Soaring cost of nuclear weapons to be $180 billion or more over next decade

 In Nevada, Nuclear Weapons, Peace Action West News

The whopping $7 billion for nuclear weapons programs that was proposed for 2011 is just the tip of the iceberg in a huge funding increase for the nuclear weapons complex. Last year, Republicans successfully pushed to require the Obama administration to submit a special report on modernizing the nuclear weapons complex, maintaining or enhancing our nuclear weapons stockpile, and the expected costs for the next 10 years. When the New START treaty was officially submitted to the Senate, this report had to be released. Wanting to win over Republican senators’ support for the New START treaty to cut US and Russian nuclear arsenals, the administration put forward a plan that greatly increases nuclear weapons related funding to the level of $180 billion over the next 10 years. From the Washington Post:

The administration on Thursday released a one-page unclassified summary of the classified report sent to lawmakers. That summary shows that spending on modernization of the nuclear weapons complex over the decade will reach $80 billion, growing from $6.4 billion this year to $7 billion in coming years and eventually topping $8 billion beginning in 2016. The growing costs reflect not just construction of facilities but also the refurbishment and possible replacement of some warheads in the next decade, all without the need for testing, according to the summary.

An additional $100 billion is to be spent on strategic nuclear delivery systems such as bombers and land- and submarine-based intercontinental ballistic missiles. Research is underway on a new strategic bomber and a new class of strategic submarines.

You can download the unclassified summary (“Fact sheet on 1251 report”) on the State Department website here.

What will all this money go toward? Much of the funding will likely go to large infrastructure projects, building nuclear weapons facilities that will allow the US to ramp up nuclear weapons production in the future. When the funding for just 2011 was proposed in February, I blogged about three of these facilities that will cost billions over the next decade and, taken together, will lock in US nuclear weapons production for years to come.

Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility (CMRR) – While there is a need to upgrade the facility due to safety and seismic concerns, the new facility is also being designed to allow for increased plutonium pit production – the bomb cores of nuclear weapons. Currently, the US has the capacity to produce up to 20 “pits” per year at Los Alamos. This new facility would allow the US to produce between 50-80 plutonium pits per year. With this production capacity, a future administration could quickly churn out more or new nuclear weapons.

Uranium Processing Facility (UPF) – The UPF facility at Oak Ridge, Tennessee is a uranium manufacturing facility that could increase warhead production capacity. It would allow for 50-80 uranium secondaries to be produced each year.

Kansas City Plant – This facility creates the non-nuclear parts for nuclear weapons, such as fuses. The new facility in Missouri will be funded privately in the future, instead of by the federal government. Groundbreaking for the new facility may begin this summer.

What could we do instead with this funding? The possibilities are endless. Especially in this economy, there is no shortage of places where funding for nuclear weapons could be better spent.

Earlier this week, I was in Nevada as part of our campaign work to support the New START treaty and cut the nuclear weapons budget. Nevada continues to have the highest foreclosure rate in the nation: 1 in 69 households.  According to the National Priorities Project tradeoff calculator, Nevadans could be using their tax dollars for housing:

Taxpayers in Nevada will pay $158.3 million for proposed nuclear weapons in FY2010. For the same amount of money, the following could have been provided: 845 Affordable Housing Units.

In Missouri, the local Kansas City council declared a 180 acre soybean field “blighted” to allow construction of the new nuclear weapons facility to proceed. At the same time that municipal funding will go toward the new Kansas City Plant facility, the Kansas City Missouri School Board “voted to close 26 schools on Wednesday night. As a result of that vote, 700 employees, including 300 teachers, will lose their jobs.”

The National Priorities Project calculates that:

Taxpayers in Missouri will pay $269.5 million for proposed nuclear weapons in FY2010. For the same amount of money, the following could have been provided: 5,347 Elementary School Teachers for One Year.

Keep in mind this is the tradeoff for just one year of nuclear weapons funding. For the next decade, we will be spending far more than we do this year if we do not act now to reduce the nuclear weapons budget and realign our nuclear weapons program toward disarmament. Rather than creating new facilities to build up our nuclear weapons stockpile or create new nuclear weapons, the US needs to move toward shrinking our nuclear weapons arsenal and instead funding programs to dismantle nuclear weapons we don’t use.

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Showing 5 comments
  • kara j lincoln

    Hi folks,

    this was my responce to congress, thanks again to PAW keeping me posted of such outrageopus thought.

    I feel we can make this a platform to better understand the threads of them over riding our thought as well our actions we can take to stop this madness, with PAW’s help for a timeline of what is veing voted on. when we don’t know how to ask the right questions, etc in real time.

    but for now if we all come together + contact these folks, PAW is right, together we can make a difference ASAP..

    to Oregon senators, etc:
    As a constituent, I oppose increasing spending on nuclear weapons programs that won’t make us safer. In today’s world, the existence of nuclear weapons increases the risk of an accidental launch or terrorists acquiring nuclear weapons. Rather than spend the proposed $180 billion over the next decade to build up our nuclear weapons infrastructure and upgrade our nuclear weapons stockpile, we should invest in programs to secure and dismantle nuclear weapons, making all of us safer.

    The $225 million Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement facility in New Mexico will enable the U.S. to produce more plutonium pits, the bomb cores of nuclear weapons, in the future and build up our nuclear arsenal. I support cutting funding for more plutonium pit production.

    I also urge you to oppose the $252 million in funding for a study in 2011 to upgrade the B61 nuclear bomb, which is deployed in Europe, when numerous European nations are pressing for its removal in the near future. Keeping U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe is unsafe and contributes to the risk of theft by terrorists.

    please tell me whom supports this mental mode of spending + what channels are taken for these funds to be allocated for this subject matter.

    please tell me why you think you have the right to make these decisions without the support of the american people. for our movement will work to stop all threads. rather can’t you see how american local folks need support to self-develop. for our wild to remain wild for our ecological sustainability. our peace. this fuels us to share what works locally + afar within human potential with peaceful communication. all the studies colleges teach around the world, which would be very hypocritcal of yous that vote for this measure, for it is a war economy of the past from dysfunctional minds that need to have support to rethink + realize they are inner personally dysfunctional.

    we whom have energy alternatives for peaceful negotiations want to support you folks that believe in this wasteful funding, as well aggressive old mind sets of the past.. so they may see solutions we have now, locally + beyound to unite with our international communitys for progressive communications. if you cannot see to this transition then you need to step down + allow sharp minds to lead this country.

    yes young + old that work together to sustain colledge curriculum that has meaning to co_evolve with our evolving human species. not study, go in dept then fins that people with money have bought policy, bought rights to do injustice. local sustainable policy needs our attention know to rewrite what is real + rid what has been manipulated + bought from those gaining from the war economy.

    international communications for networking is alive + this movement will support you to see that this is senile + retrogressive in human thought to use such valuable resources for such foolishness. vs support all to become self-reliant + aware of inner-intrapersonal development, all humans are capable of..

    please do all you can to support those that have been overpowered from the war economy mode internationally + allow them to heal from the negative effects the US has left.

    we can have better platforms to discuss openly creative, energy efficient avenues for this dialog so the american people can stop such foolishness + redirect this energy/funding for local sustainable living now.

    that which fuels us as the human race to part time collectively network so all humans can do the same + prioritize those that are unable + suffering.

    which have been left without support if you scan local + beyond for these deficiency’s which have been ignored from the US + the UN, along with many other so called developed countries.

    this is very wrong + we need to prioritize + realize we have the ability to maintain self-sensory observation vs belief, + those whom get supported/healed, unaware, have the human right to become an equal in understanding this thought. not attacked due to their misunderstanding.

    this is what democracy is about. people making decisions, not business, not governments alone.

    peace is an option know if we share what works.

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