Favorable bill for N.M. labs recommended

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LANSCE and CMRR get funds

By The Staff

U.S. Senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall cheered the outcome of a conference committee bill that contains funding for New Mexico’s national laboratories.

The funds are contained in an Energy and Water appropriations bill that will now head to the full House and full Senate for final passage before it can go to the president for a signature.

The state’s two Democratic senators highlighted the committee’s recommendation for  $20 million in upgrades for the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (LANSCE), a project they had both supported when it was not included in the administration budget and appeared to be dropped in the House version of the bill.

The senators had argued that the one-of-a-kind facility was too important to shut down.

Bingaman and Udall also noted $97 million had been included in the final bill for the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement facility, which was included in the Senate version of the bill but not the House version.

“Overall, this is a very good bill for New Mexico’s two national laboratories.  But I am especially pleased that we were able to save LANSCE by securing $20 million to upgrade this important facility,” Bingaman said.

 “The conference legislation the House and Senate will now vote on, and send to the President, recognizes the critical role the LANSCE facility at LANL plays in preserving our national security and providing solid scientific research,” Udall said. “Senator Bingaman and I were determined in our fight for this funding so that our nation will continue to benefit from LANSCE’s dual-use capabilities.”

The bill also contains $6.38 billion in stockpile stewardship for the National Nuclear Security.