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Letter to Senator Feinstein on Nuclear Weapons

Dear Senator Feinstein,

We are writing to express our strong gratitude and support for your leadership on nuclear weapons issues.

First, thank you for your statement of support for the President's June 19 Berlin speech proposals and for the letter you and 22 other Senate colleagues wrote to the President in March urging action on nuclear reductions, the test ban treaty, and improving nuclear materials security.

Second, we thank you for your leadership in the Appropriations Committee for increasing funding for nuclear terrorism prevention efforts and scaling back the B61 life extension program in the Fiscal Year 2014 Energy and Water Appropriations bill. These principled and pragmatic budget decisions will greatly benefit the American national interest and American taxpayers.

The administration’s FY2014 budget request for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) recommends cuts to the International Materials Protection and Cooperation program and the Global Threat Reduction Initiative of 35 and 15 percent below last year’s level, respectively. As you noted during an Appropriations Committee hearing earlier this year, “the President has described nuclear terrorism as the most immediate and extreme threat to global security,” but under this budget scenario, “rather than getting the job done, these materials are going to be vulnerable for a long, long time.” By reversing over $120 million of the funding cuts to core nuclear and radiological material security programs, your bill would ensure that these programs stay on track to achieve their goals and send the signal to the administration that it must adequately fund these activities in its future budget requests.

We also applaud your decision to require NNSA to reassess options for the B61 life extension program. While the budget request slashes funding for anti-nuclear terrorism and nonproliferation programs, the request for the B61 refurbishment rose by 45 percent over last year’s appropriation. The current plan for the B61 life extension program is unrealistic, unnecessary, and unaffordable. Two years ago, NNSA estimated that the program would cost $4 billion and start in 2017. Now the estimate has ballooned to over $10 billion and the first refurbished bomb won’t be produced until 2020 at the earliest. We agree that cheaper alternatives to the current life extension plan exist.

We commend your remarkable leadership on these issues. You have our sincerest support.

Sincerely,

Jay Coghlan
Executive Director
Nuclear Watch New Mexico

David Culp
Legislative Representatives
Friends Committee on National Legislation

Lt. Gen. Robert Gard (USA, ret)
Chairman
Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation

Lisbeth Gronlund
Co-director, Global Security Program
Union of Concerned Scientists

John Isaacs
Executive Director
Council for a Livable World

Daryl Kimball
Executive Director
Arms Control Association

Marylia Kelley
Executive Director,
Tri-Valley CAREs (Communities Against a Radioactive Environment)

Kingston Reif
Director of Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Council for a Livable World

Joel Rubin
Director of Policy and Government Affairs
Ploughshares Fund

Catherine Thomasson, MD
Executive Director
Physicians for Social Responsibility

Paul Walker
Director, Security and Sustainability
Green Cross International

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