BLUE RIDGE ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE LEAGUE
REPORT CRITICAL OF PLANS FOR NEW ATOMIC BOMB PLANT
Today the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League released a report on a proposed plutonium weapons production facility at the Savannah River Site: Does America Need A New Atomic Bomb Plant? The BREDL report is a detailed analysis of the Department of Energys plans to build a new plutonium weapons triggers plant.
The 39-page report finds that existing reserves of plutonium will supply defense needs for the foreseeable future, that reductions in weapons stockpiles will provide additional surpluses, and that new weapons production is prohibited by international agreements. Other BREDL concerns include environmental contamination and adverse health impacts from a new weapons plant. Further, BREDL opposes the unleashing of runaway spending. For example, DOE has spent nearly $1 billion for new pit production activities at Los Alamos National Labs in the last four years alone.
Don Moniak, who authored the report, wrote, The Department of Energys rationale for new pit production is contradicted by logic and sheer common sense. The 1990s was a period of arms reductions; the U.S. dismantled more than 10,000 weapons. Both [Russia and the US] retain enough nuclear explosive fire power to end civilization as we know it. But the pursuit of new nuclear weapons raises the specter of a renewed arms race, and a future in which nuclear war is more likely than ever.
Louis Zeller, who edited Does America Need A New Atomic Bomb Plant?, added, What we call for is full, frank discussion of the concepts of nuclear deterrence and national security, the obligations of international treaties and ethical principles, and the impact of nuclear weapons production on the people of the United States and the world.
On Friday BREDL submitted the report to the US Department of Energy in response to the agencys request for public input. Early this year the DOEs National Nuclear Security Administration announced plans to build a new plutonium pit plant. A scoping hearing was held in North Augusta on October 29, 2002. The public comment period ends today.