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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Attend a Bomplex 2030 Hearing to Stop New Nuclear Arms Race

From Citizen Action NM:
Meet Your Nuclear Neighbor: Sandia National Laboratories. $$$ Why Sandia Loves Bomplex 2030 $$$

What is Bomplex 2030?
The Dept. of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration has a new plan to re-design and rebuild every nuclear weapon in the U.S. arsenal. This is the so-called “Reliable Replacement Warhead” program -- and the DOE/NNSA proposal to revamp the nuclear weapons complex to produce these new nuclear warheads is called “Bomplex 2030.” The name misleads one to think this plan is for the future. The effect on driving other countries to join the nuclear arms race will be immediate. The social, environmental, and economic costs will be enormous.

A Bombplex 2030 Public Hearing will be held by the DOE/NNSA on December 5th at the Albuquerque Convention Center, 11 AM to 3 PM or 6 PM to 10 PM. Attend with Friends in Opposition. Hearings will also be held in Socorro, Los Alamos and Santa Fe. See below for more information.

Hearing Schedule:

  • Albuquerque: Dec. 5, Albuquerque Convention Center, 11 AM – 3 PM, 6 – 10 PM
  • Socorro: Dec. 4, Macey Center, 801 Leroy Place, 6 – 10 PM
  • Los Alamos: Dec. 6, Hilltop House Best Western, 10:30 AM – 2:30 PM
  • Santa Fe: Dec. 6, Genoveva Chavez Community Center, 6 - 10 PM

Background Information
Sandia will perform the certification testing for the nuclear triggers called “pits” that will be used in this new line of nuclear weapons. The pit is a nuclear weapon. Sandia will be involved in the design, construction and testing of components for this new line of nuclear weapons.  The DOE/NNSA want to quadruple pit production at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) to 80 pits a year. LANL may well become location for a new plutonium center to produce 125 pits a year. 

No justification can be found for further production of pits within the weapons complex for the RRW program.  4000 pits exist in “strategic reserve” in addition to a 12,000-plus “surplus” at Pantex in Texas.  DOE/NNSA admits that age-induced impacts on pits have not been observed for pits up to 42 years old.  The average age of pits in the current stockpile is 21 years old and lifetimes of pits can be 90+ years.

Sandia's primary mission is to implement the nation's nuclear weapon policies through research, development, and testing related to nuclear weapons. Sandia also manages the U.S. nuclear arsenal stockpile.  Sandia designs and integrates over 6,300 parts of a modern nuclear weapon's 6,500 components. About 72 percent of Sandia’s $2,200,000,000 ($2.2 billion) annual budget goes for defense and national security related programs. Only a scant 4% of the Sandia budget goes for energy efficiency and renewable energy research.

The words “Reliable Replacement Warhead” are used to mislead the public to believe that the RRW program will maintain the nuclear status quo.

  • The current inventory of nearly 10,000 nuclear weapons have been certified as “safe, secure and reliable” annually for the last ten years by the DOE/NNSA
  • The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), the weapons arm of the Department of Energy, advertises the RRW as an "enabler" for changing to a "responsive infrastructure" which will one day "provide capabilities, if required, to produce weapons with different or modified military capabilities."
  • The official Department of Defense website on "Stockpile Transformation" (the generic name for RRW and related plans) boasts of a goal of "developing warheads for next-generation delivery systems."

Neither the Department of Defense nor the Department of Energy has cleaned up the hazardous waste and radioactive contamination at many locations throughout the United States from the nuclear weapons production during the Cold War. The actions at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) are part of a larger action of bomb making activities in New Mexico and nationally that devastate water and air resources through release of hazardous and radioactive wastes. In New Mexico, for example: 

  • Sandia National Laboratories’ (SNL) Mixed Waste Landfill (MWL) is a radioactive cesspool that threatens the drinking water supplies for Albuquerque, New Mexico with 100,000 cu. feet of hazardous and radioactive wastes in unlined trenches. DOE/NNSA has failed to excavate the MWL for long-term protection of Albuquerque’s drinking water. There is no adequate well-monitoring system that complies with federal law. Monitoring wells were constructed using Bentonite clay and organic drilling additives that hide contaminants instead of detecting them.
  • Storm water run-off at LANL contains significant amounts of americium-241, strontium-90 and plutonium-238 & 239 measured at levels up to ten times the drinking water standard. Hundreds of other toxic contaminants are in the soil at the bottom of the canyons and contaminated wetlands. Contaminated stormwater either seeps into the ground, posing a threat to groundwater, or, in intense storm events, drains to the Rio Grande.

The Bomplex 2030 program flies in the face of legal requirements for the United States to participate in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Bomplex 2030 will create the capacity for the US to build nuclear weapons more rapidly, reducing the size of nuclear warheads to allow a greater range. The 1970 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) obliged all nuclear weapons states  as signatories to Article VI of the Treaty to undertake “to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament...” International security is further destroyed by the fear that the US will use these weapons of mass destruction “preemptively. A new nuclear arms race must be prevented.

Other countries are no longer deterred by the nuclear threats of the United States but will seek to also obtain nuclear weapons. Nuclear bombs can be built by any country with the will to do so. The secrets for the technology are out. The US must turn from threatening annihilation of other countries to serious participation in solving the global problems of poverty and environmental damage that lead to political unrest, hopelessness and terrorism.  The tens of billions planned to be spent by the US weapons complex for new warheads must be spent instead to create more peaceful societies in our world.

THE US NEEDS FRIENDS, NOT MORE BOMBS IN THIS WORLD: These scoping hearings will be your opportunity to tell the Department of Energy (DOE) that your “vision of the future” opposes plans to spend more TENS of BILLIONS OF DOLLARS to build new nuclear weapons in New Mexico.  The scoping hearings are required as part of an Environmental Impact Statement.  Demand environmental and social costs be considered now!

November 28, 2006 at 12:34 PM in Nuclear Arms, Power | Permalink


Does this mean they need to make new pits?
Can they just use the old pits?
What is the plan for the waste this process would generate?
I think we should upgrade a couple of the nukes but not ALL of them. Almost all of them should be dismantled and disposed. Some insane destructive capability is not efficient, not necessary and costs too much.
Does upgrading affect the treaty?

Posted by: qofdisks | Nov 28, 2006 4:13:28 PM

A government report came out today that shows the plutonium pits we have are just fine and there is no need to replace them for many decades to come. This undermines completely the excuse being used by Bush and his cronies for the new generation of weapons being proposed. Even Sen Bingaman said so in commenting on the new report.

The nuke industry is claiming that refurbishing the pits won't break the treaty but like so much they say and do that's inaccurate and full of spin.

Posted by: Jason | Nov 30, 2006 9:09:44 AM

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