NNSA Approves Critical Decision 1 For Production Of 30 Plutonium Pits Per Year At Los Alamos National Laboratory


The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) announced the approval of the Critical Decision 1 (CD-1) milestone for the Los Alamos Plutonium Pit Production Project (LAP4) at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).

CD-1 approval marks the completion of the project definition phase and the conceptual design as part of DOE’s Order 413.3B process for the acquisition of capital assets. NNSA identified its recommended approach to produce at least 30 plutonium pits per year to meet national security needs.

The CD-1 cost estimate for LAP4 is $2.7-$3.9 billion, with an overall project completion range of 2027-2028. Critical equipment is scheduled to be installed in time to achieve the 30 pits per year production capacity in 2026. The CD-1 cost estimate and project completion date ranges are preliminary estimates that will be refined as the project conceptual design is matured to the 90% design level required to achieve CD-2 (approval of the performance baseline). Consistent with industry best practices and DOE policy, NNSA will set the performance cost and schedule baseline at CD-2, which is expected in 2023. 

NNSA leadership and LANL will continue to review this project to improve the fidelity of the current price estimate and schedule.