UC regents open discussion on laboratories

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By Roger Snodgrass

Meeting in San Francisco Wednesday, the University of California Board of Regents heard disagreements about the university’s role in the nation’s nuclear weapons program.Criticism came this time not only from students, who are often vocal during regents’ meetings, but also from California Lt.-Gov. John Garamendi, a Democrat and an ex officio member of the board, who said he was “deeply disturbed” by what he heard.An audio webcast of an open session of the Committee on Oversight of the Department of Energy laboratories began with a complaint by the board’s faculty representative, Michael Brown. Also the chair of the Academic Senate and an advisory member of the laboratory oversight committee, Brown said the faculty was concerned about the federal government’s plan currently under discussion to increase pit manufacturing from 50 to 80 nuclear triggers a year at Los Alamos National Laboratory, and that the university was locked into a long-term contract with the DOE  from which it could not escape.Later, in the brief segment of the three-day meeting, the regents heard a report led by Norm Pattiz, the new chairman of the board of the limited liability corporations that own Los Alamos National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

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