December 20th, 2007 04:23 EST
Administration Misleading on Claims of Significant Reductions in U.S. Nuclear Weapons
Washington, D.C. – The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation warned that more meaningful progress is necessary to meet U.S. commitments to reduce and eventually eliminate nuclear weapons made through international agreements.
On Tuesday, the Bush Administration announced reductions in the nuclear weapons stockpile by “nearly 50 percent” ,with an eye towards “a significant reduction in the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile to take effect by the end of 2007.” These cuts, which had originally been announced in 2004, were not slated to be completed until 2012.
Today, a spokesman for the National Nuclear Security Administration followed up on the White House report by announcing an additional planned 15% reduction by 2012.
Leonor Tomero, Director for Nuclear Non-Proliferation at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, noted “Even with these cuts, the U.S. nuclear arsenal is still almost five times bigger than the level of 1,000 total nuclear weapons recommended by the National Academy of Sciences ten years ago.”
Hans Kristensen of the Federation of American Scientists estimated that the additional 15% represents a planned reduction of approximately 800 warheads, resulting in an estimated stockpile of roughly 4,600 warheads – both deployed weapons and those in storage -- rather than 5,400, by 2012.
Tomero added “The Administration is making only slow progress on dismantling excess nuclear weapons. The announcements amount to only minimal progress.”,
She continued, “This Administration is the first one in decades to oppose legally-binding and verifiable cuts in U.S. and Russian arsenals while at the same time seeking to build new nuclear warheads.”
Congress recently zeroed out funding requested by the Department of Energy to develop new nuclear weapons known as the Reliable Replacement Warhead.
The NNSA also announced a plan to consolidate the materials and facilities that are a part of the nation’s nuclear weapons complex, planning to reduce the number of workers directly supporting weapons programs and the square footage of buildings supporting weapons missions “by as much as one-third.” However, the number of sites will remain the same, and no site will close as a result of the proposed consolidation.
Founded in 1980, the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation is a leading advocate for prudent measures to prevent the spread of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. Visit the Center online: