BY MAIRE O’NEILL
Deputy Sec. of Energy David M. Turk has announced Critical Decision (CD) 2/3 approving the Performance Baseline to start construction of the Los Alamos Pit Production Project 30 Base Equipment Installation Subproject at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
A January 19 memo from Turk to Everett Trollinger, Federal Project Officer for the subproject notes that the overall cost will be $1.8 billion and the project completion date will be August 2030.
The scope of the project involves the design, procurement, commission, turnover to operations “and hot testing” to support 30 pits per year (PPY) production capabilities at LANL’s Plutonium Facility (PF-4). The approval is subject to the completion of the External Independent Review corrective actions.
An NNSA spokesperson told the Los Alamos Reporter in an email Friday morning that achieving the 30B subproject CD-4 is not necessary to produce 30 PPY.
“The project will aim to deliver equipment to support 30 PPY production as close to 2026 as possible, and LANL will be building war reserve (WR) pits using existing equipment as the project proceeds, as has been the case with other equipment installations. The project will also turn over equipment to operations as it becomes available, which will minimize the time to meeting this milestone,” the spokesperson said.
NNSA expects to complete the first war reserve pit in 2024.
“We expect an increasing number of WR pits to be produced each subsequent year until the LAP4 30 Base equipment is installed, at which point the capability will be in place to produce 30 WR pits each year with moderate confidence. Exact production rates will depend on how quickly the processes mature and potential facility/equipment failures,” the spokesperson said.