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Briefing on Surplus Plutonium Disposal

  • 1540-A Longworth House Office Building (map)

The Congressional Nuclear Security Working Group (CNSWG) would like to invite congressional staff to attend a briefing on surplus plutonium disposal featuring leadership from the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine.

The United States currently has 34 metric tons of surplus weapons-grade plutonium scheduled for disposition under the Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement between the United States and the Russian Federation.  The National Academies have produced an evaluation of the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration’s (DOE-NNSA) conceptual plans for disposing of this stock in the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, a deep geologic repository near Carlsbad, New Mexico.

Dr. Robert Dynes, chair of the Committee, and Dr. Jennifer Heimberg, Senior Program Officer, will present the major findings of the report.  The first of two, it assesses the general feasibility of the DOE-NNSA’s conceptual plans for plutonium disposal, addressing the technical aspects of the disposal process, technical capabilities and capacities of the WIPP, and regulatory limitations.

Co-chaired by Reps. Chuck Fleischmann, Jeff Fortenberry, Bill Foster, and Ben Ray Lujan, the CNSWG facilitates bipartisan cooperation to reduce the risk of nuclear and radiological attacks and advance solutions to the most pressing nuclear security challenges facing the United States.  In the 115th Congress, CNSWG members supported a bipartisan amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that directed NNSA to incentivize the replacement of cesium chloride, which could be used to make “dirty bombs” or radiological dispersal devices, from blood irradiation devices by 2027.

We hope staff are able to participate in this critical briefing on plutonium disposal. Please contact Matthew Golub in the Office of Rep. Fleischmann (R-TN-3) at matthew.golub@mail.house.gov to RSVP.