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Jonathan Medalia, a specialist in nuclear weapons policy with the
Congressional Research Service in Washington, has issued another report in regards to manufacturing nuclear weapons pits.
It’s called “A Decision making approach for Congress” and the Los Alamos National Laboratory is front and center in the report.
Medalia starts off with a little history. First off, a “pit” is the plutonium “trigger” of a thermonuclear weapon.
During the Cold War, the Rocky Flats Plant (Colorado) made up to 2,000 pits per year (ppy), but ceased operations in 1989. Since then,the Department of Energy (DOE) has made at most 11 ppy for the stockpile, yet the Department of Defense stated that it needs DOE to have a capacity of 50 to 80 ppy to extend the life of certain weapons and for other purposes.
Medalia’s report focuses on 80 ppy, the upper end of this range.
And he explains what options are out there.
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