Minor issues can cause major problems, especially when we're talking about nuclear upgrades. And with the defects found in cheap commercially available electrical components, upgrades for the Navy's and the Air Force's nuclear warheads will be delayed for 18 months and will cost $1 billion.
When engineers evaluated available parts, they ran tests to determine if the off-the-shelf capacitors were compatible with the systems due for upgrades, Verdon said. Initial results suggested the components would work in the short-term.
The problem is, these parts used in the warhead upgrades must survive for decades, up to 30 years after production, Verdon said. However, the quality of each capacitor production lot varied, which led to the stress testing failure.
(Image credit: US Navy)