How to Test a (New) Nuclear Bomb:

Skeptics from DOD to the scientific community have been asking the same question: How do you create new nuclear weapons that will work if you can’t blow them up? During a Thursday breakfast with defense reporters, Thomas P. D’Agostino, deputy administrator for defense programs at the National Nuclear Security Administration, said that modern computing allows complex modeling problems to be solved without underground testing. He said the US understands how well the weapons perform in the stockpile based on collected data that current designers have gathered from previous testing. He added that the primary warhead destined for the Reliable Replacement Warhead has been tested in the desert on an earlier stockpile, so he has full confidence it works and that the secondary is in the same family. D’Agostino added that because the RRW performance margin is over and above what is needed, there is a very small likelihood of needing underground testing to ensure effectiveness.