White House to Shrink Nuke Program

600 buildings slated for shutdown, warheads to be decommissioned
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 19, 2007 7:52 AM CST
President Bush tours the control room of the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant in Athens, Ala. Thursday June 21, 2007. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The Bush administration is planning a substantial reduction in the size of the nuclear weapons program, with 600 buildings set for closure at facilities across the country, reports the Washington Post. The American nuclear program is an "outdated, Cold War complex," said the administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, and needs to become "smaller, safer and less expensive."

The president has also approved a 15% reduction in the arsenal of active nuclear weapons, leaving the US with about 4,600 warheads, down from 16,000 at the end of the Cold War. Some scientists were unimpressed by the reduction, with the head of one organization calling it "a bookkeeping event." The administration is sending the plan to Congress for approval.