If the clash over rebuilding the nation’s nuclear arms complex has an epicenter, it lies in New Mexico on the flanks of an extinct volcano near an active geologic fault that has sent the project’s costs spiraling upward.
There, in the Jemez Mountains, amid the tall pines and deep canyons of the Los Alamos laboratory, work has begun on a weapons site that, when finished, will rival in size the Capitol in Washington, according to Nuclear Watch, a private group in Santa Fe, N.M.
The jittery foundations of the project and the safeguards meant to deal with earthquakes help explain its soaring costs. Jay Coghlan, the director of Nuclear Watch, said that the project at Los Alamos started in 2004 with a price tag of $660 million — a tiny fraction of its current projected cost of up to $5.8 billion.
So we’re building a crapload of nuclear weapons — on an active fault line. I have only one thing to say about this: if you live in New Mexico, RUN!