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Congressman Eric Swalwell

Representing the 15th District of California


Swalwell Rallies Support for Projects to Benefit Lawrence Livermore and Sandia National Labs

March 21, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (CA-15) led 13 other House members in urging funding for two projects to benefit Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and the California campus of Sandia National Laboratory (SNL), so that the labs’ workers can remain safe while completing their mission to keep America safe and thriving.

Swalwell’s letter to the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee asks that the panel support President Obama’s fiscal year 2017 funding requests for two items – $500,000 toward a new Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at LLNL and $25.1 million for electrical infrastructure upgrades at both labs.

LLNL and Sandia are primarily responsible with ensuring the safety, security, and reliability of our nation’s nuclear deterrent. They also work on other important issues ranging from nuclear proliferation and terrorism to energy shortages and climate change, all of which threaten national security and global stability.

“Employees at Lawrence Livermore and Sandia national labs work hard to keep America safe and conduct ground-breaking research; we must give them the infrastructure and support they need to continue those missions,” Swalwell said. “An investment in the labs is a sound investment in the future of America’s energy and national security.”

The current electrical systems at LLNL are insufficient to provide reliable power to the labs. A single-point power line failure could darken parts of both labs, and the current infrastructure is inadequate for planned growth in LLNL’s high-performance computing functions.

LLNL’s current EOC since 2002 has been housed on the second floor of a 30 year-old building which was meant to be only a temporary location. Perhaps most troubling, the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board found in 2014 that the current EOC may not be safe during a catastrophic event, just when it would be needed most.

“Everyone at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory appreciates the administration's intent to fund needed infrastructure projects at the Lab,” said LLNL Director Dr. Bill Goldstein. “The Emergency Operations Center and expanded Electrical Distribution System projects will enable us to more safely and securely carry out our mission, while providing capabilities in harmony with our local community. We’re grateful to Rep. Swalwell and his colleagues for their steadfast support.”

The Alameda County Fire Department supports the new EOC, as it also would house the Alameda County Regional Emergency Communication Center which handles about 200,000 emergency calls per year across the county. It also would function as a coordination center for the California Office of Emergency Services Fire & Rescue Region II, directing mutual aid resources deploying to or from much of Northern and Central California during catastrophic events such as floods, fires and earthquakes.

The county’s communications center already operates on LLNL’s campus, but in an old building that does not provide sufficient space for its mission.

“A new EOC at Lawrence Livermore would help us make Alameda County, and this entire region of California, a safer place for all residents,” Alameda County Fire Chief David Rocha said. “We thank Congressman Swalwell for pushing for this funding.”

Read the letter here.