Union of Concerned Scientists says U.S. could save billions by refurbishing warheads

The U.S. could save billions of dollars by refurbishing its nuclear weapons arsenal rather than replacing it, according to a report released on Thursday by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Current plans call for the National Nuclear Security Administration, an agency that operates within the Department of Energy, to replace all U.S. nuclear weapons over a 25-year period at a cost of $60 billion.

The report, titled "Making Smart Security Choices," summarized the U.S. nuclear weapons program as a whole. Its goal was to highlight "what needs improving, what there is too much and too little of, and how to make its work consistent with the U.S. commitment to further reducing its arsenal."

UCS called for the cancellation of current plans to build additional facilities to support the U.S nuclear program. The group concluded those plans contradict President Barack Obama's commitment to not expand the country's nuclear program.

"...(It) sends the wrong message to the rest of the world," the report said. "And it would be more difficult for the NNSA to certify that its new warheads are safe, secure and reliable without nuclear explosive testing."

The report also said that the NNSA needs to do a better job of monitoring its warheads through a stockpile surveillance program in addition to reducing its arsenal and meeting arms-reduction commitments.