New Oak Ridge Bomb Plant Officially Announced

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Feb 28, 2011 No Comments ›› ralph

It’s official. The National Nuclear Security Administration has published its plan to build a new nuclear weapons manufacturing plant at the Y12 site in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The Final Site Wide Environmental Impact Statement for the Y12 National Security Complex says the new bomb plant will be “Capability-sized” and will have the capacity to produce 80 thermonuclear secondaries and cases per year. It will cost in excess of $6 BILLION.

 

The secondary is the part of the bomb that makes it thermonuclear.

 

The new bomb plant, called the Uranium Processing Facility, will be used to produce replacement secondaries for current warheads under the Stockpile Life Extension Program. Life extended warheads are certified reliable for 40-120 years depending on which DOE official you are listening to.

 

Despite the fact that advisors to the Secretary of Energy have noticed what OREPA said over a year ago—that the entire US arsenal will already have undergone “life extension” by the time the new bomb plant comes on line in 2023.

 

That common sense has not deterred the weaponeers. While the rest of the country tightens its belt, Oak Ridge is buying larger trousers.

 

OREPA is in the process of analyzing the Final SWEIS to gauge the possibility of a legal challenge. OREPA called for DOE/NNSA to reopen the Draft SWEIS when it was disclosed that the Draft did not mention the construction of a haul road through wetlands, a new concrete batch plant, or the excavation of hundreds of thousands of cubic yards of soil. The Final SWEIS dismisses these changes as insignificant.

 

You can find the Final SWEIS on line http://www.y12sweis.com/y12document.html.

 

 

There are three things you can do to take a stand against this bomb plant.
1. Help us mount a legal challenge. We are analyzing the document already to determine the areas that will provide the best avenues for a legal challenge. The good news is the Natural Resources Defense Council says they will join in litigation (and they have great lawyers) if we develop a credible challenge. The rest of the news is OREPA needs funds to retain local counsel. You can contribute via credit car : just click the Donate Now button above. If you want to write a check, send it to OREPA, PO Box 5743, Oak Ridge, TN 37831.
2. Demonstrate your opposition. The April 16 action in Oak Ridge—A Safer World Is Our Right—will be a measure of our resistance to the new bomb plant. In this case, your voice is your presence. And, conversely, our absence will be read as silence. If the power of nonviolence is truly universal and not limited to Tunisia and Cairo, we can write the first page of a new chapter in the Book of Abolition on April 16. There really is no substitute for raw people power when it comes to political reform. And your presence will support the young people who, charged up by what they’ve seen on TV, are filled with the power of the possible—they are determined to create the world they want to live in.
3. Stop the money. The other front in the struggle to stop the bomb plant in in Washington, DC, where they write the checks. My shorthand for this action is Write Now—Right Now! At a big defense/security confabulation in Washington last week, a member of the Secretary of Energy’s Advisory Board asked why we were spending $6 BILLION on a bomb plant that we would no longer need if it wasn’t going to be ready until 2024. This is the kind of common sense only previously heard when we all commented at the public hearing on the Draft SWEIS—in fact, it is exactly what we asked. Your letters now can rouse your sleepy elected representatives to the possibility of trimming $6.5 BILLION from the budget deficit by putting the brakes on a bomb plant we do not need.
DO ALL THREE.
The truth is we can only be successful if we all—every one of us—do all three. It’s crunch time.

The worst case scenario looks like this:
OREPA does not challenge the SWEIS in court because we don’t have the funds. The Record of Decision is announced in 30 days, site preparation is green-lighted and contract procurement begins. The April Action turns out 150 die-hard souls and generates little media coverage; DOE pats itself on the back and repeats the assertion it made last month in the press: there is unanimous support for the UPF. And Congress lets the money slide through because it’s the path of least resistance and besides, defense contractors are big contributors.
It won’t be that way if we all step up.
Please take action today, and let us know what you are doing. See the Contact info on this web site for email info.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR COMMITMENT TO PEACE!

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