Record of Decision reached on CMRR project

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By The Staff

A Record of Decision (ROD) has been issued for the Chemistry Metallurgy Research Replacement (CMRR) facility Wednesday afternoon by the National Nuclear Security Administration.

Sources close to the situation have indicated the decision has been made to move ahead with the project that promises to be an economic shot in the arm for the Los Alamos area at least during the construction phase of the multi-billion dollar project.

The NNSA is remaining mum on the decision, according to spokesperson Toni Chiri, who said a press release will be issued Thursday morning with details of the ROD.

“We will be spending tonight making Congressional notification,” she said.

Controversy has swirled around the project since planning for a replacement began in 1999 for the aging 550,000 square foot CMR building that was originally completed in 1952.

Ground was broken for the CMRR in early 2006, but delays have plagued construction due to cost escalations and attempts to block the project came from environmental and anti-nuclear groups.

Tuesday, a group of lawmakers on Capitol Hill called on the congressional "super committee" to slash tens of billions of dollars from efforts to modernize the nation's nuclear weapons complex.

“America needs a new nuclear weapon as much as Lady Gaga needs another new outfit,” Representative Edward Markey (D-Mass.) said at a news conference.

Markey, along with 64 other House Democrats, on Tuesday sent a letter urging the 12-member, bipartisan committee to look at a major atomic arsenal rollback, saying that the country could spend more than $700 billion on nuclear weapons over the next 10 years.

“We call on the super committee to cut $20 billion a year, or ($) 200 billion over the next 10 years, from the U.S. nuclear weapons budget,” the message states.

Meanwhile, a group of roughly 50 nongovernmental organizations, including arms control advocates, and social policy and religious groups, distributed a letter asking members of Congress to support Markey’s recommendations.

The proposal met stiff resistance from House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee Chairman Michael Turner (R-Ohio), an ardent supporter of nuclear weapons funding.

“Congressman Markey should be more careful before irrationally proposing policies that would gamble with our national security. At a time when Russia and China are engaging in significant nuclear modernization programs and North Korea and Iran continue their illegal nuclear weapons programs, what Mr. Markey proposes amounts to unilateral disarmament of the U.S.,” Turner said in a statement.

He said Markey’s $700 billion figure is “simply not factual” and that the total investment in the nuclear arms complex would come out to roughly $212 billion over the next decade.

The Democratic lawmakers' proposal would cut a wide and deep swath through funding for a plethora of nuclear defense spending.

Among the reductions the budget blueprint seeks $19 billion in savings by canceling development of future NNSA facilities, including the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement site at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, the Uranium Processing Facility at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn., and the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility and associated buildings at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina.

In a bid to draw Republican votes for the New START nuclear arms control deal with Russia, the Obama administration last year agreed to a 10-year, $85 billion plan to modernize U.S. nuclear research and production facilities and to maintain an aging stockpile. The Senate ratified the treaty last December. It entered into force in February.

 Check back to lamonitor.com for more on this developing story.