In April 2015 the U.S. State Department issued a so-called Fact Sheet entitled Myths and Facts Regarding the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and Regime. Its targeted audience was international delegations attending the 2015 NonProliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference. Given the increasing dissatisfaction of non-nuclear weapons states, the State Department argued that numerical stockpile reductions since the end of the Cold War is ample evidence that the U.S. is complying with the NPT’s Article VI obligation for nuclear disarmament.
It also claimed:
The United States is committed not to pursue new nuclear warheads, and life extension programs will not provide for new military capabilities… infrastructure modernization, stockpile stewardship, and life extension programs for U.S. warheads will contribute to and do not detract from progress on our NPT nuclear disarmament obligations.
There are four immediate reasons why these claims by the United States Government are false:
1) While it’s true that the number of weapons is being reduced (albeit more slowly now), the U.S.’ nuclear stockpile is being indefinitely preserved and qualitatively improved through new military capabilities. Clearly, this is not the nuclear disarmament required by NPT Article VI.
2) The United States Government is preparing to spend more than one trillion dollars over the next thirty years for nuclear weapons modernization and new ballistic and cruise missiles, submarines and bombers.2 3 This too is obviously not nuclear disarmament.
3) The new Kansas City Plant has begun operations to produce or procure up to 100,000 nonnuclear components every year for nuclear weapons life extension programs.4 Multi-billion dollar upgrades and new facilities are planned for expanded production of plutonium pit cores at the Los Alamos Lab and for thermonuclear components (“secondaries”) at the Y-12 Plant near Oak Ridge, Tennessee.5 These upgrades and new facilities are being designed to produce up to 80 plutonium pits and secondaries per year. Once completed, these three new complexes comprehensively rebuild the production side of the U.S. nuclear weapons complex. Moreover, they are expected to be operational until ~2075. That is not nuclear disarmament.
4) The United States Government has a high-level annual plan to indefinitely preserve its nuclear weapons stockpile 6 and a new high-level plan to prevent other countries from acquiring or proliferating nuclear weapons.7 But the United States Government has no high-level policy plan to implement its NPT Article VI nuclear disarmament obligation.
The amicus brief has been prepared by: Hans Kristensen, Director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists; Dr. James Doyle, a nuclear nonproliferation expert fired by Los Alamos National Lab after publishing a study arguing for nuclear weapons abolition; Robert Alvarez, a former Senior Policy Advisor to the Secretary of Energy, now at the Institute for Policy Studies; and Jay Coghlan, director of Nuclear Watch New Mexico.