U.S. Department of Energy ORDER
Washington, D.C. DOE 5610.10
SUBJECT: NUCLEAR EXPLOSIVE AND WEAPON SAFETY PROGRAM
1. PURPOSE. To establish the Department of Energy (DOE) policy,
objectives, standards and criteria, authorities, and responsibilities
for its Nuclear Explosive and Weapon Safety Program.
2. CANCELLATIONS. DOE 5610.3, PROGRAM TO PREVENT ACCIDENTAL OR
UNAUTHORIZED NUCLEAR EXPLOSIVE DETONATIONS, of 12-18-80, and those
portions of DOE 5610.1, PACKAGING AND TRANSPORTING OF NUCLEAR
EXPLOSIVES, NUCLEAR COMPONENTS, AND SPECIAL ASSEMBLIES, of 9-11-79,
which address nuclear explosives.
3. SCOPE. The provisions of this Order apply to DOE Headquarters and
field elements and its contractors and subcontractors that conduct
nuclear explosive and nuclear weapon system safety, security, and
control activities in support of the nuclear weapons program as
provided by law and/or contract and as implemented by the appropriate
4. APPLICABILITY. This Order applies to all activities and operations
involving nuclear explosives and nuclear weapons conducted under the
Department's nuclear weapon program.
a. DOE 5610.11, NUCLEAR EXPLOSIVE SAFETY, of 10-10-90, which
establishes the DOE policy for the protection of public health and
safety in maintaining a formal, comprehensive, and systematic
nuclear explosives and weapons safety program.
b. DOE 5610.13, JOINT DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY/DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
NUCLEAR WEAPON SYSTEM SAFETY, SECURITY, AND CONTROL ACTIVITIES, of
10-10-90, which establishes DOE policy, procedures, authorities
and responsibilities for addressing joint nuclear weapon and
nuclear weapon system activities in conjunction with the
Department of Defense (DOD).
a. Abnormal Environment. Those environments as defined in a weapon's
stockpile-to-target-sequence and military characteristics in which
the weapon is not expected to retain full operational reliability.
In DOE manufacturing, testing, and transportation operations,
abnormal environment means an environment that a nuclear explosive
is not expected to experience during operations.
b. Normal Environment. The expected logistical and operational
environments as defined in a weapon's stockpile-to-target-sequence
and military characteristics that the weapon is required to
survive without degradation in operational reliability. In DOE
manufacturing, testing, and transportation operations, normal
environment means the environment to which a nuclear explosive is
expected to be exposed.
c. Nuclear Explosive. Any assembly containing fissionable and/or
fusionable materials and main charge high explosive parts or
propellants capable of producing a nuclear detonation (e.g., a
nuclear weapon or test device).
d. Nuclear Explosive and Weapon Safety Program. The DOE program
devoted to the safety of nuclear explosives and weapons as set
forth in this Order and in DOE 5610.11 and 5610.13.
e. Nuclear Explosive Safety Standards. Five qualitative requirements
for positive measures to prevent an accidental, inadvertent, or
deliberate unauthorized nuclear detonation or actions that might
lead to a detonation; to provide for physical security, and to
prevent plutonium dispersal. These standards may be met through
design features, safety rules, and procedures that reduce risk.
f. Nuclear Explosive Safety Study. A formal DOE process whereby the
safety of an operation, including transportation, involving a
nuclear explosive is evaluated and documented in a study report.
g. Nuclear Explosive Safety Survey. A formal DOE process whereby a
DOE operation, including transportation, involving a nuclear
explosive is evaluated by conducting a comparative analysis of the
operation with the nuclear explosive operation evaluated in an
existing Nuclear Explosive Safety Study report.
h. Nuclear Weapon. A nuclear explosive configured for operational
use by DOD.
i. Nuclear Yield. The energy released in the detonation of a nuclear
weapon, measured in terms of the kilotons or megatons of
trinitrotoluene (TNT) required to produce the same energy release.
j. One-Point Detonation. A detonation of high explosive (HE) which
is initiated at a single point. This type of detonation may be
intentionally initiated in certain self-destruct systems.
k. Positive Measures. Design features, safety rules, procedures, or
other controls used individually or collectively to provide
nuclear explosive safety. Positive measures are intended to
assure a safe response in applicable operations and be
controllable. Some examples of positive measures are strong-link
switches; other safety devices; administrative procedures and
controls; general and specific nuclear explosive safety rules;
design control of electrical equipment and mechanical tooling; and
physical, electrical, and mechanical restraints incorporated in
facilities and transport equipment.
l. Special Assembly. A major assembly of nuclear weapon components
that does not comprise a complete nuclear explosive and,
therefore, is not capable of producing a nuclear detonation.
m. Stockpile. Weapons and components, the custody of which has been
transferred from DOE to DOD.
7. POLICY. Protection of the public health and safety is of paramount
importance in the planning and conduct of the DOE's nuclear weapons
program. The primary goal shall be to assure safety while effectively
conducting the program in the national security interest. Nuclear
explosive and weapon safety issues shall be resolved through a
systematic process whereby:
a. The concept of operation is totally considered.
b. Attendant risks are identified, analyzed, evaluated, and
c. Informed decisions are made at the appropriate management level to
ensure that the degree of safety provided is adequate and
consistent with overall program objectives.
d. To this end, the DOE shall maintain a formal, comprehensive, and
systematic nuclear explosive and weapons safety program.
8. OBJECTIVES. The objectives of the nuclear explosive and weapons safety
program are to:
a. Assure that all nuclear explosive and nuclear weapon operations by
DOE and DOE contractors are conducted safely.
b. Discharge DOE's dual-agency role for the safety of nuclear weapons
in DOD custody.
9. SAFETY PROGRAM ELEMENTS. The safety program shall consist of the
following program elements:
a. A safety review process under which all operations are reviewed
for identification of risks. These risks are analyzed and
documented in safety studies and risk assessments so that informed
management decisions can be made regarding conduct of the
operation and the need for implementation of any additional
positive measures to reduce risk to acceptable levels.
b. A stockpile review under which the DOE will actively and
continuously review the stockpile to identify safety concerns and
to vigorously pursue modification programs, safety rules, and
positive measures to address identified concerns on an expeditious
c. Internal DP-20 and DP-20 field organization appraisals to assure
activities identified in paragraph 9a above are being
accomplished. Such appraisals are to be conducted by independent
reviewers having no operational responsibility for the appraised
d. A corrective action program to document and track the
implementation of corrective actions.
e. Nuclear explosive safety design criteria. (See page 8, paragraph
12, of this Order.)
f. Specific implementing Orders to address both nuclear explosive
safety and supporting activities. These Orders are referenced in
paragraph 5 above.
10. RESPONSIBILITIES AND AUTHORITIES. Within the DOE, safety is a line
management responsibility. The following authorities and
responsibilities apply to the nuclear explosive and weapon safety
a. Secretary of Energy (S-1) has ultimate responsibility for the
safety of all nuclear explosive and nuclear weapon operations
conducted by the Department and/or its contractors and, by
Presidential Directive, has joint responsibility for the safety of
nuclear weapons in DOD custody.
b. Assistant Secretary for Defense Programs (DP-1), through the Under
Secretary, is response for:
(1) Implementing the Secretary's policy for line management
responsibility for the nuclear explosive and weapon safety
program including those aspects of this program related to
safety and health of workers, the public, and protection of
(2) Serving as a member of the Nuclear Weapons Council and
representing the DOE on nuclear explosive and weapon safety
(3) Concurring in DOD-proposed nuclear weapon safety rules.
c. Assistant Secretary for Environment, Safety and Health (EH-1) is
responsible for assisting the Assistant Secretary for Defense
Programs (DP-1) in specialized safety disciplines, as requested.
d. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Military Application (DP-20) is
(1) Providing overall program management and direction including
implementing safety policy, developing safety directives, and
interfacing with the DOD's nuclear weapons system safety
program to assure compliance with requirements established
for the nuclear explosive and weapons safety program in this
and related Orders.
(2) Assuring that program line managers are meeting their
responsibility for applying safety emphasis to all decisions
for the design and development of each new weapon system and
ensuring the continued safety of the stockpile.
(3) Assuring that there is an active and continuous review of the
stockpile to identify safety concerns and a program to
provide for the stockpile improvements or positive measures
to address identified concerns.
(4) Assuring that all safety actions related to nuclear weapons
safety requiring a DOE concurrence to the DOD are thoroughly
analyzed from a safety viewpoint by qualified safety experts,
with special emphasis on the DOE's joint safety
responsibility as required by Presidential Directive.
(5) Developing nuclear explosive safety policy, requirements, and
standards for promulgation by the Secretary.
(6) Assuring that prior to approval and conduct of nuclear
explosive or nuclear weapon operation by DOE and DOE
contractors, a Nuclear Explosive Safety Study or Survey is
performed by safety experts not responsible for the design or
operation. The study/survey shall include consideration of
risk estimates for credible accidents and dispersal of toxic
or radioactive materials as defined by this and related
(7) Approving the assembly and/or disassembly of any
non-one-point safe nuclear explosive test devices. Specific
procedures will govern the assembly and control of all
non-one-point safe explosive test devices.
(8) Approving Nuclear Explosive Safety Study Reports.
(9) Rendering decisions recommendations on requests for any
deviations or exclusions from safety requirements, standards,
and criteria established by the Nuclear Explosive and Weapons
Safety Program in this and related Orders, laws, or
regulations and forwarding to higher management, if
appropriate. Exclusions and deviations will be consistent
with legal or regulatory provisions for obtaining them.
(10) Providing an independent Headquarters safety oversight
program to include safety appraisals of implementation of the
provisions of the Nuclear Explosive and Weapon Safety
(11) Assuring that identified safety issues are addressed and
resolved in a timely manner.
(12) Evaluating reported occurrences to assure corrective actions
(13) Assuring that planned and implemented safeguards and security
policies and standards are consistent with safety
(14) Conducting a periodic review and, if needed, revisions to the
DOE 5610 series Orders.
e. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Security Affairs (DP-30) is
(1) Establishing safeguards and security policies and standards
for nuclear explosives, nuclear components, and special
(2) Advising the Assistant Secretary for Defense Programs as to
the adequacy of DOE and DOE contractor safeguards and
f. Director of Security Evaluation (EH-4) is responsible for
providing to Deputy Assistant Secretary for Military Application
safeguards and security inspection reports.
g. Managers of Field Offices assist DP-20 in the implementation of
this program and are responsible to DP-20 for implementing the
provisions of this and related safety Orders in their areas of
authority and responsibility. This includes:
(1) Assuring that field office, laboratory, contractor, and
subcontractor line managers have been assigned safety program
(2) Assuring that the mandate to comply with DOE safety and
environmental requirements, rules, standards, and criteria is
fully considered in the planning of all nuclear explosive and
nuclear weapon operations.
(3) Assuring that management and staff of their safety
organizations have full access and free communications with
the field office Manager on nuclear explosive and nuclear
weapons safety matters.
(4) Assuring that prior to beginning any operation involving a
nuclear explosive or transportation of a nuclear explosive
that a Nuclear Explosive Safety Study or Nuclear Explosive
Safety Survey is conducted and approved.
(5) Approving Nuclear Explosive Safety Survey Reports.
(6) Developing and publishing such field directives as are
necessary to implement this Order and related Orders.
(7) Assuring that appropriate safety awareness and training
programs are developed, documented, and implemented to ensure
the safe conduct of activities covered by this Order.
h. Manager, Albuquerque Operations Office (AL), in addition to the
responsibilities and authorities in paragraph 10g above, is
responsible to DP-20 for:
(1) Conducting all operational aspects of this Nuclear Explosive
and Weapon Safety Program for onsite and offsite
transportation activities, except those onsite activities at
the Nevada Test Site that are the responsibility of the
Manager, Nevada Operations Office, and the onsite activities
at the Lawrence Livermore National laboratory that are the
responsibility of the Manager, San Francisco Operations
(2) Administering, for DP-20, DOE's program for participation in
DOD Safety Studies and Reviews of the Nuclear Weapons Systems
Safety Program, and assisting in safety rules processing in
accordance with DOE 5610.13.
i. Manager, Nevada Operations Office (NV), in addition to the
responsibilities and authorities in paragraph 10g above:
(1) Is authorized by DP-20, on a test-by-test basis, to conduct
approved underground nuclear tests at the Nevada Test Site
and is responsible to DP-20 for the safe conduct of the
underground test program and for conducting the operational
aspects of the Nuclear Explosive and Weapons Safety Program,
in accordance with the 5610 series of Orders.
(2) Obtaining DP-20 approval prior to the assembly and/or
disassembly of any non-one-point safe nuclear explosive test
(3) Establishing specific procedures for the assembly and/or
disassembly and control of nuclear explosive test devices.
11. NUCLEAR EXPLOSIVE SAFETY STANDARDS. These standards are similar to
those used for Department of Defense (DOD) operations but have been
modified to delete operations which are not applicable to the
Department of Energy (DOE) and have been expanded to include a standard
that addresses plutonium dispersal safety. All DOE nuclear explosive
operations, including transportation, shall be evaluated against the
following qualitative standards (in the context of this Order, the word
prevent means to minimize the possibility; it does not mean absolute
a. There shall be positive measures to prevent nuclear explosives
involved in accidents or incidents from producing a nuclear yield.
b. There shall be positive measures to prevent deliberate prearming,
arming, or firing of a nuclear explosive except when directed by
c. There shall be positive measures to prevent the inadvertent
prearming, arming, launching, firing, or releasing of a nuclear
explosive in all normal and credible abnormal environment.
d. There shall be positive measures to ensure adequate security of
nuclear explosives pursuant to the DOE safeguards and security
e. There shall be positive measures to prevent accidental,
inadvertent, or deliberate unauthorized dispersal of plutonium to
12. DESIGN SAFETY. The following criteria will be implemented in the
design of nuclear explosives and nuclear weapons:
a. General. Measures will be taken to assure safety is designed into
all new nuclear weapons at the earliest possible stage.
(1) In weapon development activities, explicit consideration of
safety features and measures will begin at the concept
definition phase and continue throughout weapon development
and engineering. Weapon safety is an integral part of weapon
design and development.
(2) New nuclear weapon designs will incorporate current safety
features, as certified by DP-20, unless there are overriding
reasons for not incorporating them, and explicitly documented
agreements are reached between the Secretaries of Energy and
b. Nuclear Detonation Safety - Weapons. Priority shall be given to
the development and incorporation of design features that prevent
accidental and/or inadvertent nuclear detonation. Effective with
this Order, all nuclear weapons shall be designed with the
objective of achieving the following design goals for nuclear
weapons delivered to DOD custody and for subsequent DOD
(1) Normal Environment. Prior to the receipt of enabling stimuli
and the arming signal, the probability of a premature nuclear
detonation will not exceed one in 10/9 per nuclear weapon
(2) Abnormal Environment. Prior to the receipt of the enabling
stimuli, the probability of a premature nuclear detonation
will not exceed one in 10/6 per credible nuclear weapon
accident or exposure.
(3) One-Point Initiation. The probability of achieving a nuclear
yield greater than four pounds of TNT equivalent in the event
of any one-point initiation of the weapon's high explosive
will not exceed one in 10/6. (This goal does not relieve
requirements for design to provide protection concerning
c. Nuclear Detonation Safety - Test Devices. Nonweapon configuration
nuclear explosive test devices shall incorporate positive measures
of precluding the transfer of sufficient energy to fire the device
detonators until the latest possible time. The emplacement
configuration after connection of the test device fireset shall
contain positive measures to preclude the accidental operation of
the fireset in all credible environments.
d. Plutonium Dispersal Safety. The plutonium dispersal standard
requires positive measures to prevent plutonium dispersal. To
meet this standard, the following principle applies: Design
features for control of plutonium dispersal under credible
accident conditions will be incorporated for each nuclear weapon
unless the responsible Military Service requests and properly
justifies an exception based on clear and significant degradation
of military capability. Exceptions must be approved by the
Secretary of Energy and documented by agreement of the Secretaries
of Energy and Defense.
BY ORDER OF THE SECRETARY OF ENERGY:
JIM E. TARRO
Director of Administration and
Human Resource Management