NNSA Completes Removal of All High Security Special Nuclear Material from LLNL
September 21, 2012
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) today announced that the last of the Security Category I/II special nuclear material items that required the highest level of security at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) have been removed.
LLNL’s primary mission will continue to be to ensure the safety, security and reliability of the nuclear weapons stockpile, but this mission will now be performed with a small quantity of special nuclear material, resulting in annual cost savings for taxpayers of approximately $40 million.
“We’re always looking for ways to improve the way we do business,” said NNSA Administrator Thomas D’Agostino. “Consolidating this nuclear material will help save critical taxpayer dollars, help improve the safety and security posture at the site, and help align our enterprise for the coming decades. The team at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory deserves a lot of credit for doing this efficiently and safely.”
In 2006, NNSA began to develop a plan to transform the nuclear weapons enterprise and to consolidate special nuclear material as much as possible. NNSA issued an environmental analysis in 2008 that allowed for the removal of Category I/II special nuclear material items from LLNL by the end of FY 2012. The removal and consolidation efforts have eliminated high security special nuclear materials from LLNL’s Plutonium Facility, which is located in an area known as the “Superblock.”
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. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; works to reduce 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.