CMRR Public Meeting Set For Thursday, March 10 at Fuller Lodge

March 4, 2011

The budget for the $6 billion Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement (CMRR) Project will be a major topic at the Thursday, March 10th public meeting at Fuller Lodge in Los Alamos from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. The Department of Energy (DOE) requested $300 million for Fiscal Year 2012 for the CMRR Project, located at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). Approximately $30 million is for equipment in the Radiological Laboratory, Utility, and Office Building. But DOE has not released information about how they plan to spend the remaining $270 million.

For Fiscal Year 2011, DOE requested about $242 million for the CMRR Project, which includes the proposed Nuclear Facility. But because of the on-going Continuing Resolution, it is uncertain how much funding it will receive this year. And it is not a target to be cut.

The meeting is the result of a 2005 settlement of an appeal by the "Interested Parties" of an air permit issued by the New Mexico Environment Department for emissions released during construction of the CMRR Project. The Interested Parties is comprised of CCNS, Nuclear Watch New Mexico, Loretto Community, Tewa Women United, Embudo Valley Environmental Monitoring Group, Peace Action New Mexico, and the New Mexico Environmental Law Center. The settlement requires DOE to host public meetings every six months.

Given the escalation of increase in CMRR cost estimates from $600 million to over $6 billion in the past seven years, the Interested Parties submitted a series of budget questions for DOE to address at the meeting. For example, one asks whether DOE would find any price so high as to be prohibitive to construct the proposed Nuclear Facility.

To learn more about the semi-annual meetings, please visit:

In related news, DOE plans to release a draft supplemental environmental impact statement for the CMRR Nuclear Facility this month, along with a statement for the Biological Safety Level-3 Laboratory at LANL. DOE has released a statement to bring Greater-Than-Class C low-level waste to Area G at LANL , the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, or other sites around the country. DOE has not yet announced the dates for the public hearings about the draft CMRR statement. Thus one draft environmental impact statement has reached the scheduling process, with two more expected shortly.

Further, the New Mexico Environment Department plans to release a draft five-year permit for air emissions from facilities across the LANL site for public review and comment in the next few weeks.

Joni Arends, of CCNS, said, "New Mexicans are getting slammed with three environmental impact statements during the spring holidays. Please contact your elected representatives and tell them that poor planning on DOE's part should not place extra burdens on New Mexicans. Ask your representatives to tell DOE that each environmental impact statement process should be complete in itself without overlapping another one. Thank you."

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