DOE Announces Big Plutonium Reduction

The U.S. government will remove nine metric tons of plutonium, enough to make more than 1,000 nuclear weapons, from further use in the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal, U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman announced Sept. 17 at the International Atomic Energy Agency’s annual general conference in Vienna, Austria. The plutonium will be removed in decades to come from retired, dismantled nuclear weapons by DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration.

"The United States is leading by example and furthering our commitment to nonproliferation and the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty by safely reducing the amount of weapons-usable nuclear material in the world," Bodman said. "As the United States continues to reduce the size of its nuclear weapons stockpile, we will be able to dispose of even more nuclear material while increasing energy and national security." The "excess" plutonium, as DOE describes it, will be eliminated by being fabricated into mixed-oxide fuel that can be burned in commercial nuclear reactors.

NNSA was created by Congress in 2000. Its labs are working on a new warhead for U.S. nuclear weapons. Visit www.nnsa.doe.gov/reliablereplacementwarhead.htm for information about the Reliable Replacement Warhead Program.

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