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NNSA releases draft assessment of LANL plutonium factory complex

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By Tris DeRoma

The National Nuclear Security Administration released a draft environmental assessment for one part of its proposed Plutonium Factory Complex at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The heads of two environmental and nuclear safety organizations say the assessment shows the plutonium pit program will remain at Los Alamos, and be expanded.

The NNSA is looking for comments and questions through March 26 on it’s plans to convert the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Radiological Laboratory/Utility/Office Building into a facility capable of handling and testing plutonium slated to be used in the lab’s plutonium pit manufacturing facility at Tech Area 55. 

The move comes after recent changes related to the health risks of handling plutonium were revised. To reflect the change, the building would be made into a material-at-risk-limited Hazard Category 3 nuclear facility.

Los Alamos Study Group Executive Director Greg Mello said this is a sign that LANL’s plutonium pit manufacturing program is here to stay in Los Alamos.

Speaking as the executive director of an environmental and nuclear safety group, he does not see this as a good thing.


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