October 21, 2009
Follow-up Audit of Test Readiness at the Nevada Test Site
As part of a self-imposed moratorium on testing, the United States has not conducted an explosive nuclear test since 1992. Since that time, the Department of Energy's (Department) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has used the Stockpile Stewardship Program, an effort that includes analytical simulation, laboratory experiments, and weapons refurbishments, to maintain the stockpile without nuclear testing. Under current national policy, however, the Department may be called upon, within a three-year timeframe, to resume underground nuclear testing at the Nevada Test Site (Nevada) under certain circumstances. These situations include the identification of a new type of weapon problem or an accumulation of uncertainties about the reliability of the nuclear stockpile. Prior to performing any test, the Department is required by Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 830, Nuclear Safety Management, to complete various safety analyses. In addition, Department Orders 452.1C, Nuclear Explosive and Weapon Surety Program, and 452.2C, Nuclear Explosive Safety, require a nuclear explosive safety study, which is a formal evaluation of the controls to meet nuclear explosive safety standards.
Topic: National Security and Safety