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New Mexico Senators Tom Udall and Jeff Bingaman wrote letters Thursday to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Energy Secretary Steven Chu, expressing their concerns with the National Nuclear Security Administration’s decision to defer construction of the Chemistry Metallurgy Research Replacement facility.
The letters, dated Thursday, detail consequences of delaying the beleaguered project for five years.
The letters state:
“• First, it will adversely impact our nation’s scientific capabilities, especially in analytical chemistry and materials characterization that are central to assuring the safety, reliability and performance of the nuclear deterrent.
“• Second, as both current and former lab directors have testified, further delay will likely result in further cost escalation in the ultimate construction of the required replacement facility.
“• Third, the NNSA’s proposed alternative is a high risk option, which may not meet national security requirements for stockpile stewardship, and which will likely take 10 years to implement and cost an additional $800 million.”
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