Nevertheless, NNSA continues to experience significant deficiencies, particularly in its management of major projects and contracts. As we testified in February 2012, a basic tenet of effective management is the ability to complete projects on time and within budget. However, for more than a decade, NNSA has continued to experience significant cost and schedule overruns on its major projects, principally because of ineffective oversight and poor contractor management. We have reported that NNSA’s efforts to extend the operational lives of nuclear weapons in the stockpile have experienced cost increases and schedule delays, such as a $300 million cost increase and 2-year delay in the refurbishment of the W87 nuclear warhead and a $70 million cost increase and 1-year delay in the refurbishment of the W76 nuclear warhead. Furthermore, we reported that the estimated cost to construct a modern Uranium Processing Facility at NNSA’s Y-12 National Security Complex experienced a nearly sevenfold cost increase from between $600 million and $1.1 billion in 2004 to between $4.2 billion and $6.5 billion in 2011. We also reported in March 2012 that NNSA’s project to construct a new plutonium research facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory—the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility— would cost between $3.7 billion and $5.8 billion—nearly a sixfold increase from NNSA’s original estimate. NNSA’s February 2012 decision to defer construction of this facility for at least 5 years will result in a total delay of between 8 and 12 years from its original plans.
Eugene E. Aloise, Government Accountability Office, June 27, 2012.