There never was a good war or a bad peace. ~Ben Franklin
Good segment on Democracy Now! about the significance of a fire at Los Alamos nuke facility:
Greg Mello of the Los Alamos Study Group, reports:
Most people probably don’t know but in an effort to get the new START treaty ratified in the Senate, the White House made a lot of promises to Republicans, including building a new factory here at Los Alamos for plutonium warhead cores, called "pits." That’s this $6 billion building in a complex of other large supporting facilities. There is a new factory of comparable size proposed in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, which is moving along, as well. And there is a factory under construction in Kansas City.
Recently, the Republicans, of all people—in the House of Representatives, the Republicans in the House Appropriations Committee suggested that some of these projects were not cost-effective, that this particular project at Los Alamos, where they would bring what one administrator called the nation’s "storehouse of plutonium," was premature and needed further study before it could be funded.
We have more than probably 2,000 nuclear weapons a few miles from us here in the studio, and Los Alamos is becoming a very large manufacturing maquiladora.
Also see press release from the Los Alamos Study Group, that asks some very pointed questions:
Stepping back from the immediately-unfolding drama, we need to ask some serious larger questions, such as:
The Obama Administration proposes to build a huge plutonium warhead core ("pit") factory complex in Los Alamos, costing on the order of $6 billion dollars. According to congressional testimony of Donald Cook, Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs in the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) this spring, this facility would house "the nation's storehouse of plutonium." Is any part of this really necessary? We think not. (See Reasons Not to Build, or to Delay CMRR-NF, May 22, 2011). Does it really contribute to national security, or is the present fire yet another reminder that the nature of national security is changing before our eyes?
Assuming such a capability were necessary, is this remote site -- prone to recurrent wildfire, physically remote, crossed by faults known to produce accelerations comparable to those recently experienced at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear station -- really the right place for a plutonium manufacturing center?