The mission of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) is "to provide the U.S. with safe, secure and reliable nuclear weapons and to maintain core competencies in nuclear weapons... The NNSA also has complementary missions in nuclear nonproliferation programs, excess fissile materials disposition, and provision of naval nuclear propulsion systems."
The nuclear Complex Transformation now under consideration is a revision of the earlier Concept 2030, which was estimated to cost in excess of $250 billion.
The new plans are to reorganize, consolidate and build new facilities that would make it possible "to produce 50-125 weapons a year."
The whole concept is based on the unquestioned assumption that we will require nuclear weapons for the deterrence of any attack on the U.S. or its "interests" far into the foreseeable future. It totally ignores the possibility that under the next president we will adhere to our Non-Proliferation Treaty obligation, or take the advice of many of the nation's leaders, to work for the reduction and eventual elimination of nuclear weapons. In fact, it may well be that the purpose of this hastily conceived project is to "lock in" a commitment for the remodeling of our weapons facilities before the new president or the congress has the opportunity to examine the aggressive nuclear policy on which it is based.
The plan ignores the escalating dangers of global warming, which will require substantial investments and international cooperation to avoid the worst catastrophes predicted by science. It also ignores our urgent national needs for healthcare, education, housing and repairs to our failing infrastructure.
The Complex Transformation plans to save money and consolidate operations when, in fact, "NNSA is continuing to consolidate operations and reduce floor space, (now more than 35 million square feet) on a site-by-site basis, and these efforts would continue under the No Action Alternative."
If the world sees the United States - with its superpower investment in the military and conventional weapons - modernizing its existing nuclear weapons stockpile, other nations will follow our example and attempt to gain their own nukes. Thus Complex Transformation itself undermines the NNSAs other mission "in nuclear nonproliferation programs."
Right now, till April 10th, we have an opportunity to stop this costly and badly conceived project by commenting on its Supplemental Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (SPEIS) The detailed instructions on how and where to comment at a public hearing or to write to the Office of Transformation, Department of Energy, can be found on the excellent site of the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability.
If the NNSA receives enough comments and alternatives from the public, this much too Complex Transformation can be stopped. Many scientists in the nuclear field believe that we will only achieve true security through the reduction and abolition of nuclear weapons. They are a deadly legacy to leave our children. Please look at the materials on the Alliance site and help us to stop this dangerous and costly project.
Peter G Cohen, artist and activist, is the author of NukeFreeWorld.com, a site designed to inform concerned citizens on nuclear weapons and to encourage community organizing for their eventual abolition. He lives in Santa Barbara, where he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org