Shutdown Could Force NNSA to Close Sandia, Los Alamos National Labs

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Nuclear powerplantThe National Nuclear Security Administration is preparing to cease operations at New Mexico-based Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories should the government shutdown continue to Oct. 21, ABQJournal reported Wednesday.

James Monteleone writes the NNSA’s plan could ultimately lead to nearly 18,000 furloughs in the New Mexico labs.

“If a shutdown is needed, programmatic work will not be conducted. Those functions that NNSA directs us to continue will be extremely limited,” Sandia president Paul Hommert told employees in an Oct. 8 letter.

Los Alamos officials already furloughed more than 290 subcontractors who work to process nuclear waste shipments and oversee environmental monitoring projects, according to the report.

Monteleone writes the Los Alamos stands to furlough approximately 9,400 workers on Oct. 21 if the congressional budget lapse continues.

Furlough-exempt lab employees will remain in place to protect nuclear materials, oversee computer systems and monitor emergencies, ABQJournal reports.