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Press Release

NNSA Powers Down Last Legacy Mainframe Computer at Kansas City Plant, Transitions to 21st Century Weapons Information System
Sep 10, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) today announced that the Kansas City Plant has powered down its last legacy IBM mainframe computing system, officially marking the transition to a 21st century Weapons Information System that can easily manage the inventory and finances of the nuclear weapons stockpile.

 "As we transform from a Cold War-era nuclear weapons complex to a 21st Century nuclear security enterprise, everything about the way we operate is changing for the better," said NNSA Administrator Thomas D'Agostino. "Major improvements to our business system are a key part of our transition to more efficient, effective operations, and we congratulate the Kansas City Plant on their smooth transition to a modernized system."

The Kansas City Plant is responsible for manufacturing and procuring nonnuclear components for nuclear weapons, including electronic, mechanical, and engineered material components. Each nuclear weapon in the stockpile has more than 6,000 parts, and better inventory control will enable the entire enterprise to operate more efficiently.

NNSA replaced the legacy mainframe with a set of modern Sun Microsystems servers that will be cheaper, faster, more energy efficient and easier to maintain while increasing the reliability of the system.

Since they were introduced in the late 1960s, mainframe computers have served an important and distinct role for NNSA, performing duties ranging from designing and modeling nuclear weapons to printing paychecks, running financial systems, scheduling manufacturing and managing the nuclear weapons inventory.

Information technology specialists partnered with NNSA's Office of Defense Programs for more than a year to preserve and transition the decades worth of data previously stored on these mainframes into the new Weapons Information System.

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Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science in the nation's national security enterprise. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability, and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; reduces the global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad.

Media contact(s):
NNSA Public Affairs (202) 586-7371