New Plutonium Center - Once Again On Western Shoshone Land
Nevada Test Site Being Considered For New Consolidated Plutonium Center
By Launce Rake
Las Vegas Sun, November 26, 2006
The federal government will head to Las Vegas this week to discuss its proposed top-to-bottom makeover of the nation's nuclear weapons system, an archipelago of research and production sites across two-thirds of the country.
One of the proposed changes could result in plutonium being manufactured at Nevada Test Site, 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas. The Test Site is one of the eight sites in the national research and production system.
The 1,400-square-mile Test Site has been home to 40 years of above- and below-ground nuclear explosions and other nuclear weapons research. The Energy Department's National Nuclear Security Administration wants to modernize and ensure the reliability of the nation's stockpile of nuclear weapons, consolidate operations and reduce the number of warheads in the national stockpile.
The proposal, which could cost billions of dollars, is intended to result in a safer and more reliable system that is cheaper to run.
One element of the proposal calls for a new manufacturing site for plutonium, the explosive metal at the heart of nuclear weapons. Nevada Test Site is one of five sites considered for the new consolidated plutonium center. The department closed its former manufacturing site, the Rocky Flats Plant outside Denver, in 1989.
Among the benefits of using the Test Site is its relative isolation and existing security systems.
Opposition is coming from former leaders of some of the affected sites and from public-policy advocacy groups. The Union of Concerned Scientists is urging people to raise concerns about the proposed changes to the nuclear weapons infrastructure at a government meeting on the environmental issues Tuesday at Cashman Center, 850 Las Vegas Blvd. North. Sessions are planned from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Robert Nelson, a senior scientist with the group, said the nuclear weapons in the stockpile of about 10,000 warheads are already reliable, negating the need for much of the proposed effort.
"The core nuclear warhead components the Energy Department wants to redesign and replace are already determined by the nuclear weapons labs themselves to be essentially 100 percent reliable," Nelson said. "The misplaced obsession with warhead reliability and the rationale for continuing to maintain thousands of nuclear weapons on high alert are part of an outdated U.S. nuclear weapons policy."
In a statement released Friday, the group, which has opposed other weapons-related proposals from the Bush administration, quoted former administrators criticizing the proposed changes.
"What is the urgency for spending large amounts of money for a new production complex without evidence of degradation in the nuclear explosive package?" said Bob Peurifoy, former vice president and director of weapons development at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico.
John Duncan, retired Sandia senior manager, echoed the concerns.
"My knowledge of science and over 40 years of experience tells me you can't do what the DOE says it is going to do," Duncan said. "The old DOE realized that quality, speed of manufacturing and cost were trade-offs. You can do two but the third will be sacrificed. The new DOE thinks better, faster, cheaper is possible. The labs know better, but no one has the courage to speak up."
Thomas D'Agostino, deputy administrator for defense programs for the National Nuclear Security Administration, said in April that the Test Site and its seven sister sites "routinely conduct operations with substantial quantities of plutonium, or highly enriched uranium, or both. As such these are some of the most sensitive facilities in the United States."
The other candidate sites are outside Amarillo, Texas; Los Alamos, N.M; Oak Ridge, Tenn.; and Aiken, S.C.
FRENCH IN QUEBEC
Comments From GoJoTV
RE: Mohawk Iron Workers Mourned 99 Years Later
1. This is a great blog article. My grandmother, Marguerite, lived in the town of St. David on the south shore of Québec City. She remembers being in the kitchen when the bridge fell. She described the sound as loud and frightening. She said she could see the hole where the middle piece fell. She would have been six years old at the time, but had vivid memories of that terrible day.
Please continue posting articles about native history, because those who lived it are disappearing, and these stories need to be told.
Here's an idea: What do the words of "Ani Koni" mean? It's a Mohawk or Huron song I learned in Kindergarten. In Québec, you can't find a French person under 50 who doesn't know "Ani Koni", but I'm not sure if I remember the meaning.
I seem to remember it being a lullaby.To hear the song I'm referring to, click here http://www.gojotv.com/anikoni.wav
Thank-you for your work with this blog.
Posted by GoJoTV to Native Unity at 11/26/2006 04:36:07 AM
2. Know this is a highly political blog, and this may not seem relevant, but the disappearance of native languages is...
And why, if the French in Québec have a notion of native culture and languages, don't other North Americans learn some, too?
Posted by GoJoTV to Native Unity at 11/26/2006 04:43:12 AM
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