Press Release - Secret Agenda of Weapons Labs


For Immediate Release:
October 20, 1997

Contacts: Greg Mello, Los Alamos Study Group, (505) 982-7747
Marylia Kelley, Tri-Valley CAREs, (510) 443-7148
Jackie Cabasso, Western States Legal Foundation, (510) 839-5877

Secret Agenda of Weapons Labs Disclosed

Many Nuclear Weapons Under Development, Article Reveals


"Despite pledges to the contrary, a wide variety of new nuclear weapons are under development in the United States," says defense analyst William Arkin in an article published today in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.  The article reveals new details about nuclear weapons design activities underway at the Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories under the guise of "Stockpile Stewardship," along with new Department of Defense (DoD) programs geared toward advanced delivery systems.  According to Arkin, "Forget the notion that stewardship is about protecting a force adequate for deterrence in a post-Cold War world.  Unreformed nuclear war planning -- calling for many new nuclear weapons -- continues in secret..." 

Arkin's article includes information previously released by the above public interest groups, as well as information obtained in the course of a massive lawsuit that has pitted 39 citizens' organizations -- represented by the Natural Resources Defense Council -- against the Department of Energy (DOE) and its "Stockpile Stewardship" program. 

Arkin warns that these large, unregulated DOE and DoD programs, which proceed despite numerous U.S. assurances to the contrary, undermine U.S. credibility in attempting to rein in nuclear proliferation around the globe. 

New nuclear weapons projects include: 

a replacement for current Trident submarine-launched warheads, the Trident missile itself, plus development of a new submarine; 

an upgrade to MX warheads and strategic bombs; 

nuclear glide bombs to make up for B-2 stealth inadequacies; 

an earth-penetrating bomb capable of ultra-low yields (recently deployed); 

a high-powered radio-frequency warhead to be used to take out a nation's electronic systems -- a "black budget" program; and 

a nuclear warhead for theater defense missiles, designed to intercept and incinerate biological and chemical warheads. 

The new warhead and bomb programs are proceeding despite the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), the stated purpose of which is to stop such developments.  Until recently, many arms control groups close to the Clinton Administration did not believe that U.S. labs would or even could design and certify new weapons without nuclear testing. It is now clear that these hopes were naive.  As Arkin concludes: "Bill Clinton says that `advanced new types of nuclear weapons' are not being developed.  He may want to check that out."

The nuke lab programs are being funded by a dramatic expansion in annual U.S. weapons budgets, which, after their initial post-Cold War decline, are now expected to rise by 33% in current dollars over the FY 1995-FY 1999 period.  The program is currently projected to cost $60 billion over a 13-year period, including some $19 billion in new construction and equipment acquisitions. 

The Los Alamos Study Group, Tri-Valley CAREs and Western States Legal Foundation have been in the forefront of efforts to expose new nuclear weapons research and development activities at the Livermore, Los Alamos and Sandia National Labs.  Copies of the Bulletin article and background information are available upon request. 

^ back to top 2901 Summit Place NE Albuquerque, NM 87106, Phone: 505-265-1200, Fax: 505-265-1207