Accession Number : ADA338687

Title :   Nuclear Materials: Plutonium Processing in the Nuclear Weapons Complex

Corporate Author : GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WASHINGTON DC RESOURCES COMMUNITY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DIV

PDF Url : ADA338687

Report Date : 01 AUG 1992

Pagination or Media Count : 39

Abstract : The Department of Energy (DOE) processes plutonium for use in nuclear weapons. This fact sheet responds to your September 6, 1991, request, that we describe the methods and facilities for DOE'S plutonium processing. Plutonium, which is used to make nuclear weapons, does not exist in nature and has to be produced. However, DOE no longer produces plutonium for use in nuclear weapons. Instead, DOE processes and recycles the plutonium from retired nuclear weapons and the plutonium that remains as scrap or residue from plutonium processing. In summary, DOE recovers plutonium through two basic process: aqueous and pyrochemical at four processing sites: Rocky Flats, Savannah River, Hanford, and Los Alamos. However, because of environmental and safety concerns and reductions in nuclear weapons, DOE has closed or may close most of the processing facilities. Only Los Alamos' processing facilities are currently operating.

Descriptors :   *NUCLEAR WEAPONS, *PLUTONIUM, RECYCLED MATERIALS, RADIOACTIVE MATERIALS, ION EXCHANGE, SOLVENT EXTRACTION.

Subject Categories : Industrial Chemistry and Chemical Processing
      Radioactiv, Radioactive Wastes & Fission Prod
      Nuclear Weapons

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE