The Administration has requested the restart of plutonium‐238 (Pu‐238) production in fiscal year (FY) 2011. The following joint start‐up plan, consistent with the President's request, has been developed collaboratively between the Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and defines the roles and contributions of major users of Pu‐238 in response to Congressional request.
DOE has examined current national needs for Pu‐238 and received significant input from NASA regarding its specific mission needs. Both agencies agree that an adequate national supply of Pu‐238 can be maintained if an average production rate of 1.5 kilograms per year is in place by 2015. Using existing facilities with some modifications, DOE expects to produce up to two kilograms of Pu‐238 per year and to accommodate an average annual production rate of 1.5 kilograms on a sustained basis.