Associated Press, September 18, 2006
OAK RIDGE (AP) — The Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in Oak Ridge is supporting a new Department of Energy initiative.
It would redesign nuclear weapons parts so they could more easily be made and maintained in the future.
The “Reliable Replacement Warhead” program is a departure from the current “life-extension program” that keeps aging nuclear weapons in a state of certified readiness by replacing old parts with new components of original design.
Under the Reliable Replacement Warhead concept, replacement parts would be redesigned to make them easier to manufacture with fewer environmentally dangerous materials and higher design margins that could eliminate the need for future nuclear testing.
The plant’s funding for the project so far is a modest $1.2 million, but the program is still in its infancy, with no hardware yet produced.