Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), said the agency intends to “press forward” with producing plutonium cores that serve as key elements of U.S. nuclear weapons, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.
Gordon-Hagerty wrote in a letter to Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., stating that the Department of Energy (DoE) component is working with a contractor to establish health precautions at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico as production continues amidst the pandemic.
NNSA intends to facilitate plutonium pit production in Los Alamos as well as the Savannah River Site in South Carolina through 2030. In a March 4 written testimony to the House Appropriations Committee, Gordon-Hagerty said that NNSA is “undertaking a risk informed, complex, and time-constrained” effort to modernize the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
She noted that the NNSA is the only organization that can help fulfill the Trump administration’s goals of sustaining the nation’s nuclear stockpile including U.S. Navy’s submarines and aircraft carriers.
“The U.S. nuclear deterrent is the foundation of our national defense and its credibility serves as the ultimate insurance policy against a nuclear attack,” said Gordon-Hagerty. “While the ultimate goal of eliminating nuclear weapons has been an aspiration for generations, we must recognize the reality of today’s evolving and uncertain international security environment.”