Nation’s bloated nuclear spending comes under fire

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. (AP) – At Los Alamos National Laboratory, a seven-year, $213 million upgrade to the security system that protects the lab’s most sensitive nuclear bomb-making facilities doesn’t work.

In Tennessee, the price tag for a new uranium processing facility has grown nearly sevenfold in eight years to upward of $6 billion because of problems that include a redesign to raise the roof so equipment can fit inside.

Virtually every major project under the National Nuclear Security Administration’s oversight is behind schedule and over budget – the result, watchdogs and government auditors say, of years of lax accountability and nearly automatic budget increases for nuclear contractors.

It’s a problem that’s far from new but is drawing renewed scrutiny as a panel appointed by Congress recently has begun reviewing whether the NNSA should be overhauled.