Follow this link to skip to the main content

Press Release

NNSA and U. S. Navy Complete Removal and Disposal of RTGs at Nevada Test Site
Sep 30, 2009

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), in partnership with the U.S. Navy, has successfully completed the removal and disposal of Navy Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTGs) that have exceeded their operational lifetimes.



WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), in partnership with the U.S. Navy, has successfully completed the removal and disposal of Navy Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTGs) that have exceeded their operational lifetimes.  These simple devices are used to generate low levels of electrical power for satellites, space probes, and other applications where conventional power supplies are impractical.  Over the past 16 months, 18 RTGs containing more than 550,000 decayed curies of Strontium-90 were disposed of at the Nevada Test Site.

"This kind of collaborative partnership means the Navy no longer needs to expend resources to secure this radioactive material," said NNSA Principal Deputy Administrator Ken Baker. "Our experts have more than six decades of history in nuclear security that they apply both to maintaining our stockpile and permanently disposing of radioactive four U.S. Navy RTGs awaiting final waste storage at NTSmaterial."

NNSA's Global Threat Reduction Initiative strives to reduce and protect vulnerable nuclear and radiological materials located at sites worldwide.  One of the program's core goals is to remove and dispose of excess nuclear and radiological materials, resulting in permanent threat reduction.  GTRI is part of NNSA's comprehensive nuclear nonproliferation efforts currently at work in over 130 countries around the world to detect, secure and dispose of dangerous nuclear and radiological material.

Idaho National Laboratory, along with NNSA's Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories also provided support for this operation.

Follow NNSA News on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr.

Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science in the nation's national security enterprise. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability, and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; reduces the global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad. Visit http://www.nnsa.energy.gov/ for more information.

Media contact(s):
NNSA Public Affairs (202) 586-7371