From yesterday’s White House briefing:
Q I’ve got a quick one. There was a report today that the administration is supporting plutonium production. Is this correct, and is that true?
MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, let me give you an update on that. I’m glad you brought that up. First of all, this is a matter under the jurisdiction of the Department of Energy, and the plutonium that we’re talking is not — is non-weapons-grade plutonium. The Department of Energy is responsible for producing significant heat and electricity power systems that would require no maintenance in places like deep space. And plutonium-238, which we’re talking about, is the substance that makes that feasible. Such power systems are used in support of deep space exploration missions and certain national security applications. But, again, we’re not talking about any weapons-grade plutonium.
And I think the Department of Energy can probably talk to you more about why we need to produce it.
Q Speaking of that, how’s the Mars project coming along?
Q Thank you.
MR. McCLELLAN: Thank you all.
Note: No answer from McClellan re: Mars. (Thanks to Press Gaggle)