"What few Americans realize is that the U.S. is completely rebuilding the production side of its nuclear weapons complex, with new multi-billion dollar factories expected to operate until ~2075. The aim of the for-profit nuclear weapons establishment is a never-ending cycle of exorbitant Life Extension Programs for existing nuclear weapons. These programs will not only extend their service lives for up to six decades, but also endow them with new military capabilities, despite denials at the highest levels of government..."
-Jay Coghlan, Nuclear Watch New Mexico; comment on NYTimes article U.S. Ramping Up Major Renewal in Nuclear Arms 21 Sept, 2014.
"No decrease in the number of warheads"
- Sen. Diane Feinstein: "The promise of the 3+2 plan was to provide a smaller stockpile in exchange for a larger investment. However, when the plan is examined, there is no decrease in the number of warheads... In addition, sequestration, shrinking budgets and NNSA's long history of cost overruns and schedule delays raise serious concerns about the agency's ability to execute this mission." (ref)
Nuclear Weapons Lobby Reportedly Spent $2.9 Million To Stave Off Military Cuts
"The nuclear weapons industry is erecting a missile shield of money to prevent federal government spending cuts worth billions of dollars. In the 2012 election cycle, nuclear weapons lobbies have given a total of $2.9 million to key members of Congress and deployed no fewer than 137 revolving-door lobbyists to Capitol Hill, according to a new report that details the lengths to which arms makers will go to protect their turf."
(story) "Bombs Versus Budgets: Inside the Nuclear Weapons Lobby", prepared by the Center for International Policy. (download PDF)
Jay Coghlan on the Nuclear Defense Industry
KSFR Santa Fe: Living on the Edge, October 17, 2013. David Bacon with Jay Coghlan, NukeWatch E.D. (online podcast)
Successful Citizen Activism Against
Expanded U.S. Plutonium Pit Production
This is the unsung story of successful citizen activism against repeated government attempts to expand the production of plutonium pit cores, which has always been the choke point of resumed U.S. nuclear weapons production. This history is a critical part of the march toward a future world free of nuclear weapons. We gratefully dedicate it to Leroy Moore, longtime activist with the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center, and J. Carson Mark, retired director of the Los Alamos Lab's Theoretical Division and ardent arms control advocate.
(View/download full report- PDF)
Recent visitors - click to enlarge
"If you really want a future world free of nuclear weapons, you can hardly make a better investment than to give to Nuclear Watch New Mexico. They need and deserve your support so that they can carry on their groundbreaking work. I urge you to be generous with them!" - Danielle Brian, Executive Director, Project on Government Oversight.
January 29, 2015: Alliance for Nuclear Accountability: FY 2016 Budget Rollout Advisory
"The US nuclear weapons budget continues to spiral out of control. Look for double-digit increases in
Department of Energy (DOE) weapons activities. Core nonproliferation programs will be cut because of
funding for mixed-oxide fuel. Cleanup of radioactive and toxic pollution from weapons research, testing,
production and waste disposal will fall further behind. The DOE budget for FY 2016 will illuminate the
Obama Administration's misplaced nuclear priorities." (more)
January 22, 2015: Doomsday Clock: Three Minutes to Midnight
"Today, more than 25 years after the end of the Cold War, the members of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Science and Security Board have looked closely at the world situation and found it highly threatening to humanity- so threatening that the hands of the Doomsday Clock must once again be set at three minutes to midnight, two minutes closer to catastrophe than in 2014."
"In 2015, unchecked climate change, global nuclear weapons modernizations, and outsized nuclear weapons arsenals pose extraordinary and undeniable threats to the continued existence of humanity, and world leaders have failed to act with the speed or on the scale required to protect citizens from potential catastrophe. These failures of political leadership endanger every person on Earth."
- Read the full Bulletin statement here.
- See a chronology of the changes to the Doomsday Clock, and the reasons for the changes, included in this Washington Post article.
- See a chart of these changes since 1947
January 18, 2015: Rebranding The Nuclear Weapons Complex Won't Reform It Robert Alvarez takes a critical look at the latest Congressional review of the nuclear weapons complex...
"Given that the panel was dominated by members with ties to weapons contractors, it comes as no surprise that the panel's report advocates a reduction in federal oversight of contractors that run the complex, in effect doubling-down on the 'least-interference' policy that is at the heart of so many weapons complex problems.
"And by focusing on branding and protection of contractors, this latest panel to examine the US nuclear weapons complex diverts attention from the thorny problem repeatedly raised by other expert panels: The nuclear weapons production and laboratory system created during the Cold War is simply far too large for the current military situation and needs drastic consolidation that includes the closing of labs and other facilities.
"Wide latitude granted to nuclear weapons contractors, bolstered by national security secrecy, have enabled widespread problems in the handling and disposal of radioactive materials- problems that now constitute the largest and most expensive environmental mess in the United States. There were regular and frightening nuclear safety and safeguard lapses. Efforts to fix old weapons facilities and to build new ones became all-but-endless money-devouring boondoggles."
Read more at The Bulletin
For immediate release Jan 13, 2015: In New Report, Dr. Doyle Calls For Urgent Multi-Agency Focus on Non-Proliferation and Verification
"Washington DC. Today, nonproliferation expert Dr. James Doyle is releasing a report making the case for expansion of the nation's nonproliferation programs, and will brief key congressional staff on his findings..." (View/download NukeWatch press release Jan 13, 2015)
Essential Capabilities for Nuclear Security A National Program for Nonproliferation and Verification Technology Development
A new report from Dr. James Doyle and Nuclear Watch New Mexico
From the executive summary:
"Achieving nuclear security in the 21st century and beyond requires a far more diverse set of national capabilities than during the Cold War. Today's nuclear threats are more geographically dispersed, varied and nuanced...
"Nuclear weapons... cannot counter the full spectrum of nuclear security challenges facing the nation and the world in the decades ahead. Nor can they counter or deter the most likely nuclear threats to the nation...
"...almost five years after the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review called for a national program on 'expanded work on verification technologies and the development of transparency measures', there has been no substantial follow-up. As a consequence, the technical and human capabilities needed to reduce the most likely nuclear threats to the nation are being neglected with perilous consequences.
"The missions of nonproliferation and arms verification have for too long been considered part of the 'soft power' tools of the diplomatic and arms control communities. Responsibility for them has been scattered across mid- to low level departments within several different agencies, without strong national champions in the interagency bureaucracy or Congress. The transformed nuclear security environment requires that we now consider these capabilities as vital elements of our national security infrastructure. They are potent 'smart power' tools offering unique advantages in a rapidly evolving nuclear security environment."
- Read more, including report recommendations: Executive Summary (PDF)
- Full report (PDF)- Essential Capabilities for Nuclear Security: A National Program for Nonproliferation and Verification Technology Development
For immediate release Dec 29, 2014: NNSA Cuts Los Alamos Lab's Award Fees by 90% "First-degree performance failure" Watchdogs Say Management Contract Should Be Put Out for Bid
"Because of grossly substandard performance, the Project On Government Oversight and Nuclear Watch New Mexico had jointly asked the Department of Energy Secretary to cut LANS' FY 2014 incentive fee at least in half. NNSA's final decision far exceeds our request. Jay Coghlan, Director of Nuclear Watch New Mexico, commented, 'We strongly praise NNSA for gutting LANS' award fees. This sends an unmistakable message to contractors that they will be held accountable, something which has been sorely missing to date. However, in light of LANS' miserable performance, NNSA should take the next big step and put the management contract out to bid. NNSA and Congress should also consider whether for-profit management of the nuclear weapons complex is really in the country's best interests, when the track record demonstrates that it's not.'" View/download the full NukeWatch press release (PDF).
How the Obama Administration Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb US nuclear policy is undermining our safety and national security. Theodore A. Postol, The Nation, Dec. 10. 2014
"In a highly celebrated speech in Prague in April 2009, Obama declared that "the existence of thousands of nuclear weapons is the most dangerous legacy of the Cold War," and he restated "America's commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons." Later that year, the Nobel Committee cited the president's leadership on this issue when it awarded him the Peace Prize.
"Why, then, we must ask, is the Obama administration moving forward with an ambitious nuclear-weapons modernization program that could dramatically raise the threat of nuclear war?
"Many Russians, including those with moderate political views, believe the United States has been engaged in an endless campaign of disrespect, opportunism and predation toward Russia since the demise of the Soviet Union. Many Americans regard Russia as intransigent, dangerous and aggressive.
"This politically charged environment has grown increasingly tense since the Ukraine crisis erupted last winter. US nuclear hawks now regard the modernization program as an urgent national-security priority, while Russian leaders perceive US rhetoric about the need to increase the reliability of supposedly aging US forces as yet another lie aimed at lulling Russia into a trap.
"Sophisticated Russian analysts, especially those who understand the technical aspects of nuclear weapons, see the modernization drive as a disturbing indication that the US military believes a nuclear war against Russia can be fought and won.
"Our policy-makers have not attempted to analyze the benefit to US security of pushing the Russians to a higher state of alert. Nor have they asked how an increased US nuclear threat to Russia improves the security of US allies- or, for that matter, anyone else around the globe.
"What does the Obama administration hope to achieve by modernizing US nuclear forces? Do the president and his staff realize they are creating conditions that will reduce the security of all involved parties, or have they wrongly convinced themselves that they are creating a more stable deterrence? No rational actor would take steps to start a nuclear war. But the modernization effort significantly increases the chances of an accident during an unpredicted, and unpredictable, crisis- one that could escalate beyond anyone's capacity to imagine.
"The real problem is not irrationality but unpredictability. The reasons things happen are far more complex than obsessive nuclear planning can ever predict. The US modernization program is producing nuclear forces that will severely complicate the chances of backing away from disaster if a crisis were to occur. Anyone who looks at history knows that such crises will occur, and that they result from unpredictable and unforeseen events.
"This basic truth should be the basis for a sober re-evaluation of the modernization program: in a world that is fundamentally unpredictable, the pursuit of an unchallenged capacity to fight and win a nuclear war is a dangerous folly."
Theodore A. Postol, The Nation, Dec. 10. 2014
Theodore Postol is Professor of Science, Technology and National Security Policy at MIT... more
Game On: East vs. West, Again
In 1990, Mikhail Gorbachev was apparently assured by top US officials that in return for allowing East and West Germany to unite and be a full NATO member, NATO would not expand "one inch" to the east. But by 2009, 12 more ex-Warsaw Pact nations had joined NATO.
Andrew Cockburn details the sequence of events that brought us to today's crisis in Ukraine:
"[For the arms contractors] one especially promising market was among the former members of the defunct Warsaw Pact. Were they to join NATO, they would be natural customers for products such as the F-16 fighter that Lockheed had inherited from General Dynamics.
"Didn't they tell us after the fall of the Berlin Wall that NATO would not expand eastwards? However, the expansion started immediately... This is the main issue of current international relations. Our partners never stopped. They decided they were the winners, they were an empire, while all the others were their vassals, and they needed to put the squeeze on them."
"Do we place our troops at US borders? Who is placing NATO troops, military infrastructure closer to us? Does anyone listen to us, talk to us about it? No, nothing. There is always the same response: it's not your business."
-Russian President Putin, 12/18/14 Press Conference
"There was one minor impediment... Secretary of State James Baker had unequivocally spelled out Washington's end of that bargain in a private conversation with Mikhail Gorbachev in February 1990, pledging that NATO forces would not move "one inch to the east", provided the Soviets agreed to NATO membership for a unified Germany.
"Even at the beginning, not everyone in the administration was intent on honoring this promise. Robert Gates noted in his memoirs that Dick Cheney, then the defense secretary, took a more opportunistic tack: 'When the Soviet Union was collapsing in late 1991, Dick wanted to see the dismantlement not only of the Soviet Union and the Russian empire but of Russia itself, so it could never again be a threat to the rest of the world.'
"Expanding NATO would be the most fateful error of American policy in the post cold-war era. Such a decision may be expected to inflame the nationalistic, anti-Western and militaristic tendencies in Russian opinion; to have an adverse effect on the development of Russian democracy; to restore the atmosphere of the cold war to East-West relations, and to impel Russian foreign policy in directions decidedly not to our liking."
- George F. Kennan, 1997
"... As it happened, NATO was indeed active, under Bill Clinton's leadership, and moving decisively to expand eastward, whatever prior Republican understandings there might have been with the Russians... Already plushly installed in Warsaw and other Eastern European capitals were emissaries of the defense contractors. 'Lockheed began looking at Poland right after the Wall came down,' Dick Pawloski, for years a Lockheed salesman active in Eastern Europe, told me. 'There were contractors flooding through all those countries.'
"The vision of [Lockheed Martin CEO] Augustine and his peers that an enlarged NATO could be a fruitful market has become a reality. By 2014, the twelve new members had purchased close to $17 billion worth of American weapons, while this past October Romania celebrated the arrival of Eastern Europe's first $134 million Lockheed Martin Aegis Ashore missile-defense system." Game On, Harper's, January 2015
Andrew Cockburn is currently Washington Editor of Harper's Magazine. Cockburn's most recent book is "Rumsfeld: His Rise, Fall, and Catastrophic Legacy". more
Footnote, Putin presser Dec. 18, 2014:
- Anton Vernitsky, Channel One Russia: "Mr President, are the current economic developments the price we have to pay for Crimea? Maybe the time has come to acknowledge it?"
- Vladimir Putin: "No. This is not the price we have to pay for Crimea. This is actually the price we have to pay for our natural aspiration to preserve ourselves as a nation, as a civilisation, as a state."
Dec. 12, 2014: A "New Foundation for the Nuclear Enterprise"? NNSA Governance Advisory Panel Condones Diminishing
Federal Oversight Of Failing Contractors
- This diminishing federal oversight flies in the face of a long history of project delays and immense cost increases for which contractors are responsible, but not held accountable... Contractors have also committed very serious operational mistakes... Despite all this, the Panel makes no specific recommendations to put performance benchmarks back into management contracts. Instead, it proposes that the number of budget line items be reduced, which could further erode transparency, accountability, and congressional oversight, and increase the ability of NNSA and its contractors to move money around.
- The Panel itself is full of conflicts-of-interest. One co-chair was CEO of Lockheed, contractor at Sandia, Y-12, and Pantex... The other co-chair, and other members of the panel, sit on the boards of contractors managing Sandia, LANL, and Lawrence Livermore labs. Also on the panel, Heather Wilson, the ex- New Mexico Congresswoman described by the DOE Inspector General as 'deeply, deeply involved' in improper, if not illegal lobbying for contract extensions at Sandia and LANL.
- Jay Coghlan, Nuclear Watch Director, commented, "The Panel's self-interested premise that the Nuclear Security Enterprise needs a new foundation is wrong. First, call it what it is, not some kind of innocuous sounding "enterprise", but rather a massive research and production complex that is pushing an unaffordable trillion dollar modernization program for nuclear warheads, missiles, subs and bombers. This will divert taxpayers' dollars from meeting the real national security threats of nuclear weapons proliferation and climate change. The Panel failed by not arguing for prudent maintenance of the stockpile, instead supporting a perpetual work program of risky life extension programs for existing nuclear weapons that will enrich contractors."
- Read the full post at the Watchblog.
- Congressional Advisory Panel on the Governance of the Nuclear Security Enterprise: "A New Foundation for the Nuclear Enterprise" (view/download PDF)
- The DOE Inspector General Report: "Special Inquiry: Alleged Attempts by Sandia National Laboratories to Influence Congress and Federal Officials on a Contract Extension" (view/download PDF)
Dec. 8-9, 2014: Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons
Vienna Conference Statements:
"As long as nuclear weapons exist, the risk of their use by design, miscalculation or madness, technical or human error, remains real. Nuclear weapons, therefore, continue to bear an unacceptable risk to humanity and to all life on earth. Any use of nuclear weapons could cause gravest humanitarian emergencies and have catastrophic global consequences on the environment, climate, health, social order, human development and the economy...
"This increased focus on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons is an important development and has a positive and uniting effect on international discussions about nuclear weapons. The more the international community discusses and understands the scale of these consequences and of the risks involved, the clearer the case and the stronger the sense of urgency become for the elimination of nuclear weapons."
- Report and Summary of Findings of the Conference: (view/download PDF)
- Vienna Conference Official Website
- Twitter hashtag: HINW14vienna. Also, the Global Tweetmap
- Video of discussion/general debate at Youtube- 4 parts, 7+hrs total
Austria Delivered the "Austrian Pledge":
"Austria pledges to cooperate with all relevant stakeholders, States, International Organizations, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movements, parliamentarians and civil society, in efforts to stigmatize, prohibit, and eliminate nuclear weapons, in light of their unacceptable humanitarian consequences and associated risks..."
(view/download Pledge PDF)
January 31, 2015, Wash. DC: Say No to the Trillion Dollar Nuclear Arsenal!
Rally hosted by Global Zero from 1-3pm at the Ellipse, just south of the White House. "This event is free and open to the public. We'll have a life-size inflated nuclear missile (four stories high), 3-D street art by Joe Hill, and free t-shirts for participants." (more info)
February 2, 2015: Release of the FY 2016 Budget
Watch for our same-day analysis
February 20, 2015, Santa Fe: Uranium Workers' Day
The Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment is organizing a Uranium Workers' Day during the New Mexico Legislative Session on Feb 20. Press conference at 9:30am in the Capitol Rotunda. (for more info contact Susan Gordon at MASE)
May 18-20, 2015, Wash. DC DC Days! 2015
Organized by the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability.
(Training Day Friday May 17.)
(more info to come)
For an extensive weekly listing of nuclear-related events worldwide, subscribe to the Nuclear Calendar
Quote of the Week
"Nuclear weapons are a global problem affecting all nations and impacting future generations and the planet that is our home...
"Nuclear deterrence and the threat of mutually assured destruction cannot be the basis for an ethics of fraternity and peaceful coexistence among peoples and states...
"Spending on nuclear weapons squanders the wealth of nations. To prioritize such spending is a mistake and a misallocation of resources which would be far better invested in the areas of integral human development, education, health and the fight against extreme poverty...
"I am convinced that the desire for peace and fraternity planted deep in the human heart will bear fruit in concrete ways to ensure that nuclear weapons are banned once and for all, to the benefit of our common home." (Full text, Vatican Statement to the Vienna Conference Dec. 8)
New Mexico Environmental Department will levy
fines totaling $54m on WIPP and LANL.
WIPP: 13 violations, $17.7 million;
LANL, 24 violations, $36.6 million.
See NukeWatch press release
The Saga of Hanford-How the Atomic Age Left Us a Half-Century of Radioactive Waste
"The Hanford plutonium plant became the largest nuclear clean-up site in the western hemisphere. It costs taxpayers a billion dollars a year... and has proved an intractable problem. Why?"
- Kate Brown, Time.com Jan 21, 2015
Obama Promised a "World Without Nuclear Weapons," But May Now Spend $1 Trillion on Upgrades Amy Goodman with Elena Sokova, executive director of the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation DemocracyNow, Oct.24, 2014
LANL's Central Mission Los Alamos Lab officials have recently claimed that LANL has moved away from primarily nuclear weapons to "national security", but what truly remains as the Labs central mission? Here's the answer from one of its own documents:
LANL's "Central Mission"- Presented at: RPI Nuclear Data 2011 Symposium for
Criticality Safety and Reactor Applications (PDF) 4/27/11
"The US modernization program is producing nuclear forces that will severely complicate the chances of backing away from disaster if a crisis were to occur. Anyone who looks at history knows that such crises will occur, and that they result from unpredictable and unforeseen events. This basic truth should be the basis for a sober re-evaluation of the modernization program. In a world that is fundamentally unpredictable, the pursuit of an unchallenged capacity to fight and win a nuclear war is a dangerous folly."
"...This is a very, very serious issue and I am afraid it may be just the tip of the iceberg... And part of it may be some reductions in our nuclear inventory, but I think we just have to look at every option here rather than just say 'OK we are just going to spend X more billions of dollars'."
Sen. John McCain, Chairman, Senate Armed Services Committee, answering a question at the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia, Dec 1, 2014.
"Nuclear war is the black swan we can never see, except in that brief moment when it is killing us. We delay eliminating the risk at our own peril. Now is the time to address the threat, because now we are still alive."
Seth Baum, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Nov. 21, 2014
Our Mission: Through comprehensive research, public education and effective citizen action, Nuclear Watch New Mexico seeks to promote safety and environmental protection at regional nuclear facilities, mission diversification away from nuclear weapons programs, greater accountability and cleanup in the nation-wide nuclear weapons complex, and consistent U.S. leadership toward a world free of nuclear weapons.