Stop the Rush to Build


President Obama’s FY2013 budget is being re-fashioned in Congress right now. It includes $340 million to “accelerate construction” of the Uranium Processing Facility (thermonuclear bomb plant) in Oak Ridge.

Two recent reports, one by the General Accounting Office and one by the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, make it clear the UPF is no where near ready to build. The GAO says the National Nuclear Security Administration can’t manage major construction projects and singles out the UPF as a prime example. The DNFSB says “The Board has determined that safety is not adequately integrated into the design,” and notes NNSA is watering down safety standards”the criticality safety controls NNSA is using “will not provide adequate protection for site workers and the public.”

Stopping the money for the UPF will not be easy, but that only means we have to work hard to do it.

How can we do it?

The power of the pen”and the voice and the visit. We have to pressure key people in Congress. Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander is the ranking Republican on the powerful Energy and Water Appropriations committee. Michigan Senator Carl Levin chairs the Armed Services committee.

What we need is simple. We need the significant issues raised by the GAO and DNFSB resolved before concrete is poured. We need a system of oversight of NNSA’s money management in place before the purse is opened for the UPF. We need a study of the need for the UPF”since most of the work it was to do will be done before it is complete. We need to know how much money we could save if we simply upgrade and right-size existing facilities. We need spending on nuclear weapons to align with the nation’s nuclear policy.

In Oak Ridge, the future is not producing more and more nuclear weapons”those days are over. The future is taking old warheads apart and disposing of special nuclear materials. That will take decades. And we will need to add to existing capacity to do it.

We are asking people to WRITE” to Congress, to newspapers, to the President”¦ If you follow the link below you will find a straightforward guide to writing, including several pages on information that detail the concerns mentioned above. Your letter doesn’t need to be technical; it doesn’t need to be complex”it just needs to be written from the heart.

Please don’t put it off. Here’s the Writing Guide: ntl writing handoutndd

Please print it out and share it with others.
Here are links to the files referenced above:

GAO on NNSA management of major projects: GAO on NNSA oversight 2.16.12

GAO on UPF readiness/technical issues: GAO on UPF funding 11.10

DNFSB on UPF Safety deficit: DNFSB safety 4.12

Some people report problems viewing the pdf files. We are unable to figure out how to fix this, because it works on some browsers”we speculate it is a compatibility issue with WordPress and the individual browser and are very sorry for the frustration. If you can’t download or view the pdf file, please email <> and we will send you the pdf file in an email.


Sunday Vigil at Y-12 in Oak Ridge Tennessee

Sunday Vigil

The OREPA Board has now decided that we are prepared to do a limited re-opening of the Sunday vigil to allow for slightly more participation.  We are asking anyone who wants to attend a Sunday vigil to sign up in advance—by the Thursday before. There are two ways to sign up. You can email Ralph at or you can call him at 865 776 5050. If the five slots are already taken, we’ll ask you to wait until next week. All vigilers are expected to wear masks. Bring your own chair. Avoid physical contact and maintain an appropriate social distance in the circle of chairs. Of course, if for any reason you feel you may have been exposed to the virus or to someone with the virus, you should not attend the vigil. At this point, we are not resuming our monthly potlucks.

Learn More »
Where Should I park? vigil-map.jpg

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