Immediate release, January 11, 2021
PEACE GROUP CHALLENGES UT PLAN TO MANUFACTURE NUCLEAR WEAPONS
CALLS ON PRESIDENT RANDY BOYD TO RECONSIDER
The Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance today released a letter sent to University of Tennessee President Randy Boyd asking him to reconsider his decision to bid on the contract to manage and operate the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
“Some things are more important than money,” says the letter, signed by Kevin Collins, president of OREPA. The letter cites the January entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, saying “…we cannot avoid the compelling moral power” of the Treaty.
The letter also cites a joint statement released in January by more than 170 faith communities around the world, including the Presbyterian Church, USA; the United Methodist Church, the United Church of Christ, the American Baptist Church, the Islamic Society of North America, and many more. The joint statement declares: “As people of faith, we believe that the possession, development and threat to use nuclear weapons is immoral.”
In December 2020, UT President Boyd announced his intention for the University to partner with Texas A&M University to tender a bid on the contract to manage and operate the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge and the Pantex weapons assembly facility in Amarillo, Texas. Boyd told the News-Sentinel it was “a no-brainer.”
In its letter to the UT President, OREPA urges Boyd to consider that “surely brains are capable of considering more than money when making a decision. The moral considerations of engaging in the production of weapons of mass destruction are not inconsequential.”
The timeline for the actual submission of a bid is unclear; the National Nuclear Security Administration has not responded to OREPA’s request for information.
Texas A&M University is already a partner in Triad National Security LLC, the management of Los Alamos National Laboratory, where a recent Inspector General’s investigation found that the contractor “had not fully implemented activities designed to reduce the impact from wildfires in accordance with site plans” despite two catastrophic wildland fires that threatened the lab and the town of Los Alamos in the last twenty years. Despite recognition of the risk, mitigation measures…had not been performed.
The text of OREPA’s letter to President Boyd can be found here.