U.S. nuclear infrastructure in 'bad shape'

May 31, 2012 at 1:15 PM

WASHINGTON, May 31 (UPI) -- The United States has let the infrastructure that supports its nuclear stockpile decline since the Cold War era ended, a top military commander said.

U.S. Air Force Gen. Robert Kehler, head of the U.S. Strategic Command, told the Council on Foreign Relations that budgetary commitments beyond 2013 for the nuclear industry and national laboratories were cause for concern.

"The part of the budget in fiscal year 2013 that concerns me the most is the part associated with the nuclear weapons complex, the extended nuclear weapons complex," he was quoted by Military.com as saying.

Washington has committed to extending the life of its B61 nuclear bomb. The White House has proposed reducing the funding for the program, however.

Kehler said that even if Washington were to cut its nuclear arsenal zero, the government would need a network of national laboratories to maintain its objectives. Continued neglect, he said, would make a bad situation worse.

"In some places the infrastructure is in really bad shape -- really bad shape," he was quoted as saying.

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