Nuclear Weapons Complex:

GAO's Views on Reconfiguring the Complex

T-RCED-92-49: Published: Apr 1, 1992. Publicly Released: Apr 1, 1992.

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GAO discussed the Department of Energy's (DOE) efforts to reconfigure the nuclear weapons complex. GAO noted that: (1) the Nuclear Weapons Council has not determined the appropriate size for the future nuclear weapons complex; (2) issues that DOE faces in reconfiguring the complex in light of weapons reductions include which facilities should be restarted or closed, what the new tritium production capacity should be, whether DOE has sufficient capability to dismantle large numbers of nuclear weapons, and how DOE will dispose of, store, or use plutonium and other material from disassembled weapons; (3) modernizing the complex would cost DOE approximately $50 billion; (4) the DOE preliminary cost estimate for reconfiguring a smaller, more consolidated complex ranges from a low of $6.7 billion to a high of $15.2 billion; (5) the DOE estimate does not include a wide variety of upgrades and modernization projects that will be necessary in order to move the complex of today to the one envisioned for 2015 and beyond; and (6) the DOE estimate also does not include funding for handling safety, health, and environmental deficiencies throughout the complex.

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