Nuclear Weapons Complex:

Issues Surrounding Consolidating Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories

T-RCED-92-98: Published: Sep 24, 1992. Publicly Released: Sep 24, 1992.

Additional Materials:


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

GAO discussed the Department of Energy's (DOE) nuclear weapons laboratories, focusing on: (1) the research, development, and testing (RD&T) capabilities of the Los Alamos and Livermore National Laboratories; (2) trends in staffing and funding at both DOE weapons laboratories; and (3) options for consolidating both programs. GAO noted that: (1) DOE maintains redundant nuclear warhead RD&T infrastructures to simulate competition between nations; (2) both laboratories' responsibilities include nuclear warhead design, RD&T capabilities, materials and fabrication research, high explosive technology development, and weapons engineering and testing; (3) the concurrent and independent approaches have led to development of specialized knowledge and capabilities; (4) staffing and funding levels have continued to decline, forcing both laboratories to expand areas of development and find alternative funding sources; (5) due to the decrease in funds, some consolidation of the two laboratories is expected; (6) savings are possible through consolidation, but the laboratories believe they are small relative to the entire nuclear weapons complex funding; (7) both laboratories advocate continuing the two-laboratory structure for weapons design; (8) Los Alamos believes that the structure may need to be altered, but both programs must maintain peer review and benefits from competition; and (9) DOE expects to broaden the laboratories' missions to include nuclear waste management and modernization on the nuclear weapons complex.

Nov 19, 2020

Oct 29, 2020

Oct 15, 2020

Jul 24, 2020

Jun 24, 2020

Jun 9, 2020

May 13, 2020

May 12, 2020

Apr 29, 2020

  • energy icon, source: Art Explosion

    Priority Open Recommendations:

    Department of Energy
    GAO-20-285PR: Published: Apr 22, 2020. Publicly Released: Apr 29, 2020.

Apr 17, 2020

Looking for more? Browse all our products here