Source: Oak Ridge Today | John Huotari | January 21, 2019
Canned subassembly certified four months ahead of schedule
The Y-12 National Security Complex on Monday said it has completed a major milestone in efforts to refurbish components for a strategic nuclear weapons system that is vital to the U.S. nuclear deterrent.
The first production unit for a bomb called the B61-12 was certified at Y-12 on December 6, 2018.
The work is part of the B61 Life Extension Program, or LEP. The B61 is a nuclear bomb that can be carried on several types of military aircraft. The B61 LEP will extend the life of this strategic weapon for 20 years, said Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC, which manages and operates Y-12 for the National Nuclear Security Administration.
B61 bombs are the oldest nuclear weapons in the nation’s active stockpile. They have been in service almost 50 years, and critical components of the bombs are reaching the end of their operational lives. The B61 was first “fielded” in 1968, and current modifications were fielded between 1979 and 1991, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office.