Leading into the new week Stimson’s Resolving Ambiguity nuclear costing report has been cited twice in The Washington Post’s two-part investigation of the US’ nuclear arsenal. Yesterday’s article noted Stimson’s important research combining the many parts of our country’s nuclear program into one concrete estimate:
In the coming decade, updating vast elements of the nation’s nuclear weapons complex – from weapons to delivery systems to the labs and plants that make and test them – is expected to cost at least $352, according to the Stimson Center, [a] nonpartisan Washington think tank.
The Post’s Sunday article also cited that estimate. So too did Senator Dianne Feinstein, chair of the Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, in a July 25th hearing on nuclear weapons stockpile. At the same time she also added some new information to the conversation by announcing that the NNSA’s original cost estimate for refurbishing the B-61 bomb has more than doubled, from $4 billion to $8 billion.
Hence the importance of using ranges to describe this program. Excited as we are by these high-profile references, margins are sure to shift, and that’s why $40 billion separated the lower end of our estimate ($352B) from the upper value of $392B.
Moving forward, we’re encouraged that Resolving Ambiguity will continue to ground the debate on this important issue.