U.S. Department of Energy ORDER
Washington, D.C. DOE 5610.11
SUBJECT: NUCLEAR EXPLOSIVE SAFETY
1. PURPOSE. To establish the Department of Energy (DOE) policy,
procedures, authorities, and responsibilities for assuring the safe
conduct of nuclear explosive activities under the Department's 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. This Order applies to DOE Headquarters and field elements and
its contractors and subcontractors that conduct activities involving
nuclear explosive in support of the nuclear weapons program as provided
by law and/or contract and as implemented by the appropriate contracting
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 5000.3A, OCCURRENCE REPORTING AND PROCESSING OF OPERATIONS
INFORMATION, of 5-30-90, which sets forth the policy, assigns
responsibility, and provides criteria and instructions for reporting
unusual occurrences that have programmatic significance at DOE
b. DOE 5484.1, ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION, SAFETY, AND HEALTH PROTECTION
INFORMATION REPORTING REQUIREMENTS, of 2-24-81, which provides for
reporting of information having environmental protection, safety, or
health protection significance for Departmental operations; for
investigation of occurrences; and effluent and environmental
monitoring program requirements.
c. DOE 5500.2A, EMERGENCY NOTIFICATION REPORTING, AND RESPONSE LEVELS,
of 4-13-88, which provides for an emergency notification and
reporting system and establishes emergency response levels and
associated response actions.
d. DOE 5500.3, REACTOR AND NONREACTOR NUCLEAR FACILITY EMERGENCY
PLANNING, PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE PROGRAM FOR DOE OPERATIONS, of
8-13-81, which establishes requirements for site-specific emergency
plans and procedures for radiological emergencies in reactors and
nonreactor nuclear facilities.
e. DOE 5610.10, NUCLEAR EXPLOSIVE AND WEAPON SAFETY PROGRAM, of
10-10-90, which establishes DOE policy, objectives, and
responsibilities for the DOE nuclear explosive and weapon safety
f. Joint Department of Energy/Department of Defense (DOE/DOD) Technical
Publication 20-7, "Nuclear Safety Criteria," of 9-1-86, which
contains information concerning safety criteria applicable to
transportation, storage, handling, and processing of nuclear weapons
and nuclear components.
g. Joint DOE/DOD Technical Publication 35-51, "General Instructions
Applicable to Nuclear Weapons," of 11-27-89, which contains
information, specifications, and procedures pertaining to DOE
special design ordnance items.
h. Joint DOE/DOD Technical Publication 45-51, "Transportation of
Nuclear Weapons Material, General Shipping and Limited Life
Components (LLC)," of 3-16-84, which provides information,
instructions, and procedures to be followed for all DOE shipments of
nuclear weapons material between DOE and DOD.
i. Joint DOE/DOD Technical Publication 45-51A, "Transportation of
Nuclear Weapons Material (Supplement), Shipping and Identification
Data for Stockpile Major Assemblies," of 2-1-80, which contains
equipment description, security classification, package dimensions
and other data pertinent to shipment of nuclear weapons material to
DOE and DOD.
j. Joint DOE/DOD Technical Publication 45-51D, "Transportation of
Nuclear Weapons Material (Supplement), Shipment by
Safe-Secure-Trailer (SST)," of 7-14-89, which contains supplemental
information for preparation and shipment of nuclear weapons and
materials by SST.
k. Join DOE/DOD Technical Publication 45-51E, "Transportation of
Nuclear Weapons Material (Supplement), Shipment by Railcar," of
12-7-89, which contains information for preparation and shipment of
nuclear weapons and materials by rail.
l. "Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs,"
issued by the Department of Health and Human Services, 53 CFR 11970
m. "Highway Safety Programs: Standard for Calibrating Units for Breath
Alcohol Testers," issued by National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration, 49 CFR 48855 of 12-14-84.
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. Access. That proximate to a nuclear explosive that affords a person
the opportunity to tamper with it or to cause a detonation.
c. Activate. The actuation of a design safety feature to a position
that would permit the transmission of prearming, arming, or firing
d. Arming. Configuring a nuclear explosive such that a single signal
will initiate a nuclear detonation.
e. Custody. Responsibility for the control of and access to nuclear
f. High Explosive Deflagration. A rapid chemical reaction in which the
output of heat is sufficient to enable the reaction to proceed and
be accelerated without input of heat from another source.
Deflagration is a surface phenomenon with the reaction products
flowing away from the unreacted material along the surface at
g. High-Explosive Detonation. A violent chemical reaction within a
chemical compound or mechanical mixture evolving heat and pressure.
A detonation is a reaction that proceeds through the reacted
material toward the unreacted material at a supersonic velocity.
h. Live Pit. A fissile component, or set of fissile components,
designed to fit in the central cavity of an implosion system and
which if placed therein will create a nuclear explosive.
i. Main Charge. The high explosive whose explosive energy implodes the
j. Mock High Explosive. A nondetonable material used to simulate one
or more properties of high explosives.
k. Nuclear Detonation. An energy release through a nuclear process,
during a period of time on the order of one microsecond, in an
amount equivalent to the energy release by the detonation of four or
more pounds of TNT.
l. 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).
m. Nuclear Explosive Area. Any area that contains a nuclear explosive
or the unassembled main charge high explosive parts and pit.
n. Nuclear Explosive Duty. Duty that requires a DOE or DOE contractor
employee to perform hands-on work on a nuclear explosive and/or to
have access to and/or control of a nuclear explosive that could
allow an individual to cause a detonation.
o. Nuclear Explosive-Like Assembly (NELA). A nonnuclear assembly that
represents a nuclear explosive in its basic configuration (main
charge high explosive and pit) and any subsequent level of assembly
up to its final configuration, or which represents a weaponized
nuclear explosive such as a warhead, bomb, reentry vehicle, or
artillery shell. This nonnuclear assembly does not contain an
arrangement of high explosive and fissile material capable of
producing a nuclear detonation.
p. 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.
q. Nuclear Explosive Safety Survey. A formal DOE process whereby an
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.
r. One-Point Safe Nuclear Explosive. A nuclear explosive, which in
the event of a detonation initiated at any one point in the high
explosive system presents no greater probability than one in a
million of achieving a nuclear detonation.
s. Personnel Assurance Program. A program that establishes the
requirements and responsibilities for screening, selecting, and
continuously evaluating employees being considered for assignment
or assigned to nuclear explosive duties.
t. 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
u. Prearming. Configuring a nuclear explosive in such a manner that
with proper arming and firing signals the nuclear explosive could be
v. Reader Worker Procedure and Check-Off. A procedure used in
operations involving nuclear explosive duties under which one person
reads the description of the operation to be performed, the
operation is performed, and the reader checks off on a list that the
operation has been performed.
w. Safe-Secure Railcar (SSR). A specially designed railcar that has
protective and deterrent systems and is used in a special train to
transport nuclear explosives or special nuclear material.
x. Safe-Secure Trailer (SST). A specially designed semi-trailer that
has protective and deterrent systems that is used with a special
tractor to transport nuclear explosives or special nuclear
7. POLICY. Nuclear explosive activities and operations shall be
comprehensively reviewed, evaluated, and documented to enable informed
management decisions to implement the overall objectives of the
Department's nuclear explosives and weapons safety program.
8. RESPONSIBILITIES AND AUTHORITIES. Within DOE, safety is a line
management responsibility. Programmatic responsibilities covered by
this Order are as follows:
a. Assistant Secretary for Defense Programs (DP-1) is responsible for:
(1) Reviewing Operations Office Manager's decisions to not grant
Personnel Assurance Program certifications, or to revoke
certifications, and issuing a decision to grant or reinstate
(2) Approving any requests for deviations from general nuclear
explosive safety rules when determined appropriate.
(3) Approving Nuclear Explosive Safety Studies of a nuclear
explosive subsequently determined to be non-one-point safe
after a previous certification of one-point safe.
b. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Military Application (DP-20) is
(1) Implementing the overall requirements of this Order.
(2) Approving Nuclear Explosive Safety Study Reports.
(3) Conducting appraisals of field activities and assuring that
corrective actions are taken.
c. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Security Affairs (DP-30) is
responsible for establishing safeguards and security policies,
standards, and programs for preventing unauthorized access to
nuclear explosives in DOE custody.
d. Managers of the Operations Offices are responsible for implementing
the provisions of this Order in their respective areas of
responsibility and authority to include:
(1) Assuring that responsibilities and authorities are clearly
defined and delegated at appropriate management and supervisory
(2) Assuring that, prior to the beginning of any operation that has
nuclear detonation potential, a nuclear explosive safety study
and/or survey has been conducted and approved. Safety study
reports are to be submitted to DP-20 for approval.
(3) Submitting Nuclear Explosive Safety Study Reports to DP-20 for
(4) Approving Nuclear Explosive Safety Survey reports.
(5) Appointing a Chairperson, members, and technical advisors to
the Nuclear Explosive Safety Study Group (NESSG) in accordance
with procedures set forth in this Order.
(6) Assuring that each NESSG has available for evaluation the
technical data, safety analysis, operating procedures,
proposed safety rules, immediate-action procedures, pertinent
approved nuclear explosive safety studies, and security
measures applicable to the nuclear explosive safety of the
operation under consideration.
(7) Assuring that NESSG recommendations, safety rules, and
immediate-action procedures that have been approved are being
(8) Implementing the criteria for permanent marking instructions
and NELA requirements as established by the Manager,
Albuquerque Operations Office.
(9) Conducting appraisals of activities under their cognizance
and assuring corrective actions are taken as required.
(10) Reporting occurrences in accordance with Chapter X of this
e. Manager Albuquerque Operations Office, in addition to the
responsibilities and authorities in paragraph 8d above, is
responsible for establishing the criteria for permanent marking
instructions and the nuclear explosive-like assembly (NELA)
BY ORDER OF THE SECRETARY OF ENERGY:
JIM E. TARRO
Director of Administration and
Human Resource Management