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Modernizing the Nuclear Security Enterprise: Observations on NNSA劌製 Options for Meeting Its Plutonium Research Needs
David C. Trimble (au)
The Nat. Nuclear Security Admin. (NNSA) manages the nation劌製 nuclear weapons stockpile and carries out research to help extend the life of existing weapons. A nuclear weapon requires plutonium -- a man-made radioactive element -- to create a nuclear explosion. NNSA劌製 Los Alamos Nat. Lab. (LANL) in New Mexico houses key plutonium facilities needed for research for nuclear weapons life extension programs and other missions. In 2005, NNSA approved construction of the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement (CMRR) nuclear facility to replace the aging facility being used. In Feb. 2012, NNSA announced it had decided to defer CMRR nuclear facility construction for at least 5 years, creating a potential gap in plutonium research capabilities from 2019 to the late-2020s. NNSA requested LANL to study options to address this gap. The study was completed in April 2012. This report examined (1) the options identified in the study for meeting NNSA劌製 plutonium research needs, including costs and health risks, if any; and (2) the potential impacts of those options on NNSA劌製 plutonium research for the nuclear weapons stockpile and other plutonium research missions. Figure. This is a print on demand report.
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