zondag 22 oktober 2006
The Empire 33
Deze zomer hoorde ik van de plaatselijke bevolking in Noord Arzona, vlakbij Monument Valley, dat daar de afgelopen tijd enkele oude uranium-mijnen weer in exploitatie waren genomen. De reden waarom blijkt uit het volgende bericht in de Washinton Post:
'US Plan for New Nuclear Weapons Advances
The United States took another step yesterday toward building a new stockpile of up to 2,200 deployed nuclear weapons that would last well into the 21st century, announcing the start of a multiyear process to repair and replace facilities where they would be developed and assembled and where older warheads could be more rapidly dismantled.
Thomas P. D'Agostino, head of defense programs for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), told reporters that the "Complex 2030" program would repair or replace "inefficient, old and expensive [to maintain]" facilities at eight sites, including some buildings going back to the 1940s Manhattan Project that built the first atomic bombs. He said the sites - primarily in California, New Mexico, Texas and Tennessee - "are not sustainable for the long term."
Yesterday's announcement comes as the Bush administration is pressing its allies to take harsh steps to halt nuclear weapons programs in both North Korea and Iran that it says are violations of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. That same treaty calls for the United States and other members of the nuclear club to eliminate their own stockpiles, but it gives no deadline by which that should take place.
The Bush administration plan would replace the aging Cold War stockpile of about 6,000 warheads with a smaller, more reliable arsenal that would last for decades. It would also consolidate the handling of plutonium, the most dangerous of the nuclear materials, in one center that would be built at a site that already houses similar special materials. Another part of the plan would be to remove all highly enriched uranium from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, D'Agostino said.
Key to the Bush plan is an expected decision in December by the NNSA on a design for the new "Reliable Replacement Warhead" (RRW). The nation's two nuclear weapons laboratories, Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore, are competing for the new warhead design. Before going ahead with any new warhead, however, the NNSA would have to get Congress's approval to move into actual engineering development.'
Het gaat hier om nucleaire wapens, die niet ter afschrikking zijn zoals tijdens de Koude Oorlog, maar die daadwerkelijk worden ingezet bij een aanval op een land dat door Washington gezien wordt als bedreigend voor de belangen van de Amerikaanse economische elite, zoals de olierijke natie Iran.