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"Forget the Rest" blog
PU modules artist's conception
LASG, artist's conception of proposed
underground plutonium modules

CMRR project vicinity

Selected reference materials on plutonium sustainment

Plutonium at 150 years: Going Strong and Aging Gracefully, LLNL S&TR, Dec 2012
– Plutonium in Warhead Cores (“Pits”) Stable to 150 Years,
press release, Dec 6, 2012
LANL talking points re: LASG's “Plutonium in Warhead Cores (“Pits”) Stable to 150 Years," Dec 6, 2012
– Study Group comments on LANS letter in response to the Study Group's Dec 6 press release, Dec 12, 2012

NNSA Final Surplus Plutonium Disposition SEIS - May 2015

Plutonium Sustainment Reports
  • LANL-LLNL, Apr 2012
  • LANL-LLNL, Aug 2012
  • LANL-LLNL, Sep 2012
  • LANL-LLNL, Oct 2012
  • LANL-KCP-LLNL, Nov 2012
  • LANL-KCP-LLNL, Dec 2012
  • LANL-KCP-LLNL, Jan 2013

  • • Materials related to the Reprogramming Request of Sept 13, 2012
    • LANS planning documents & briefings related to plutonium sustainment
    • NNSA & other federal planning & budgeting documents with emphasis on CMRR & plutonium sustainment
    See also: Nuclear Weapons: Misc Technical Resources

    LANL plutonium programs, pit production, safety concerns, & related capital projects
    updated 10/10/17

    Archive of LANL plutonium programs & CMRR, 2006-2014 here

  • Expansion of Los Alamos Plutonium Warhead “Pit” Factory Eyed, LASG Fact Sheet, updated Oct 2017
  • DNFSB board members Jesse Roberson & Daniel Santos memo stating objection to Memorandum of Agreement with DOE/NNSA, Aug 11, 2017
  • Sen Claire McCaskill letter to NNSA re: Safety Violations, Aug 3, 2017
  • House Armed Services Committee hearing, FY 2018 Priorities for Nuclear Forces, (clip of Congressman Garamendi), May 25, 2017
  • LANL Chemistry & Metallurgy Research Replacement Project (CMRR) and the CMR facility, DIR-16-161 from LANL to Sec of Energy Klotz, Dec 5, 2016
  • Today begins a time when significant reforms in nuclear policy can be made, LASG ltr to colleagues, Nov 8, 2016
  • Congressional auditors flay Los Alamos plutonium plans, LASG ltr to colleagues, Aug 12, 2016
  • Congressional auditors flay Los Alamos plutonium plans, press release, Aug 10, 2016
  • Expansion of Los Alamos Plutonium Warhead “Pit” Factory Eyed, LASG Fact Sheet, Jun 2016
  • Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA) offers amendment to cut funding for expansion of plutonium pit production at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), May 24, 2016
       – role call vote
       – amendment
       – video
  • Bulletin #209: Help wanted; NNSA infrastructure plans presume a new Cold War, Oct 28, 2015
  • NNSA: Pit Sources for Life Extension Programs (LEPs) 2015
  • Opportunities for Risk Reduction at the Los Alamos National Laboratory Plutonium Facility through the Minimization of Material-At-Risk, Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board (DNFSB) Technical Report, Sep 21, 2015
  • Plutonium Pit Production options, compilation (by LASG) of reports by Jonathan E. Medalia, Congressional Research Service (CRS), Sep 2, 2015 [Note: We are very grateful to Jon for this outstanding body of work.]
  • In Brief: Options to Help Meet a Congressional Requirement for Nuclear Weapon “Pit” Production, Jonathan E. Medalia, CRS, May 22, 2015
  • Los Alamos-Supported Congressional Study Suggests Efficiency Improvements for Plutonium Warhead “Pit” Manufacturing, press release, May 18, 2015
         — Nuclear Weapon “Pit” Production: Options to Help Meet a Congressional Requirement, CRS, May 15, 2015
  • Bulletin #205: Congressional study shows multibillion-dollar underground factory “modules” for plutonium not needed at Los Alamos, May 18, 2015
  • Bulletin #204: Nuclear weapons modernization: assuring destruction forever, Apr 24, 2015
  • SASC hearing to receive testimony on U.S. nuclear weapons policy, programs, and strategy for FY 2016, (transcript) Mar 4, 2015
  • Manufacturing Nuclear Weapon “Pits”:Paths toward 80 Pits Per Year, Jonathan E. Medalia, CRS, Feb 19, 2015 (slides)
  • Technical Considerations for the Evolving US Nuclear-Weapons Stockpile, JASON, Jan 2015
  • LASG comments to the Commission to Review the Effectiveness of the National Energy Laboratories (CRENEL), Sep 26, 2014
  • Bulletin #194: Plutonium is not your friend, Aug 31, 2014
  • $4.3 Billion in Additional Construction, Equipment Proposed for Los Alamos Plutonium Factory, press release, Aug 28, 2014
  • CMRR-NF Cancelled, Aug 21, 2014
  • Manufacturing Nuclear Weapon “Pits”: A Decisionmaking Approach for Congress, Jonathan E. Medalia, Congressional Research Service, (CRS), Aug 15, 2014
  • Letter from Nuclear Weapons Council (NWC) to Senate Appropriators, Jul 25, 2014
  • "New Mexico TRU," Study Group Calls for Pause in New Plutonium Waste at Los Alamo, press release, Jun 2, 2014
  • Federal Safety Board Cautions DOE on LANL Plutonium Facility, press release, May 20, 2014
  • Criticality safety at LANL's plutonium facility, DNFSB letter to NNSA administrator Frank Klotz , May 16, 2014
         — DNFSB annual report (see page 5), Mar 2014
  • Transparency in the U.S. Nuclear Weapons Stockpile, U.S. State Department, fact sheet, Apr 29, 2014
  • McMillan's remarks need clarification, Los Alamos Monitor, Mello, Apr 22, 2014
  • History of Statements on Pit Production Capacity, Jonathan E. Medalia, CRS, Apr 3, 2014
  • NNSA Criticality Safety Program Weaknesses Resulting in an Operational Pause at the Plutonium Facility (PF-4), Apr 2014
  • In Brief: U.S. Nuclear Weapon “Pit” Production: Background and Options, Jonathan E. Medalia, CRS, Mar 20, 2014
  • Congressional Study Shows Administration’s Proposed New Plutonium Warhead Factory at Los Alamos Is Unnecessary, Unadvised, press release, Feb 27, 2014
  • U.S. Nuclear Weapon “Pit” Production Options for Congress, Jonathan E. Medalia, CRS, Feb 21, 2014
  • Thinking Inside the Boxes: Can Existing Buildings Meet DoD’s Pit Needs?, Jonathan E. Medalia, CRS, Feb 12, 2014   — slides
    — (earlier report) Pit Production Options, Jonathan E. Medalia, CRS, Nov 20, 2013
  • Plutonium Disposition Program - DOE needs to analyze the root causes of Cost Increases and Develop Better Cost Estimates, GAO, Feb 2014
  • Assessment of Nuclear Weapon Pit Production Requirements, report from Sec. of Defense Chuck Hagel to HASC, Jan 16, 2014
  • NNSA’s Management of the $245 million Nuclear Materials Safeguards and Security Upgrades Project (NMSSUP) Phase II at Los Alamos National Laboratory, DOE-IG report, Jan 2, 2014
        — More information on the NMSSUP
  • LASG New Year's Eve note to selected government staff, Dec 31, 2013
  • Defense bill passes Congress, mandates new underground plutonium factory “modules” in Los Alamos, LASG press release, Dec 20, 2013
  • National Defense Authorization Act FY 2014, H.R. 3304, Sec. 3117 & 3123 (passed House, to be considered by Senate Dec 18)
  • Pit Production Options, Jonathan E. Medalia, CRS, Nov 20, 2013
  • Modernizing the Nuclear Security Enterprise, Observations on NNSA’s Options for Meeting Its Plutonium Research Needs, GAO, Sep 2013
  • LASG letter to DNFSB re: LANL's TA-55 & proposed plutonium plans, Aug 23, 2013
  • John R. Harvey, DoD, "On the Path to a '3+2 Vision' for U.S. Nuclear Forces," Jun 13, 2013
  • Bulletin #170: REMINDER: Quash the "Obama nuclear surge": campaign roll-out in NM THIS WEEK, May 7, 2013 
  • Bulletin #169: Quash the Obama nuclear surge: campaign roll-out in NM next week, May 3, 2013
  • Study Group letter to federal parties re: resumption of NNSA budget and program hearings, Apr 17, 2013
  • "Assessing Approaches to Weapon Life Extension Programs (LEPs)," Donald Cook, NNSA, Feb 20, 2013
  • Study Group letter to Congress re: plutonium sustainment, Dec 12, 2012
  • Plutonium in Warhead Cores (“Pits”) Stable to 150 Years, press release, Dec 6, 2012
  • Study Group comments on the “60-Day Study” from LANS, on warhead plutonium sustainment, Aug 8, 2012
  • Los Alamos National Laboratory Update for Regional Community Leaders' Breakfast, Terry C. Wallace, Jr., Jul 24, 2012
  • "The United States Plutonium Balance, 1944-2009," Jun 26, 2012, update of "Plutonium: The First 50 Years," Feb 1996
  • CMRR Background Briefing to Senate Foreign Relations Staff, Craig Leasure, Jun 19, 2012
  • Los Alamos National Laboratory Weapons Program, Laboratory Director Update, LANS/LLNS Mission Committee, Jonathan S. Ventura, Jun 2012
  • "The Proposed Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility (CMRR-NF): New Realities Call for New Thinking," Dec 10, 2010
  • "U.S. Plutonium 'Pit' Production: Additional Facilities, Production Restart are Unnecessary, Costly and Provocative," Mar 2, 2010
  • "Lifetime Extension Program," JASON Executive Summary, Sep 9, 2009
  • Nuclear Matters Handbook 2016, Office of the Deputy Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Matters
  • Nuclear Matters: A Practical Guide, 2008 edition, Office of the Deputy Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Matters. (In-depth discussion of nuclear weapons written for the military. Good overview of the nuclear weapons enterprise and its terminology from the military perspective.)
  • "Pit Lifetime," JASON's review on plutonium aging, JSR-06-335, The Mitre Corporation, Nov 20, 2006
  • "A Little Primer on Plutonium and Poverty in New Mexico," (pdf file of brochure)
  • The WMD Way of Life: Pit production equipment in Los Alamos parking lot, (photo) Jan 2006
  • "Subcritical" Nuclear Tests Have Apparently Begun at Los Alamos, press release, Jan 13, 1999
  • LANL Plan to Detonate Plutonium Poses Risks to Region, press release, May 14, 1997
  • Los Alamos Study Group letter to Secretary of Energy Hazel O'Leary, Oct 22, 1996


  • Plutonium Explosions: Subcritical Testing
    Since the United States' last full nuclear weapons test at the Nevada Test Site in September of 1992 all subsequent nuclear weapons explosives tests have been subcritical. A subcritical test is similar to a full scale nuclear detonation in that a plutonium core and other weapons grade elements are subjected to compression under a high explosives blast, but the implosion is not sufficient to sustain the criticality necessary for the process of nuclear fission.

    Note: The tunnel originally proposed in the 2004 UPF design has been dropped in the 2010 UPF design. Why not at LANL also?

    GAO slide 14
    Better, faster, cheaper, & safer than a tunnel for moving plutonium samples within TA-55:
    garden cart
    LANL's TA-55
    LANL TA-55
    TA-55 aerial

    • LANL plutonium programs & CMRR, 2006-2014
    • Radiological Laboratory Utility Office Building
    PF-4 Seismic & Criticality Concerns
    • Resources on TA-55 Security System (Nuclear Materials Safeguards and Security Upgrades Project - NMSSUP)
    • NNSA's Uranium Processing Facility
    • NNSA Performance Evaluation Plans & Reports (PEPs & PERs)
    • NNSA Planning & Budgeting Documents
    • Plutonium Disposition

    Related news media
  • NM senators make it harder to move ‘pits’ from Los Alamos, Albuquerque Journal, Nov 17, 2017
  • Moving Pit Production From New Mexico Would be Harder Under NDAA, Nuclear Security & Deterrence Monitor, Nov 17, 2017
  • Senate OKs defense bill, which presses for decision on pit work, Santa Fe New Mexican, Nov 16, 2017
  • LANL temporarily suspends workers who violated nuclear protocols, Santa Fe New Mexican, Sep 27, 2017
  • NNSA says LANL workers faced no danger in latest incident, Los Alamos Monitor, Sep 27, 2017
  • Plutonium pits at Los Alamos, Cultural Energy, KCEI 90.1 FM Taos, radio interview, Greg Mello, Sep 25, 2017
  • LANL: No risk of radioactive ‘criticality’ accident in recent incident, Albuquerque Journal, Sep 25, 2017
  • ‘Criticality safety event’ occurred at LANL’s plutonium facility, Albuquerque Journal North, Sep 22, 2017
  • Report: LANL twice violated nuclear safety standards in Aug, Santa Fe New Mexican, Sep 22, 2017
  • Scrutiny Intensifies Over Safety at US Nuclear Weapons Lab, US News & World Report, Jun 21, 2017
  • Nuclear Negligence, six-part series, The Center for Public Integrity, Jun 18, 2017
  • Will production of nuclear ‘pits’ leave LANL?, Albuquerque Journal, Jun 12, 2017
  • Board addresses saftey concerns at LANL, Los Alamos Monitor, Jun 9, 2017
  • Hearing looms for troubled plutonium facility, Los Alamos Monitor, May 24, 2017
  • LANL safety program receives failing grade, Santa Fe New Mexican, Feb 10, 2017
       – NNSA's Nuclear Criticality Safety Report to the DNFSB, Feb 1, 2017
  • LANL’s Nuclear Criticality Safety Program Falls Short of DOE Expectations, Weapons Complex Monitor, Feb 10, 2017
  • LANL’s aging plutonium, uranium research building may stay open, Los Alamos Monitor, Jan 25, 2017
  • Roger This: Here We Go Again With The Bomb Factory, Los Alamos Daily Post, Aug 19, 2016
  • Audit blasts safety tracking at Sandia Labs, Santa Fe New Mexican, Aug 22, 2016
  • GAO Challenges NNSA’s Plutonium Pit Production Plans, Exchange Monitor Morning Briefing, Aug 11, 2016
  • LANL plutonium project called ‘a house of cards’, Albuquerque Journal North, Aug 12, 2016
  • LANL’s nuclear bomb trigger production questioned, Santa Fe New Mexican, Aug 9, 2016
         –GAO "NNSA Needs to Clarify Requirements for Its Plutonium Analysis Project at Los Alamos," Aug 2016
  • LANL in Final Stages of PF-4 Restart Project , Nuclear Security Deterrence Monitor, Jun 24, 2016
  • Report finds fire-safety deficiencies at LANL, Santa Fe New Mexican, May 20, 2016
         – Seismic Qualification of Fire Suppression System at LANL, DNFSB report, May 12, 2016
         – Allowable material at risk (MAR) in PF-4 has been lowered, DNFSB, Apr 22, 2016
         – Opportunities for Risk Reduction at LANL's PF-4 through the Minimization of Material-at-Risk (MAR), DNFSB, Sep 2015
  • LANL poised to ramp up plutonium pit production, report says, Santa Fe New Mexican, Jan 15, 2016
  • LANL Plutonium Modular Approach CD-0 Approved, Nuclear Security & Deterrence Monitor, Dec 4, 2015
  • Russian Official: Gov’t Open to Alternative U.S. Plutonium Disposition Methods, Nuclear Security & Deterrence Monitor, Oct 16, 2015
  • LANL Plutonium Modular Approach to Reach CD-0 Soon, Nuclear Security & Deterrence Monitor, Oct 16, 2015
  • WIPP closure has Los Alamos nearing limit on transuranic waste storage, IHS Energy Daily, Sep 25, 2015
  • DNFSB Identifies Alternative Storage Options for MAR at PF-4, Nuclear Security & Deterrence Monitor, Sep 25, 2015
  • Amid safety concerns at LANL, Udall weighs in on lab’s next mission: Pit production, Santa Fe New Mexican, Feb 21, 2015
  • NNSA Moving Forward With Pu Capabilities Project at LANL, Requests $155.6 Million in FY 2016, Nuclear Security & Deterrence Monitor, Feb 6, 2015
  • NNSA Directs Los Alamos to Begin ‘Mission Need’ Development for Modular Pu Strategy, Nuclear Security & Deterrence Monitor, Sep 26, 2014
  • No Timeline Yet for Restart of Operations at LANL Plutonium Facility, Nuclear Security & Deterrence Monitor, Sep 12, 2014
  • Estimate for First Phase of New LANL Pu Strategy Set at $2 Billion, Nuclear Security & Deterrence Monitor, Aug 29, 2014
  • Estimate for First Phase of New LANL Pu Strategy Set at $2 Billion, Weapons Complex Monitor Morning Briefing, Aug 28, 2014
  • Feds’ plan to make more nuke triggers at LANL raises questions, Santa Fe New Mexican, Aug 23, 2014
  • New nuke pit report released, Los Alamos Monitor, Aug 23, 2014
  • CRS Report Raises Questions About LANL Plutonium Strategy, Nuclear Security & Deterrence Monitor, Aug 22, 2014
  • Nuclear Weapons Council (NWC) Formally Commits to LANL Modular Pu Strategy, Nuclear Security & Deterrence Monitor, Aug 1, 2014
          — Letter from NWC to Senate Appropriators, Jul 25, 2014
  • A Year After Pausing Plutonium Operations, Two-Thirds of Los Alamos PF-4 Work Back Up, Nuclear Security & Deterrence Monitor, Jul 3, 2014
  • McMillan lays out need for PU strategy, Nuclear Security & Deterrence Monitor, Apr 11, 2014
  • Study Group formally drops CMRR-NF lawsuit, Nuclear Security & Deterrence Monitor, Mar 28, 2014
  • US has Pu options short of new facility build, CRS report says, Nuclear Security & Deterrence Monitor, Mar 7, 2014
  • New budget for LANL does not include money for plutonium facility, Santa Fe New Mexican, Mar 4, 2014
  • A fresh approach to Los Alamos’ plutonium problem, Albuquerque Journal, Mar 4, 2014
  • Administration plutonium strategy: no new construction at Los Alamos for now, Albuquerque Journal, Mar 4, 2014
  • Analysis offers options for plutonium pit production, Santa Fe New Mexican, Mar 3, 2014
  • Report details pit options, Los Alamos Monitor, Mar 1, 2014
  • Existing facilities could be option for further plutonium work, Los Alamos Monitor, Feb 25, 2014
  • Washington expert thinks outside the box, Los Alamos Monitor, Feb 22, 2014
  • DNFSB raises questions about exit strategy for CMR facility, Nuclear Weapons & Materials Monitor, Jan 24, 2014
  • Bill authorizes planned funding for NM labs, Albuquerque Journal, Dec 22, 2013
  • Lab creeping toward criticality restart, Nuclear Weapons & Materials Monitor, Dec 20, 2013
  • W78/88 Life Extension could be deferred in FY2015 budget, Nuclear Weapons & Materials Monitor, Dec 20, 2013
  • Lawmakers reach compromise on FY 2014 NDAA, Nuclear Weapons & Materials Monitor, Dec 13, 2013
  • New Pu strategy endorsed by DoD CAPE, but UPF cost questions raised, Nuclear Weapons & Materials Monitor, Dec 6, 2013
  • Los Alamos lab waste plant over budget, behind schedule, Albuquerque Journal, Oct 3, 2013
  • Los Alamos Management of Waste Facility Faulted, Associated Press, Oct 2, 2013
  • Committee OKs $43M for NNSA request, Los Alamos Monitor, Sep 28, 2013
  • House appropriators ok $43.3M of $120M NNSA CMRR-NF reprogramming, Nuclear Weapons & Materials Monitor, Sep 27, 2013
  • Editorial: Time past for coddling bloated nuclear agency, Albuquerque Journal, Sep 17, 2013
  • GAO presses NNSA to think long-term on plutonium mission at Los Alamos, Nuclear Weapons & Materials Monitor, Sep 13, 2013
      (see the GAO report here)
  • Director challenges cuts, McMillan sends letter to Moniz, Los Alamos Monitor, Aug 24, 2013
  • Los Alamos Director warns about inaction on PU reprogramming, Nuclear Weapons & Materials Monitor, Aug 23, 2013
  • Defense programs chief outlines challenges facing Los Alamos, Nuclear Weapons & Materials Monitor, Jul 26, 2013
  • House, Senate authorizers partially sign off on new plutonium strategy, Nuclear Weapons & Materials Monitor, Jul 26, 2013
  • Spirit of Boondoggle Departs Quashed Los Alamos Project, Finds New One to Possess, Foreign Policy in Focus, May 13, 2013
  • New LANL plans call for lower-cost approach to nuke facility, Santa Fe New Mexican, May 8, 2013
  • After CMRR-NF delay, LANL proposes going small to meet Pu needs, Nuclear Weapons & Materials Monitor, Feb 22, 2013
  • U.S. Nuclear Lab Ready to Shelve Costly Facility Plan, Global Security Newswire, Feb 22, 2013
  • Los Alamos says plutonium study doesn't negate need for pit manufacturing, Nuclear Weapons & Materials Monitor, Dec 14, 2012
  • Research shows nuke weapon pits age gracefully, Los Alamos Monitor, Dec 8, 2012
  • Lawrence Livermore analysis suggests 150-year plutonium life, Nuclear Weapons & Materials Monitor, Dec 7, 2012
  • HASC wants CMRR decision reassessed: Lab Project has been deferred by NNSA and administration, Los Alamos Monitor, Oct 20, 2012
  • Costly LANL project falling farther from realization, Santa Fe New Mexican, Sep 30, 2012
  • As LANL closes out CMRR-NF, some in Congress look to keep project alive, Nuclear Weapons & Materials Monitor, Sep 28, 2012
  • LANL Plan B [said to] Cost $800M, Albuquerque Journal North, Aug 8, 2012
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