2000 CPEO Military List Archive

From: marylia@earthlink.net
Date: Tue, 11 Jul 2000 11:38:46 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: Re: [CPEO-MEF] U.S. Sets Stage for New Mini-Nuke Design
Dear Tara and the CPEO list serve:
You wrote:
I just received an e-mail on the mini-nukes, and while it is very
informative , it is also frustrating that by the end of the email I
still do not know who I should be protesting to. It would be much
more effective to tell the recipients how to take action.
Thanks, Tara Carson
Thanks for your note asking how the provision in the Senate Armed Services
Report mandating research and development activity on a new "mini-nuke" can
be stopped. I have appended that article again below for clarity. The
mini-nuke language is section  1018 of the Senate Armed Services Committee
Report. The "assessment" and attendant R&D for mini-nukes can be stopped in
two ways. First, the Senate Defense Authorization has yet to go before the
whole Senate for a vote. Folks can call their Senators and ask them to
"strike" the language in that section -- meaning take it out. If that
doesn't occur, then the second opportunity to "strike" that mini-nuke
language will come when the Senate and House have a conference committee
(probably in mid to late August) to work out the places where one body's
language is different than the other. Since there was no such mini-nuke
language in the House bill, the Senators and Representatives who are
participating on the conference committee can decide to put it in or strike
it out. Therefore, folks can also call their Representative and ask him or
her to work with the conference committee to make sure the mini-nuke
language is taken out. I hope the above does not sound too esoteric or
complicated. In short, it means that both your Senatrors and your
Representative have an opportunity to get rid of the mini-nuke language
NOW. Calls should be made by constituents in July to give them a chance to
get educated on this topic. You may want to send them a copy of the article
with your comments. Peace, Marylia

The original article:
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 inside.

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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