Nuclear stockpile certified safe, reliable

President forwards certification to Congress as Peña announces new stockpile stewardship tool

President Clinton forwarded to Congress today the annual certification from the Secretaries of Defense and Energy that the nuclear stockpile remains safe, secure and reliable, Secretary of Energy Federico Peña announced today at the National Press Club. Secretary Peña also announced that work would begin on a new supercomputer to help analyze weapons without exploding them.
Secretary of Defense William Cohen and Secretary Peña recently provided their second annual certification to the President who, as a condition of seeking a zero-yield Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, requires the two Secretaries to certify annually the continuing safety and reliability of our nuclear deterrent.
In their Memorandum to President Clinton, Secretaries Cohen and Peña wrote:
"In response to your direction to conduct an annual certification of the nuclear weapons stockpile, we have thoroughly reviewed the safety and reliability of the stockpile under the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. The nuclear stockpile has no safety or reliability concerns that require underground testing at this time. Problems that have arisen in the stockpile are being addressed and resolved without underground nuclear testing to ensure the stockpile remains safe and reliable. In reaching this conclusion, we have obtained the advice of the Directors of the National Weapons Laboratories, the Commander in Chief, United States Strategic Command, and the Nuclear Weapons Council. We will continue to inform you annually on the safety and reliability of the nuclear weapons stockpile in the absence of underground nuclear testing, and in the context of the DOE's Stockpile Stewardship and Management Plan."
The certification process requires that the Department of Energy's weapons laboratories and the Department of Defense review all weapons types. From this review, experts independently


advise the Secretaries of Defense and Energy on the results. Based on this advice, the Secretaries determine whether or not to certify to the President that there is no need to return to underground testing.
Secretary Peña said in his Press Club remarks, "Stockpile Stewardship is working. ... Secretary Cohen and I have given the President our full assurance that we have conducted a painstaking and thorough review of every weapon type in the stockpile.
"But I want to make one thing absolutely clear. If, in the future, Secretary Cohen and I, or our successors, ever had to inform the President that we could no longer certify the safety and reliability of a nuclear weapon type with high confidence ... in that circumstance, the President would be prepared to withdraw from the treaty in order to conduct whatever testing might be
required. And I would not issue my written certification to the President if I could not state, with absolute certainty, that the weapons in our stockpile remain safe, secure, and reliable each year."
The supercomputer program also announced by Secretary Peña will create a system so powerful that at the turn of the century scientists will be able to perform in a single day all of the calculations that were performed at the weapons laboratories in the first 50 years of the nuclear weapons program. "This is truly revolutionary technology," Secretary Peña said. "We proved to the world that it is possible. And we are proving it again and again as we meet our commitments to the President and to the American people to develop the technologies we will need to keep our nuclear weapons safe, secure, and reliable into the next millennium -- all without nuclear testing."

Produced by the White House Working Group on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
For more information on the CTBT: Phone: 202-647-8677 Fax: 202-647-6928