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Global Security Newswire

Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues

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Los Alamos Operator Charged $10 Million Over Defective Defenses

The contract operator of the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico faces $10 million in penalties over nonfunctioning protective technology installed at the nuclear arms site, the Albuquerque Journal reported on Wednesday.

The payment by Los Alamos National Security is expected to compensate for "potentially unallowable costs” from deploying the problematic $213 million mechanism at the laboratory's Technical Area 55, according to shared remarks issued on Tuesday by the laboratory and the National Nuclear Security Administration. Technical Area 55 is the sole U.S. site for production of plutonium devices that initiate the explosion of nuclear warheads, according to prior reporting.

“[Los Alamos National Security] and NNSA both recognize the missed opportunities in project execution and oversight that took place with the [Nuclear Materials Safeguards and Security Upgrades] project. LANS conveyed an understanding of the seriousness of the situation and the value of its partnership with the government," the release states.

The scientific facility is expected by Monday to complete an updated expense projection for addressing the defects, and finances would become available by Dec. 14 to continue the project, according to the prepared comments. Government personnel have said additional security personnel are stationed at the plutonium site as changes to the defenses move forward.

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