"Estimate for Uranium Facility Goes From $600 Million To $11.6 Billion"

"It would be one of the largest nuclear weapons investments since World War II. A watchdog group says the work -- which may not be needed -- can be done for less elsewhere."

"The cost of a proposed uranium processing facility for nuclear weapons in Oakridge, Tenn., has soared as high as $11.6 billion -- 19 times the original estimate -- even as critics accuse the Energy Department of overstating the need for spare bomb parts.

Under a proposal unveiled in 2005, the manufacturing plant at the Y-12 National Security Complex would produce new uranium cores for the nation's stockpile of aging hydrogen bombs.

But not long after the plan was disclosed, with an estimated cost of $600 million, the price tag began to climb. Now, the processing facility would be among the largest investments in the U.S. nuclear weapons infrastructure since the Manhattan Project, which developed the atomic bomb during World War II."

Ralph Vartabedian reports for the Los Angeles Times September 24, 2013.

Source: LA Times, 09/25/2013