US senators: Budget proposal stifles contamination cleanup

New Mexico

FILE – In this Tuesday, April 9, 2019 file photo, provided by Los Alamos National Laboratory, barrels of radioactive waste are loaded for transport to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant at the Radioactive Assay Nondestructive Testing (RANT) facility in Los Alamos, N.M. The Trump administration’s proposed budget for the U.S. Energy Department drew criticism Tuesday, March 3, 2020, as Democratic senators voiced concerns that spending to clean up sites contaminated by decades of nuclear research and bomb-making was being cut in order to fund modernization of the nation’s nuclear arsenal. (Nestor Trujillo/Los Alamos National Laboratory via AP, File)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Democratic senators are concerned the Trump administration’s proposed budget for the U.S. Energy Department calls for less to clean up nuclear research and bomb-making sites and significantly more to fund modernization of the nation’s nuclear arsenal.

The proposal includes nearly $27 billion, most of which would go toward nuclear security work that includes restarting production of the plutonium cores that are used as triggers inside nuclear weapons.

The plutonium work would be split between sites in New Mexico and South Carolina.

Less than one-quarter of the funding would be used for environmental projects in New Mexico, Washington state and elsewhere.

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