Nuclear Weapons: NNSA Needs to Establish a Cost and Schedule Baseline for Manufacturing a Critical Nuclear Weapon Component
GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE WASHINGTON DC
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The Department of Energy s National Nuclear Security Administration NNSA is responsible for manufacturing pits, a key component in a nuclear warhead. The department lost its ability to manufacture pits in 1989 with the closing of the Rocky Flats Plant. In 1996, the Los Alamos National Laboratory LANL was directed to reestablish a pit manufacturing capability, starting with a limited number of pits for the W88 warhead. In recent years, NNSA has considered ways to increase its pit manufacturing capacity, including building a new, large-scale pit manufacturing facility. It has also proposed producing pits for the Reliable Replacement Warhead RRW. GAO was asked to determine the 1 extent to which NNSA achieved its major goals for reestablishing its pit manufacturing capability, 2 factors that currently constrain its ability to increase its pit manufacturing capacity, and 3 status of its plans for future pit manufacturing. For this review, GAO met with NNSA and LANL officials, reviewed agency documents, and visited the nuclear facility used to manufacture pits.
- Nuclear Weapons