No New Nuclear Bomb Plant in New Mexico
By Rachel Kent on 10/01/2012 @ 11:00 AM
Big things can happen in a few short words or sentences. The continuing resolution passed by Congress included language that ended funding for a new nuclear bomb plant in New Mexico, called the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement (CMRR) facility.
You may not have heard about it. You may not think it’s a big deal, and you may not think that it affects you. You may be wrong.
This plant, which was designed to replace an already-existing plutonium research facility located at Los Alamos National Lab in New Mexico, would have been unnecessary and a waste of a lot of money. Why? There are a few good reasons as to why the CMRR facility was a bad idea:
The original estimated cost put the price tag at $400 million. In early 2012, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) performed a review and discovered that the price had increased up to $6 billion. That’s a huge difference. And that’s not including maintenance costs once the facility were to go up. That’s just to build it. Not only did the price go up by a six-fold, but Los Alamos National Laboratory admitted that this replacement facility was unnecessary. They did not need it to perform the research and maintenance of plutonium.
So right now, we’re up to $6 billion from taxpayers (that’s you!) to build a plant that is not needed. Sounds crazy enough, right? It gets crazier. The construction of the CMRR was expected to experience a delay anywhere from 8 to 12 years. And, once it was built, the GAO said it was entirely possible that the facility would not be enough and another one might have to be built down the line, yet another time-consuming and expensive project to undergo.
Now, in a time of fiscal crisis, when our schools are struggling to make ends meet, and our social services are at risk of experiencing deep cuts in funding, doesn’t it seem like a waste of a lot of money to build something we don’t need?
Despite the obvious flaws of the CMRR, there were at least 12 U.S. Senators who wrote a letter to the President, urging him to allocate money to the project. They claimed it was necessary for our national defense and for the nuclear deterrent. Luckily, neither the rest of Congress or the President listened to them.
Because, frankly, this plant was not necessary for our defense. The nuclear deterrence is a myth. Having nuclear weapons makes our world less safe. It makes the possibility of nuclear warfare and the end of life as we know it a very real thing. It causes us to adopt aggressive and dangerous postures towards the rest of the world.
Not building the CMRR in New Mexico is a small step towards the greater goal of a nuclear free world. I applaud those who made this victory possible, and urge everyone to let our representatives know that we want a safe, peaceful and nuclear weapons-free world for our children and grandchildren.