Los Alamos Plutonium Put Into Stronger Containers

Soviet-origin plutonium being stored at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico has been moved into stronger containers that are less at risk of breaking open, the Albuquerque Journal reported Friday (see GSN, March 26, 2009).

The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board said in an April 2009 message that Los Alamos personnel or the public could be at risk for radiation exposure should heat produced by the plutonium cause Russian-built containers in use at the time to fracture.

The U.S. Energy Department facility addressed the matter by placing the 160 containers into new storage receptacles that are unlikely to face the same heat issues, the board said last week in a follow-up letter. The newer containers are built to satisfy U.S. atomic safety guidelines.

Los Alamos is the end holder of the material shipped to the United States through a State Department initiative to purchase excess Soviet nuclear substances, the Journal reported (John Fleck, Albuquerque Journal, Aug. 20).

August 23, 2010
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Soviet-origin plutonium being stored at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico has been moved into stronger containers that are less at risk of breaking open, the Albuquerque Journal reported Friday (see GSN, March 26, 2009).