Can Santa Fe Survive?

LANL only manufactures one product — Death and destruction

Many Santa Feans understand that Los Alamos National Laboratory, the most lavishly funded nuclear weapons facility in the world, has embarked on a new mission: making plutonium warhead cores (“pits”) on an industrial scale, to involve 4,000 full-time personnel and 24/7 operations…

LANL predicts it will spend $18 billion to start up production over this decade. In constant dollars, this is 15-fold what the Manhattan Project spent in New Mexico — indeed it dwarfs the cost of every other project in New Mexico history.

The pits will cost at least $50 million apiece, 200 times their weight in gold. A single LANL pit, assuming all goes well, will cost as much as the combined annual salaries of 1,000 New Mexico teachers, or the equipment for 5,000 residential solar systems. A major reason our society is failing is because it is kept on a war footing…

This huge program has nothing to do with national security, except in the negative sense. It is not needed to maintain any stockpile weapon. As military planners say, it’s (very) “early to need” and there are now perfectly sound, cheaper plans to do without LANL’s production should something go wrong. Why wait?

What about Santa Fe, then?…

Can Santa Fe survive as a nuclear weapons suburb? It certainly can, as a kind of nuclear “Pottersville” — a sprawling, increasingly ugly “city” with growing inequality, a vacuum where shared ideals should be, with no real urban center or shared human purposes, its most cherished traditions washed away by too much money given to too few people doing “work” society doesn’t need or want. It would be a city divided against itself to be sure, with plenty of poverty, human tragedy and crime.

Santa Fe could be a city that aims for justice and peace, where the obligation of respect binding us together is fostered, where the potential of every child is honored. Those political values are incompatible with manufacturing more nuclear weapons.

Greg Mello — executive director of the Los Alamos Study Group.

3 thoughts on “Can Santa Fe Survive?

  1. MAD hatter says:

    “Mutual assured destruction (MAD) is a doctrine of military strategy and national security policy in which a full-scale use of nuclear weapons by two or more opposing sides would cause the complete annihilation of both the attacker and the defender (see pre-emptive nuclear strike and second strike). It is based on the theory of deterrence, which holds that the threat of using strong weapons against the enemy prevents the enemy’s use of those same weapons. The strategy is a form of Nash equilibrium in which, once armed, neither side has any incentive to initiate a conflict or to disarm.”
    However: “Deterrent strategies are ineffective against those who attack without regard for their life. Furthermore, the doctrine of MAD has been critiqued in regard to terrorism and asymmetrical warfare.”

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