Industry News | CWP

Raiders of the Lost Archive

August 25, 2020

August 25, 2020

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Industry News

Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) | By Katharine Coggeshall

Image credit: LANL

Hundreds of boxes sit in a vault in the Denver Federal Center, each filled with hard copies of data, reports, laboratory notebooks, welding procedures, and technical illustrations. The boxes came from the Rocky Flats Plant in Golden, Colorado—a behemoth manufacturing hub that churned out the majority of the nuclear weapon pits (plutonium cores) that still exist in our nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile. From 1952 to 1989, Rocky Flats produced those fissile cores and documented everything along the way. But when Rocky Flats shut down in 1989, following a dramatic raid by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Environmental Protection Agency, all of that pit-production knowledge was boxed up, sent to a vault, and nearly forgotten.

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