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Audit Report: IG-0607

June 19, 2003

Plutonium-238 Production

The Department of Energy must maintain a variety of nuclear materials to meet its mission needs and, based on the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 and the principle of centralized civilian control of such materials, the nuclear material needs of other Federal agencies. For example, the Department of Defense and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) depend on the Department of Energy to supply plutonium-238 to meet certain mission requirements involving national defense and space exploration. Plutonium-238 is used in the manufacture of radioisotope power systems that have a number of national security and scientific applications.