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Nuke Plutonium Could be Transported Between U.S. Labs

The U.S. Energy Department is considering transporting some plutonium nuclear warhead triggers from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, the Environment News Service reported on Tuesday.

The New Mexico facility is the sole U.S. site for production of the plutonium "pits." However, Livermore houses space for conducting diagnostic examinations of the cores.

Livermore as of last September does not possess the security status needed to manage, employ or hold the pits or other warhead-capable amounts of plutonium, according to the report.

The Energy Department "has failed to adequately plan for the permanent reduction of Livermore Lab's security forces from a Category I/II level to the lesser Category III, which does not permit nuclear bomb usable quantities of plutonium to be on the site," Marylia Kelley, head of the watchdog group Tri-Valley CAREs, was expected to say at a Wednesday meeting of issue specialists on the environment, law, and atomic issues.

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