Jason Releases Summary of Long-awaited Plutonium Aging Report

A key uncertainty affecting our confidence in the long-term reliability of nuclear weapons is the stability of the plutonium in the core, or “pit.” The pit is a sphere or shell of plutonium that is compressed by conventional explosives to create the supercritical mass required to sustain a nuclear chain reaction. In hydrogen bombs, this first part is called the primary. The energy of the primary is used to compress the fusion part of a hydrogen bomb or secondary. For large bombs, the great majority of the energy comes from the secondary, but if the primary produces too little energy, the secondary will fail completely.
Continue reading