A U.S. Department of Energy agency has authorized Pantex, the country's only nuclear weapons assembly and disassembly plant, to begin work dismantling B53 bombs.
A National Nuclear Security Administration statement Wednesday said once the bombs arrive at the plant near Amarillo the high explosives inside will be physically separated from the nuclear material before the material and components will be processed, which includes sanitizing, recycling, and disposal.
The bomb, each about the size of a minivan and weighing about 10,000 pounds, joined the nation's stockpile in 1962 and was retired in 1997, the statement reads.
The B53 is among the longest-lived weapons ever used, the statement reads.
The agency authorizing the dismantling is semi-autonomous within the DOE.