The Energy Department will announce today that it has accelerated its program to dismantle surplus nuclear weapons by more than 50% and has already met its goal for the fiscal year, about four months early.
Since the Cold War ended, the U.S. has been sharply reducing its stockpile. But reductions in the active weapons held by the Defense Department have left hundreds or even thousands -- the exact numbers are classified -- of surplus obsolete weapons in storage.
Thomas D'Agostino, the designated chief of the Energy Department's National Nuclear Security Administration, said in an interview Wednesday that he ordered the agency's main bomb factory in Amarillo, Texas, and other facilities across the nation to step up the pace.
The agency is developing procedures, special tools and a trained workforce to disassemble decades-old bombs, in some cases with rusty bolts, in as safe a way as possible, he said.