Wednesday, June 25, 2008

"Cutting the W88 - The Right Target"

Commented on this over at their post. It's not about the # of contractors per se, it's about how good and ethical a job they do. It's about actual government oversight of contractor work.

And WTF to NNSA, they can't make an assessment cohesively???

via The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) Blog by Michael Smallberg on 6/25/08

The House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee has taken a step toward sanity in the U.S. nuclear weapons complex. The Subcommittee is now saying that there is no more money for building plutonium pits, which are at the core of the W88 warhead that is carried aboard U.S. nuclear submarines. The Department of Energy (DOE) had planned to produce between 10 and 50 pits annually over the next four years at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).

Before it was made public, the Albuquerque Journal obtained a copy of the Subcommittee's report, which states that the weapon "serves obsolete Cold War concepts rather than current or future needs." In addition, DOE kept making the pits even when their viability and safety were questionable.

Early this year, POGO learned that LANL asked for 72 waivers for the pits manufacturing specifications. LANL claims everything is fine because the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) accepted all of the 72 proposed changes. Yet, sources told POGO that NNSA has no capability to independently evaluate the impact of each of the 72 waivers on the eventual reliability of the pits. For its assessment, NNSA is totally dependent on the design lab (LANL).


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