Oak Ridge National Laboratory operated by the United States Department of Energy has issued a press release announcing the resumption of Plutonium-238 production in the United States (archived). Since the United States ceased production in the late 1980's they have filled their appetite for the isotope through foreign purchases supplemented by their dwindling stockpile. The increasingly frosty relationships between the United States and developed countries that maintained Plutionium-238 production capability has forced the United States into independently producing the material again at great cost. Plutonium-238 is used as a radio thermal power source in medical and space related applications. The ongoing decline of relations between the United States and the developed world is likely to continue injuring the ability of the United States government to participate in international markets.