Security and the availability of space at the U.S. government’s only underground nuclear waste repository are among the challenges identified by a group of scientists and other experts tasked by Congress to review the viability of a plan to dispose of tons of weapons-grade plutonium at the desert location. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on Thursday released its final report on the plan, which would cost an estimated $18 billion over three decades to dilute a few dozen metric tons of plutonium and ship it to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southern New Mexico. The main purpose of the work would be to satisfy a nonproliferation agreement with Russia.
Washington Times 30th April 2020 read more »
The status of a pact between the U.S. and Russian governments detailing the disposal of enough plutonium for thousands of nuclear weapons is nebulous, according to a lengthy, yearslong report published Thursday. The “unclear” standing and “uncertain future” of the Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement is driven by a contemporary Washington-Moscow deadlock, according to the National Academies’ elaborate review of dilute-and-dispose, the alternative to the nixed Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility at the Savannah River Site. The “downward spiral in” broader U.S.-Russia relations has “negatively affected the longstanding and essential nuclear weapons risk reduction relationship between the two countries,” said Kingston Reif, the director for disarmament and threat reduction policy at the Arms Control Association. He noted tensions in the international relationship “appear likely to continue for the foreseeable future.”
Aiken Standard 30th April 2020 read more »