NRC suggests improvements at three national security laboratory after evaluations

The National Research Council conducted evaluations of research and engineering at three national security laboratories and although no problems were found, the NRC did suggest changes to enhance the laboratories' future quality.

Congress recently asked the National Research Council, the working arm of the National Academy of Sciences, to conduct evaluations at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories. The reviews were intended to look at four areas of the laboratories' primary missions: weapons design, system design with regard to aging, weapons science base and simulation.

The NRC report said the laboratories were all "healthy and vibrant." The evaluations did find, however, a few areas that the NRC said could limit the laboratories' quality of work in the near future.

The NRC suggested the laboratories enhance the technology of their simulation sector to remain up-to-date on ever-evolving weapon technology and update the equipment the labs use for experiments. The report also said the current risk management system takes a long time to function due to safety precautions, costing the laboratories resources.

The last recommendation in the NRC's report was the construction or organization of smaller laboratories, both for employee convenience and to divvy up production efforts at multiple locations.