LOS ALAMOS, N.M. — The man who has led Los Alamos National Laboratory since 2011 plans to retire at the end of the year.

The announcement from Charles McMillan comes as oversight of the nuclear research lab is set to move to a new group once the current multibillion-dollar management contract expires in 2018.

Los Alamos has struggled with a string of safety lapses involving the handling of plutonium and radioactive waste and was found responsible for a 2014 mishap that forced the closure of the nation’s only underground nuclear waste repository.

McMillan told employees Tuesday it has been an honor to be the lab’s director and he has been in awe of the people working there and contributing to the nation’s security.

Federal officials say a replacement for McMillan is expected to be named later this year.

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