Analysis offers options for plutonium pit production

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Posted: Sunday, March 2, 2014 9:15 pm | Updated: 5:29 pm, Mon Mar 3, 2014.

Los Alamos National Laboratory is the only place making plutonium pits for nuclear warheads, and the lab has spent years and millions of taxpayer dollars trying to figure out a way to produce more for the U.S. Department of Defense.

A new analysis by the Congressional Research Service says there are several cheaper options available than building new billion-dollar underground plutonium production facilities.

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  • Rod Oldehoeft posted at 5:30 pm on Mon, Mar 3, 2014.

    Rod Oldehoeft Posts: 23

    It was clear in 2006 that new science was mostly over at LANL. Their computer simulation capabilities of primaries and secondaries had been enhanced enough to give their physicists "confidence" in the results, and that whole underlying software stack is portable to new supercomputers, so most all of the CS stars who built the infrastructure and had not left earlier departed. Recall that LANL, LLNL, and SNL leadership must report to the President, annually, whether the nuclear weapon stockpile is safe and useful, they do that now with smaller experiments than underground testing and via simulation. So they do that.

    The drive to convert the place into a pit factory was apparent in 2006, but that has not worked out well. Diversification into other research has worked much better at SNL than LANL, cannot speak to LLNL's efforts.

    If pit production is moved elsewhere, what is LANL's reason for existence? In the worst case, the economic damage to northern NM will be devastating.

  • Paul White posted at 3:22 pm on Mon, Mar 3, 2014.

    Pabloblanco Posts: 45

    With WIPP collapsing where will the waste go?

  • Philip Taccetta posted at 7:33 am on Mon, Mar 3, 2014.

    PhiltheElder Posts: 188

    "No new buildings and with minimal environmental impact” - how can any environmental impact be "minimal" when you're dealing with plutonium?

  • Joseph Hempfling posted at 10:39 pm on Sun, Mar 2, 2014.

    joehempfling Posts: 186

    LANL according to people in the know is nothing more than a BLACK HOLE into which we, the taxpayers POUR money. Most of it going else where and all the talk about efficiency, effectiveness etc is smoke and mirrors ! How many times are we given the same old same old stories, little done if anything and the same senario repeated the next year, year after year with nothing accomplished and nothing ever completed. p.s. ONE nuclear bomb could ruin your whole day ! And with literally thousands already built, why do we need and/or continue to build more? And on top of an already identified earth quake fault no less !!


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