As part of complex 2030, BWXT Pantex may be taking on a new role in the nation's nuclear network.
Pantex currently handles plutonium as part of its mission to assemble and dis-assemble nuclear bombs, but could become the only site to use it.
Part of the plan known as "Complex 2030". is establishing a "consolidated plutonium center", a location where all of the nation's plutonium weapons will be for long term research and development, surveillance, and manufacturing.
The NNSA says the center could bring as many as one thousand more jobs to the local plant, a benefit to our economy. Buzz Field is with the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation. He said "The Pantex plant enjoys tremendous public and bi-partisan political support for new missions and could provide them with the lowest additional cost to the taxpayers."
Local officials also say the benefits of having the plutonium center here extend beyond money.
Mayor Debra McCartt (R, Amarillo) added "Virtually all of the nation's plutonium is already here at Pantex. The siting of the proposed plutonium at another site would be an intolerable security risk for the country to move the stockpile across the nation's highways".
A speaker at today's environmental study hearing disagrees, saying it would be like putting all of our eggs in the same, dangerous basket. Allan Feingold told Newschannel10's Tina Berasley "I think its necessary to have a minimum of two facilities that have some knowledge of where the material is and what its going to be used for. I think if you consolidate in one place there is insufficient oversight within the organization itself".
The NNSA tells us the site for the plutonium consolidation project will not be operational until 2022.
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