“But critics of the lab’s push to bolster its nuclear weapons program think the pit production goals are unrealistic and unnecessary.
Jay Coghlan, executive director of Nuclear Watch New Mexico, asked Mason in a written question why the lab is spending tens of billions of taxpayers’ dollars ramping up production of the bomb cores when a 2006 study found the ones left over from the Cold War are good for 85 years.”
Nuclear deterrence is in full display during the war in Ukraine, with Russia and the U.S. threatening each other with nuclear destruction to force restraint, Los Alamos National Laboratory’s director said during an online forum Tuesday.
Russia has told the U.S. and its allies not to intervene militarily in Ukraine, and President Joe Biden has made clear that Russia must not encroach one inch upon a NATO country — and both sides raise the specter of nuclear attacks if these boundaries are breached, lab Director Thom Mason said.
“The role that deterrence is playing in the Ukraine right now, really from both the U.S. and Russian side, is to attempt to limit that conflict,” Mason said.
Mason is a staunch advocate of the lab producing 30 plutonium warhead triggers, also known as pits, per year by 2026, saying it’s necessary to modernize the nuclear arsenal and maintain a strong deterrent against adversaries like Russia.