GSN, Aug. 22, 2005).
The U.S. Energy Department over two decades might transfer 4.7 tons of
the material to the New Mexico facility, with each shipment involving
about 11 pounds of plutonium (Associated Press/Charlotte Observer, June 25).
Prior to shipping, the plutonium would be combined with a substance
called "stardust" to deter opportunists who might seek a nuclear-weapon
material and to reduce the difficulty of transport, the Augusta, Ga., Chronicle reported on June 12.
The plutonium being transferred was not used in the cores, or "pits,"
of nuclear weapons. It is excess material that cannot be converted into
mixed-oxide nuclear reactor fuel though a plant being built at the
Savannah River Site, according to the report (see GSN, June 7).