B.10 PANTEX PLANT
The Pantex Plant is responsible for fabricating chemical high explosive components for
nuclear weapons; disassembling nuclear weapons that have been retired from the stockpile;
assembling nuclear weapons for the nation's stockpile; and maintaining and evaluating
nuclear weapons in the stockpile. Currently, the major effort at the site is disassembly of
weapons, with approximately1500 being disassembled per year. Some weapons assembly is
continuing, but on a relatively small scale. Large quantities of plutonium pits are normally
in interim storage at the site.
B.11 ROCKY FLATS ENVIRONMENTAL TECHNOLOGY SITE
The mission of the Rocky Flats Environmental Technology Site (originally the Rocky Flats
Plant) has changed from production of nuclear weapons components to radioactive material
storage, environmental restoration, and waste management.
Plutonium activities at the site were limited to chemical and mechanical processing of
plutonium and did not include plutonium production. Processing, recovering, machining,
and fabricating involved primarily four buildings: 991, 707, 771, and 776/777. Two
buildings, 559 and 779, were used for laboratory analysis and research. Building 371 was
built as a replacement for 771 but has not been reliably utilized in that capacity. It does
have analytical laboratory capability and a large storage area for plutonium.
-- Building 991 is the oldest building involved in plutonium activities. However, it has
recently been used only for storage and shipping/receiving of complete plutonium
components (pits) to and from Pantex.
-- Building 707 was used for the fabrication and assembly of nuclear weapons
components. This involved melting, blending, casting, machining, fabricating, and
assembling plutonium components. Building 776 had been used for these operations
-- Building 771 was used for chemical recovery and processing of plutonium to produce
usable product material.
-- Building 776/777 was used for disassembly of returned components from the field.
This building also performed electrorefining for the separation of americium from
-- Building 559 was used as an analytical laboratory to support weapons component
production, i.e., quality control, quality assurance, and other laboratory activities.
-- Building 779, also a laboratory facility, provided chemical and metallurgical research
The plutonium facilities at Rocky Flats have had several major contamination incidents
involving plutonium fires. Since plutonium pits were the primary plutonium product
shipped from the site, all other plutonium metal was considered in process and not
packaged for long-term storage. Relatively large quantities of plutonium metal and oxides
are located in process lines and in storage locations.