- Associated Press - Thursday, November 16, 2017

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - A measure aimed to bolstering oversight of the nation’s nuclear weapons complex has been passed by Congress as part of a $700 billion defense spending plan.

U.S. Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich of New Mexico say their amendment to the massive military budget bill addresses the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board. The independent panel oversees two national laboratories in the state and the federal government’s only underground nuclear waste repository.

The measure requires board members to report to Congress each year about whether the White House’s budget request for the board is enough to fund reviews deemed necessary to ensure safe operations at the U.S. Energy Department sites.

Supporters say the board’s role is critical given a series of safety lapses at Los Alamos National Laboratory and a planned uptick in nuclear weapons work.

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