Nuclear Weapons:

Capabilities of DOE's Limited Life Component Program to Meet Operational Needs

RCED-97-52: Published: Mar 5, 1997. Publicly Released: Mar 17, 1997.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Department of Energy's (DOE) ability to provide limited life components for nuclear weapons in the current active stockpile and the extent to which the components can be supplied to weapons reactivated from the inactive stockpile.

GAO noted that: (1) DOE appears to be capable of providing limited life components for nuclear weapons in the nation's active stockpile, as long as the size of the stockpile does not significantly increase; (2) DOE currently does not have enough production capacity for certain key components if weapons from the inactive stockpile are reactivated; (3) DOE's Albuquerque Operations Office has developed plans to expand production capacity of these key components; (4) this expansion, if completed on time, will allow DOE to meet the Production and Planning Directive's requirements by providing the capacity to support weapons that may be reactivated; (5) initially, DOE considered delaying the expansions by not funding them in fiscal year (FY) 1997; and (6) however, in October 1996, DOE directed its Albuquerque Operations Office to make the expansions high-priority activities and to fund them during FY 1997.

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