The U.S. agency that oversees the nation's nuclear arsenal is moving ahead with plans to modernize production of key components that trigger the weapons. But some watchdog groups and members of Congress are warning of more delays and cost overruns. The National Nuclear Security Administration delivered its annual plan to Congress this week. It outlines the multibillion-dollar effort to manufacture plutonium pits at national laboratories in New Mexico and South Carolina.
The U.S. agency in charge of jumpstarting the production of key components for the nation's nuclear arsenal is falling short when it comes to having a comprehensive schedule for the multibillion-dollar project. The Government Accountability Office says the National Nuclear Security Administration's plans for reestablishing plutonium pit production don't follow best practices and run the risk of delays and ballooning budgets. The GAO outlined the findings in a report made public Thursday. Nuclear watchdog groups have been voicing concerns since the federal government first announced plans to make as many as 80 of the plutonium cores annually — splitting the work between Los Alamos National Laboratory in northern New Mexico and the Savannah River Site in South Carolina.