The federal agency that oversees the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile is expected this week to release a report on the best option for the United States as it looks to ramp up production of the plutonium cores that trigger nuclear warheads.
At stake are hundreds of jobs and billions of dollars in federal funding that would be needed to either revamp existing buildings or construct new factories to support the work.
New Mexico’s U.S. senators have been pushing to keep the work at Los Alamos National Laboratory — the northern New Mexico site where the atomic bomb was developed decades ago.
The other contender is the Savannah River Site in South Carolina.
The mission of producing the cores has been based at Los Alamos for years but not a single pit has been produced since 2011 as the lab has been dogged by a string of safety lapses and accountability issues.