Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: Rachel Oswald reports that the Union of Concerned Scientists, an independent science advocacy organization, says that the United States should cancel plans to build a multi-billion dollar plutonium research facility in New Mexico and criticizes Obama administration plans for nuclear facilities and weapons, arguing the plans to build new fissile-material handling plants are unnecessarily ambitious given the expected future downward trajectory of the US nuclear arsenal. The proposed Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement plant (CMRR) building at Los Alamos would replace a Cold War-era site at a cost of $6 billion. It is intended to assist in ensuring new and existing plutonium pits are in working order absent a return by the country to nuclear-weapons testing. The 81-page UCS report, "Making Smart Security Choices," (PDF) says if the United States carries out limited reductions of its nuclear arsenal over the next-quarter century — as President Obama has said he would like to do — current facilities at Los Alamos can produce sufficient plutonium cores to maintain the warhead stockpile. The CMRR complex is designed to have the capacity to produce between 50 and 80 plutonium pits annually even though no more than 50 cores are needed yearly and Los Alamos currently has that production capability, says report co-author Lisbeth Gronlund. The idea that you would need to produce up to 80 [cores] is not warranted," says Gronlund. “We think it’s time just to cancel the whole thing.
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