News & CommentStockpile Stewardship

Big Projects Could Threaten Weapons Labs' Research Base

Science  24 May 1996:
Vol. 272, Issue 5265, pp. 1092-1093
DOI: 10.1126/science.272.5265.1092


Los Alamos, New Mexico—The decision to stop underground nuclear testing has made computer simulations the chief tool for ensuring that the U.S. nuclear arsenal is reliable. But a $4 billion program, called stockpile stewardship and management, has triggered a fierce debate within the defense community. At issue is how to balance the cost of such new facilities as the $1.1 billion National Ignition Facility, which will simulate the conditions of nuclear detonation, with the need to keep enough experienced weapons designers on hand for core research activities.