The Carson County Pantex plant, located in the Texas Panhandle, is where the nation’s nuclear weapons are dismantled or modified.
Yes, right here in the wide open spaces, Pantex engineers and scientists are also working to ensure test assemblies fulfill stringent military specifications and lab design procedures according to the Amarillo Globe-News.
“Its just a way that they can validate that the safety and security of the weapons stockpile and the reliability of the weapons stockpile is still good,” Program Manager Colby Yeary said. “The same level of qualification and rigor is applied to a JTA as it would be for an active stockpile assembly ... The product is not so much the assembly, it’s really the data we generate from the flight test itself.”
In May, a mock Minuteman III missile was given a flight test, and inside the unarmed missile, was a Minuteman III mock warhead built by the Carson County Pantex plant.
The National Nuclear Security Administration certifies to the president that the U.S. nuclear stockpile is safe and reliable. The U.S. arsenal has eight different types of nuclear weapons, ranging from cruise missiles to intercontinental ballistic missiles like as the Minuteman III, a 60-foot long rocket capable of carrying multiple warheads. At different times, joint test assemblies have been built for each weapon in the U.S. nuclear stockpile.