• *Clinton devises policy for use of nuclear weapons;

  • *WIPP Waste to be shipped through Colorado

  • *Pueblo leaders fear Los Alamos National Laboratory cleanup plans may run out of money;

  • *EPA Public Hearing in Santa Fe, on January 8 &9, 1997;

    * In a classified presidential directive, President Clinton turns U.S. nuclear policy towards a possible emerging threat: adversaries who use chemical or biological weapons against U. S. forces, a concern that has replaced the nuclear terror of the cold war.

    This new policy is the administration's first instruction to the Pentagon addressing the increasingly worrisome concern that a "rogue state" might turn biological or chemical weapons against U.S. troops. A senior Clinton advisor claims that the policy conforms with earlier White House statements and longstanding policy on nuclear weapons, including support for bombers, land- based missiles, and missile submarines, and reliance on nuclear weapons as a mainstay of national security.

    The directive increases the list of possible potential targets that could be attacked in China, in the unlikely event of nuclear war with that country,but abandons the concept of a possible plan for a protracted, so-called"winnable" nuclear war.

    Worries about full-scale nuclear war have been replaced by fears about use of chemical or biological weapons: the directive discusses responses that the U.S should have available in far greater detail than earlier directives.

    It "requires a wide range of nuclear retaliatory options, from a limited strike to a more general nuclear exchange." said a senior national security official.

    In 1978 President Carter pledged that the United States would not use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states, unless those states fought in concert with a nuclear power or defied the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. It was Iraq's suspected violation of that treaty that allowed the Bush administration to threaten massive retaliation, if necessary, during the Gulf war.

    In 1993, the Joint Chiefs of Staff issued a "Joint Doctrine for Nuclear Operations" describing nuclear response to "weapons of mass destruction", which could mean chemical or biological weapons. In such a case, they said,"U.S. nuclear capabilities must confront an enemy with risks of unacceptable damage and disproportionate loss."

    In 1995, the U.S. -- along with Britain, France, China, and Russia -- reiterated the Carter administration's pledge, but the pledge retained loopholes that could permit a retaliatory strike.

    Some people believe that this new nuclear targeting doctrine is illegal, violating the U.S. Government's international commitments to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. John Pike of the Federation of American Scientists claims that the White House is bowing to a strategy already dictated by the military, and represents a greater policy shift than it is admitting.

    "They are retroactively ...attempting to realign national policy with what the operating policy has been for some time." Pike said. The Non Proliferatiion Treaty, first signed in 1970, requires all of the nuclear weapons states to negotiate towards eventual total Nuclear Disarmament.

    * Seventy percent of radioactive waste from former nuclear weapons plants in Washington, Idaho and Colorado will be trucked through Colorado over the highly populated corridor of Interstate 25 to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (or WIPP),30 miles south of Carlsbad, New Mexico. Shipments could begin as soon as next spring.

    At WIPP, 55 gallon drums containing long-lived radioactive waste will be buried inside salt formations. During the next 35 years, there will be more than 38,000 shipments from 23 nuclear weapons sites around the country. Although the Department of Energy has designated I-25 and I-225 as the Colorado routes, the Colorado State Patrol has yet to give final approval.

    Councilwoman Debbie Ortega, a member of Denver's emergency planning committee, is leading an effort to remove I-25 from the nuclear route. Aside from concern that the huge tractor trailors will add to growing city traffic congestion, she is worried about incidents that could become the cause of widespread public fear.

    Steve Gunderson of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment echoed her concerns, saying: "There's a lot of fear out there."

    * Officials of San Ildefonso Pueblo are afraid that LANL will run out of money before their scheduled cleanup program for nuclear waste from early projects is complete.

    Frank Brewer, San Ildefonso Pueblo council member was not impressed by talk of ongoing studies of radiation pollution containment. "Study all you want. But don't just study," he told lab officials. "Pick it up, clean it up."

    Scientists only recently acknowledged that plutonium and other radioactive materials are traveling with rainstorm runoff and snowmelt off Laboratory property , down the canyons of Los Alamos toward San Ildefonso.

    In October, the lab assigned a new manager to take charge of the lab's $600 million-a-year program to deal with more than 700 remaining sites that are potential sources of pollution. LANL is just starting to deal with the 256 worst dump sites that are expected to use the most cleanup time and money.

    Lab officials claim some sites are too large to excavate, and propose to cap them with clay to prevent runoff, instead of completing a full cleanup. Council member Frank Brewer commented, "Covering it up isn't getting rid of it... This contamination wasn't here when Oppenheimer and his friends came here...it is here today, and I'd like to see it gone,"

    * CCNS would like to encourage the public to attend the final EPA Public WIPP Hearings. The hearings will be held in Santa Fe at the Harold Runnels Auditorium, 1190 St. Francis Drive, at 3:00 p.m. --9:00p.m., January 8, and 9:00-- 5:00p.m., January 9.

    For more information, Call CCNS.

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