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Albuquerque, N.M. – The federal agency that oversees the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile is expected this week to release a report on the best site option for the United States as it looks to ramp up production of the plutonium cores that trigger nuclear warheads.

New Mexico’s U.S. senators have pushed to keep the work at Los Alamos National Laboratory – the northern New Mexico site where the atomic bomb was developed decades ago.

The other contender is the Savannah River Site in South Carolina.

At stake are hundreds of jobs and billions of dollars in federal funding needed to either revamp existing buildings or construct new factories.

The core production mission has been based at Los Alamos for years but not a single core has been produced since 2011.

The lab has been dogged by a string of safety lapses and accountability issues.

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