The Los Alamos National Laboratory's contract operator has recruited a legal team to assist in seeking compensation from firms involved in deploying a flawed protective mechanism at the New Mexico nuclear weapons site, the Los Alamos Monitor reported on Saturday.
Despite the move -- reported initially by the Nuclear Weapons and Materials Monitor -- Los Alamos National Security is ultimately responsible for covering the $41 million in projected costs for eliminating technical flaws in the apparatus, according to the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration. Repair money could come out of the contractor's performance reward compensation, or from a funding tranche intended for a plutonium research facility planned at Los Alamos.
Laboratory chief Charles McMillan indicated the project is now expected to require $254 million, up from a previously estimate of $213 million. The mechanism is designed to help secure the Technical Area 55 plutonium research and processing facility.