Udall pushes for LANL growth

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By Carol A. Clark

Citing Sandia as the model to mimic, Rep. Tom Udall, D-N.M., is urging Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Michael Anastasio to seek funding to expand non-weapon areas such as nonproliferation, energy security and energy renewables. The issue, Udall said, is the shrinking nuclear weapons footprint in the country. “The administration has decided it can be shrunk down and still be effective,” he said. “Los Alamos has the biggest share and so it can take the biggest hit of the three labs (LANL, Sandia and Lawrence Livermore). My vision is to try to get the lab to diversify in a number of ways that they are already doing on a small scale.”Udall said he has spoken with Anastasio about the "Sandia model" on several occasions. About six years ago, Sandia saw the shrinkage coming and decided to get out in front of it, Udall said, adding they came down from some 75-percent weapons to 50-percent weapons. They’ve done it in such a way that they’re now diversified, so this latest shrinkage is going to be minimal, maybe just 70-80 jobs, he said. “I told Mike (Anastasio) he needs to get out there and hustle for the lab like Sandia did – to work with various agencies in the government to grow these areas,” Udall said during an interview Wednesday at the Los Alamos Research Park.

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