Thursday, February 10, 2005

LANL Sees Budget Hike; Sandia Funds Drop

Albuquerque Journal North
Thursday, February 10, 2005

LANL Sees Budget Hike; Sandia Funds Drop

By Adam Rankin
Journal Staff Writer
For the second year in a row, New Mexico's take of the Department of Energy budget is scheduled to decrease, according to the 2006 fiscal year funding request made public earlier this week.
Across the state's two national laboratories and various U.S. Energy Department projects, New Mexico is slated to get $4.1 billion, or about $20 million less than it did for 2005, a decrease of about 0.5 percent.
Los Alamos National Laboratory is expected to see a slight budget increase, but funding for Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque will be cut, according to the proposal.
"While there are some positive elements to this budget proposal, overall New Mexico's labs don't fare as well as I would like them to," Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., said in a statement.
DOE's statewide funding drop, if Congress meets the request, is less than the previous year when New Mexico's DOE projects saw a decrease of $88.1 million from $4.2 billion to $4.1 billion, a 2.1 percent reduction.
"This is, without a doubt, one of the tightest budgets I've ever seen," said Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., adding in a statement that the core funding is still adequate: "For our labs, their basic programs are well-funded."
Los Alamos National Laboratory is slated for a 1.6 percent funding increase from $1.8 billion to $1.83 billion, but with significant cuts in several project areas, including nuclear waste disposal, a 12 percent cut, and fossil fuel energy research, a 45 percent cut.
Also seeing significant cuts at LANL is nuclear weapons research, which is projected to be down $63.3 million, a 4.5 percent drop from 2005.
Both LANL and Sandia are expected to see significant cuts in their advanced simulation and computing campaigns that are part of the DOE's stockpile stewardship program to ensure the safety and viability of the nation's nuclear weapons without testing.
DOE proposes to cut LANL's computer simulation budget by $46 million, a 24 percent cut, and decrease Sandia's computer simulation funds by $48.5 million, or 28 percent.
"I am concerned about the impacts that these reductions will have on our ability to carry out the life extension programs with our nuclear weapons systems that are so critical to monitoring the safety and reliability of our stockpile," Bingaman said.
The largest proposed budget increases at LANL come by way of funding for nuclear non-proliferation work, which is scheduled for a $78.8 million increase, a jump of 56 percent, to $220 million.
Domenici said he is pleased with the administration's emphasis on non-proliferation programs, which will benefit New Mexico's labs.
Sandia, however, is projected to see a decrease in funding for its non-proliferation work from $145 million to $137 million, a drop of about 5.5 percent.
Overall, Sandia's proposed 2006 budget of approximately $1.4 billion is $121 million less than in 2005.
Basic science research at both Sandia and LANL is targeted for significant cuts in the proposed budget. LANL is facing a $15 million cut from $70 million in 2005 to $55 million in 2006, a 21 percent decrease. Sandia's science cuts are less severe but still pegged at a 12 percent drop from $64.8 million in 2005 to $57 million for 2006.
Bingaman said he was pleased with funding increases for LANL's environmental cleanup projects, which increased overall about 21 percent to $142 million, up about $25 million. Of that, about $2.2 million is proposed for short-term cleanup through 2012.
State Environment Department chief Ron Curry said he expects LANL to have some spending discretion with its environmental funding so it can meet the time line and schedule agreed upon in a recent "fence-to-fence" cleanup consent order with DOE.
"That doesn't mean, however, that we will not continue to be vigilant, making sure cleanup is done on the time schedule that is set forth," he said.

Let's see now: LANL will see a $78.8 million increase, which is offset by, I forget now, how many 100's of millions lost as a result of customers taking their money elsewhere because of the shutdown?

Pete, could you refresh my memory on that one, please?
but wouldn't a Sandian on this morning wish he had George P Nanos as a director rather than C Paul Robinson?
Absolutely. To know Pete is to love him. Ask anybody at LANL.
You want to trade? You can have Pete. Really. We'll even sweeten the deal with a few AD's, free.
There are a bunch of people at Sandia who would be happy to see Mr Rogers depart.
It's not often LANL and Sandia agree on anything, so how about this: we'll agree take Mr. Rogers, you can have Vice Admiral Nanos. A month later we'll compare notes to see who came out the worse for the deal.
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