Report by Tri-Valley CAREs Critically Analyses Nuclear Posture Review

* Tri-Valley Communities Against a Radioactive Environment (or Tri-Valley CAREs) recently released a report that analyses the Nuclear Posture Review (or NPR), which was released by the Bush administration in January. The report, written by Dr. Robert Civiak, concludes that, although the NPR claims to promote de-emphasizing the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. security, in reality, the Bush administration is in favor of developing new nuclear weapons. Despite the Cold War's end, the report finds that Bush plans for a return to nuclear testing, assigning a larger role to nuclear weapons, and expanding the nuclear weapons complex.

The NPR was intended to justify the reduction of the U.S. nuclear stockpile from 6,000 to approximately 1,700 to 2,200 weapons by 2012, as per Bush's agreement with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The NPR also recommended resumed underground testing at the Nevada Test Site.

Dr. Civiak claims that the NPR illustrates the new emphasized role that the nuclear weapons production plants owned by the Department of Energy (or DOE) play in national security. When the NPR was released, deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said that the NPR transformed the U.S. deterrence posture from one of strictly offense to a force that combined both offensive and defensive strike capabilities. Dr. Civiak, in his report, replies, "Bush claims he is de-emphasizing the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. security. However, by placing nuclear weapons at the center of U.S. war-fighting capabilities [Bush's] new review does just the opposite."

Civiak says that the National Nuclear Security Administration (or NNSA) is rebuilding nuclear weapons to improve accuracy, adjusting the height at which a nuclear blast can occur, altering the ability of warheads to withstand hostile environments, and altering systems for storing and injecting tritium gas into exploding nuclear weapons.

The report points out that the proposed 2003 budget for DOE of $5.9 billions is more than twice that of 1995. Civiak attributes the influx of new weapons proposed by the NPR to DOE and its weaponeers' need to maintain a large budget. He says, "Those scientists are driven by a need to justify ever increasing funding for their work ..."

The report, entitled More Work for the Weapons Labs, Less Security for the Nation, also claims that Bush's guarantee to Putin is hollow, saying that his agreement does not require destruction of weapons, but simply the removal of nuclear weapons from deployment. As Tri-Valley CAREs points out, this only means that these weapons must be removed from deployment for a single day, the day before Bush's agreement with Putin ends.

The NPR also encourages the development of earth-penetrating nuclear weapons. Activists are concerned that these weapons are a violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and may lead to a new arms race. Consequently, the report recommends that Congress prevent NNSA from spending any funds on design or research regarding these new weapons.

Dr. Civiak received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Pittsburgh and served in the White House Office of Management and Budget as Program Examiner for DOE's national security programs for more than a decade.

Click here to read the complete Tri-Valley CAREs report by Dr. Civiak.

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