Though we won’t know for sure until the fiscal year 2013 budget is released on February 13, reports suggest that the Obama administration has decided to delay construction of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s multi-billion dollar facility, the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility (CMRR-NF). I recently wrote a piece on this topic titled, “The Case Against Increasing Plutonium Pit Production Capacity.”
The key findings are:
1. While the CMRR-NF will be used for a range of activities, it can also be used to support an increase plutonium pit production capacity.
2. The Obama administration Nuclear Posture Review endorsed the Bush administration’s concept of a responsive infrastructure, restating that new nuclear warhead production facilities will serve as a “hedge against technical or geopolitical surprise.”
3. By the time of its scheduled completion date of 2024, most nuclear weapons in the arsenal will have already been refurbished or in the middle of a refurbishment.
4. Increased capacity would inhibit opportunities for increasing security by altering perceptions about the U.S. commitment to reductions or disarmament.
5. Given the potential risks involved, the current budget environment presents an opportunity for Congress to reevaluate whether it is necessary to move ahead with this facility.
You can read the entire piece here.