Policy Analyst Monica Montgomery spoke with the Santa Fe New Mexican about what the new Biden Nuclear Posture Review means for plutonium pit production and the future of a nuclear complex site in New Mexico.
“Biden administration officials have recognized the infeasibility of reaching 80 pits per year by 2030 and have not yet set a new timeline, at least not publicly,” Monica Montgomery, policy analyst at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, wrote in an email. “If this omission was intentional in that regard, it is a positive sign of [the National Nuclear Security Administration] accepting the reality and its limitations.”
Montgomery cautioned against viewing the omission as a major shift in the agency’s plans for manufacturing pits.
The nuclear review still gives a high priority to pit production and endorses the two-site strategy, indicating the White House’s belief that it should be ramped up on a large scale, Montgomery wrote, calling that position debatable.
“We don’t need to expand plutonium pit production to maintain the safety or reliability of our existing nuclear stockpile,” she wrote. “Increasing pit production can feed an arms race at a volatile time. Until it’s proven that our current pits are unsuitable, the United States should delay expansion plans.” Read more