Monday, November 5, 2007

William Hartung: To Build or Not to Build?

The New America Foundation’s William Hartung recently put out a great report on Complex Transformation (the proposal to modernize and upgrade the NNSA’s nuclear weapons complex), with a special focus on the Kansas City Plant.

It begins...

Periodically the United States government reviews its doctrine on the strategic purpose and potential use of nuclear weapons. In keeping with its most recent Nuclear Posture Review, released in 2002, the Bush administration has proposed a revision of the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. foreign policy. In place of the Cold War “triad” of nuclear delivery vehicles based on land, at sea, and in the air, the review proposed a “new triad” consisting of offensive strike systems, an expansion of missile defense initiatives, and the construction of a “revitalized infrastructure” designed to develop and produce new nuclear weapons as needed. A central component of this revitalized infrastructure is the plan to build a new nuclear weapons plant in Kansas City.

Click here for the full report.

1 comment:

Plutonium Page said...

Thanks for this post - I didn't even know there was a proposed nuclear weapons plant in Kansas City.

Another noteworthy part of the introduction is:

Some of the energy and resources involved in creating a new, “improved” nuclear weapons complex would be better spent conceiving of new uses for some or all of the specialized facilities that are now on call to research and produce new nuclear weapons.

Among the incentives to eliminate or sharply reduce the U.S. nuclear arsenal are reducing the prospect of nuclear weapons ever being used again, in either a global or regional conflict; heading off the possibility of accidental use of such weapons; and making it as difficult as possible for terrorist organizations to get hold of nuclear weapons or bomb-making materials. Reducing U.S. and Russian arsenals—which currently account for about 95 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons stockpiles— would provide moral and political leverage in discouraging other nations from acquiring nuclear armaments.

For all of these reasons, there should be a vigorous debate over the need for and purpose of nuclear weapons.

He also makes the point that the plant would pose environmental risks, even though it wouldn't be handling the plutonium and uranium.