Los Alamos’s gigantic new Plutonium Complex

“The warhead cores of these “plants,”   would be “the successors to the bombs used on Nagasaki. They’d each have a yield that’s 50 times greater than the bomb used there in World War II.”

A Giant New Plutonium Complex at Los Alamos HUFFINGTON POST  Mary-Charlotte Domandi,  10/31/ or, “How to spend $6 billion, create 600 jobs, and prop up the most unproductive sector of the military industrial complex for another generation.”

Despite President Obama’s campaign rhetoric of a world without nuclear weapons, despite the recent catastrophe at Japan’s Fukushima complex, and despite the new START nuclear arms control treaty between the U.S. and Russia last February, it seems the desire among our leaders for nuclear power and nuclear weaponry remains as strong today as it was at the height of the Cold War. What’s just as disturbing, though, is the disregard our government shows for any input from its citizenry — pro or con.

In a recent Santa Fe Radio Café interview with Greg Mello, co-founder of the Los Alamos Study Group .. outlined very clearly both the potential gains and losses (and for whom) of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s plans for a new Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement (CMRR) facility at LANL, before going completely off character to point out the utter neglect that the Department of Energy (among many other government agencies) has for any due process.

Mello said that the main purpose of this $4-12 billion plutonium lab, which the NNSA claims “would provide vitally essential technical support capabilities to NNSA’s national security mission,” is basically “making weapons of mass destruction.” Craftily-languaged in the NNSA proposal as “plutonium pits,” Mello says that the CMRR building’s main purpose is “to increase the nuclear capacity of LANL as a whole and to manufacture plutonium plants.” The warhead cores of these “plants,” says Mello, would be “the successors to the bombs used on Nagasaki. They’d each have a yield that’s 50 times greater than the bomb used there in World War II.”

Contrary, then, to the popular perception of Obama as anti-nuclear proliferation, his endorsement of this CMRR facility — and the facility’s true purpose — puts him entirely in line with that of his predecessor, George W., who originally championed this project. It’s part of a deal, said Mello, between Obama and the Republicans: you can have your nuclear-arms treaty and our 67 votes for it, but only if you follow through on a nuclear arms buildup. “We just signed a nuclear weapons treaty,” said Mello, “but we’re spending billions of dollars to make new ones. It doesn’t improve the credibility of our nonproliferation diplomacy.” Indeed…..

Unlike a solar or wind-energy project, which could potentially bring in hundreds of millions of dollars in capital investment and create thousands of jobs (as opposed to just 660), the CMRR, in Mello’s opinion, benefits primarily the companies who already own LANL (Bechtel, the University of California, BMW), while hardly generating any long term value. “It doesn’t train people to do anything in the economy,” observed Mello. “It doesn’t provide any infrastructure, in that it functions in the real economy (there are no goods or services provided, since no one buys or sells nuclear pits). And it attracts no private capital.”….


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