Spending on nuclear weapons to dip, but just a bit

I'm a member of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). The following was written by one of the St. Louis members for our local newsletter, Yvonne Logan, who is a past national president of WILPF.

Quoting California's Tri-Valley CAREs (Communities Against a Radioactive Environment), "If the U.S nuclear weapons enterprise gets more and more funding in the coming years, there will be no real momentum toward disarmament."

Neither Congress nor the American people can tell from the budget documents how much we spend each year on nuclear weapons.

There are good faith estimates. Plowshares guesses we'll spend $700 billion over the next 10 years. Global Zero has suggested this is low; others think Plowshares' number is on the high side. Some Congressional hawks have tried to limit the debate to "core" nuclear weapons costs, projected at more than $200 billion for the next decade, but this doesn't include environmental costs and command and control structure, to name but two additional elements.

The fiscal year 2012 "omnibus" bill, passed in December, has some good news: The "top line" number for the Department of Energy nuclear weapons program was cut by $355 million to $7.23 billion. That still leaves the DOE nuclear weapons activity with more money than in 2011; however, it is prohibited from starting to build the plutonium bomb plant slated for Los Alamos, N.M., and may eventually have to cancel construction.

Tri-Valley CAREs has asked the Ninth Circuit Court to compel the DOE to undertake an in-depth analysis on a full environmental impact statement with public hearings, as required by law.

Small victories -- if we're lucky.

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