I want to take a moment to tell you what a great privilege it is to get to serve with the men and women across this enterprise.
The W76-1 Life Extension Program (LEP) is officially complete. This 20-year effort involved every one of NNSA’s labs, plants, and sites across the Nuclear Security Enterprise and culminated in a celebratory event at the Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas, on Jan. 23.
The W76-1 LEP extends the originally designed warhead service life of 20 years to 60 years, enhancing the security of our Nation. The W76-1 is a refurbished version of the W76-0 warhead, which is part of a submarine-launched ballistic missile system first introduced into the stockpile for the U.S. Navy in 1978.
“I want to take a moment to tell you what a great privilege it is to get to serve with the men and women across this enterprise,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. “We still have this incredibly important job to do – to be the force that sends the message that America will be secure. We will defend the values of this country.”.
NNSA Administrator Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty congratulated the many people involved and emphasized the importance of the mission to which they have all been dedicated. She also took the opportunity to highlight a particular employee deeply involved with the program.
Someone who has been part of the 76-1 program – and, in fact, stamped the first and the last program of record unit: Ms. Melissa Jones. (W)e want to all thank her and thank everybody who’s contributed to this important mission.
“Someone who has been part of the 76-1 program – and, in fact, stamped the first and the last program of record unit: Ms. Melissa Jones,” Gordon-Hagerty said. “She has more than 30 years of service and will be retiring this summer. But we want to all thank her and thank everybody who’s contributed to this important mission. So, thank you, Melissa. And thank you to the team.”
The event included numerous Pantex team members as well as Department of Defense, state and local dignitaries, and representatives from across the Nuclear Security Enterprise. In addition to Perry and Gordon-Hagerty, Consolidated Nuclear Security (CNS) President Morgan Smith and Navy Strategic Systems Programs Director Vice Adm. Johnny Wolfe addressed the large crowd and CNS Chief Operating Officer Michele Reichert provided a warm welcome and closing remarks.
All in attendance viewed a short film created for the occasion (shown below), which recapped the many milestones along the way to achieving this mission success. Additionally, NNSA Production Office Manager Geoff Beausoleil presented numerous team members with award plaques.
Along with attending the formal celebration of this important stockpile stewardship achievement, Gordon-Hagerty toured Pantex facilities such as the bays where assembly and disassembly of assigned nuclear weapons takes place and visited with team members.
The Pantex Plant supports nuclear weapons LEPs; nuclear weapons dismantlement; the development, testing and fabrication of high explosive components; and interim storage and surveillance of plutonium pits.