News Release

U.S. Preparing to Resume Nuclear Tests?

Critics are expressing dismay in response to published reports that the White House is exploring options for resumption of American nuclear blasts. The Knight Ridder news service reported Thursday that “the Bush administration has asked U.S. nuclear weapons scientists to examine ways that nuclear test explosions beneath the Nevada desert could resume more quickly if the government decides to end a nine-year moratorium on nuclear testing.”

The following nuclear policy analysts are available for interviews:

PRESTON J. TRUMAN
Director of the Downwinders organization, Truman has worked with thousands of Americans who, like himself, have dealt with the aftermath of fallout from nuclear explosions in Nevada. He said today: “The Bush administration has been undermining the ABM Treaty and the Outer Space Treaty; now this signal that they may resume below-ground testing also leads to an ominous conclusion — that the U.S. is preparing to unilaterally jettison an arms control regime fostered by every president since Eisenhower…. This threatens a costly and dangerous new arms race, alarming to our allies as well as our adversaries…. We know now that 58 percent of the more than 900 underground nuclear tests conducted over 33 years leaked radiation, many of those exposing citizens far from the Nevada Test Site borders to harmful doses. A resumption of nuclear testing would repeat this nightmare for our descendents.”
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JACQUELINE CABASSO
Executive director of the Western States Legal Foundation, Cabasso said today: “This latest ‘trial balloon’ is yet more evidence that George W. Bush’s pledges to reduce the number of U.S. nuclear weapons and walk away from ‘Mutually Assured Destruction’ are nothing more than smoke and mirrors. Behind the smoke and mirrors is a dangerous and destabilizing, increasingly unilateral foreign policy, buttressed by the threatened use of new and improved nuclear weapons. Just one year ago, the U.S. government reaffirmed its Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty commitments to the ‘cessation of the arms race’ and the ‘elimination of nuclear weapons.’ The U.S. also agreed to a ‘diminishing role’ for nuclear weapons, and to a no-backtracking ‘principle of irreversibility’ for arms control and nuclear disarmament measures. In the eyes of the rest of the world, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, signed by the United States in 1996 but not yet ratified, is at the very top of that list of measures.”
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M. V. RAMANA
Research associate with the Program on Science and Global Security at Princeton University and author of “Bombing Bombay: Effects of Nuclear Weapons and a Case Study of a Hypothetical Explosion,” Ramana said today: “This results in part from the pressure exerted by the military-industrial complex; for many years now, weapons scientists have advocated ‘retaining the ability to develop new nuclear options.’ One can expect defense planners in several countries around the world, especially areas like East and South Asia, to recommend dealing with this new facet of U.S. foreign and military policy by further developing weapons of their own.”
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JOHN BURROUGHS
Executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee on Nuclear Policy, Burroughs is author of “The Legality of Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons: A Guide to the Historic Opinion of the International Court of Justice.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167