Second of a series
During his talk in Washington last week, Jonathan Medalia, a specialist in nuclear weapons policy for the Congressional Research Service, talked about existing buildings in relation to pit production.
Medalia said other sites away from LANL could be used including Livermore, Idaho and Savannah. Then he discussed the pros and cons of LANL’s Plutonium Facility (PF-4) and the Radiological Laboratory-Utility-Office Building, which was completed in 2010.
A source said the idea of using existing facilities is nothing new and the lab actually has been doing that very thing.
RLUOB has 19,500 square feet of lab space, plus office space. But as a Radiological Facility, it is permitted to hold 38.6 grams (plutonium) Pu-239E. WGPu (weapons-grade plutonium) is more radioactive than pure Pu-239.
“The utility basement and the laboratory floor above it are made of heavily-reinforced concrete, while the office floors are built to the standards of an emergency response building like a fire station, so RLUOB is much more seismically robust than CMR (Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Building). LANL estimates the cost of moving AC and related work from CMR to RLUOB and PF-4 to be $800 million,” he said.