Proposed Consolidation of Nuclear Operations Related to Production of Radioisotope Power Systems
The purpose and need for agency action is to consolidate RPS production at a single site to reduce the security threat in a cost-effective manner and to reduce interstate transportation of SNM and other radioactive material. The infrastructure required to produce RPSs currently exists, or is planned to exist, at three geographically separate and distant DOE sites: ORNL, LANL, and INL. After the events of September 11, 2001, DOE re-evaluated security requirements for the storage and transport of SNM. Since the nuclear material required to produce RPSs is SNM (plutonium-238), DOE has determined that consolidating plutonium-238 nuclear production operations at a single, highly-secure site would better protect these materials, eliminate the need for interstate transportation, and avoid the unnecessary costs of implementing security upgrades at multiple sites.