United States Code

USC most recently checked for updates: May 21, 2024

§ 2538a.
Plutonium pit production capacity
(a)
Requirement
Consistent with the requirements of the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Energy shall ensure that the nuclear security enterprise—
(1)
during 2021, begins production of qualification plutonium pits;
(2)
during 2024, produces not less than 10 war reserve plutonium pits;
(3)
during 2025, produces not less than 20 war reserve plutonium pits;
(4)
during 2026, produces not less than 30 war reserve plutonium pits; and
(5)
during 2030, produces not less than 80 war reserve plutonium pits.
(b)
Annual certification

Not later than March 1, 2015, and each year thereafter through 2030, the Secretary of Energy shall certify to the congressional defense committees and the Secretary of Defense that the programs and budget of the Secretary of Energy will enable the nuclear security enterprise to meet the requirements under subsection (a).

(c)
Plan

If the Secretary of Energy does not make a certification under subsection (b) by March 1 of any year in which a certification is required under that subsection, by not later than May 1 of such year, the Chairman of the Nuclear Weapons Council shall submit to the congressional defense committees a plan to enable the nuclear security enterprise to meet the requirements under subsection (a). Such plan shall include identification of the resources of the Department of Energy that the Chairman determines should be redirected to support the plan to meet such requirements.

(d)
Certifications on plutonium enterprise
(1)
Requirement

Not later than 30 days after the date on which a covered project achieves a critical decision milestone, the Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management and the Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs shall jointly certify to the congressional defense committees that the operations, infrastructure, and workforce of such project are adequate to carry out the delivery and disposal of planned waste shipments relating to the plutonium enterprise, as outlined in the critical decision memoranda of the Department of Energy with respect to such project.

(2)
Failure to certify

If the Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management and the Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs fail to make a certification under paragraph (1) by the date specified in such paragraph with respect to a covered project achieving a critical decision milestone, the Assistant Secretary and the Deputy Administrator shall jointly submit to the congressional defense committees, by not later than 30 days after such date, a plan to ensure that the operations, infrastructure, and workforce of such project will be adequate to carry out the delivery and disposal of planned waste shipments described in such paragraph.

(e)
Reports
(1)
Requirement

Not later than March 1 of each year during the period beginning on the date on which the first covered project achieves critical decision 2 in the acquisition process and ending on the date on which the second project achieves critical decision 4 and begins operations, the Administrator for Nuclear Security shall submit to the congressional defense committees a report on the planned production goals of both covered projects during the first 10 years of the operation of the projects.

(2)
Elements
Each report under paragraph (1) shall include—
(A)
the number of war reserve plutonium pits planned to be produced during each year, including the associated warhead type;
(B)
a description of risks and challenges to meeting the performance baseline for the covered projects, as approved in critical decision 2 in the acquisition process;
(C)
options available to the Administrator to balance scope, costs, and production requirements at the projects to decrease overall risk to the plutonium enterprise and enduring plutonium pit requirements; and
(D)
an explanation of any changes to the production goals or requirements as compared to the report submitted during the previous year.
(f)
Prohibition on ARIES expansion before achievement of 30 pit-per-year base capability
(1)
In general
Until the date on which the Administrator certifies to the congressional defense committees that the base capability to produce not less than 30 war reserve plutonium pits per year has been established at Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Administrator may not—
(A)
carry out a project to expand the pit disassembly and processing capability of the spaces at PF–4 occupied by ARIES as of December 22, 2023; or
(B)
otherwise expand such spaces.
(2)
Exceptions
Paragraph (1) shall not apply with respect to—
(A)
ongoing or planned small projects to sustain or improve the efficiency of plutonium oxide production, provided that such projects do not expand the spaces at PF–4 occupied by ARIES as of December 22, 2023;
(B)
the planning and design of an additional ARIES capability at a location other than PF–4; or
(C)
the transfer of the ARIES capability to a location other than PF–4.
(3)
Definitions
In this subsection:
(A)
The term “ARIES” means the Advanced Recovery and Integrated Extraction System method, developed and piloted at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico, for disassembling surplus defense plutonium pits and converting the plutonium from such pits into plutonium oxide.
(B)
The term “PF–4” means the Plutonium Facility at Technical Area 55 located at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico.
(g)
Covered project defined
In this subsection, the term “covered project” means—
(1)
the Savannah River Plutonium Processing Facility, Savannah River Site, Aiken, South Carolina (Project 21–D–511); or
(2)
the Plutonium Pit Production Project, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico (Project 21–D–512).
(h)
Management of plutonium modernization program

Not later than 570 days after December 22, 2023, the Administrator for Nuclear Security shall ensure that the plutonium modernization program established by the Office of Defense Programs of the National Nuclear Security Administration, or any subsequently developed program designed to meet the requirements under subsection (a), is managed in accordance with the best practices for schedule development and cost estimating of the Government Accountability Office.

(Pub. L. 107–314, div. D, title XLII, § 4219, as added Pub. L. 113–291, div. C, title XXXI, § 3112(b)(1), Dec. 19, 2014, 128 Stat. 3886; amended Pub. L. 116–92, div. C, title XXXI, § 3116(b), Dec. 20, 2019, 133 Stat. 1952; Pub. L. 117–81, div. C, title XXXI, § 3111(a), Dec. 27, 2021, 135 Stat. 2219; Pub. L. 118–31, div. C, title XXXI, §§ 3116, 3117, Dec. 22, 2023, 137 Stat. 790, 791.)
cite as: 50 USC 2538a