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In 2003, pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Department of Energy’s semi-autonomous National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) completed an Environmental Impact Statement for its proposed Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement (CMRR) Project at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). Simply put, CMRR is a huge new plutonium facility for expanded nuclear weapons production. CMRR’s first phase, the 185,000 square-feet “Radiological Laboratory, Utility and Office Building” (RULOB or “Rad Lab”), was completed in September 2009, costing $400 million (including equipment), but will not handle large quantities of “special nuclear materials,” like plutonium. For that purpose, the CMRR’s final phase is the proposed “Nuclear Facility.” The Nuclear Facility (NF) will provide crucial “materials characterization” and “analytical chemistry” in direct support of plutonium pit production. If built, the Nuclear Facility will be located next door to Plutonium Facility-4 (PF-4), LANL’s existing pit production facility, and the two will be physically linked to each other via underground tunnel. The NF will also supply PF-4 and LANL’s plutonium complex with a vault to store up to six metric tons of plutonium. As such the NF will be the keystone to an expanded plutonium complex at LANL capable of quadrupling the current production capability of 20 pits per year to up to 80. Design of the Nuclear Facility has already cost nearly a half billion dollars and is still only ~50% complete. Because of the recognition of greater seismic risks and a proposed 50% increase in size, NNSA was compelled by citizen pressure to prepare a supplemental EIS, which was released on April 22.


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