An anti-nuclear group said this type of plutonium isn’t explosive but would be hazardous to breathe.
It’s possible the lab made this type of plutonium a lesser priority while ramping up pit production, and now it plans to take big shipments, said Scott Kovac, research and operations director for the nonprofit Nuclear Watch New Mexico.
“That’s a huge amount to accept,” Kovac said. “Now they’re asking NNSA to say that’s OK.”
BY SCOTT WYLAND, THE SANTA FE NEW MEXICAN | December 23, 2021 santafenewmexican.com
Los Alamos National Laboratory wants to store high heat-emitting plutonium in uncertified containers that, if breached in a fire or an earthquake, could expose workers and the public to hazardous doses of radiation, according to a government watchdog’s report.
The lab’s primary contractor seeks a waiver to store large quantities of plutonium-238 in unapproved containers that, if breached, could expose the public to 83 to 378 rem, the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board said in a December report, referring to the unit that measures radiation absorbed in living tissue.