Jeffrey LewisPu: Still Ages Like Sophia Loren

In January and March 2006, I blogged about stories by James Sterngold inthe San Francisco Chronicle suggesting plutonium, much like Sophia Loren, ages extremely well—remaining quite, um, fissile for at least 60 years.

A new study from Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore finds plutonium ages much better than Ms. Loren, remaining viable fissile material for at least 90 years. Sterngold explains:

The study, mandated by Congress and conducted by scientists at the Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore national weapons laboratories, is scheduled for release in the next few weeks. Scientists and government officials familiar with its findings said the report’s authors have about doubled the previous estimates of the time plutonium remains potent as a weapons fuel, to 90 years, at a minimum, and perhaps much longer. The previous estimate was a 45-to-60 years minimum life.


  1. Mason Lowe (History)

    You can find more on this topic at Nuclear watch of New Mexico has been out in front of this issue for years.

    Especially relevant is the recent report tying together Pu aging and the ages of warheads in the enduring stockpile:

  2. mark F (History)

    um, great picture.