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New Mexico senators push for annual reports on lab safety

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico’s U.S. senators are pushing for language to be included in a major defense spending bill that they say would bolster safety at national laboratories in the state.

Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich have proposed that the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board report to Congress each year on what additional resources are needed to ensure that operations at Sandia and Los Alamos labs are safe.

The independent oversight panel found earlier this year that many of the safety systems in place at Los Alamos date to the 1970s and will need to be upgrading to meet future demands.

Los Alamos, the birthplace of the atomic bomb, restarted development last year of plutonium cores used to trigger the explosion in nuclear weapons. The U.S. Energy Department wants to ramp up production.

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