Peter G. Cohen / Nuke-free World.com – 2006-12-20 08:38:49
There are few gifts for children that last a lifetime, but the gift of living in a nuclear weapons-free world is one of them. In this Holiday Season we have an unusual opportunity to join with the wise men who have spoken out against these horrible weapons by taking a significant step toward getting rid of them.
The Department of Energy (DOE) is now soliciting public opinion on the creation of a new giant facility to store and handle all plutonium – including the manufacture of pits (plutonium cores) for a new generation of nuclear weapons. This is the same job that was carried out in the past by the notorious Hanford and later by the equally polluted Rocky Flats.
Both of these sites have discharged radioactive material and toxic chemicals in to the air, soil and water of their communities and contributed to unknown numbers of cancers, heart and lung disease, and birth defects. They are now in the process of a cleanups that have consumed billions of dollars and will require billions more in the next decades — if it can be done at all.
This new plutonium facility is planned to produce 125 new nuclear weapons pits a year. It is part of a DOE plan, called Complex 2030, to rebuild our nuclear weapons stockpile while complying with the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia to reduce our weapons stockpile to 6,000. In other words, we’ll cut back, but we’ll create a new generation of weapons that are “more reliable and more usable.”
Recent research has shown that the existing plutonium pits, once thought to deteriorate, will remain reliable for at least 90 years and we have thousands of them in reserve. Still they want to develop “the needed capabilities required to sustain the stockpile in the long term.”
CONSIDER THE ALTERNATIVE
The DOE Environmental Impact Statement for this project is supposed to consider the possible location of this new weapons factory at one of five existing nuclear facilities. But the law says that DOE must consider all of the alternatives!
The best one is to live up to our national obligation under the Non-Proliferation Treaty to work for total disarmament. We cannot expect other nations to renounce nuclear weapons while we are working to “sustain” and improve our own.
After chairing the international WMD Commission for two years Hans Blix said about nuclear disarmament, “If the U.S. takes the lead other nations will follow. If it does not there will be arms races.”
We do not need Complex 2030 or any other plan for new weapons. We support the Alternative: to lead the world in negotiations and further reductions of all nuclear weapons and the improvement of our storage and verification systems.
This is a long, tough road, but every step improves the chances that our children will not live under the threat of incineration or radiation. We have spent billions of dollars, sickened and killed thousands of our own people in pursuit of these illegal and immoral weapons of mass destruction. It is time to end this disastrous course.
We urge you to send letters to the DoE and to your representatives before the deadline of January 17 of the new year. And we hope that you will forward this message to everyone in your address book. Just keep it going.
Create a flood of protest. This is a great opportunity for the public to influence the future safety of our people. What greater gifts can you give those you love than the chance to live free of the nuclear threat to our lives, our health and the national economy.
Thanks for your efforts and all best wishes for a wonderful Holiday Season.
ACTIONS TO TAKE
• For a sample letter and mail service please go to:
• Write your own email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Or a letter to:
Theodore A. Wyka
Complex 2030 SEIS Document Manager
Office of Transformation
US Department of Energy
1000 Independence Avenue SW
Washington DC 20585