U.S. completes warhead retirement program

Aug. 12, 2010 at 1:36 PM
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 12 (UPI) -- A program to dismantle 1970s-era U.S. nuclear warheads has been completed a year ahead of schedule, the U.S. Department of Energy has announced.

Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced the completion after personally participating in the final W62 dismantlement during a Wednesday visit to the National Nuclear Security Administration's Pantex Plant outside Amarillo, Texas, an Energy Department release said.

The W62 dismantlement program safely and securely took apart the retired 1970s era warheads, which will no longer be a part of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile, the department said.

"Completing the last W62 dismantlement is a tangible demonstration of our firm commitment to support the president's goal of reducing the number of nuclear weapons and their role in the U.S. national security strategy," Chu said.

In a 2009 speech, President Obama said, "We will reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy and urge others to do the same."

The W62, part of the nation's intercontinental ballistic missile program, was produced in the 1970s and saw service until recently.

The delivery platform was the Air Force Minuteman III ICBM.

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