A new federal agency should be formed to take over and manage the nuclear weapons laboratories, an independent task force commissioned by the National Nuclear Security Administration has concluded. The panel, organized as a task force of the Henry L. Stimson Center, an arms control think tank, determined that NNSA, the semi-autonomous weapons arm of the US Department of Energy (DOE), can no longer afford to maintain the labs’ scientific infrastructures by itself as its budget steadily declines and with no new weapons design or manufacture on the horizon.

The proposed new agency would spread responsibility for the labs’ upkeep among the various departments that use them, the task force said. The existing contracting arrangements through which the Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Homeland Security, the intelligence agencies, and others pay for research performed at Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore, and Sandia national laboratories and at the Nevada Test Site...

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