Ellen Lord, chair of the Nuclear Weapons Council, said during a tour of the Energy Department’s Savannah River Site that the efforts to refurbish SRS facilities and drive plutonium pit production is “the best path forward.”
DOE said Wednesday that the SRS nuclear reservation in Aiken, S.C. and the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico handle efforts to meet the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review’s goal of producing at least 80 plutonium pits by 2030.
Lord, undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment and three-time Wash100 Award recipient, said she supports the repurposing of the SRS mixed oxide fuel fabrication facility while ensuring that LANL remains a center of excellence for plutonium research and development.
Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, DOE’s undersecretary for nuclear security and administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, said that DOE seeks to “ensure a more responsive and flexible infrastructure to maintain the nuclear deterrent for future threats.”
John Hyten, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, added that efforts to ramp up plutonium production will help the nuclear security enterprise “be more responsive and resilient in order to meet our future military requirements.”
The SRS and LANL tours took place on Aug. 14 and 15, respectively.