Two U.S. prestigious labs are competing to design the country's first new nuclear bomb in two decades, The Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.
The Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California are racing against each other to develop the new weapon, which is aimed to ensure long-term reliability of the U.S. inventory of nuclear bombs, according to the report.
Scientists in both labs are confident that the good quality of the new nuclear bomb will make it possible for the United States to reduce its aged nuke stockpile, now estimated at about 6,000 warheads.
They also intend for the new weapon to be less vulnerable to accidental detonation and to be so secure that any stolen or lost weapon would be unusable.
In theory, the new weapon will pack the same explosive power as existing warheads and be suitable only for the same kinds of military targets as those of the weapons they replace.
Unlike past proposals for new atomic weapons, the project has got bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress.
But some veterans of nuclear arms development are strongly opposing the project, arguing that building new weapons could trigger another arms race in the world.