Hunter to retire

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Paul Hommert will become the lab’s next director in July

By Sue M. Holmes

ALBUQUERQUE — The head of Sandia National Laboratories’ nuclear weapons programs, Paul Hommert, will become the lab’s next director in July.

Hommert, currently Sandia’s executive vice president and deputy laboratory director for nuclear weapons, will succeed Tom Hunter, who plans to retire July 9. He has been Sandia president and lab director since April 2005.

Sandia was formed after World War II to work on the nation’s then-fledgling nuclear weapons program, but it since has taken on other roles, such as energy and national security research.

The lab, which now has about 8,400 employees, will continue diversifying despite President Barack Obama’s call for a larger nuclear weapons budget next year, Hommert said.

The budget Obama sent to Congress in February requested $1.14 billion for weapons activities at Sandia, compared to the 2010 total of $953 million, and $187 million for nonproliferation work, up from the current $171 million.

“I don’t see there being this huge emphasis shift,” Hommert said at a Thursday news conference called to announce his appointment and Hunter’s retirement.

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