May 19, 2008

Cost of U.S. Plutonium Lab Soars

Global Security Newswire
Cost estimates for a new U.S. nuclear weapon research facility have continued to grow and the unit’s home laboratory suggested the trend could continue, the Albuquerque Journal reported Friday (see GSN, July 31, 2006).

In 2003, the Los Alamos National Laboratory figured that building the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Building Replacement would cost $500 million, but the figure has now grown to $2.6 billion, according to budget documents released by the Senate Armed Services Committee. The facility would replace an aging laboratory designed to study plutonium and other nuclear materials.

The replacement design has not been completed, so it is too early to estimate final costs, laboratory spokesman Kevin Roark said Thursday.

The committee has recommended slashing the budget request for the facility, preferring to wait for a more detailed plan, the Journal reported (John Fleck, Albuquerque Journal, May 16).


Anonymous said...

Well Yeah! Better cut the losses while they are only at 2.6 Billion....Duh If you let these Morons continue the cost could reach more than the National Deficit, Hey don't laugh LANS is so out control regarding budgets that if Congress doesnt cut the funding now we will all have to pay for this mess. I think this may be one of the last indicators that LANS cannot handle the job.

Anonymous said...

you people at lanl will get your shiny new building to work on pit production, because all of us little people at LLNL are being laid off to help pay for the new building wich RECHTEL will build for the 2.6 billion dollars.

Anonymous said...

Can you imagine the cost of the CMMR soaring to 2.6 Billion!! from 500 million, no wonder Congress is so pissed off at LANL, as we know this type of bait and switch just doesnt work anymore.

Anonymous said...

5/19/08 5:48 PM

Remind me again - what does NIF stand for?

Anonymous said...

Anyone wanna take any bets, as to how long (or short) it will be before the entire LANS falls? I say with-in 1 (one) year this place will self-destruct. They will completely price themselves out of exsistance.

Anonymous said...

NIF = Not Institutionally Fundable

Anonymous said...

With the cost of the CMMR soaring from 500 million to 2.6 billion, I would think that instead of shit-canning the project that Congress would hold LANS accountable. Only then will this kind of waste, fraud, and abuse stop... Congress are you listening???

Anonymous said...

"Anyone wanna take any bets, as to how long (or short) it will be before the entire LANS falls? I say with-in 1 (one) year this place will self-destruct. They will completely price themselves out of exsistance.

5/19/08 7:51 PM"

Hard to believe but you may be right.

Anonymous said...

Doing innovative engineering work well, comprehensively and properly, complete with reviews and re-reviews in a risk averse DOE-lead environment, is time consuming and is probably as Sig Hecker described, impossible.

Allowing $1.3B for purchased equipment and construction, this leaves only ($1.3B/0.5M) for about 500 people about 4-5 years to accomplish this. (No you can't hand it off to Rectel, it will work as well as a green zone toilet.)

That's about the constuction effort for 2-3 high schools. Not much for something that has fear, ALARA and politics to overcome.

I'd triple it.

Refer to the Rand study, "why large projects fail"

(PS/ can't we just buy pits from the Russians or Kahn? At $100M each they seem kinda expensive)

Anonymous said...

Every commodity I know of has been sky-rocketing in price: oil, corn, rice, etc. I guess it's time for plutonium to join the party.

Maybe LANS should start trading plutonium futures on the commodity exchanges and get rich. It could help pay for the CMRR and then some.

Anonymous said...

Goodness gracious, Congress can't slash the CMRR budget! LANS just hired a large number of Bechtel managers and construction engineers to work on this project. What will LANS do with all of these new Bechtel employees if CMRR is coming to a premature end?

Oh, wait, I've got a solution. LANS can encourage more LANL scientists to leave the lab so that LANL can make room for all these unnecessary Bechtel new hires. That should solve the problem, "Mikey Style".

Anonymous said...

10:28 is right on!! Maybe Fidelity can offer a Pu ETF (something like USO or GLD) in their otherwise meager LANS 401(k) offerings.

Anonymous said...

Why large projects fail at LANL: Because the inital project starts out with one set of managers cost engineers, then they are moved out of the project, then another set of real smart guys come in and take over. The original cost estimates are shit canned and a whole new criteria is established. Well, this cycle continues along with a whole lot of screw-ups number changing and phony added costs, then what you have is a project that is costing around 2.6 Billion and no one knows what the hell to do about it.
Welcome to the new America, Sen. Dominici is exteremely silent on this cost over-run, because he knew this was a black hole from the start.

Anonymous said...

I like the new (phrase) Recthal! I vote to have it installed as a permenant name for the new Contractor! What do think? (does it fit?)

Anonymous said...

Of course it is soaring. The initial phase (RLUOB) was given to an unqualified contractor, Austin, with incompetent management who is butchering the project. They continually screw (see crane accidents, concrete, structural steel issues) everything up and don't correct the underlyong problems. Everything is... take the risk and ask for forgiveness later. Bechtel (Holmes) says the project is under budget and ahead of schedule. PUHLEEEZZZE. He needs to be put out of his misery. Why is Austin still running that job? It is going to take 2.6 billion to finish RLUOB!!!!

Anonymous said...

too bad their wasn't a journalistic value written in the article.

Let's look at severalongoing construction projects for the DOE. Cost increases over 100% are the norm...

1. Waste Vitrification Building at Hanfors. CD-3 at $5B, with the cost increasing to $12.5B after 1 year of construction.

2. MOX FFF at SRS. Estimated at $1.3B before at CD-3 level of $4.9B. And currently being rebaselined due to budget issues.

3. Uranium Facility at Oak Ridge...currently several $100 million over approved budget.

4. An oldie but a goodie...the PDCF at SRS. Proposed to cost $600million in 1998. It has yet to be baselined but insides indicate that it will exceed $3B. And they have already spent several $100 million in designe and are still several years away.

There are cheaper ways to do things! Perhaps somebody out to look at costruction activities. The GAO did a study several years ago and highlighted much of this. Yet nothing has changed. In the case of CMRR, they don't even have a design so why complain about the increasing costs...Have you tried to buy cement and steel these days? Better yet, build a nuclear facility that must meet the requirements of a nuclear reactor?

Perhaps the local journalists would like to try researching an article instead of pandering to the local anti-nuc wacos.

Anonymous said...

"....Sen. Dominici is exteremely silent on this cost over-run..."

Like Tony Sorpano, he's at the Badda Bing, celebrating the victory. More money for the family.

Anonymous said...

2.6 billion pesos ain't much dinero. The greenback ain't worth horse manure.

Anonymous said...

"...Perhaps the local journalists would like to try researching an article..."

start with the Rand Corp study, "Why large projects fail"
It's an easy read, about 80 pages covering about 50 projects.

Gives all the symptoms. Arms journalists with the right questions. sick em boys.

deep throat