In August of 1945 the United States embarked on a new chapter in world history with the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Since that time the United States has built up an arsenal of thousands of deadly nuclear warhead, ready to strike at a moment's notice anywhere in the world delivering their deadly, destructive power. Regardless of how we feel about the decision to use the atomic bomb in 1945, now we can take a step toward insuring that they are never used again on innocent civilians and non-combatants.
Tennessee has a unique role in the development of the nuclear bomb with the Oak Ridge National Laboratories. At the beginning of World War II President Roosevelt ordered the construction of the Oak Ridge National Laboratories and the Y-12 Complex for the processing of uranium and other components vital to the construction of the nuclear bomb. Oak Ridge employed thousands of people during the construction of these bombs and the processing all done in a top secret security environment.
In the 1980's the world stood on the verge of thermonuclear war during the extended global conflict between the United States and the former Soviet Union. Since that time, the issue has faded from the national spotlight, but the United States remains the greatest threat to international stability with its 5000 plus arsenal of nuclear weapons still ready at a moment's notice to wreak havoc on the planet. Oak Ridge has continues to play an instrumental role in the maintenance of weapons of mass destruction.
Recently, the National Nuclear Security Administration has announced its plans to build a new nuclear weapons production plant in violation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Oak Ridge is being targeted for new bomb production facilities. The United States committed in 1970 to pursue complete nuclear disarmament “at an early date” in the Nonproliferation Treaty. It is time for us to keep our word.
If we remain silent, we are giving our approval to a new nuclear arms race, an enduring nuclear arsenal, and a nuclear shadow over generations to come. The threat of nuclear weapons remains the greatest threat to global peace and security. As a world leader the United States plays a fundamental role in the direction of global security. It is time for us to take steps toward peace and disarmament.
I encourage citizens to attend a public hearing in Oak Ridge on February 26th to speak out against continued nuclear weapons production in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. As a candidate for federal office I support full and open disclosure regarding our nuclear arsenal, the dismantling of all weapons of mass destruction, elimination of the nuclear weapons maintenance and production facilities still in existence including Tennessee's Y-12 and Oak Ridge National Laboratories. I support redirection of DOE and EPA dollars to cleanup and restoration where possible of environments devastated by our nuclear legacy, including the Oak Ridge bioregion, Savannah River, Hanford Complex, Nevada Test Site and Rocky Flats. I do not support the long term storage of radioactive nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain in Nevada.
Together we can make a difference. We can spend our money on warfare and the apocalypse or we can spend billions on building a stronger society, where everyone has food, shelter, health care, and the prospect of a living wage job. It is time to lead the world to true security and keep the promise we made in the Nonproliferation Treaty in 1970 to pursue complete disarmament.