.....Advertisement.....
.....Advertisement.....
Courtesy
Greg Mello
Why LANL cannot host a plutonium pit factory

By Greg Mello
Los Alamos Study Group, Guest Columnist

At the end of the Cold War it made sense for the Department of Energy (DOE) to consolidate and temporarily preserve pit production technology at LANL. Given the National Nuclear Security Administration’s(NNSA’s) mandate, it still does.

However, hopes for a reliable, small, pit production capacity at LANL – let alone an enduring one that could quantitatively contribute to maintaining the nuclear stockpile over decades – didn’t pan out.

In 1989, when the Berlin Wall came down and the Rocky Flats Plant madeits last pit, PF-4 was only 11 years old. The extent of LANL’s seismic hazard was then unknown, officially at least.

Likewise, the poor geotechnical properties of the unconsolidated volcanic sediments at LANL’s TA-55 were unknown then.

They were certainly plain to see in the surrounding terrain and in records of TA-55 borings.