The National Nuclear Security Administration hosted both U.S. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Smith and senior member Rep. Joe Wilson at the Savannah River Site last week.
The two, Smith a Washington Democrat and Wilson a South Carolina Republican, were accompanied by NNSA boss Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, who has repeatedly advocated for the modernization of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
Their Friday tour took them to the proposed Savannah River Plutonium Processing Facility – what would be a reworked Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility – as well as the Savannah River Site's tritium hub.
Tritium is a radioactive hydrogen isotope used in nuclear weapons.
On Twitter, Gordon-Hagerty said she was "glad to join" Smith and Wilson "to show them how we are revamping" infrastructure at the site, about 30 minutes south of Aiken. A National Nuclear Security Administration spokesperson described the overall visit as "very brief."
Savannah River Plutonium Processing Facility is the formal name for one leg of the NNSA's recommended two-leg plutonium pit production endeavor.
In May 2018, the National Nuclear Security Administration and the U.S. Department of Defense suggested producing dozens of plutonium pits – nuclear weapon cores – at both the Savannah River Site and Los Alamos National Laboratory, a plutonium center of excellence in northern New Mexico.
Smith visited Los Alamos in early October 2019, according to the House Armed Services Committee deputy communications director.
Together, the deputy director said, Smith's stops in South Carolina and New Mexico help inform the chairman's congressional oversight role. The House Armed Services Committee has jurisdiction over the energy and defense departments.
The NNSA, established in 2000, is the Energy Department's semiautonomous weapons-and-nonproliferation arm.