Wednesday, April 28, 2004

The "Real" WMD Program

following are the excerpts from this article (and a more detailed report in pdf format is available here):

The budget is busted; American soldiers need more armor; they're running out of supplies. Yet the Department of Energy is spending an astonishing $6.5 billion on nuclear weapons this year, and President Bush is requesting $6.8 billion more for next year and a total of $30 billion over the following four years. This does not include his much-cherished missile-defense program, by the way. This is simply for the maintenance, modernization, development, and production of nuclear bombs and warheads.

...There is no nuclear arms race going on now. The world no longer offers many suitable nuclear targets. President Bush is trying to persuade other nations—especially "rogue regimes"—to forgo their nuclear ambitions. Yet he is shoveling money to U.S. nuclear weapons laboratories as if the Soviet Union still existed and the Cold War still raged.

...Paine's report cites other startlers that have eluded all notice outside the cognoscenti. For instance, the Energy Department is building a massive $4 billion-$6 billion proton accelerator in order to produce more tritium, the heavy hydrogen isotope that boosts the explosive yield of a nuclear weapon. (Tritium is the hydrogen that makes a hydrogen bomb.) Tritium does decay; eventually, it will have to be refurbished to ensure that, say, a 100-kiloton bomb really explodes with 100 kilotons of force....

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