At Y-12, the cost of designing the Uranium Processing Facility keeps spiraling: $92 million in '06, $2 billion by '16. (How do you spend 2 billion dollars designing anything?)
- See OREPA's June '15 UPF update
Click the image to download this large printable map of DOE sites, commercial reactors, nuclear waste dumps, nuclear transportation routes, surface waters near sites and transport routes, and underlying aquifers. This map was prepared by Deborah Reade for the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability.
Quote of the Week
"We therefore urge President Obama to cancel the current plan to develop and buy 1,000 to 1,100 new nuclear-capable air-launched cruise missiles. Such strong U.S. leadership, coupled with a challenge to the other major nuclear powers to eliminate or, in the cases of China and India, forgo deployment of this extremely destabilizing class of weapons, would reduce the risk of nuclear weapons use and be a historic practical step in the direction of a world without nuclear weapons."
- William J. Perry and Andy Weber: Mr. President, Kill the New Cruise Missile.
Podcast: Alliance for Nuclear Accountability Conference November 2015
The Alliance for Nuclear Accountability held their National Conference in Liberty, Missouri on the first weekend in November. Ann Suellentrop and Maurice Copeland spoke about health and cleanup issues at the old Kansas City weapons plant at the Bannister Federal Complex. There were also people on hand to discuss the nuclear dump in the St. Louis area and its proximity to an underground landfill fire.
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Jay Coghlan, Nukewatch Director Interview
Earth Matters Radio re legacy of the US nuclear weapons program on the 70th anniversary of the Hiroshima/Nagasaki bombings. Thursday Aug 6 at 10 am and 8 pm on 89.1FM. Archived podcast here
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)
March 27: NukeWatch Fact Sheet Plutonium Pit Production
In 1989, an FBI raid investigating environmental crimes abruptly stopped the annual production of hundreds of plutonium pits at the Rocky Flats Plant near Denver.
In 1997 the Department of Energy reestablished limited production of up to 20 pits per year at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).
Since the turn of the century citizen activists have stopped the National Nuclear Security Administration in each of its four attempts to expand production far beyond the 20 plutonium pits per year.
Plutonium pit production has always been the choke point for resumed U.S. production of new nuclear weapons. See the NukeWatch fact sheet including a timeline of pit production restart attempts:
(View/download "Plutonium Pit Production at LANL")
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"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.
Do We Really Want This New Nuclear Arms Race? The US pursues a new nuclear cruise missile (see below); Russia plans a nuclear super-torpedo
Excerpts and summaries from the BBC report:
"Just before the torpedo diagram came into view, Russian President Putin could be heard telling the generals that the US and its NATO allies were forging ahead with a global anti-missile defense system 'unfortunately ignoring our concerns and our offers of co-operation', and that the Western defense project was 'an attempt to undermine the existing parity in strategic nuclear weapons and essentially to upset the whole system of global and regional stability.' Putin continued: 'References to an Iranian or North Korean nuclear missile threat are just used to conceal the true plans- their real goal is to neutralize the strategic nuclear potential of other nuclear states... above all, of course, Russia.' Putin said Russia would continue developing strategic offensive systems capable of penetrating any anti-missile defense."
At that point, a viewer could see over the shoulder of a general studying a diagram of the 'devastating' new torpedo system. The document reads "oceanic multi-purpose Status-6 system", designed to "destroy important economic installations of the enemy in coastal areas and cause guaranteed devastating damage to the country's territory by creating wide areas of radioactive contamination, rendering them unusable for military, economic or other activity for a long time". The supertorpedo's range: up to 10,000 kilometers; cruising speed: 185 kilometers per hour at a depth of up to 1000 meters; to be carried by the Belgorod and Khabarovsk submarines.
State-run Rossiiskaya Gazeta noted that the destructive power attributed to the new torpedo's warhead would fit the description of a cobalt bomb, a thermonuclear warhead 'salted' with a layer of cobalt-59, which on detonation would be transmuted into highly radioactive cobalt-60 with a half-life longer than five years. Such a weapon would guarantee "that everything living will be killed", the paper said - there would not even be any survivors in bunkers. A cobalt bomb has never been tested because of the devastating radiation it would unleash.
Russian military experts told BBC Russian Service:
Pavel Felgenhauer, an independent military analyst: "The plan is to deliver a 100-megaton nuclear bomb to the U.S. shores," he said. "It would cause a highly radioactive tsunami."
Konstantin Sivkov, Russian Geopolitical Academy A warhead of up to 100 megatons could produce a tsunami up to 500m (1,650ft) high, wiping out all living things 1,500km (930 miles) deep inside US territory.
"But it can be considered as a means of deterrence- like the Perimeter system, which is on combat readiness, which guarantees retaliation with all of Russia's nuclear forces even if command posts and the country's leadership have been annihilated".
- BBC: Russia reveals giant nuclear torpedo in state TV 'leak'
- NYT: Kremlin-Controlled TV Airs 'Secret' Plans for Nuclear Weapon
In the UK, Psychopathy of Deterrence Theory in the Spotlight
Recently Jeremy Corbyn, the newly elected anti-nuclear head of British Labour, was asked by a TV interviewer under what circumstances he would "press the button". This was intended as a gotcha question, and Corbyn didn't hesitate.
He would never launch a thermonuclear attack on any country. Corbyn was roundly attacked. Michael Fallon, Britain's defense secretary, called Corbyn "a serious threat to our national security". Corbyn had broken a cardinal rule of deterrence theory, in which, as James Doyle puts it, "the effectiveness of a nation's nuclear deterrent depends on the credibility of its threat to use those weapons. If one state believes its rival will refrain from nuclear retaliation, that state may be less deterred to initiate a nuclear attack." So by the logic of deterrence, a leader must be prepared and willing to kill millions of people without qualm. Prime Minister Cameron immediately clarified that he would be willing to do it.
The [il]logic of deterrence was suddenly in the spotlight in Britain. Twitter erupted with tweets noting that the psychotic willingness to kill millions seemed to be a pre-requisite for national leadership. Scotland's Fraser Stewart wrote:
"The double standard of mass-murder: threaten to walk into a school or a church and kill everyone in there and you'll rightly be dubbed a crazed lunatic; boast about potentially detonating a nuclear warhead that could bring about the indiscriminate holocaust of millions of innocent people? That's leadership. Of course, David Cameron doesn't exist in a vacuum: the developed world is dominated by people laudably prepared to 'do the needful' should the time come, such is the psychopathy of power; people with the capacity for mass-murder, accepted in this unique twist of paranoid social acceptability." (ref)
James Doyle: "Leaders of nuclear-armed countries must project their capability and willingness to break the nuclear taboo in order to deter potential rivals. As Eric Schlosser catalogs in his book Command and Control, this tension has contributed to a lengthy trail of close calls, misunderstandings, hair-raising false alarms, and miraculously avoided accidental thermonuclear detonations. Unless we fundamentally change the system, some day our luck will run out. In essence Fallon, like all who embrace the logic of nuclear deterrence, is promoting the psychology of fear at the expense of morality and claiming we have no alternative but to place our security in the hands of people willing to use the Bomb. Nonsense. We all have the right to choose the ethic of responsibility and employ morality in our politics. Like Corbyn, we must find the courage to do so."
- James Doyle: The Psychology of Nuclear Survival James Doyle is an independent nuclear security specialist supported by the Ploughshares Fund and a non-resident associate of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University. Dr. Doyle also serves on Nuclear Watch New Mexico's steering committee.
Related: Nuclear Deterrence: An Ethical Perspective Caritas In Veritate Foundation (view download PDF)
"Over the last two years there has been an increased focus on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons use. This, in turn, has led to renewed calls for a ban on nuclear weapons. Throughout such discussions, the question of deterrence, the main stated reason why states possess nuclear weapons, has remained largely in the background. This paper seeks to reassess the question of nuclear deterrence in light of the recent humanitarian discourse on nuclear weapons use. Seeking to undercut the assumption (prevalent in much of the ethical literature in this field) that nuclear deterrence can be judged independently of nuclear weapons use, this paper aims to show why this separation cannot be sustained. In line with recent Catholic Church teaching, the paper concludes that the system of nuclear deterrence lacks a proper moral foundation." (ref)
Former Secretary of Defense Perry, former Ass't Secretary of Defense Weber to Obama: Mr. President, Kill the New Cruise Missile Washington Post Op-Ed, October 15, 2015 Excerpts:
"Because they can be launched without warning and come in both nuclear and conventional variants, cruise missiles are a uniquely destabilizing type of weapon.
"Two years ago, when Britain decided not to pursue a sea-launched nuclear cruise missile, Philip Hammond, then-British defense secretary and now-foreign secretary, explained the problem well: 'A cruise-based deterrent would carry significant risk of miscalculation and unintended escalation. At the point of firing, other states could have no way of knowing whether we had launched a conventional cruise missile or one with a nuclear warhead. Such uncertainty could risk triggering a nuclear war at a time of tension.'
"One of us (William J. Perry) led the Defense Department's development and procurement of the current air-launched cruise missile and the B-2 stealth bomber in the late 1970s and early 1980s. At that time, the United States needed the cruise missile to keep the aging B-52, which is quite vulnerable to enemy air defense systems, in the nuclear mission until the more effective B-2 replaced it. The B-52 could safely launch the long-range cruise missile far from Soviet air defenses. We needed large numbers of air-launched nuclear cruise missiles to be able to overwhelm Soviet air defenses and thus help offset NATO's conventional-force inferiority in Europe, but such a posture no longer reflects the reality of today's U.S. conventional military dominance.
"With the updated B-2 and B61 expected to remain in service for many decades, and the planned deployment of new B-3 penetrating bombers with B61 bombs starting in 2025, there is scant justification for spending tens of billions of dollars on a new nuclear air-launched cruise missile and related warhead life-extension program.
"We therefore urge President Obama to cancel the current plan to develop and buy 1,000 to 1,100 new nuclear-capable air-launched cruise missiles. Such strong U.S. leadership, coupled with a challenge to the other major nuclear powers to eliminate or, in the cases of China and India, forgo deployment of this extremely destabilizing class of weapons, would reduce the risk of nuclear weapons use and be a historic practical step in the direction of a world without nuclear weapons." - William J. Perry and Andy Weber: Mr. President, Kill the New Cruise Missile
William J. Perry was U.S. secretary of defense from 1994 to 1997. Andy Weber was assistant secretary of defense for nuclear, chemical and biological defense programs from 2009 to 2014.
- Russia is Proving Why Nuclear-Tipped Cruise Missiles Are a Very Bad Idea
"Those four cruise missiles that crashed in Iran could've been carrying nuclear warheads- which is why the US should ban them, not renew them."
"...inherently ambiguous... can add major risks to a crisis... In 2007, six nuclear-armed cruise missiles were mistakenly loaded onto a B-52 bomber and flown across the United States. Because nuclear-armed cruise missiles are virtually indistinguishable from conventional ones, the error went undetected for 36 hours.." -Tom Collina and William Saetren, Ploughshares Fund.
- LRSO: The Nuclear Cruise Missile Mission
"It seems clear from many of these statements that the LRSO is not merely a retaliatory capability but very much seen as an offensive nuclear strike weapon that is intended for use in the early phases of a conflict even before long-range ballistic missiles are used." - Analysis by FAS/Hans Kristensen
US Deployment of New Nuclear Bombs To Bases in Europe Alarms Russia
In 1997 Ted Carpenter wrote for the Cato Institute, "Clinton administration officials and other supporters of NATO expansion profess to be baffled at Moscow's hostile reaction. But even the most peaceably inclined Russian leader would find it difficult to tolerate a U.S.-dominated military alliance perched on his country's western frontier."
Since then, Romania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Albania, Croatia, Slovenia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia have all joined NATO. Georgia, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Bosnia-Herzegovina wait in the wings. (see graphic)
We can read on the NATO site that "Allied leaders agreed that Georgia and Ukraine- which were already engaged in an Intensified Dialogue with NATO- will become members of NATO." And yet the Russians couldn't be more clear: "Any political game concerning NATO expansion into Georgia and Ukraine is filled with the most serious, most profound geopolitical consequences for all of Europe" Russia's permanent representative to NATO, Alexander Grushko, told LifeNews television channel.
CNN 9/28: Pres. Putin on report of new U.S. nukes to Germany
Enter the B61-12
Against this backdrop, the US is reported to be preparing to replace some 20 nuclear weapons stationed in Germany with the updated version, the B61-12, which is in some ways a guided weapon; this is seen by Russia as constituting an aggressive escalation in her near-abroad. (See Kremlin Threatens Response to U.S. Nuclear Bomb Deployment in Germany) Russian spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the move a potential "violation of the strategic balance in Europe," that would demand a Russian response.
"This could alter the balance of power in Europe," Peskov told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday. "And without a doubt it would demand that Russia take necessary countermeasures to restore the strategic balance and parity." An unidentified "military-diplomatic" source told the Interfax news agency that among other options, that Iskander-M tactical missiles could be redeployed to Kaliningrad, the Russian Baltic enclave between Poland and Lithuania. And so it goes...
PBS News Hour Report: The B61-12 Deployment
Nov. 5, 2015; Jamie McIntyre with Hans Kristensen (F.A.S.) and NukeWatch Exec. Dir. Jay Coghlan.
Watch this clip on our B61 page
Keeping Russia's Missiles Away from Europe Oct. 1, 2015. James Doyle writing in The National Interest:
"In recent months, NATO-Russian tensions in Europe have escalated beyond a war of words to reciprocal and provocative movements of military forces including troops, armored forces, missiles, aircraft and warships. An example of this dangerous activity occurred in mid-September, 2015. According to media reports, the analysis of intercepted transmissions by the Royal Air Force confirmed that Russian Tupolev Tu-160 bombers, known by NATO as "Blackjacks", had entered British airspace and began the sequence to arm nuclear weapons as part of their provocative training exercise. Such cycles of hostile rhetoric and increased tempo of military operations carry a great risk of misperception and miscalculation that can spark unintended war with horrific consequences for both sides.
"U.S., European and Russian citizens must demand that their leaders avoid a return to these Cold War tactics and once again make the prospect of war in central Europe only a remote possibility. The tit-for-tat ratcheting up of tensions and mutual blame game are tired steps down an old road followed far too often to disaster, and do not represent the caliber of leadership Europeans and Russians deserve..." (read full article) James Doyle serves on Nuclear Watch New Mexico's Steering Committee.
Public kept in dark over LANL
Chuck Montano, ABQ Journal OpEd, June 12:
"Last April, I published a book about this club of well-moneyed interests titled "Los Alamos: Secret Colony, Hidden Truths" and, to my dismay, few news outlets are willing to report about it. The book exposes a procurement fraud investigation gone awry at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in 2003, where two highly qualified criminal investigators were terminated in the middle of that effort, 11 months into their tenure as LANL employees..."
"In May, I hand-delivered a letter to Washington, D.C., officials, including Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, and Sens. Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall, jointly signed by the two fired criminal investigators and myself. In the letter we request intervention by the U.S. Justice Department, not only because taxpayers pay dearly for the fraud, waste and abuse so prevalent in government contracting with corporate members of the military-industrial community, but also because Los Alamos is responsible for the processing, storage and disposal of plutonium, arguably the most toxic substance known."
- Read the full OpEd piece in the June 12 ABQ Journal online
- See Montano's letter to House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations requesting resumption of its investigation into sudden terminations of LANL fraud investigators in view of new evidence and testimony: view/download PDF Chuck Montano serves on Nuclear Watch New Mexico's Steering Committee. A Petition: US Justice Dept. Needs To Investigate Los Alamos Cover-Up
Requiring officials to stop ignoring retribution against whistleblowers that is standard practice at Los Alamos National Laboratory. View petition Los Alamos: A Whistleblower's Diary, by Chuck Montano, 2015.
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
Don't Bank on the Bomb 2015
In a 50% increase over last year's totals, 53 financial institutions prohibit or limit investments in nuclear weapon producers, according to Don't Bank on the Bomb (2015), published in November by Dutch peace organization PAX. The increase illustrates the growing stigmatization of nuclear weapons due to the renewed focus on their humanitarian consequences. The report also identifies 382 banks, insurance companies, and pension funds which have made USD 493 billion available to nuclear weapons producers since January 2012. Based on evidence presented in the report, activists worldwide call on financial institutions to stop any investments into weapons of mass destruction, and on governments to ban nuclear weapons once and for all.
- A Global Report on the Financing of Nuclear Weapons Producers:
A brief, terrifying history of US nuclear mishaps
Eric Schlosser recounts the United States' clumsy history with nuclear weapons. And it's terrifying.
"The world's preoccupation with proliferation is in one sense deeply misleading. Nuclear danger is posed above all by nations that possess nuclear weapons, not by those that don't. Today's nuclear powers are beginning to jostle one another. Depending on political events, these fresh tensions could turn out in a not-so-very distant future to be as important as anything now happening in North Korea or Iran."
-Jonathan Schell, The Seventh Decade: The New Shape of Nuclear Danger, 2007
"If Germany wants to sign itself into the nuclear club with the help of American nuclear bombs, then it will make itself a hostage by means of this decision in the event of a conflict arising. In the existing balance of strategic nuclear forces, no state possessing nuclear weapons can guarantee itself (safe) from a nuclear strike."
- Russian Federation Council Defense and Security Committee Chairman Viktor Ozerov, regarding a report that the US was preparing to deploy the modernized B61-12 nuclear bomb to a NATO base in Germany
Pope vs Bomb: Bishop Oscar Cantú Remarks
Bishop Oscar Cantú, Chairman, Committee on International Justice & Peace, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, at "The Pope and the Bomb: New Nuclear Dangers and Moral Dilemmas" event on September 17, 2015, with moderator E.J. Dionne Jr., Washington Post columnist, former Sen. Sam Nunn, NTI Co-Chairman and CEO, and Prof. Maryann Cusimano Love, Associate Professor of International Relations, The Catholic University of America.
Who Will Claim Ronald Reagan's Mantle On Nuclear Disarmament Today?
"My dream is to see the day when nuclear weapons will be banished from the face of the Earth."
-from "Ronald Reagan and His Quest to Abolish Nuclear Weapons" by Paul Lettow
(Read more of "Ronald Reagan, Republicans, and Nuclear Weapons" by Jonathan Granhoff, President, Global Security Institute)
"Nuclear disarmament is not just an ardent desire of the people, as expressed in many resolutions of the United Nations. It is a legal commitment by the five official nuclear states, entered into when they signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty."
-Nobel Laureate Joseph Rotblat
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.