Documents Reveal Obama’s Shocking Retreat on Nuke Reductions

July 14th, 2010 - by admin

Tri-Valley CARES – 2010-07-14 23:09:36

* Abandon promised science and “ignition and gain” at Livermore Lab NIF mega-laser
* Jack up funding for nuclear weapon “life extensions” beyond what the facts justify, and
* Escalate bomb budgets through 2030 despite lip service to Obama disarmament goals

LIVERMORE (July 13, 2010) — The Fiscal Year 2011 Stockpile Stewardship and Management Plan (colloquially known as the “Green Book”), obtained recently by Tri-Valley CAREs, reveals that the U.S. Dept. of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) foments internal plans significantly at variance with the agency’s public pronouncements and the Nation’s disarmament goals.

“The document demonstrates that the NNSA will reach deeper and deeper into the taxpayers’ pockets in the coming decades, even as it jettisons scientific objectives and delivers less,” charged Marylia Kelley, executive director of Tri-Valley CAREs, the Livermore-based nuclear weapons watchdog organization. “What the plan reveals about the National Ignition Facility (NIF) is shocking.” (See attached analysis for details.)

Roger Logan, an independent weapons expert who served as the first head of Directed Stockpile Work at Livermore Lab, offered his assessment of the plan’s 3 unclassified volumes, “In the FY 2011 ‘Green Book’ it is apparent that inflation adjusted stockpile Life Extension Program (LEP) costs have increased almost four-fold.” Logan added, “These skyrocketing costs are a result of the for-profit management monopoly that has taken hold at the weapons labs. The people running the Livermore and Los Alamos management contracts have made careers out of inflating cost estimates, and NNSA either lacks the skill or the will to properly steward the billions of taxpayer dollars it requests each year.” (See attached analysis.)

“The NNSA plan continues to escalate the nuclear weapons budget through the year 2030,” said Tri-Valley CAREs’ staff attorney Scott Yundt. “This does not comport with President Obama’s nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation goals.” Yundt continued, “It appears that the agency is following its own perceived interests and not the Nation’s.” (See attached analysis.)

The Fiscal Year 2011 Stockpile Stewardship Plan can be found at Our analysis follows. Our colleagues at Union of Concerned Scientists, Federation of American Scientists, and Nuclear Watch New Mexico are also releasing analyses of the “Green Book” today.

Analysis by Tri-Valley CAREs and Roger Logan
The National Nuclear Security Administration’s New Stockpile Stewardship and Management Plan Abandons Scientific Goals and Contains Unjustified Costs

Promise of Ignition and Gain Abandoned at the National Ignition Facility
NNSA and Livermore Lab management have repeatedly promised Congress that NIF would reach its scientific goal of “ignition” (a self sustaining nuclear fusion reaction) and “gain” (more energy out than was put in) in Fiscal Year 2010, which ends on September 30. What does the NNSA’s new Stockpile Stewardship and Management Plan say?

In Volume 1 (Summary document), page 20, under “Key Milestones” the NNSA plan states only that there will be merely a “credible fusion ignition experiment” in 2010, not ignition and gain. The “Key Milestones” list continues through 2020 with no other milestone for ignition at the NIF.

Volume 2 (Annex A, Stockpile Stewardship Plan) purports to provide the details. On pages 28 and 29 is a list of “Key Near-Future Deliverables, FY 2010 – FY 2013.” Here, too, only an “experiment” is posited at 1.0 megajoules (out of NIF’s design energy of 1.8 megajoules) in FY 2010 and no mention of any date for ignition.

Annex A page 55 contains a “Science Campaign Milestone Timeline” graph that goes through 2020. It says NIF will “complete ignition and burn part 1” by 2015. There is no part 2 or other ignition date through 2020. Page 73, Annex A says “the Ignition subprogram supports research activities that optimize prospects for achieving inertial confinement fusion ignition on the NIFÖ” The Ignition subprogram “optimizes prospects” but falls short of the promised ignition and gain. On page 78, we learn that the National Ignition Campaign at the NIF has two goals, and neither of them are achieving ignition.

What is the price of a National Ignition Facility that has abandoned its goal of ignition? The answer can be found in Annex A, page 92, “Funding Schedule.” NIF construction was declared complete in 2009, yet the funding graph shows its out-year costs continuing at about the same rate of $500 million/year through 2015, when the graph ends although the NIF costs will not.

“The ‘Green Book’ reveals that the agency has backed away from any date for achieving its stated scientific goal of ignition and gain at the NIF,” said Marylia Kelley. “The NNSA lied, and Congress bought a pig in a poke.” Kelley continued, “Tri-Valley CAREs estimates that NIF has already cost taxpayers more than $6 billion. The promised date for ignition had slipped from 2003 to 2010 and now it is slip sliding into infinity. Congress should pull the plug on this boondoggle.”

Unjustified Funding Increases for the Stockpile Life Extension Programs
In Volume 1 (Summary), pages 12 and 13, the Stockpile Stewardship and Management Plan contains bar charts that speak volumes to those who know how to read them. Figure S – 2 contains the recent historical and projected (from 2003 – 2025) costs of the W76 submarine launched nuclear warhead. Figure S – 3 shows the historical and projected costs of the B61 nuclear bomb. And, Figure S-4 shows the historical and projected costs associated with the W78 (Minuteman) nuclear warhead.
Running the total stockpile Life Extension Program costs in the three bar graphs and factoring in likely number of weapons slated to enter the LEPs, it becomes evident that, even after accounting for inflation at a rate of 3%/year, the LEP cost estimates are skyrocketing by a factor of four. In particular, the B61 and W78 LEPs have a per-unit cost that is four times higher than historical costs for the program. Roger Logan asked, “Where is the benefit-to-cost analysis that would justify these expenditures? It is not in the unclassified volumes of the ‘Green Book.’ Yet, I know from my time in the weapons program that a benefit vs. cost analysis of the full range of stockpile life extension options was first undertaken in 2002, with an annual update each year thereafter. The analysis was conducted so as to prioritize the most cost effective use of the taxpayers’ money.”

Logan continued, “The for-profit Limited Liability Company monopoly that now manages both of our nation’s nuclear labs does not think in terms of benefit vs. cost. Instead, it continues to push for new design RRW (Reliable Replacement Warhead) programs ñ calling them ‘reuse LEP’ instead of RRW to mask their true intent. This is an incredibly expensive obsession that will result in a less effective nuclear deterrent, and less national security, not more. The U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile should be maintained with the utmost care in mind, not the utmost cost. I see no valid rationale that would explain why a four-fold increase in budgets is necessary. ”

Nuclear Bomb Budgets Escalate Through 2030, Threaten Disarmament Goals
Volume 3 (Annex D, Budget Assessment/Modernization/Complex) contains an important graph on page 66, the “FY 2011 – 2030 Budget Requirements Estimate.”Ý It shows the NNSA nuclear weapons activities budget continuing its rise over the coming decades until 2030, when the graph ends though there is no indication the budget escalation will also end. The ‘Green Book’ cost projection is roughly $170 billion over 20 years.

Scott Yundt noted, “This is higher than the $150 billion that the Gov’t Accountability Office estimated for George W. Bush’s initial ‘Complex 2030’ plan to revitalize the nuclear weapons complex. This funding level appears out of step with President Obama’s statement in Prague declaring ‘America’s commitment to the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.’ It far exceeds the funds needed to maintain the safety and reliability of the existing nuclear stockpile until it is dismantled. Further, this will be seen by much of the world as the U.S. reneging on its pledge. This plan will harm our security. I have to wonder if the NNSA isn’t stockpiling money as a hedge against the nuclear disarmament aims of the U.S. President and the aspirations of the majority of the world’s people, including our own.”

The Fiscal Year 2011 Stockpile Stewardship Plan can be found at

Call Tri-Valley CAREs at (925) 443-7148 for more information ### Marylia Kelley, Executive Director Tri-Valley CAREs 2582 Old First Street Livermore, CA, USA 94551 Ph: (925) 443-7148 Fx: (925) 443-0177 Web: Email: or