2000 CPEO Military List Archive

From: marylia@earthlink.net
Date: Fri, 7 Jul 2000 17:36:27 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] U.S. Sets Stage for New Mini-Nuke Design
Greetings Peace and environmental advocates: This extremely important item
has broad implications for all of our efforts. Read on...  --Marylia

U.S. Sets Stage to Design New, Deep-Burrowing "Mini-Nuke"

by Sally Light and Marylia Kelley

from Tri-Valley CAREs' July 2000 newsletter, Citizen's Watch

The Senate Armed Services Committee Report includes a provision for Fiscal
Year 2001 that would "require the Secretaries of Defense and Energy to
assess requirements and options for defeating hardened and deeply buried
targets. The provision would expressly authorize the Department of Energy
(DOE) to conduct any limited research and development that may be necessary
to complete such assessments." (Sec. 1018)

If approved by the full Congress and the President, this new law would lift
certain key restrictions imposed by a 1994 law barring the DOE nuclear
weapons labs from conducting research and development that could lead to
the production of  a precision, low-yield nuclear weapon with an explosive
force of less than 5 kilotons.

Thus, the change would enable the Livermore and Los Alamos labs to design
an entirely new nuclear weapon for the U.S. arsenal, a "mini-nuke" capable
of burrowing up to 1,000 feet underground before detonating.

In the 1990s, the weapons labs "modified" an existing B61 to create the
B61-11, with a variable yield beginning at 50 kilotons and an
earth-penetrating capability of about 300 feet.

If developed, the new "mini-nuke,"  would be tailor-made for use in
conventional conflicts, and against non-nuclear adversaries. This continues
an already insanely dangerous trend in U.S. nuclear policy, one in which
various existing nuclear bomb designs are being "modified"  or
"refurbished"  to make them more "usable."

As soon as it was deployed, the U.S. considered using the B61-11
earth-penetrator against Khadafy, and, according to one former Pentagon
official, the current idea would lead to a lower-yield, "deep penetrator
that could hold at risk a rogue state's deeply buried weapons or Saddam
Hussein's bunker without torching Baghdad."

Design studies for a new "mini-nuke," savage the spirit, not to mention the
preambular language, of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and
abrogate the disarmament imperative in Article VI of the Non-Proliferation

According to a June 12, 2000, article by Walter Pincus in the Washington
Post, support for this new, low-yield nuclear weapon comes from a small
group of senior Republican Senators and nuclear weapons lab officials (no

This cadre of Strangeloves also thinks the U.S. should scuttle the CTBT
altogether and resume full-scale underground nuclear blasts. As Sandia Lab
President C. Paul Robinson explains it, "The U.S. will eventually need a
new, low yield nuclear weapon."

In a wider context, the Senate authorization for "mini-nuke" research must
be seen as part of an overall U.S. plan to keep nuclear weapons forever.
Witness, as two more examples, the current push to revive Star Wars and the
U.S. Space Command's plan to militarily control       the earth from the
sky by 2020, using space-based nuclear weapons and exotic laser technology.

Public outcry is crucial. What we all do, or fail to do, right now will
impact our Mother Earth's future.

Call us for copies of the NPT,  CTBT  or the U.S. Space Command's "Vision
2020" report. See also articles & fliers in the edition of Citizen's Watch.

Marylia Kelley
Tri-Valley CAREs
(Communities Against a Radioactive Environment)
2582 Old First Street
Livermore, CA USA 94550

<http://www.igc.org/tvc/> - is our web site, please visit us there!

(925) 443-7148 - is our phone
(925) 443-0177 - is our fax

Working for peace, justice and a healthy environment since 1983, Tri-Valley
CAREs has been a member of the nation-wide Alliance for Nuclear
Accountability in the U.S. since 1989, and is a co-founding member of the
Abolition 2000 global network for the elimination of nuclear weapons, the
U.S. Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons and the Back From the Brink
campaign to get nuclear weapons taken off hair-trigger alert.

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