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USA House Armed Servcies Chairman very sceptical of New Plutonium “Pit” Plans for Nuclear Warheads

New Plutonium “Pit” Plans for Nuclear Warheads Questioned by House Armed Servcies Chairman, Doubts NNSA Competency, EIN PresswireNEWS PROVIDED BY Savannah River Site Watch, December 14, 2020, 1Chairman of the powerful House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Adam Smith, casts doubt on plans for expanding plutonium pit production for nuclear weapons at SRS

The striking assessment of Representative Smith dramatically raises the pressure on the ill-conceived SRS Plutonium Bomb Plant and will set the tone for discussions on pits in Congress in 2021.”

— Tom Clements, director, SRS Watch

COLUMBIA, SC, US, December 14, 2020 / — Chairman of House Armed Services Committee Reveals Great Skepticism in NNSA’s Ability to Covert Terminated Plutonium Fuel (MOX) Facility at DOE’s Savannah River Site into Plutonium Bomb Plant (PBP), Refers to $6 Billion Project as Potential “Rat Hole”

Representative Adam Smith Asserts that Failed Plutonium Fuel (MOX) Project at SRS is “Pretty Close to White Collar Crime”.   The powerful chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Representation Adam Smith, has raised great doubt about the U.S. Department of Energy’s ability to pull off the project at the Savannah River Site (SRS) in South Carolina to produce plutonium “pits,” or cores, for nuclear warheads.

In an on-line presentation on December 11 with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Rep. Smith (D-WA) expressed deep concern in the ability of the DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) to pull off the project to convert the partially finished plutonium fuel (MOX) plant, halted in 2017, into the proposed Plutonium Bomb Plant (PBP) at SRS. The event featured Rep. Smith talking about nuclear weapons matters coming before Congress in 2021. The transcript of the event was released late in the afternoon of December 11.

The skepticism of Rep. Smith about pit production at SRS was based in part on his continued concern about NNSA’s role in the failed MOX project at SRS: “Because the thing that really sticks in my craw on this basic competency issue is the Savannah River Site and the MOX facility. OK, that is pretty close to white collar crime, all right?” The public interest group Savannah River Site Watch believes Congress should follow through and conduct investigations into the MOX debacle.

Smith’s comments on pit production at SRS were harsh and, noting the mismanaged construction of the MOX building, said “So I am highly skeptical that they’re going to be able to turn that building into an effective pit production facility – highly skeptical.” He reiterated skepticism in NNSA’s ability and said “I am highly skeptical of the level of competence within the NNSA.”

Concerning the potential monetary waste on the pit project at SRS, Rep. Smith recognized parochial financial interests near SRS pushing for the pit project at the site and said “But if they’re going to have that say, they’d better not use that say to take $6 billion and dump it down a rat hole in South Carolina. That’s what I would argue.”…..

Los Alamos, which has not been able to produce its mandated 20 pits per year, is slated to make 30 or more pits per year by 2026 and SRS, which has zero pit experience and little recent experience handling plutonium, is being presented with the daunting challenge to produce 50 or more pits per year by 2030…….

December 15, 2020 - Posted by | USA, weapons and war

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