FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT REQUEST SEEKS SECRET GOVERNMENT PLAN FOR NUCLEAR WEAPONS PLANT
On Thursday, April 24, 2014, the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking public release of the secret Red Team report.
After two false starts and a billion dollars down the drain, the National Nuclear Security Administration is seeking to re-start its plan for a multi-billion dollar nuclear weapons production plant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, with a “Red Team” plan that is shrouded in secrecy. The Red Team, formed in January 2014 at the behest of NNSA Administrator Bruce Held, conducted tours of the Y12 Nuclear Weapons Complex in Oak Ridge, were briefed on uranium operation there during the month of March, and provided a report to Held on April 15.
The secrecy surrounding the Red Team is almost complete—the only thing known about the team is the name of its leader, Dr. Thom Mason, director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge. The names of other members of the team have not been disclosed to the public.
“The National Environmental Policy Act requires the government to conduct a public process before undertaking major federal actions. That process requires hearings, provides an opportunity for public comment, and requires the government to respond to those comments,” said Ralph Hutchison, coordinator of the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance.
“In Oak Ridge, that process began in 2005 and ended with a Record of Decision in 2011 that said they would build a multipurpose Uranium Processing Facility that would, among other things, produce and dismantle nuclear warhead components. As it turns out, the government can’t do what it said it would do in the Record of Decision, because they overreached. They decided to build a massive facility to produce thermonuclear cores for weapons we will never need. And the pricetag went stratospheric—up to $19 billion for the Bomb Plant to Nowhere.
“With the Red Team, the NNSA wants to change the plan without consulting the public—or even telling us what it is. It’s a recipe for yet another disaster and the waste of even more billions of taxpayer dollars.
“The Red Team Report is already being used to build a justification for budget numbers. OREPA has asked Senator Lamar Alexander to exercise his power as ranking member of the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Committee to make the Red Team report public. To date, he has deferred to the NNSA and their wish to keep it secret. But his comments suggest he is willing to write them a blank check up to $6.5 billion—hardly the kind of fiscal conservatism one might hope for in a time of austerity.”
Follow the link below to see a copy of the FOIA letter.