home<news index

the Peace Farm

Winter 2006-7

The newest incarnation
of a really bad idea

by Mavis Belisle

Since the Rocky Flats plant near Denver, CO, was closed for safety and environmental concerns, the Department of Energy/NNSA has sought to restore its ability to produce plutonium pits for new nuclear weapons through numerous means. First there was Complex 2000, then the Stockpile Stewardship PEIS, then the Modern Pit Facility. Though parts of several succeeded, and though Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory has the capacity to produce about 80 new plutonium pits each year, the ability to produce new pits in large quantities has continued to elude the bombmakers.

So this fall, under the guise of consolidation and the safety of the "aging pits," the Department of Energy began plans for a new. Cold War scale nuclear weapons complex, called "Complex 2030." Through November and December, public "Scoping" hearing were held at the involved sites around the DOE complex. These will be followed next summer by release of a "draft" document and another round of public hearings. Then the final version will be released in the spring 2008, and a "record of decision" will be completed by fall of that year.

In the "preferred alternative," which activists have called the "bombplex," Complex 2030 would include production of the Reliable Replacement Warhead, with a new design every five years and production of 100 new weapons each year; a new plutonium pit facility, with capacity of up to 125 new pits each year; faster disassembly of retired weapons; and consolidation of special nuclear materials to fewer sites in the complex and fewer locations within the sites to reduce security concerns.

Pantex is one of five sites being considered for the consolidated plutonium work. It is also a likely site for the increased dismantlement work, and for additional high explosives work.

There is no magic new process for creating plutonium pits, and whatever facility does the work will be likely to look more like Rocky Flats in terms of environmental contamination. There are, of course, safety and environmental concerns with increased disassembly, but there's a safer world at the end of the process.

In the larger picture. Complex 2030 will further unravel the weakened Non- Proliferation Treaty, and increase the risks of nuclear proliferation around the world. In simple terms, if we build, others build. If we want to end or slow nuclear proliferation, our own commitment to the responsibility of the nuclear weapons states to dispose of their own arsenals is crucial. Without it, there is no credibility, no "moral high ground."

There is also no clear military or strategic need for new warheads. The Reliable Replacement Warhead is "make work" for the weapons labs. A study released near the end of the mhearings indicates that "aging" plutonium is no issue. It is safe and reliable for at least 100 years. Even Congress and the Pentagon recognize there is no "national consensus" of the future of nuclear weapons, and have called for additional studies to evaluate the need for new nukes.

The comment period for the scoping process continues until Jan. 17. Though there will be additional opportunities after the draft and final documents have been released, now is the time to demand that the Department of Energy consider another alternative, an alternative which would bring us into compliance with the NPT and move toward finally getting rid of the nuclear arsenal. Enclosed in this letter is a postcard to the appropriate address at DOE. There is space for comments of your own, or you can sign and send it in as is. You can also use is as the basis for a more personal letter, or, by going to the DOE/NNSA website, send in comments by email or fax.

It's the best 39 cent investment you can make to stop new nuclear weapons production,, and a great way to begin 2007.

Holiday and New Year's greetings from the board and staff of the Peace Farm!
As we move into 2007, we take a moment to review some of our accomplishments of 2006:
• Continued our opposition to the war and occupation of Iraq, and saw public opinion shift to a new understanding of the futility of our military role there
• Continued to monitor both weapons and environmental issues at Pantex, and in the wider nuclear weapons complex
• Hosted the annual meeting of the Organizing Network of the War Resisters League, introducing new friends to strategic nonviolence and secular pacifism
• Alerted Pantex neighbors to their rights as among the most immediately threatened by environmental and aquifer contamination there
• Delayed, and possibly ended, a move by Pantex that would increase the contamination of the aquifer
• Networked with other organizations around the country to unmask and oppose the planned production of new nuclear weapons, and held a local orientation to Complex 2030
• Networked with other organizations in the state and region to understand and end the new threats of nuclear power, with its associated risks on new uranium
mining and nuclear waste disposal
For 2007, we look forward to celebrating and working on
• The 25th anniversary of ongoing opposition to nuclear weapons production at Pantex
• The 20th anniversary of the work of the Peace Farm
• Completion of the installation of our historical exhibit. Amber Waves of Grain
• Seeking a solution to the devastation we have caused in Iraq, and opposing military intervention elsewhere
• Maintaining our role at Pantex, monitoring both weapons and environmental issues
• Continuing to develop local and regional opposition to Complex 2030 and other new nuclear weapons production
• Maintaining our opposition to new nuclear power development in the Panhandle and elsewhere
• Strengthening our presence in the community as a voice for peace and justice
We hope you will join us in both our success and our ongoing commitment for a world
without the threat of nuclear weapons, and with the possibility of peace and justice for
everyone. As always, we depend on your prayers, your action and your financial support.
In peace,

Mavis Belisle
Whereas, September 11, 2006 marks the fifth anniversary of events that have caused this date to be associated with fear, terrorism, and war; and

Whereas, September 11, 2006 also marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of the non-violent movement for justice and peace of Mahatma Gandhi; and

Whereas, a world that is free from war and violence will be a world in which the human community may reach its highest potential, and in which future generations may live without the threat or fear of physical, psychological or spiritual harm; and ...

Whereas, in the last 100 years we have begun to understand the linkages and interconnections among justice, peace, and environmental integrity, and that all aspirations for human betterment,including justice and peace, are utterly dependent upon the health of the ecosystems that support and maintain life in all its forms; and ...

Now therefore, I .. .encourage the citizens ... to reflect on the meaning of justice, peace, and nonviolent conflict resolution, and become living representatives of the power of love in their duties as householders and responsible citizens of our great Democracy, by acting in a compassionate and non-harming manner within human society, towards other than human life, and to the earth itself.

(from the Mayoral Proclamation, Asheville, NC, for Sept. 11, 2006)
The Peace Farm has continued its work since 1986 because of community support.
For additional information about its history, mission, or current work, c
ontact us at:
188 Hwy 60, Panhandle, TX 79068
call: (806) 341-4801

Send us an email at peacefarm@arn.net

home<news index