Designing and building nuclear bombs is one of the U.S. government’s most secretive activities. But the PBS NewsHour recently was granted unprecedented access to a number of highly classified facilities, where the world’s most destructive weapons are now being updated and rebuilt.
The Department of Energy — which is responsible for maintaining the atomic stockpile — plans to spend $100 billion over the next decade rebuilding its production facilities and refitting nuclear weapons with modernized parts. Department officials say their goal is to replace the components in nuclear weapons that have aged, improve their safety, and streamline the stockpile by reducing the number of different bomb models in inventory.
Below, see photos of one particular project, the $8 billion upgrade to the B61 nuclear bomb. Watch the PBS NewsHour’s full report tonight.
This story was produced in partnership with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.