Report: Weapons will last a long time

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Unclassified summary feeds public debate

By Roger Snodgrass

The nuclear weapons stockpile can be relied upon with confidence for years to come through current stewardship programs, like those at Los Alamos National Laboratory, but the program itself needs strengthening and focus.

A prestigious panel of defense analysts known as JASON has issued a much-anticipated report on the aging of nuclear warheads that is already the subject of contention.

The report essentially sanctions the current process for certifying nuclear warheads but has implications for future policy and budgets.

The conclusions appear to undercut the need for new nuclear weapons to replace the deteriorating fleet of older designs, a set of upgrades has been a high priority for the nuclear weapons complex for most of this decade.

“Jason finds no evidence that accumulation of changes incurred from aging and LEP’s (Lifetime Extension Programs) have increased risk to certification of today’s deployed nuclear warheads,” the Report says in the lead bullet of an unclassified executive summary.

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