Congress fears that the deal with the weapons lab would have allowed NEC Corp. to acquire U.S. software expertise
A move by the U.S. Senate to give scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory the chance to buy and test a new Japanese supercomputer has been derailed by political fears that such purchases would hurt home-grown companies and contribute to the erosion of the nation's competitive edge.

Language that would have given Livermore explicit permission to purchase a supercomputer from Tokyo-based NEC Corp. was adopted by a Senate panel and modified slightly by the full Senate as part of a 1991 funding bill that covers energy and water projects. The wording was watered down, however, in a conference agreement with the House of Representatives in the last few weeks before Congress adjourned last month. The final version gives the Energy Department, which funds the $1 billion-a-year nuclear weapons lab, permission to...

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