Choosing a Tritium Supply Technology for Nuclear Weapons: Reflections on a Controversial Decision Analysis

Publication Type: 
Detlof von Winterfeldt
Nuclear weapons require the periodic replacement of tritium, a radioactive gas that decays at approximately 5.5 percent per year. Since 1989 the United States has no tritium supply facility, and, because of the decay of tritium, its inventory was expected to fall below the required reserve level is 2011. To decide how to fill this projected gap, the Department of Energy assessed several tritium supply alternatives, including several types of new reactors, an accelerator, and the use of commercial reactors. This paper describes the decision ...