The nation’s defense relies on a reliable nuclear deterrent. In the coming years, the nuclear weapons deterrent will require modernization, including the manufacture of plutonium pits for use in the systems.
Savannah River Site is under consideration to support the future Pit Production mission. For more than 60 years, SRS has supported the defense of the country. Starting with DuPont, SRS operations contractors have set the global standard for nuclear safety and security. SRS has demonstrated the ability to conduct large-scale plutonium operations in a safe, secure and environmentally responsible manner. This includes all phases of plutonium processing, material handling and accountability.
For many of these reasons, a recent Analysis of Alternatives conducted by the National Nuclear Security Administration indicated that transferring the Pit Production mission from Los Alamos National Laboratory to SRS could be favorable.
The New Mexico congressional delegation has cried foul over this preliminary assessment. There are a number of factors that need to be weighed in this assessment, and a history of safe and secure plutonium operations should be paramount.
SRS is second to none in these areas. Thus, SRS is ideally suited for the vitally important, long-term Pit Production mission.
James Marra, Ph.D.
Executive Director of Citizens for Nuclear Technology Awareness.