Stockpile Stewardship


For Immediate Release
April 17, 1997

Contact: Greg Mello 505-982-7747 or 505-820-7822

Public-Interest Group Prevails In Information Lawsuit Against DOE
Los Alamos' "Global Nuclear Vision Project" Seeks to Shape Institutions, Public Views


A lawsuit filed by the Los Alamos Study Group in November, 1996 against the Department of Energy (DOE) has finally succeeded in prying loose unclassified transcripts and videotapes from a secretive "Global Nuclear Vision Project" meeting at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).  The April 1996 meeting involved senior personnel from the U.S., Russian, French, and British nuclear establishments, as well as representatives of the CIA, Pentagon, and the Rand Corporation, along with a few carefully-selected others. 

The purpose of the closed gathering was to discuss alternative "nuclear futures" -- how the evolution of "all things nuclear" might be shaped.  This meeting was one of a series; this particular meeting focussed on the evolution of so-called nuclear weapons "stewardship," and in particular on the internationalization of stewardship -- that is, cooperation between the nuclear weapons countries to keep everyone's weapons safe and reliable.

A remarkable feature of the case was the attempt by the DOE and LANL to withhold admittedly unclassified and unsensitive information from U.S. citizens pending permission by the Russian government.  The information in question was a speech by a senior Russian nuclear weapons scientist to the gathering.

Not long after this workshop, the Congress passed a law (Section 3138 of the FY1997 Defense Authorization Act, P.L. 104-201) forbidding international cooperation in stockpile stewardship -- except in the cases of Britain and France.

Study Group spokesperson Mello explained:  "These documents portray a laboratory run amok, in an Administration without a coherent disarmament and nonproliferation plan.  To put it bluntly, Los Alamos is using taxpayer funds to work with other nuclear weapon states against nuclear disarmament.  It is a lab with its own foreign policy -- a foreign policy that runs exactly opposite to existing U.S. treaty commitments under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.  Some of the proposed (and even existing) cooperation mentioned may be illegal under U.S. law. After all, spies used to go to prison or worse for "cooperative stewardship."  It is a subject in which Los Alamos has some history.  Why should U.S. taxpayers pay millions of dollars to keep Russian nuclear weapons scientists employed on weapons-related tasks?  Why should we pay to keep the Russian nuclear establishment going, which we are doing, or to keep their weapons reliable, which was discussed?"

"President Eisenhower warned in his farewell address `...that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.'  What could not be foreseen in 1960 was the internationalization of that elite, which is now upon us.  For this elite, loyalty to their profession -- nuclear weapons -- comes first."


Details and documents are available upon request.

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