OREPA's Press Release of 2-8-12 in support of SANE Act
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The Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance called for re-purposing nuclear weapons spending at Y12 in Oak Ridge to meet the mission the US will really need in the future by expanding the capacity to dismantle nuclear weapons. The report (on the website) says any production capacity needed to maintain the stockpile while we move to a world free of nuclear weapons can be provided for far less than $7.5 billion and calls for a cost comparison between upgrading existing facilities to maintain a capacity of 10 warheads/year (we are already spending hundreds of millions of dollars to modernize Building 9212) and building a UPF with 700% excess production capacity (80 warheads/year) year after year after year.
Here is the press release on the Markey legislation and the OREPA report.
8 February 2012, immediate release
MARKEY INTRODUCES BILL WITH OAK RIDGE IMPLICATIONS
HR 3974 WOULD ELIMINATE UPF AND LIFE EXTENSION PROGRAMS
OREPA APPLAUDS RESPONSIBLE LEGISLATION
Representative Ed Markey of Massachusetts today introduced House Bill 3974, along with 34 other members of the House. The Bill, titled the Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures (SANE) Act of 2012, calls for reductions in spending on delivery vehicles for nuclear weapons, an end to the B61 and W78 Life Extension Programs, and the termination of funding for the Uranium Processing Facility.
The Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance hails Markey's bill as fiscally responsible. "Rather than look at the future through a Cold War lens, Representative Markey has asked the simple and useful question: 'What do we need if we are moving toward a world with fewer nuclear weapons?'" said OREPA coordinator Ralph Hutchison
The Markey legislation's language on the Uranium Processing Facility is straightforward:
(m) TERMINATION OF UPF.-Notwithstanding any other provision of law, none of the funds authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available for fiscal year 2013 or any fiscal year thereafter for the Department of Defense or the Department of Energy may be obligated or expended for the Uranium Processing Facility located at the Y-12 National Security Complex.
The Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance signed on to support Markey's legislation before it was introduced. "This bill addresses a question OREPA has been asking for some time," said Hutchison. "Why would a cash-strapped government spend $7.5 billion for a bomb plant with 700% excess production capacity, especially when we are spending hundreds of millions of dollars in the meantime to upgrade existing facilities? With the cancellation of the B61 and W78 Life Extension Programs, the need for a UPF diminishes even further and approaches zero."
OREPA accompanied its statement in support of Markey's legislation with the release of a report titled "The Future Can Be Big-Savings." The report summarizes the case against building the UPF as it is currently envisioned by the National Nuclear Security Administration and calls for a right-sizing and re-purposing the UPF.
"The NNSA says it can meet stockpile maintenance, surveillance and limited life extension missions with a facility that produced 10 warheads/year," Hutchison said. "Yet they want to spend billions on a facility that can produce 80 warheads every year, year after year after year. It makes no sense to build in 700% excess production capacity even if we could afford it. But given today's economy, it is ridiculous to continue to pursue this bloated bomb plant.
"It is time to take a hard look at the mission the nation will need in the future. That means increasing dismantlement capacity in Oak Ridge, and possibly investing in down blending capacity. As for production, no serious effort has been made to calculate the cost of upgrade-in-place at Building 9212 as compared to the $7.5 billion UPF. Our study suggests we can save billions of dollars while meeting all the mission requirements, and we want DOE to show us the numbers before another penny is invested in the UPF."
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