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New team to manage nuclear weapons lab in New Mexico via Las Vegas Review-Journal

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Overseeing a top nuclear weapons laboratory that has had security and safety problems will be the responsibility of a new management team that includes two universities and a research firm that does work around the world, the U.S. government announced Friday.

The National Nuclear Security Administration chose Triad National Security LLC as the winning bidder to manage Los Alamos National Laboratory, the birthplace of the atomic bomb. Comprised of Ohio-based Battelle Memorial Institute, Texas A&M University and the University of California, the team will begin taking over later this year.

[…]

The lab in recent years has mishandled plutonium and mistakenly shipped nuclear material to other federal facilities via a commercial cargo plane. It also inappropriately packaged waste that led to a radiation release and a nearly three-year closure of the nation’s only underground nuclear waste repository.

Criticism of the lab’s safety record has intensified as the federal government pushes to restart production of plutonium cores for the nation’s nuclear weapons arsenal.

[…]

Gordon-Hagerty was referring to a recent recommendation by her agency that Los Alamos each year produce at least 30 plutonium cores — the triggers for nuclear warheads.

Production of the cores has been based at Los Alamos since the 1990s, although none have been turned out since 2011 because of safety problems and concerns about a lack of accountability.

At least 50 cores, also known as pits, will be produced each year at the U.S. Energy Department’s Savanna River Site in South Carolina under the recommendations outlined in May.

The effort is worth hundreds of jobs and billions of dollars in federal funding that would be needed to either revamp existing buildings or construct new factories to support the work.

The National Nuclear Security Administration said Triad was “the best value” when all factors were considered and will provide future stability for up to 10 years if all contract options are exercised.

Read more at New team to manage nuclear weapons lab in New Mexico 

Related article: $2.5 billion contract awarded to manage Los Alamos nuclear weapons lab via The Japan Times

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