SANTA FE – John Benner has been appointed the new associate laboratory director for weapons production at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, the laboratory said Thursday.
Benner, whose new position takes effect Jan. 3, is currently director general of the weapons program. Benner replaces Dave Eyler, who retired in the fall.
“John is a proven leader who can provide strategic vision, maintain stability and achieve deliverables for weapons production as we continue to increase our 30 wells per year and other important national security missions,” Bob Webster , deputy director of the laboratory for weapons programs, said in the press release.
The weapons production program has 1,400 employees who “are responsible for a diverse production portfolio that includes the production and evaluation of plutonium wells, nuclear weapon detonators and other non-nuclear components.” indicates the press release.
Pits are the bowling-ball-sized plutonium shells that are the key components of nuclear warheads.
“Due to factors such as aging plutonium, advances in safety and security, global risk and weapon modernization, these pits need to be replaced every now and then, but for nearly three decades, states “United have not had the capacity to produce them in the quantities required for the stockpile of nuclear weapons,” according to the National Nuclear Security Administration website.
Weapons Production is also responsible for overseeing the fabrication of power supplies for NASA’s distant space missions, plutonium processing, surveillance, materials management, and waste management operations.
“With nearly 30 years of experience, John is respected throughout the nuclear security business for his deep understanding of weapon engineering, particularly the relationship between design and production agencies,” said said Webster. “These skills and respect are critical to the success of (weapon production) as we continue to produce war reserve detonators and move to war reserve pit rate production.”