A Major Defeat for Nuclear Weapons

November 24th, 2004 - by admin

Various Environmental Organizations – 2004-11-24 09:15:32


A Major Victory on Nuclear Weapons
Union of Concerned Scientists

WASHINGTON (November 23, 2004) — Last week, Congress eliminated funding for two of the most provocative nuclear weapons programs and cut funding for two other nuclear-related initiatives. This is a major victory countering the Bush administration’s dangerous nuclear weapons agenda and one for which we all can give thanks. And don’t forget, you played a central role in our success.

In July, we asked you to tell your senators to eliminate funds for these programs, and thousands of you sent emails and faxes. Your actions mattered.

All funding was eliminated for both the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator, a dangerous–and scientifically questionable–program to design a new nuclear “bunker buster,” and for research into other new types of nuclear weapons. In addition, funding was sharply cut for a new factory to make plutonium “pits,” the core of nuclear weapons, and efforts to shorten the time required to prepare for a full-scale nuclear weapons test were pushed back.

These programs all threatened to undermine the United States’ leadership role in nuclear nonproliferation. We cannot credibly ask other countries to restrain their nuclear weapons programs while we aggressively advance work on new weapons.

This campaign would not have succeeded without leadership from Representative David Hobson (R-OH), whose early cuts in the House set the tone for the eventual elimination of funding.

Thank you again for your support in helping us achieve this victory. We have sent a clear message to Congress and the administration that developing new nuclear weapons is not acceptable, and that the United States must lead by example to achieve true security.

Congress Says No to Nuclear Weapons
David Krieger / Nuclear Age Peace Foundation

It is not often that we are able to report a victory in the effort to chart a new course for US nuclear policy, but we can do so today. Since the Bush administration began pursuing research on new and more usable nuclear weapons, we have said that this sends the wrong message to the world and violates US obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The administration has been pursuing new “bunker buster” nuclear weapons and “mini-nukes,” also referred to as low yield nuclear weapons. It turns out that Congress agrees with those of us who oppose new nuclear weapons. In a bipartisan show of support, Congress denied funding for nuclear bunker busters and advanced concepts research on new nuclear weapons designs that could have included low yield nuclear weapons.

Congress passed the Omnibus Appropriations Bill on November 20, 2004 with no funding for new nuclear weapons. In this Bill, Congress also slashed the administration’s request for funds for a new facility to build plutonium pits for new nuclear weapons from $29.8 million to $7 million. This represents a major defeat for the Bush administration and its efforts to pursue new and more usable nuclear weapons.

Chairman David Hobson (R-Ohio) of the Energy and Water Development Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee played a major role in removing funding for the administration’s pursuit of new nuclear weapons. Strong support in the Senate came from Senator Dianne Feinstein.

This year, the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation launched its Turn the Tide Campaign to chart a new course for US nuclear policy. The Campaign Statement begins: “The US government has the paramount responsibility to assure a more secure and far safer environment for its citizens. In continuing its long tradition of demonstrating world leadership, the US government can protect Americans and their families, as well as people throughout the world, by significantly reducing and eliminating the threats posed by nuclear weapons.”

Stopping all efforts to create dangerous new nuclear weapons and delivery systems is the first policy that the Turn the Tide Campaign calls for the President and all members of Congress to immediately implement. The Congressional action on the Omnibus Appropriations Bill is an important step toward achieving this end.

The Turn the Tide Campaign Statement contains13 points, including securing fissile materials around the world and canceling plans to build new nuclear weapons production plants. For a copy of the full Campaign Statement and information on how you can become involved in the Turn the Tide Campaign, visit the Action Page at the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation’s web site.

David Krieger is president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation

A Defeat for Bush’s Nuclear Arms Binge!
Friends Committee on National Legislation

On November 20, Congress said ‘NO’ to new nuclear weapons! The omnibus appropriations bill for fiscal year 2005 deleted all funds for the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator (RNEP) and advanced concepts for nuclear weapons.

In addition, there will be no funds allocated for “advanced test readiness,” a program that reduces the time needed to prepare for a nuclear explosion at the Nevada Test Site. Funds for the modern plutonium pit facility were cut from $30 million to $7 million, and none of this can be used to select a site for the facility.

This is a remarkable victory for every FCNL supporter who helped build the movement to stop the Bush administration’s drive to develop new nuclear weapons.

This victory would not have been possible without the leadership of Rep. David Hobson (OH), Chairman of the House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, whose sustained opposition to funding these programs was critical.

Developing a new generation of nuclear weapons should never again be a policy of the United States government. As the US tries to negotiate an end to nuclear weapons development in Iran and North Korea, this “do as I say, not as I do” approach to stopping the spread of nuclear weapons is reckless and already shows signs of failure.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (CA) called the elimination of funds for new nuclear weapons a “consequential step” that “should send a very loud message to the administration.” While FCNL will continue to need your support in resisting programs that fuel nuclear proliferation, militarism, and instability throughout the world, the elimination of these funds is an important victory that sets us on the right path.

Thank you again to the FCNL supporters who called, faxed, emailed, and wrote their members of Congress. You can be sure that those messages played a key role in this year’s decision to eliminate funds for new nuclear weapons. We depend on you and you did a great job.

Contact Congress and the Administration:

Livermore Lab Budget Axed for Nuclear Penetrator and Mini-Nukes

Washington, DC: In a stunning move, conferees to the Fiscal Year 2005
Omnibus appropriations cut or eliminated funding for a number of key
nuclear weapons programs. “Thanks to the leadership of Chairman Hobson and the hard work of his like-minded colleagues, and a strong push this year from thousands of concerned citizens across the country, we have won a major victory against new nuclear weapons,” said Susan Gordon, the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA) Director.

“These budget cuts represent an important shift in the debate on U.S.
nuclear weapons policy,” noted Jim Bridgman, ANA’s Program Director.
“Chairman Hobson recognizes the provocative nature of new U.S. nuclear
weapons programs at a time when we are trying to emphasize the importance of nonproliferation, and has wisely, and rather courageously, fought to curb the administration’s nuclear appetite.”

The final Energy & Water Development Appropriations, part of the FY2005
omnibus bill, zeros out funding for the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator, a program to modify existing nuclear weapons for new bunker-busting missions, and the Advanced Concepts Initiative, an open-ended program that involved research into low-yield nuclear weapons, including so-called “mini-nukes.”

These programs are carried out at the Department of Energy’s nuclear weapon design labs, Lawrence Livermore in CA and Los Alamos in NM.

“Special kudos also go to California Senator Dianne Feinstein,” noted
Tri-Valley CAREs’ executive director, Marylia Kelley. “She promised us she would lead the fight to cut new nuclear weapons funding in the Senate, and she has succeeded.”

Senator Feinstein called the cuts “consequential,” and said they “should send a very loud message to the Administration.”

According to Committee Staff, the conferees split the difference on enhancing the readiness for conducting underground tests at the Nevada Test Site between the Administration’s request of $30 million and the
House-passed total of $15 million, for a final figure of $22.5 million. The conferees also restricted the test readiness level to 24 months, rather than 18 months as the administration has planned.

Funding for a new nuclear bomb plant, the Modern Pit Facility, was cut from a request of $29.8 million, to a final level of $7 million. However, work on the final Environmental Impact Statement will be allowed to continue without choosing a site.

Funding for the Life Extension and Stockpile System Programs, meant to
upgrade aging nuclear weapons, was cut by $41 million. Tri-Valley CAREs and ANA have been critical of these programs as unnecessary in lieu of
anticipated reductions under the Moscow Treaty and for crowding out needed warhead dismantlement, which are performed at the same facilities. The conferees effectively doubled funding for dismantlement, from the prior year’s level of approximately $38 million to $75 million.

In environmental cleanup, the conferees provided $7.034 billion for Defense Environmental Management, including $6.096 billion for Defense Site Acceleration Completion and $937 million for Defense Environmental
Services. This represents an increase above the administration’s request, with almost all of the increase going to the 2006 closure sites, particularly in moving materials off of the Mound site in Ohio.

Cleanup funding for high level waste, $350 million in the request, was funded at $291.9 million by the conferees. ANA opposed the unofficial high level waste sub-account from the beginning as it was designed to blackmail states into agreeing to accept the Energy Department’s plans for Waste Incidental to Reprocessing. This prediction appears to have become true as Washington opted out of the language providing DOE with an authority to reclassify high level waste in the Defense Authorization bill, and funding for cleaning up Hanford’s high level waste tanks was cut in half in the conference bill.

In nuclear waste disposal, the conferees provided $577 million for Yucca Mountain, the same funding that was provided in Fiscal Year 2004. This
still represents a reduction of over $300 million from the administration’s request, due to the administration’s gambling on Congress approving the use of the Nuclear Waste Fund for ongoing Yucca expenditures.

In fissile materials disposition, the conferees note the ongoing delays in the plutonium disposition program and adopt the cut of $25 million approved in the defense authorization. However, the Mixed Oxide fuel fabrication facility, cut significantly by the House earlier in the year, received full funding of $368 million, as did the Pit disassembly and conversion facility, at $32.3 million. Construction of facilities in either Russia or the United States has not started, leaving hundreds of millions of dollars in unused balances from prior years.

Conferees met new spending limits by enforcing an across-the-board cut of 0.8% to all non-defense and non-homeland security appropriations. All
Energy & Water appropriations, including both Environmental Management and the National Nuclear Security Administration will share in this budget cut.

The Alliance for Nuclear Accountability is a national network of
approximately three dozen organizations whose members live downwind and
downstream of the Department of Energy’s major nuclear weapons sites.
Tri-Valley CAREs is based in Livermore, California and monitors activities at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Tri-Valley CAREs has been an ANA member group since 1989.

We Have Achieved a Major Victory
Tara Dorabji / Tri-Valley CAREs

The nuclear weapons budget for FY 2005 has been cut. Congress just cut and eliminated funds for some of the most outrageous nuclear weapons programs. Not only were funds eliminated for the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator and mini-nukes research, but funding for the “Life Extension and Stockpile Systems Programs” were cut by $41 million. This is a cut to the refurbishment, upgrading and “enhancement” of the arsenal–a dangerous, unnecessary and expensive process. In addition the Modern Pit Facility and Enhanced Test Readiness were cut.

So THANK YOU for all the work you have done on nuclear weapons issues over the past year. We are making a difference. Of course, these cuts, though significant, still leave the nuclear weapons budget above what it was last year. So our continued vigilance is needed. Take some time to celebrate this victory, and share it with your friends and family. Also, please take a moment to call Representative Hobson and Senator Feinstein’s staff and thank them for their leadership in cutting nuclear weapons. We must thank them so that they understand how important the cuts are to the people. It’s a simple phone call. Make sure you call today–or tomorrow.

• Rep Hobson (R-OH)

• Senator Feinstein:
(415) 393-0707
(202) 224-3841

Main Message:
“Thank you for your leadership and commitment to cutting the nuclear weapons budget. It is a huge victory. In particular, thank you for increasing funds for dismantlement and cutting funds for life extension programs, the modern pit facility and enhanced test readiness. We look forward to continued work with you in the future to stop a new generation of nuclear weapons.”

Tara Dorabji, Outreach Director, Tri-Valley CAREs
www.trivalleycares.org. (925) 443-7148, fax: (925) 443-0177