Thursday, October 28, 2010

Chu Asks for New Review of Lab

Possible good news:

John Fleck at the Albuquerque Journal reports:

Chu Asks for New Review of Lab 

The head of the Energy Department has launched another review of a proposed multibillion dollar plutonium lab, along with a similar project in Tennessee, amid concerns about the projects' costs.
        Energy Secretary Steven Chu has asked for an independent committee of experts with "no stake in the outcome" to review the need for the two projects, according to an agency statement.
        The proposed Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement building at Los Alamos would replace a 50-year-old lab that works with plutonium. Federal officials have repeatedly argued that the building is vital for the lab's nuclear weapons work. It is years behind schedule, and its current price tag of at least $4 billion is already far over its original budget, despite the fact that design work has not yet been completed.

Read more here.

I am pursuing how sincere and objective this effort is and will report back when (and if ) I learn more about whether this truly is an " independent committee " with " "no stake in the outcome".

We have been arguing long and hard of the desirability of reviewing "the need" for the CMRR.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I must report that I did my graduate work in economics at UCLA under Armen Alchian.  If one learns nothing else from Armen, one realizes that "needs" is a term that has value only if one does not wish to discuss the merits of a sale, but tries to frame the discussion in such a way as to preclude other options from being considered.

So...... until DOE Secretary Chu stops using the term "needs", paint me more than dubious.

I should also disclose that my late father worked in weapons design for most of his career, including various stints at RAND "studying nuclear weapons effectiveness."

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