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LANL Produces First Plutonium Pit in 14 Years

April 22, 2003
Los Alamos, NM
LANL Produces First Plutonium Pit in 14 Years

NNSA’s Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) announced that it has successfully made the first nuclear weapons “pit” in 14 years that meets specifications for use in the U.S. stockpile. The plutonium pit, called Qual-1 because it was built with and fully met qualified processes, is for the W88 warhead, which is carried on the Trident II D5 Submarine-Launched Cruise Missile, a cornerstone of the U.S. nuclear deterrent. A pit is the fissile core of a nuclear weapon’s physics package. The six-year effort at LANL’s plutonium processing facility restores a U.S. capability lost when DOE’s Rocky Flats Plant shut down in 1989. DOE identified LANL as the site to make nuclear weapon pits through the 1996 Stockpile Stewardship and Management Environmental Impact Statement.