CMRR project may not be dead yet

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Politics: House Armed Services Committee votes 38-24 for $160 million in funding for project

By John Severance

The House Armed Services Committee took another look at the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility and voted 38-24 to authorize the project.

The amendment was a part of $643 billion defense bill passed by the committee early Thursday morning. There still is a long way to go. The bill still has to be passed by the House and the Senate.

The first of two amendments was sponsored by Rep. Michael Turner (R-Ohio).  Turner’s second amendment placed construction of the CMRR and a uranium processing facility project to be built in Oak Ridge, Tenn., under control of the Defense Department and not the Department of Energy, according to Hill.com.

Turner says his amendments were designed to “expedite” the construction process, which he said is supposed to be operational before 2024. Turner cited President Obama’s statements on the plutonium facility before the New START treaty with Russia was passed.

 The Nuclear Weapons and Materials Monitor, a trade publication, reported earlier that Republicans on the committee would make a strong statement about the CMRR-NF at Wednesday’s markup of the Fiscal Year 2013 Defense Authorization Act.

Markup documents released this week reveal that the committee plans to authorize $100 million in FY2013 spending for the project, which coupled with $160 million in unspent money would come close to matching year-old FY2013 spending estimates for the project.

The Obama Administration had plans to defer the project for five years by zeroing out funding for the project. LANL released a statement earlier this week concerning the Plan B alternative for the CMRR project.

“With NNSA direction and coordination, we are working to implement a detailed close-out plan that includes completing CMRR phase one, the Radiological Laboratory Utility Office Building, and ensuring CMRR phase two the Nuclear Facility, design documents are captured, cataloged and retrievable to preserve the government’s investment. 

“NNSA and LASO accepted LANL’s proposed plan as a responsible approach to capturing the government’s investment in a cost effective and timely manner,” read a statement from the LANL Communications Office.    

CMRR may have a pulse

Thank you Mr. Turner. Where were the gutless wonders New Mexico has in Washington? It is sad to think that we, in Los Alamos, have to rely on others to help manage a national resource.