Nuclear Weapons:

Status of DOE's Nuclear Stockpile Surveillance Program

T-RCED-96-100: Published: Mar 13, 1996. Publicly Released: Mar 13, 1996.

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GAO discussed the Department of Energy's (DOE) nuclear weapons stockpile surveillance program. GAO noted that: (1) during the last 4 years, DOE has not conducted all of the tests necessary to ensure the stockpile's reliability; (2) testing delays have resulted from equipment problems, lack of space on missiles for testing, an incomplete safety study, and physical relocation of testing activities; (3) for 3 of the 9 types of weapons scheduled for flight testing, DOE had conducted more than 33 percent fewer tests than scheduled, which causes DOE to be concerned about the accuracy of the weapons' reliability levels; (4) laboratory tests of nonnuclear components are seriously behind schedule for one weapon type; and (5) destructive laboratory testing of most nuclear components is behind schedule, but DOE expects to be back on schedule by the end of fiscal year 1997.

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