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The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announced this week that it had successfully disassembled nuclear weapons “pits” and converted them into more than 240 kg of plutonium oxide, an initial step in permanent plutonium disposition.
The certified oxide is an initial source of feed for NNSA’s Mixed Oxide (MOX) Fuel Fabrication Facility, which is currently under construction at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. The disassembly, conversion and certification, which were completed at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), is a significant accomplishment in an ongoing effort to safely dispose of surplus weapon-grade plutonium.
“The successful conversion of plutonium metal into plutonium oxide resulted from a partnership between NNSA’s Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation and Defense Programs offices and is an important accomplishment that demonstrates a safe and proven process for disassembling nuclear weapon cores that also provides material for the MOX Facility,” said Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Anne Harrington. “This key component of the U.S. plutonium disposition strategy enables the U.S. to meet international nonproliferation commitments while advancing President Obama’s goal of permanently reducing the number of nuclear weapons across the globe.”
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