From the LANL BLOG:
U.S. Releases Nuclear Complex Modernization Details - Global Security Newswire
Friday, Jan. 23, 2009
The United States has released new details on decade-long plans to alter the budgets, goals, facilities and staffs of key facilities in an effort to modernize and streamline the U.S. nuclear weapons complex, Nuclear Watch New Mexico announced yesterday (see GSN, Nov. 1, 2007).
The watchdog group said it successfully pursued a Freedom of Information Act request that led the National Nuclear Security Administration to post the information online.
The Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico is set to expand its mission far beyond work involving the nuclear weapons stockpile, increasing research aimed at addressing threat reduction, homeland security, defense and environmental issues, according to the 10-year site plans released by the semiautonomous branch of the Energy Department.
The Nevada Test Site would focus on evaluating nuclear-weapon reliability without conducting test detonations. The DOE agency expects to build a new hydrodynamic test facility at the site for studying nuclear weapons with high-speed imaging technology. The imaging site would assume the responsibilities of an existing facility at Los Alamos (see GSN, May 20, 2008).
The Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico is expected to eliminate one-fifth of its nuclear weapons personnel while pursuing research on energy and infrastructure issues. The laboratory would continue its nuclear weapons work, though, and is expected to establish a new nuclear-weapon development and maintenance site.
The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California would phase out much of its nuclear-weapon activities although it would remain the primary site for high-explosives tests relevant to nuclear weapons development.
The Kansas City Plant in Missouri is slated to receive a new, privately funded nuclear-weapon component manufacturing site despite questions about continued legislative support for the project (see GSN, Oct. 20, 2008).
The Savannah River Site in South Carolina is expected to produce more tritium than required to maintain the U.S. nuclear stockpile if President Barack Obama opts to shrink the arsenal further, according to Nuclear Watch New Mexico (see GSN, Nov. 10, 2008).
Nuclear-weapon assembly and dismantling work at the Pantex Plant in Texas is expected decrease through fiscal 2010 and then gradually increase until it peaks in fiscal 2015, resulting in changing staffing and resource needs for the site (Nuclear Watch New Mexico release, Jan. 22).
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Sunday, January 25, 2009
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