Report: Labs to remain under DOE

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By The Staff

A notion about moving the U.S. nuclear weapons complex from the Department of Energy to the Defense Department may have been averted, according to Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez, just back from a visit to the White House.

Or, the focus of the study may have changed to evaluating the role of the National Nuclear Security Administration in overseeing the laboratories, as Jude McCartin, a spokewswoman for Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., suggested.

Chavez and mayors from around the country met with President Barack Obama to discuss the economic stimulus package and talked with a handful of Cabinet secretaries, including Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

Chavez says he talked with Chu about the Obama administration's plans to study a transfer of oversight of the labs, including Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories, to the Pentagon.

An Office of Management and Budget memo made public earlier this month directed the two departments and the National Nuclear Security Administration to study the idea and report back by Sept. 30.

I think that one is nipped in the bud," Chavez said of the idea.

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