GOUSA Cold Warriors prepared to build more unneeded nuclear weapons


Nadav Soroker/Technical Area 54

Los Alamos began as an “instant city,” springing from the Pajarito Plateau in 1943 at the dawn of the Atomic Age. More than 8,000 people flocked here to work for Los Alamos National Laboratory and related industries during the last years of World War II. Now the city may be on the brink of another boom as the federal government moves forward with what could be the most expensive warhead modernization program in U.S. history…

The cores — known as pits — haven’t been mass-produced since the end of the Cold War. But in 2018, under pressure from the Trump administration, the federal government called for at least 80 new pits to be manufactured each year, conservatively expected to cost $9 billion — the lion’s share of a $14.8 billion weapons program upgrade. After much infighting over the massive contract, plans call for Los Alamos to manufacture 30 pits annually and for the Savannah River Site in South Carolina to make the remaining 50…

The idea of implementing an immense nuclear program at Los Alamos has sparked outrage among citizens, nuclear watchdogs, scientists and arms control experts, who say the pit-production mission is neither safe nor necessary. Producing them at Los Alamos would force the lab into a role it isn’t equipped for — its plutonium facilities are too small, too old and lack important safety features, critics say.

The lab has a long history of nuclear accidents that have killed, injured and endangered dozens if not scores of people. As recently as January, the National Nuclear Security Administration, the federal agency in charge of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile, launched an investigation into a Jan. 7 leak at the lab that released radioactive material and contaminated six workers.

Trump doesn’t care. The Republican Party doesn’t care. I’m not certain how much the Democrats care. Pouring billion$ down the rathole of increasing an already excessive quantity of nuclear weapons has never bothered our Congress a whole boatload.

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