Complex 21. The Department of Energy (DOE) is developing a proposal, known as Complex 21, to reconfigure the Nation's Nuclear Weapons Complex (Complex). The Complex is a set of interrelated facilities that design, manufacture, test, and maintain this country's nuclear weapons. The Complex also produces and/or recycles the nuclear materials used in building weapons and stores nuclear materials for future use. DOE also dismantles the weapons retired from the stockpile. In addition, DOE conducts surveillance and maintenance activities to ensure the reliability and safety of the stockpiled weapons throughout their operational life.
Many of the Complex facilities, constructed over the past 50 years, were sized to meet stockpile requirements substantially larger and more diverse than those expected in the future and were designed and built to environmental and safety standards very different from, and less stringent than, those of today. In view of improving international relationships, the Presidential initiatives of September 27, 1991 and January 20, 1992, and the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks II (START II) agreement of January 1993, the requirements for the number and types of nuclear weapons will substantially decrease from current stockpile levels. Additional changes are possible in the future which cannot be foreseen at this time.
Therefore, the Complex must provide the flexibility to respond to emerging and future changes. To meet these challenges, the Secretary of Energy (Secretary) has proposed to reconfigure the present Complex. The future Complex that is the subject of DOE's proposal is called Complex 21. Complex 21 would be smaller, less diverse, and less expensive to operate than the Complex of today.