The US is trying to design a new centrifuge, the Siemens SAIC-500, that could potentially cut the cost of the US nuclear weapons program by about half.
The US and other nuclear powers have already invested heavily in a series of small centrifuge designs, including the Rolls-Royce Phantom, which cost about $10 billion, and the Chinese J-20, which took more than two years to design and test.
But this new centrifuger is much more efficient and can use less fuel.
It could be used to cut the amount of plutonium that could be spent on weapons by at least 80 percent and reduce the need for stockpiles of weapons-grade plutonium.
The Siemens test machine has been described by US officials as being more advanced than the Chinese machine.
However, it will be a “significant technological breakthrough” and the US could use it in nuclear weapons production.
It is a “major step forward,” said Steven Simon, a senior associate with the Stimson Center think tank in Washington, DC.
“It would enable the US to build a nuclear deterrent that is competitive and reliable.”
The US will need about 50 centrifugers for the next 10 years, but the number could rise dramatically as the price of uranium is expected to drop.
That means the US may need to start building a new type of centrifuge in order to keep pace with its nuclear arsenal.
The new machine would need to be significantly larger than the one used by the Chinese, and would also need to weigh more than a million pounds.
The centrifuge design has been years in the making, and US officials have said they want to design it to withstand extreme temperatures and high pressures.
The most advanced centrifuge currently being tested in the US, the SNC-Lavalin design, weighs more than 10 million pounds, and has a capacity to produce up to 4,400 pounds of plutonium a year.
But that will require more powerful and more expensive centrifuged machinery, which are still in development.
The SNC has announced plans to build an upgraded version of the SSC-1 centrifuge that would be used in the next few years, and it has also announced that it plans to invest more than $300 million in a new $4.4 billion centrifuge facility in Idaho.
The state, along with the Department of Energy, has been working on a deal to purchase the equipment.
“The deal will bring a significant amount of capital and expertise to Idaho and to the state,” Idaho Governor C.L. “But it will also bring a major technology development, which we hope will drive the pace and scope of future investments to this new and exciting technology,” the state said in a statement.
“This deal is the best of both worlds for Idaho, and we look forward to working with the US government to ensure that Idaho and Idahoans benefit from this investment.”