January 29, 2013
The National Nuclear Security Administration's Weapons Dismantlement and Disposition Program
The National Nuclear Security Administration met or exceeded its nuclear weapons dismantlement and nuclear weapon components disposition program goals for FYs 2010 and 2011. However, we noted potential issues related to the infrastructure for staging nuclear weapons, nuclear weapon components, and other weapon components at the Pantex Plant that could impact future dismantlement efforts and other Directed Stockpile Work programs. According to Pantex officials, as the infrastructure for staging nuclear materials at Pantex continues to age without needed improvements, Pantex may not be able to provide the level of protection required for safe and secure staging operations of nuclear materials. The security system in place to protect the Plant's Zone 4 Material Access Area was installed in the 1990s with an expected useful life of 20 years and has been due for refurbishment. Additionally, warehouses containing pits and nuclear explosives are deteriorating and in need of varying degrees of repairs. We also noted that facilities Pantex uses to stage weapon components are nearing their capacity levels. Additionally, Pantex could not provide documentation showing the estimated volume of space needed to store weapon components from future dismantlements and volume of space created through the disposition of components to demonstrate sufficient storage capacity for future dismantlement operations.
Topic: National Security & Safety