Upcoming Seminars & Events
Science and Global Security Seminar Series - Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Jonathan Medalia will speak on "Nuclear Weapon “Pit” Production: Findings from an Industrial Perspective"
The seminar will be held at 12:30 p.m., Wednesday, September 17, at 221 Nassau Street (located at J2 on the campus map) in the 2nd Floor Conference Room. You are welcome to bring your lunch. There is no need to rsvp.
This seminar will discuss the production of plutonium pits, the trigger for thermonuclear weapons. Since production at Rocky Flats halted in 1989, the US has made at most 11 pits per year; multiple attempts to reach a higher capacity have failed. Yet DoD states that it needs a capacity to produce 50 to 80 ppy. While debate has focused on how much capacity is required, this seminar looks at how to achieve a capacity of 80 ppy by focusing on the industrial aspects of pit production, including manufacturing operations, buildings for handling plutonium at Los Alamos National Laboratory, regulations governing the amount of plutonium these buildings can hold, possible use of existing buildings at other sites, and ways to increase capacity with and without major construction. This seminar holds implications for the nuclear weapons enterprise, the importance of analyzing alternatives, ways to reduce costs, the need for data in making decisions on the nuclear weapons complex and, more generally, the value of different analytic perspectives.
Jonathan Medalia is a Specialist in Nuclear Weapons Policy at the Congressional Research Service. CRS, a part of the Library of Congress, works directly for Congress as its policy “think tank.” Medalia has worked at CRS for 38 years on a variety of nuclear weapon-related issues. Early in his career, he analyzed policy aspects of the MX missile, civil defense, and the Trident program. Recent work includes reports on detection of nuclear weapons and materials, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, “dirty bombs,” a Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulation to protect radioactive materials, and nuclear weapon pit production. Medalia received an A.B. from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Stanford University. He held a pre-doctoral fellowship at the Brookings Institution and a postdoctoral fellowship at MIT.
Biosecurity Seminar Series
No Biosecurity seminars are scheduled for this semester. Lists of past seminars may be found here.