— The price, per ounce, of modifying and extending the life of the Pentagon’s B61 nuclear bomb. That’s more than Wednesday’s gold price of $1,692 per ounce (ignoring the minor difference between troy and avoirdupois ounces). That works out to roughly $25 million per bomb, compared to $19 million if it were made of solid gold.
Tom P. D’Agostino, who as the administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration is the nation’s top atomic-bomb maker, explained the key cost driver in improving the bomb in March. “The B61 is going to be one of our most challenging life extensions because we are collapsing the number of B61 warheads, different mods of warheads into a fewer set, and there are a lot of components in that particular warhead,” he said. Revamped B61s should start rolling off the assembly line in 2019, he added, and won’t “have to be touched for many years” after that.
N-scholar Jeffrey Lewis explores the $10 billion investment here.