Pat Ortmeyer of Women's Action for New Directions sent us these further observations on the DOE 2025 Vision.

A few more tidbits from this document -

1. Sec. 9.6: Use of disposition facilities for plutonium fabrication mission: "Fabrication and Processing: [...] Because of the scope of work within the disposition tasks will likely force the construction of at least two facilities; one for pit conversion and one for MOX fabrication. A subtle reexamination of the disposition tasks, together with the evaluation of needs for pit fabrication, could result in a consolidation of the pit disassembly and the pit fabrication tasks. Regardless of this outcome, the Department is faced with building a fairly significant fabrication capability, independent of the scenario selected."

2. Sec. 11.0, Table 4: New nuclear weapon production estimated at 20-500/yr. Both estimates assume SBSS is in place. Low estimate of 20 weapons/yr. assumes START III levels; high estimate of 500 weapons/yr. assumes START I levels.

3. Sec. 11.0 The document claims to explore a range of possibilities for the future weapons complex, but clearly assumes that at a minimum there will be quite a bit of fabrication going on (disarmament is never assumed): "With these principles, the 2025 DOE complex can be defined conceptually as requiring a significant capability for fabrication, storage, processing (recycling), monitoring and disposal, and a moderate capability for irradiation and separations."

"Reprocessing forever" is also assumed: "For example, the chemical separations capability will be needed to produce defense isotopes (classified), treat some of the foreign nuclear materials resulted from nonproliferation initiatives (transparency), produce medical research isotopes (unclassified), prepare feed for transmutation if demonstrated to be feasible (unclassified), and support proliferation-resistant fuel cycle research (unclassified).

And it's assumed we will continue to do anything to keep weapons scientists placated and make the field interesting to newcomers:

"Careful attention will have to be paid to ensure the availability of a sufficient continuing supply of talent at all levels to design, construct, operate, and maintain a safe and efficient nuclear materials management complex."

Quite the vision.