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Audit Finds Backlog In Reliability Testing Of Nuclear Warheads

That's a lot of overtime...
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Nov 3, 2006
An audit has found a "significant backlog" in surveillance testing of nuclear warheads, resulting in a lack of vital information about the reliability of the US stockpile, the Energy Department said Friday. The Energy Department conducts tests of randomly selected weapons and components as part of an effort to ensure that weapons in the stockpile are safe and reliable.

Gregory Friedman, the department's inspector general, conducted the audit to see whether the department had eliminated backlogs in testing that were first detected in 2001.

"The audit disclosed that significant backlogs existed in each of the three types of tests conducted in the surveillance program -- laboratory tests, flight tests and component tests," he said in a report dated October 30.

Laboratory tests for seven of nine weapons systems in the testing program were behind schedule, and flight tests for six systems were behind scheduled.

"Furthermore, testing backlogs existed for all five primary weapons' components, such as gas transfer valves and detonators," he said.

Friedman noted that the role of the program to assure the reliability of warheads was increasingly important as the US stockpile of nuclear weapons ages.

"However, as a result of the continuing backlog of surveillance tests, the department lacks vital information about the reliability of the stockpile," he said.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Washington (UPI) Nov 03, 2006
The man who ran the CIA's covert activities in Europe during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq says U.S. intelligence needs to be better insulated from political influence if the nation is to avoid another disaster in Iran. "I can see the same thing happening with (intelligence on) Iran," Tyler Drumheller told United Press International in an interview about his just-published book, "On the Brink."

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