Thursday, March 15, 2012

Nuclear Testing at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

So I’ve been following Media Roots, a project devoted to citizen journalism and a socially responsible press, for about a year now. Abby Martin, the founder of the project, is an investigative journalist/ political scientist who became fed up with the mind-numbing news reports caused by corporate media ownership. The other day Media Roots released an interesting piece on the ‘non-existent’ nuclear testing at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. While the exposé was originally intended to explore the new computerized methods of nuclear testing, what was found was a bit more disheartening. According to the Media Roots report, the perceived ‘ban on nuclear testing’ is as much of a fallacy as the idea that war brings peace.

In accordance with the 1963 Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, the United States along with the USSR and UK agreed to prohibit all tests of nuclear devices in the atmosphere, outer space, and underwater. Despite the agreement, the Department of Energy has continued to test and develop nuclear weapons with the help of some fancy footwork and strategic wording. Let me give you an example: while watching the Media Roots report I was reminded of an Alliance for Nuclear Accountability publication about the ten most budget-busting Department of Energy projects for the upcoming decade. One of the projects, the National Ignition Facility, specifically stood out in my mind because it sounded like something out of Back to the Future.

The National Ignition Facility uses nuclear fusion science (aka lots and lots of laser beams) to essentially create a mini sun capable of solving many of the world’s energy problems. At least that’s how the project was initially sold to Congress and local representatives. According to a 2000 Government Accountability Office report only 15% of operations at the National Ignition Facility are devoted to non-weapons activities. The other 85%? You guessed it: nuclear weapons testing.

For a country committed to a world without nuclear weapons, we sure do put a lot of emphasis on warhead maintenance and development. Make sure you check out “Lawrence Livermore Lab & the Continued Nuclear Arms Race” at for more information on current nuclear tests.

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