Senate approves spending bill

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By The Staff

The Senate gave final approval to the 2010 Energy and Water Appropriation Bill, which contains funding for Los Alamos National Laboratory. The bill now goes to the White House to be signed.

Senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall, both New Mexico Democrats, voted with the majority. In a joint announcement Thursday, they called special attention to funds for New Mexico’s two national laboratories, the Waste Isolation Pilot Project and a variety of key water-related projects.  

The senators made a priority this year to restore $20 million in funding for upgrades to the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (LANSCE)), that were cut from the administration’s budget earlier this year.

 “I’m very glad we were successful in our efforts to prove that LANSCE is too important to the country to shut it down.  With this funding, LANL can continue to use LANSCE to perform a key component of its stockpile stewardship mission,” Bingaman said.  “In general, this bill does a very good job funding our national laboratories, WIPP and key water initiatives in our state.”

 “We faced an uphill battle to save the LANSCE facility at LANL, but I am proud to say that when the president signs this bill, we will have done just that,” Udall said. “With this legislation, we have made sure Congress recognizes the critical role LANSCE plays in preserving our national security and providing solid scientific research. In addition, we are making significant investments at WIPP in Carlsbad to make sure we have a safe facility, more needed environmental cleanup and job security for employees working there.”

The bill contains $6.38 billion in stockpile stewardship for the National Nuclear Security Administration, much of which will be directed to Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories. 

Other lab related items highlighted by the Senators in the bill include $196 million for environmental cleanup, $97 million for the Chemistry and Metallurgy Facility Replacement Project and $10 million for radiological facilities to conduct nuclear energy research.