The Los Alamos National Laboratory could resume production of plutonium pit triggers for nuclear weapons.
The Department of Energy endorsed lab changes listed by the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, a Congressional oversight agency, the Albuquerque Journal reported.
Plans also call for increased plutonium capacity.
A Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration statement says the board’s report references steps toward achieving annual production capacity of about 50 to 80 plutonium pits by 2030.
Greg Mello of the watchdog Los Alamos Study Group pointed to a stockpile that will last until around 2080, with another 10,000 surplus pits stored in Texas.
“NNSA claims about ‘optimizing existing facilities’ and executing all projects ‘safely, securely and consistent with applicable regulatory requirements’ are ambitions, not realities,” Mello said. “They need a large grain of salt.”