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Nuclear security given high priority

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The FY2011 DOE budget calls for an extra $393 million for the nuclear weapons lab

By Roger Snodgrass

The first round of budget proposals looks unusually favorable for Los Alamos National Laboratory next year. The FY2011 Department of Energy budget announced Monday called for an extra $393 million for the nuclear weapons laboratory.

The prospective raise comes after a leveling period and at a time when other discretionary parts of the budget are expected to be flat or worse.

Altogether the Obama administration proposed a $3.83 trillion budget for the nation that comes with a $1.27 trillion deficit.

A rationale for increases in the nuclear weapons area was spelled out by Vice President Joe Biden in an op-ed piece Friday in the Wall Street Journal, where he declared that the budget would reverse a decade-long decline in which “our laboratories and facilities have been under-funded and undervalued.”

The subhead made the point even more explicit: “We will spend what is necessary to maintain the safety, security and effectiveness of our weapons,” Biden wrote, spelling out a commitment for supporting the work of maintaining the nuclear stockpile and containing potentially dangerous nuclear material around the world.