The US Department of Energy has started making a new, low-yield nuclear weapon, W76-2. It is a variant of the submarine launched nuclear weapon, the W76-1.
The National Nuclear Security Administration says production of the weapon began at the Pantex Plant in Texas.
The Energy Department hasn’t said how powerful the W76-2 will be, but it’s believed to have a yield of about 5 to 7 kilotons. The W76-1 is believed to have a yield of around 100 kilotons. The weapon dropped on Hiroshima had a yield of 15 kilotons.
The new warhead will make nuclear war far more likely. The W76-2 will be launched on the same Trident missiles used to launch the W76-1. That smaller yield is likely created by removing the secondary stage of the W76-1.
The National Nuclear Security Administration says production of the new weapon has already started. It is on track to deliver the weapons by October this year.