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US moves closer to underground testing of nuclear weapons stockpile

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Scientists charged with making sure the United States' aging stockpile of nuclear weapons are good to go, if needed, say they'll start shipping key components to the Nevada desert next year. Energy Department officials announced Thursday they've started assembling the most complex piece of the ambitious Scorpius project at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico. Scientists have been unable to physically validate the effectiveness of nuclear warheads since a 1992 underground test ban. The $1.8 billion Scorpius project will allow experts to move beyond theoretical computer modeling to study in much more detail the conditions found inside the final stages of a nuclear weapon implosion but without the nuclear explosion.