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Audit Report: ER-L-02-01

February 7, 2002

The Department of Energy's Strategy for Disposal of Plutonium

In September 2000, the United States and the Russian Federation entered into an agreement stipulating that each country will irreversibly transform 34 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium into forms which could not be used for weapons purposes. To meet the United States' commitment, the Department of Energy planned activities at its Savannah River Site; specifically, to immobilize 8.4 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium and to convert 25.6 metric tons into nuclear reactor fuel. The plan called for the design and construction of three major facilities at Savannah River: the Pit Disassembly and Conversion Facility, the Plutonium Immobilization Plant, and the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility. The Department's total estimated life cycle cost for these facilities was about $6.1 billion, of which about $400 million has been expended.