Letter to Congress on USEC and Nonproliferation Funding
In March, FCNL and over 20 partner organizations and experts wrote a letter to the members of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water. The letter asked the committee not to provide $150 million out of the budget for important nuclear nonproliferation programs to bail out the uranium enrichment company USEC. Nuclear nonproliferation programs provide security for, and dispose of, vulnerable bomb-grade nuclear material around the world.
Read the letter below.PDF Version
March 20, 2012
The Honorable Rodney P. Frelinghuysen, Chairman
The Honorable Peter J. Visclosky, Ranking Member
Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development
U.S. House of Representatives
2362 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Re: USEC Funding in the Nuclear Nonproliferation Budget
Dear Chairman Frelinghuysen and Ranking Member Visclosky,
We ask that the subcommittee delete the $150 million for USEC and transfer those funds to higher priority programs in the core nuclear nonproliferation accounts of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).
USEC is a private company and should be treated as most other private companies, not propped up repeatedly by the federal government. At a time that the Obama administration is proposing to cut funds to other truly essential nonproliferation programs, the proposed funds for USEC represent the worst kind of corporate welfare and protectionism. They not only take taxpayers' money that would be better spent in the private sector to create jobs, they actually undermine U.S. nonproliferation goals. The fact that the U.S. can rely on foreign companies (some of which have or are planning to build facilities in New Mexico, North Carolina and Idaho) to provide its enrichment services is a useful counterargument to Iranian and North Korean claims that they need to enrich nuclear material themselves (putting them in a position to make nuclear weapons) and cannot rely on the international market.
Moreover, the remaining USEC arguments are questionable from a national security viewpoint. In particular, there are other ways to provide the low enriched uranium for producing tritium for nuclear weapons than maintaining a failing and inefficient company. These include establishing a stockpile now that will last many years, using the Energy Department's substantial supplies of such material or blending down its vast supplies of highly enriched uranium.
Thank you for your consideration.
Susan Gordon, Director
Alliance for Nuclear Accountability
Ambassador Kenneth C. Brill (Ret.)
Former U.S. Ambassador to the IAEA and former Director of the U.S. National Counterproliferation Center
Katie Heald, Coordinator
Campaign for a Nuclear Weapons Free World
Mark D. Stansbery, Secretary
Community Organizing Center, Columbus, OH
Joni Arends, Executive Director
Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety, Santa Fe, NM
John Isaacs, Executive Director
Council for a Livable World
David Culp, Legislative Representative
Friends Committee on National Legislation (Quakers)
Paul Walker, Director of Security and Sustainability
Global Green, USA
Alan J. Kuperman,* Ph.D.
Coordinator, Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Project University of Texas at Austin
Christopher E. Paine, Nuclear Program Director
Natural Resources Defense Council
Henry Sokolski, Executive Director
Nonproliferation Policy Education Center
Ralph Hutchison, Coordinator
Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, Oak Ridge, TN
Kevin Martin, Executive Director
Jon Rainwater, Executive Director
Peace Action West
Catherine Thomasson, MD, Executive Director
Physicians for Social Responsibility
Ann Suellentrop, Program Director
Physicians for Social Responsibility, Kansas City, MO
Miles A. Pomper,* Senior Research Associate
James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies
Vina Colley, President
Portsmouth/Piketon Residents for Environmental Safety and Security, Portsmouth, OH
Marylia Kelley, Executive Director
Frank von Hippel,* Professor of Public and International Affairs
Susan Shaer, Executive Director
Women’s Action for New Directions
Bobbie Paul, Executive Director
Women’s Action for New Directions-GA
*Affiliation is listed for identification purposes only.