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Reliable Replacement Warhead Proposal a Dud

May 23, 2007

The Energy and Water Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee today eliminated all funding in fiscal year 2008 for the reliable replacement warhead (RRW), the first of a proposed series of new hydrogen bombs designed to replace a major portion of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

“This initial termination of the RRW program is a major victory for the safety and health of Americans as well as international peace and security.  The United States retains thousands of nuclear weapons, and the use of one of those weapons would put at risk hundreds of thousands of people.  Building more weapons would be a waste of public funds and expose more workers and communities to radioactive and toxic materials,” PSR Executive Director Dr. Michael McCally said upon hearing the news.

The new hydrogen bomb faced harsh criticism from nonproliferation experts, physicians, scientists, and retired senior military officers who consider it inconsistent with the United States’ obligation under Article VI of the 1968 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) “to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament.”

The subcommittee also provided no funding for the plutonium pit center proposed by the administration, a major component of Complex 2030 that would revamp the entire nuclear weapons program.

“The billions of dollars proposed for Complex 2030 could be used for so many other more valuable programs; cleaning up contaminated nuclear weapons sites, funding health care for workers and others exposed to nuclear weapons production and testing, or the retooling of Department of Energy laboratories to address energy needs, not building more bombs,” added McCally.

PSR strongly opposes new hydrogen bombs, lobbying against the Reliable Replacement Warhead in meetings with 62 Congressional offices from 16 different states in April 2007, sending multiple action alerts to 22,000 activists encouraging the elimination of this dangerous and unnecessary program, and working in coalition with more than a dozen arms control advocacy and community groups.

Physicians for Social Responsibility was founded in 1961 by physicians concerned about the growing threat of the nuclear arms race and continues to be guided by the values and expertise of medicine and public health in working to protect human life from the gravest threats to health and survival.  It is the United States affiliate of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War.

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