Nuke modernization - sequestration disconnect Into Thin Air
"Congress and Obama are planning Reagan-era expenditures to modernize U.S. nuclear weapons under sequestration-era budgets. What could possibly go wrong?"
Jeffrey Lewis looks at the numbers and finds they don't add up. Something will have to give... (article)
New CBO Report Dec 20, 2013: U.S. nuclear weapon plans to cost $355 billion over a decade Reuters: The Obama administration's plans for the U.S. nuclear weapons complex, including modernization of bombs, delivery systems and laboratories, will cost the country about $355 billion over the next decade, nearly $150 billion more than the administration's $208.5 billion estimate in a report to Congress last year; since the modernization effort is just beginning, costs are expected to greatly increase after 2023. (read more)(View/download CBO report-PDF)(analysis: Are New Nuclear Weapons Affordable?)
Nuclear Watch Press Release, Dec. 21, 2013: Nuclear Weapons "Modernization" Will Cost One Trillion Dollars Over Thirty Years; Locally, Los Alamos Lab Cleanup and Job Creation Are Imperiled (View/download NWNM Press Release PDF)
Related: The "3+2 Vision" for U.S. Nuclear Forces
John R. Harvey of the Department of Defense spoke to a breakfast seminar in Washington DC June 13 on "...progress we have made over the past year, under the auspices of the DOD-DOE Nuclear Weapons Council, in advancing what we call the '3+2' vision for the future nuclear stockpile, and in developing a 'baseline plan' to start down the path to get there."
View/download full text of Harvey's remarks (PDF)
"No decrease in the number of warheads"
- Senator Diane Feinstein, speaking on a conference call November 13th: "While I support reductions to the stockpile and the savings that come with it, the 3+2 plan requires spending tens of billions of dollars more on life extension programs as well as increasing technical risks such as design changes... 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)
Who Will Claim Ronald Reagan's Mantle On Nuclear Disarmament Today?
"It is my fervent goal and hope... that we will someday no longer have to rely on nuclear weapons to deter aggression and assure world peace. To that end the United States is now engaged in a serious and sustained effort to negotiate major reductions in levels of offensive nuclear weapons with the ultimate goal of eliminating these weapons from the face of the earth." -Pres. Ronald Reagan, Oct. 20, 1986
Recent visitors - click to enlarge
"The people who are the most anti-nuclear are
the ones who know the most about it." -Eric Schlosser, author, "Command and Control" (ref)
July 31, 2014: Policy Specialist James Doyle Fired by LANL for Nuclear Weapons Critique and Support of Obama's Reduction Goals "It sure looks like he's being fired for supporting the President's policy." -Jon Wolfsthal, special adviser on nuclear matters to Vice President Biden, 2009 to 2012
" ... two members of a Security Inquiries Team abruptly arrived with a special, silver-colored briefcase for secure documents, and pulled out an article he published a few days earlier on the website of a London nonprofit group.
"They claimed that the article, an impassioned critique of the political theories undergirding the nuclear arms race and a defense of President Obama's embrace of a nuclear weapons-free future, contained classified information.
"The assertion astonished Doyle, since the laboratory's security authorities had already reviewed the article and declared it unclassified. But it was the start of a series of events in which Doyle first had his pay docked and his security clearance withdrawn, and then eventually was fired."
(ref: Public Integrity, July 31) "The world must reject the myths and expose the risks of the ideology of nuclear deterrence if it is to meet the challenges of the Twenty-first Century."
- From Doyle's original 2013 article: "Why Eliminate Nuclear Weapons?" James E. Doyle, a nuclear security and non-proliferation specialist, had been at Los Alamos National Laboratory for 17 years. He is the editor of Nuclear Safeguards, Security, and Nonproliferation: Achieving Security With Technology and Policy (Elsevier, 2008). UCS, August 4, 2014: Los Alamos, Freedom of Speech, and Nuclear Disaster
-Lisbeth Gronlund, co-director, Global Security Program, Union of Concerned Scientists.
Related: Nuclear Watch NM Press Release July 31, 2014: LANL Fires Nonproliferation Specialist; Lab Abuses Classification Procedures to Restrict Nuclear Weapons Abolition Message
"Santa Fe, NM - Today, the Center for Public Integrity broke a story on how Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) fired its nonproliferation specialist James Doyle. That firing followed an inquiry by the Center to senior Lab management about a study Doyle completed in his personal capacity arguing for the abolition of nuclear weapons. LANL retroactively classified his report, which Nuclear Watch believes is a clear abuse of proper classification procedures..."
"On the morning of 20 July 1961, while the Berlin Crisis was simmering, President John F. Kennedy and the members of the National Security Council heard a briefing on the consequences of nuclear war by the NSC's highly secret Net Evaluation Subcommittee...
"The NESC reports on nuclear war were multi-volume, highly classified studies and none has ever been declassified in their entirety. The summaries published here today- for the annual reports from 1957 to 1963- provide a glimpse of the full reports, although important elements remain classified. Besides the summaries and fuller reports for 1962 and 1963, today's posting includes a number of special studies prepared by the NESC, including an especially secret report requested by President Eisenhower that led to the production of the comprehensive U.S. nuclear war plan in 1960, the Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP).
"The NESC 1961 report, the summary of which JFK heard that morning, depicted a Soviet surprise attack on the United States in the fall of 1963 that began with submarine-launched missile strikes against Strategic Air Command bases. An estimated 48 to 71 million Americans were "killed outright," while at its maximum casualty-producing radioactive fallout blanketed from 45 to 71 percent of the nation's residences. In the USSR and China, at the end of one month 67 and 76 million people, respectively, had been killed.
"Kennedy is said to have remarked grimly to Dean Rusk, 'And we call ourselves the human race.'" (ref)
Letter From Prison: Sister Rice, Gregory Boertje-Obed, and Michael Walli:
"... Most surprisingly, our July 2012 action and our court cases have revealed that it is not the U.S. government that is in control of the nuclear weapons complex, but in reality it is the corporations that are in control through their solicitation and manipulation of endless funding for the refurbishment of unlawful thermonuclear warheads. We three are incarcerated because we stood up to a nuclear weapons industry that is kept thriving by the interlocking and obsolete institutions that subscribe to the long-discredited notion that law and security can be enforced by ever-greater force..."
(Read the full letter here)
"...nothing but a miracle has prevented an accidental Hiroshima or Nagasaki taking place on US soil."- The Guardian 9/20/13
69 Years of 'Sheer Luck and Divine Intervention'
This week will mark the 69th anniversary of the first detonation of an atomic bomb, in the southern New Mexican desert on July 16, 1945. It was the first appearance of what would become, in the words of JFK, "a nuclear sword of Damocles hanging by the slenderest of threads, capable of being cut at any moment by accident, miscalculation, or madness..."
General Leslie Groves, director of the Manhattan Project, was present at the test and described it as "successful beyond the most optimistic expectations of anyone."
Deseret News notes:
"...The U.S. record with nuclear weapons has not always been quite as 'successful' as its first atomic test. In fact, the U.S. has had several close encounters with its own nuclear weapons that could easily have ended in disaster."
See the compilation: 13 Times the U.S. Almost Destroyed Itself with Its Own Nuclear Weapons
Nuclear Watch New Mexico Press Release June 27, 2014: Missed WIPP Deadline May Put Real Cleanup at LANL Back On Track
"After granting more than one hundred extension requests to delay cleanup, we salute the New Mexico Environment Department for denying further requests. We encourage NMED to enforce what it already has, and make LANL comply with its legally mandated cleanup order. This in turn will drive increased federal funding for genuine cleanup at the Lab, creating hundreds of jobs while permanently protecting our precious water and environment." (View/download the 6/27 press release)
"Massive" Upgrade For B-2 Stealth June 25:
Air Force officials have started planning a ten billion dollar modernization of the B-2 stealth bomber fleet to include a new receiver using VLF waveform technology that allows the bomber to receive messages in the event of a high altitude electro-magnetic pulse, and outfitting the aircraft for next generation digital nuclear weapons such as the B-61 Mod 12 with the new tail kit, and Long Range Stand-Off weapons- (air-launched nuclear cruise missiles).
The B-2 "Spirit" was first produced in 1989 at a cost per plane of $2.2 billion.
The Air Force had expected to field a fleet of over 130 B-2s, but failures by Northrop Grumman and the Air Force to keep it under budget, along with the end of the Cold War, led the Pentagon to cut the fleet to 21.
Kris Osbor, writing in DODBuzz.com, spoke with Eric Single, chief of the Global Strike division for Air Force acquisition. In addition to the LRSO, B83 and B-61 Mod 12, the B-2 will also carry the B-61 Mod 11, a 'penetrator' nuclear weapon, and a wide range of conventional weapons, including precision-guided 2,000-pound Joint Direct Attack Munitions, or JDAMs, 5,000-pound JDAMs, Joint Standoff Weapons, Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles, GBU-28 5,000-pound bunker buster weapons, and the 30,000-pound conventional bomb known as the Massive Ordnance Penetrator. (ref)
Defense Bills Would Create Separate Fund for New Ohio-Class Nuclear Subs
Each U.S. strategic submarine has 16 missile tubes. Each missile can carry up to 14 independently targeted nuclear warheads, each more than 6 times as powerful than the Hiroshima atomic bomb.
"The creation of a National Sea-Based Deterrence Fund to pay for an Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine replacement could significantly alter the typically underfunded Navy shipbuilding account, while also establishing a precedent that other military services may attempt to leverage in years to come.
"Gordon Adams, who once oversaw the Pentagon's budget while at the OMB, noted that the implications are far-reaching. He argues that the Air Force might seek a separate account for a new strategic bomber or a new intercontinental ballistic missile, and the Navy might seek an account for a Trident ballistic missile replacement, all programs with national strategic military implications..."
-Frank Oliveri, CQ Roll Call, 6/9/14 See also: July 11, 2014, Lawrence Wittner,
"A New Generation of Nuclear Subs"
Related, October 2013: How to Avoid a $60 Billion Bailout for Navy Submarines Benjamin Loehrke, Roll Call, Oct. 1:
"The Navy is at the brink of its own fiscal crisis and is looking for a bailout. A proposed fleet of 12 new ballistic missile submarines- costing $100 billion total- could bust the Navy's shipbuilding budget and force cuts to the surface fleet... So the Navy has asked the cash-strapped Pentagon to pay for the nuclear-armed subs. Throwing money at this problem will not make it affordable. Instead, the Pentagon needs to resize the sub program with the understanding that the U.S. can meet today's security challenges with fewer nuclear weapons at less cost.
"A single Trident submarine is the sixth largest nuclear nation in the world all by itself" - Rear Adm. Joseph Tofalo, commander, Submarine Group 10. (read more)
The Republic of the Marshall Islands has filed suit against the nuclear powers in the International Court of Justice in The Hague, charging violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
A federal lawsuit was also filed against the US in San Francisco.
"It is clear that the nuclear-armed states are not pursuing negotiations in good faith to end the nuclear arms race and to achieve complete nuclear disarmament, as they are obligated to do under Article VI of the treaty... Instead of negotiating disarmament, the nine countries are modernizing their nuclear arsenals, spending $1 trillion on those arsenals over the next ten years." -Foreign Minister Tony deBrum. (ref)
The Marshall Islands were subjected to 67 atomic and thermonuclear detonations between 1946 and 1958, including the Bravo test, the largest ever carried out by the US.
More on the lawsuit:
- Nuclear Zero's interactive presentation
- The Nuclear Zero Lawsuits: Who Will Speak for the People?
Alliance For Nuclear Accountability Report May 2014: Billion Dollar Boondoggles Challenging the National Nuclear Security Administration's Plan to Spend More Money for Less Security
"The National Nuclear Security Administration's program to 'modernize' the US nuclear weapons is a dramatic failure. The Department of Energy (DOE) has conceded the collapse of plans to build major new production facilities at Los Alamos and Oak Ridge, along with the
MOX program at Savannah River. In Congress, there is substantial pushback against the exorbitant cost of weapons modifications that could compromise the reliability of the US stockpile. Yet the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) continues to mislead Congress by obscuring the true cost of modernization and ignoring the grave risks inherent in the program."
View/download the ANA report (PDF)
Nuclear Modernization Briefings at the NPT Conference in New York Hans Kristensen, FAS:
"Last week I was in New York to brief two panels at the Third Session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (phew!).
"The first panel was on "Current Status of Rebuilding and Modernizing the United States Warheads and Nuclear Weapons Complex", an NGO side event organized on May 1st by the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability and the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). While describing the U.S. programs, I got permission from the organizers to cover the modernization programs of all the nuclear-armed states... it puts the U.S. efforts better in context and shows that nuclear weapon modernization is global challenge for the NPT.:
Nuclear Weapons Modernization Programs of Nuclear-Armed States View download presentation (PDF)
"The second panel was:
The Future of the B61: Perspectives From the United States and Europe.
"This GNO side event was organized by the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation on May 2nd. In my briefing I focused on providing factual information about the status and details of the B61 life-extension program, which, more than a simple 'life-extension', will produce the first guided, standoff nuclear bomb in the U.S. inventory, and significantly enhance NATO's nuclear posture in Europe."
View download presentation (PDF)
Analysis: National Nuclear Security Administration 2015 Budget Request Nuclear Weapons Budget Surpasses Cold War Record
- Up 20%: Bomb with New Military Capabilities
- Cut By Nearly Half: Dismantling Weapons
- Compromised: Nuclear Facility Safety
See NukeWatch's analysis and compilation of NNSA nuclear weapons and nonproliferation programs budgets and individual site funding.
March 25, Santa Fe. Contrary to President Obama's rhetoric about a future world free of nuclear weapons, most famously expressed in his April 2009 speech in Prague, the President is asking for a 7% increase for nuclear weapons research and production programs under the Department of Energy's semi-autonomous National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). NNSA's "Total Weapons Activities" are slated to rise to $8.3 billion in FY 2015, and to $9.7 billion by FY 2019, 24% above this current fiscal year 2014.
Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation
The Obama Administration asserts that its FY 2015 budget request meets the two-year budget agreement reached with Congress in last December's Bipartisan Budget Act. However, the Administration is also proposing a $56 billion Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative (OGSI), that it claims is fully paid for through "a balanced package of tax loophole closers and spending reforms." OGSI will be split evenly between defense and non-defense spending, out of which $504 million will go to NNSA nuclear weapons programs "to accelerate modernization and maintenance of nuclear facilities" and $96 million to nonproliferation programs. With that, Obama's FY 2015 budget request sets a new record for Department of Energy nuclear weapons spending, even exceeding the Cold War high point in 1985 under President Reagan's military buildup.
See March 17 Nuclear Watch Press Release on the FY 2015 Budget .
"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.
September 18, 2014: Scottish Independence Referendum
The ruling Scottish National Party has said that if the Yes vote wins, Scotland will move to evict the Trident Submarine base from its territories, creating a big problem for those who want to maintain Britain's nuclear 'deterrent'.
(more info here)
September 21, 2014: No Nukes, No Coal, No Kidding!
People's Climate March, New York City, Sunday, September 21st.
(more info at NIRS)
September 26, 2014: International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons
Established by the United Nations General Assembly. In March 2014, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (comprising 164 member parliaments), adopted a resolution which, among other things, calls on parliaments and parliamentarians to commemorate the day. (More info at UNFOLD ZERO).
Quote of the Week
"On this International Day against Nuclear Tests... I wish to appeal particularly to citizens of those States that have not yet ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty, especially the eight remaining Annex 2 States whose ratification is required for the Treaty's entry into force: China, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the United States.
"Together, let us demand an end to all nuclear tests, get on with the unfinished business of achieving a world free of nuclear weapons and usher in a safer and more prosperous future."
August 6, a time to reflect: Hiroshima, Hair-Trigger, and Existential Risks
David Wright, UCS, Global Security Program
"Today's growing tensions with Russia remind us that we are not yet out of the nuclear woods and that crises can still arise that can make it more likely for errors or accidents to lead to a nuclear exchange. Taking steps to reduce the risk of accidental or erroneous launch is probably the most important thing the U.S. can do to increase its security. Removing missiles from hair-trigger alert is an obvious and achievable first step that President Obama can and should take." (ref)
'It is a mistake to think that nuclear war is impossible. In fact, it might not be improbable.' -Anders Sandberg, Washington Post
TV treatment of Los Alamos Manhattan Project WGN America's "Manhattan" drew 1.8 million viewers for it's premiere Sunday evening July 27. The series has been filmed on location on the outskirts of Santa Fe, a short drive from Los Alamos.
- Coincidentally, "Atomic"- a "rock musical" also about the Manhattan Project, starring Jeremy Kushnier in the central role of Leo Szilard, played at the Acorn theater in New York through August 16. (more info)
John Oliver: Nuclear Weapons Oliver lays it all out- with humor...
NM Sen. Tom Udall presses for funding B61 upgrade, expanded plutonium facility "...I want to thank you for your continued advocacy for the B61 Life Extension Program, this program is important to our national security, and I believe the scientists and engineers at our national labs have made great progress in this endeavor..."
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 Mark 17 (replica)- the H-Bomb dropped on Albuquerque
"Many citizens, scientists and laymen alike, view nuclear-weapons abolition as an essential milestone in the development of human civilization, a moral, ideological and practical campaign that could catalyze the transformation of international relations and improve the outlook for civilization at a critical time."
-James Doyle, LANL Non-Proliferation Policy Specialist, in "Why Eliminate Nuclear Weapons?" Doyle was fired from LANL in July of 2014, apparently for publishing this article.
"Instead of working to end the insanity of the nuclear age once and for all, these nine countries waste trillions of dollars on their nuclear arsenals, in violation of both the treaty and customary international law. We can no longer afford this perilous game of nuclear roulette."
"We Must End the Madness of Nuclear Weapons", May 20th, 2014 by Desmond Tutu and David Krieger, President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.
"Despite President Obama's well-deserved reputation as an advocate for nuclear security, the Obama administration has been cutting nuclear security programs year after year for most of its term in office."
Matthew Bunn, Nickolas Roth, and William H. Tobey, writing in "Cutting Too Deep: The Obama Administration's Proposals for Nuclear Security Spending Reductions", a report from The Belfer Center, Harvard Kennedy School, July 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.