“One of the projects we are working on jointly with regional leaders and at the lab is to maximize the number of local contractors who are qualified to do business with the laboratory.
“We identify contractors who are not on the lab’s radar but are interested in doing business with the lab.
“We have identified about 250 contractors in the region who have not gone through the process of signing up. We let them know about construction opportunities as they come up.”
When asked how many contractors are on the lab’s list, Keith said, “That’s a lab question. I am sure the list fairly comprehensive.”
While the CMRR construction opportunities apparently have dried up, Keith said there are other opportunities.
“The lab has funding for other projects,” Keith said.
Contractors were hired to do work at the new TRU-Waste facility and just recently there was a conference at Buffalo Thunder Casino and Resort where lab officials invited in contractors to bid on $200 million worth of projects, Keith said.
Keith is not about to give up on CMRR either.
“The Fat Lady has not sung yet,” Keith said. “This was just a recommendation to Congress and the project will be debated whether to fund it or not.”
Republican Senate candidate Heather Wilson, meanwhile, is claiming that 1,000 New Mexicans would lose their jobs if the CMRR project is not funded.
“President Obama made a commitment to modernize our nuclear weapons complex in order to maintain a safe, reliable nuclear deterrent at lower levels of forces,” said Heather Wilson, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate.
“This week he broke that promise, and now New Mexico could lose an estimated 1,000 jobs a year for the next 10 years.”