|Date:||Wed, 6 Sep 2000 11:09:51 -0700 (PDT)|
|Subject:||[CPEO-MEF] CUT NIF - URGENT ACTION ALERT|
So, here's the story in a nutshell, read below to find out more . . DEBATE ON SENATE ENERGY AND WATER APPROPRIATION BEGINS NOW SENATOR HARKIN TO OFFER AMENDMENT TO CUT NIF CONSTRUCTION $ VOTE TO OCCUR WED/ THURS of THIS WEEK YOUR URGENT ACTION IS NEEDED - CALL YOUR SENATORS NOW URGE THEM TO SUPPORT SENATOR HARKIN'S EFFORT TO CUT NIF CAPITOL SWITCHBOARD IS (202) 224-3121 THE BASIC TALKING POINTS ON NIF (THIS SHOULD BE A FAMILIAR TUNE BY NOW) PLUS NEW DEVELOPMENTS MAKE THE CASE EVEN STRONGER-GAO REPORT/ LABS CALL FOR RETHINKING NIF -CLEANUP $$ MAY BE AT GREATER RISK THANKS AGAIN FOR YOUR HELP --Well, it is once again very exciting here in Washington DC, Congress is back and as you've probably been hearing on the news, they are very anxious to get through their spending bills. Debate has begun on the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Bill (you'll recall the House passed their version in the end of June.) SENATOR HARKIN TO OFFER AMENDMENT TO CUT NIF CONSTRUCTION $ Senator Harkin plans to bring up an amendment to cut this year's NIF construction funds of $74.1 million. Currently the effort is simply to cut the money. (In other words the proposed amendment will not also shift the funds to anything else.) VOTE TO OCCUR WED/ THURS of THIS WEEK The Senate schedule is always difficult to predict. Harkin's Office is guessing that the amendment will be voted on this Thursday. It is possible, however, that the vote could occur tomorrow (Wednesday). YOUR URGENT ACTION IS NEEDED -CALL YOUR SENATORS NOW URGE THEM TO SUPPORT SENATOR HARKIN'S EFFORT TO CUT NIF CAPITOL SWITCHBOARD IS (202) 224-3121 Yes, I am once again put in the position of asking for your urgent response on this. Senator Harkin has been weighing options, and has just decided which kind of amendment he would offer. THE BASIC TALKING POINTS ON NIF (THIS SHOULD BE A FAMILIAR TUNE BY NOW) (In general, it would be good to emphasize the cost overruns and technical problems with all Senators, and to highlight the non-proliferation problems, NIF's weapons design mission and the related CTBT concerns with Democratic, and pro-arms control Senators. Also make sure your Senators know that the rising money needed for this boondoggle over the years to come is likely to threaten cleanup funds at Livermore Lab and DOE sites across the country.) What is NIF? - A large 192 laser beam facility being built in Livermore, CA. Its stated purpose is to simulate conditions in the later stages of a nuclear weapons explosion by fusing atoms to get thermonuclear ignition. NIF is the most expensive project in DOE's Stockpile Stewardship nuclear weapons program, and its revealed massive cost overruns are siphoning enormous amounts of money from other DOE programs. (When NIF was originally envisioned in 1990 its estimated cost was $400 million. In 1997 it was proposed to Congress at $1.2 Billion. Now GAO estimates are $4 billion, and independent analysts find life-cycle costs likely to be approximately $10 billion.) NIF is experiencing ongoing technical problems that have not been resolved, including: problems with optics, target material, diagnostics etc. It is not even clear whether "ignition" can be achieved at the National IGNITION Facility. Other Laboratories and lab scientists have questioned the value of proceeding with the current NIF. Most significantly, Sandia Laboratory released an official position paper calling for NIF to be scaled back in both size and budget. Despite NIF proponents claims that NIF is essential to maintain the safety and reliability of the current U.S. arsenal in the absence of nuclear test explosions, many nuclear weapons experts (including Edward Teller, fatherof the Hydrogen Bomb and founder of Livermore labs) have concurred that NIF has almost no relevance to this task. Instead, the NIF undermines arms control and nonproliferation goals, by enhancing the capability for design of new nuclear weapons and modification of existing nuclear weapons. In stark contrast to NIF advocates who state that NIF is a necessary trade-off that supports the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, NIF's capability to alter current codes and support new nuclear weapons design is likely to erode confidence that the nuclear arsenal can be certified safe and reliable without full-scale nuclear weapons test explosions. After major management and technical problems and cost over-runs were revealed last year, Congress (Energy and Water Appropriations Report FY 2000) requested that DOE provide a re-baselining for the NIF. This report was requested by June 1, 2000. DOE was unable to comply with that deadline. Instead they have asked for an extension to Mid-September -AFTER the money will already be appropriated for FY2001. NOW is the time to hit the pause button and cut construction funds for NIF this year. Congress should demand that DOE carefully answer basic questions about NIFs purpose, its chances of fulfilling its described mission, and the unresolved technical problems that continue to plague NIF. An honest debate about the NIF is long overdue. PLUS NEW DEVELOPMENTS MAKE THE CASE EVEN STRONGER There has been a great deal of news to undermine NIF in the last couple of months. The problems is that Congress has been out on vacation, and so most Senators won't know this stuff . . .You need to tell them... -GAO REPORT/ LABS CALL FOR RETHINKING NIF The long-awaited GAO Report was released in August -and I know you've seen many of the press reports. The GAO is quite scathing in its critique of NIF and has also surfaced opposition from scientists at the other labs, who are calling for a scaled-back NIF. One quote from GAO Report that makes it clear: "DOE and Lawrence Livermore now estimate that NIF will eventually cost about $3.3 billion and will be completed by 2008 . . . However, based on our analysis of figures from DOE and Lawrence Livermore, we estimate that NIF's cost is closer to $4 billion because DOE's estimate does not include all research and development costs from other program areas that are needed to support NIF. Furthermore,since significant research and development activities to support NIF remain to be completed and technical uncertainties persist the cost of NIF could grow even higher and the completion could take even longer." (page 4) -CLEANUP $$ MAY BE AT GREATER RISK As the "costs grow even higher" where do we think the money will come from?? Currently DOE has a late "reprogramming request" that would take $95 million from other Stockpile Stewardship Programs - but of course many in Congress don't want money taken from other weapons programs. In fact Senator Kyl (R-AZ) has offered another plan - in his amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill contains a provision that would take $75 million from the Environmental Restoration and Waste Management Budget -cleanup money. (This provision was adopted to the Senate version of the Defense Authorization Bill - as a non-controversial amendment with no debate or opposition. There is still a chance to have the provision taken out in the Defense Authorization Conference happening right now - stay tuned for more on this, but focus now on the Appropriations effort.) You can bet that in years to come the ever expanding NIF bloat will threaten cleanup funds more than weapons research or production funding. Make sure that Senators from your states know that they need to act now to protect money for their sites. THANKS AGAIN FOR YOUR HELP -- Thanks to your help over the past years, along with NIF's failures, we now have an opportunity to really make a difference on this. Please call me with questions, for assistance, and ESPECIALLY to let me know what you're hearing from your Senators. for more information call: Kathy Crandall Alliance for Nuclear Accountability 1801 18th Street NW , 2nd Floor Washington, DC 20009 Phone: (202) 833-4668 Fax: (202) 234-9536 Web: www.ananuclear.org 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. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ You can find archived listserve messages on the CPEO website at http://www.cpeo.org/lists/index.html. If this email has been forwarded to you and you'd like to subscribe, please send a message to: email@example.com ___________________________________________________________ T O P I C A The Email You Want. http://www.topica.com/t/16 Newsletters, Tips and Discussions on Your Favorite Topics
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