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Project on Government Oversight




POGO Salutes NNSA Nuclear Stockpile Consolidation Plan Urges Faster Action on Livermore National Lab

December 19, 2007 


The Project On Government Oversight is gratified to see the National Nuclear Security Administration’s plan announced yesterday to consolidate the nuclear weapons complex.  The plan mirrors the 2005 POGO Report, U.S. Nuclear Weapons Complex: Homeland Security Opportunities which detailed the urgent need to eliminate the vast inventories of highly enriched uranium and plutonium from sites that no longer have a mission for the material. 

Working with security experts throughout the federal government in preparing the report, POGO conducted an investigation determining how nuclear weapon sites could best meet the new security requirements and lessen the financial impact of improvements.  The investigation included myriad meetings with officials at the NNSA.  The experts’ greatest concern was that a number of sites posed a prime target for suicidal terrorist groups and were at high risk. 

The draft NNSA plan is designed to create a nuclear weapons infrastructure that is smaller, safer, more secure and more cost effective.

NNSA Administrator Thomas D’Agostino, in announcing the plan said, “I feel a sense of urgency. We must act now to adapt for the future security needs of the country, and stop pouring money into an old, Cold War-era weapons complex that is too big, too expensive, and doesn’t offer updated and safer ways of maintaining our nuclear stockpile or that is responsive to other national security needs.” 

However, POGO remains concerned that NNSA’s schedule of removing these materials is too prolonged despite NNSA Adminstrator Thomas P. D’Agostino stated sense of urgency. 

POGO believes that nuclear material at Lawrence Livermore National Lab should be moved within a year rather than the current plan of 2012. The rationale for an expedited timetable is supported by the fact of the site’s location in a densely populated area and its resulting extraordinary security expense. The POGO 2005 report said, “By disposing of excess nuclear materials and by consolidating the remaining materials to fewer and more easily-defended locations, the government could save nearly three billion dollars over three years while also better protecting the public from terrorist threats.”

Peter Stockton, Senior Investigator for POGO said, “NNSA is going in the right direction.  When POGO first began advocating the removal of these materials from Livermore , senior DOE officials told us this would never happen. We hope Mr. D’Agostino’s sense of urgency is supported by the sites and that the timetable is not allowed to slip, as it has in the past”. 

The Lawrence Livermore lab is located in a residential neighborhood only 800 yards from a building storing a ton of plutonium.  A nuclear incident would put in danger the seven million residents living within 50 miles of the lab.

Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO's investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.

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