UCS Report on the Future of the U.S. Nuclear Weapons Complex

October 17, 2013 | 9:47 am
Lisbeth Gronlund
Former contributor

complex report coverToday we released our report Making Smart Security Choices, which takes a broad look at the U.S. nuclear weapons complex and assesses what is going well and what needs improving, what there is too much and too little of, and how to make its work consistent with the U.S. commitment to further reducing its arsenal.

In part, the report looks at current plans for building new facilities and argues for cancelling or postponing some of them.

Under its current plan, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)—the semi-autonomous  agency within the Department of Energy that oversees nuclear weapon activities—would spend $60 billion over the next 25 years to replace existing nuclear weapons with a suite of new warheads.

The report argues that the U.S. needs to extend the life of its arsenal, but it could refurbish its existing weapons instead of spending tens of billions to build new ones. Building new nuclear weapons flies in the face of the Obama’s administration’s pledge to not do so, and sends the wrong message to the rest of the world. And it would be more difficult for the NNSA to certify that its new warheads are safe, secure and reliable without nuclear explosive testing.

The report also found that the NNSA should pay more attention to warhead monitoring through its Stockpile Surveillance Program, dismantling warheads, and developing ways to verify further arms reduction agreements.

A more detailed summary of the report can be found here.

An interactive Google Map showing the facilities in the complex and providing information about them can be found here.