From FCNL Cluster Bombs and more

The Senate has taken a first step toward banning the export of cluster bombs, a weapon with a particularly deadly record of killing and maiming civilians.  Just before the July 4 recess, the Senate Appropriations Committee added a provision banning cluster bomb exports to the bill funding the State Department.

This success is, in part, a result of your emails and messages calling on Congress to act to stop these weapons from killing and maiming civilians.  We at FCNL will be lobbying to ensure that this provision banning most exports of cluster bombs is approved by the full Senate and is included in the final legislation that is sent to the president.

The best way to build support for the restrictions on exports of cluster bombs and for better controls on the use of these deadly weapons in the U.S.  arsenal is to urge your senators to cosponsor the Cluster Munitions Protection Act (S.594).  Introduced by Feinstein, Mikulski, Leahy and Sanders Take Action Please write your senators today, even if you've already written before.  Urge your senators to cosponsor the Cluster Munitions Civilian Protection Act and to support all efforts to limit the use of these dangerous weapons:  Background Read more about the Senate action to restrict exports of cluster bombs:

Good news.  Your messages have worked.  Four separate committees in two chambers of Congress have now zeroed out funding for the Bush administration's proposal to build a new nuclear weapons facility to be located in one of six states.  FCNL worked with people like you around the country to oppose this new facility.  But the administration remains committed to its plan to develop and build new nuclear weapons.  Read more: Not so good news from Nuclear Age Peace Foundation June 7th, Los Alamos National Laboratory finished production on the first certified plutonium pit for a nuclear weapon produced in the last 18 years.

The pit, which will be assembled at the Pantex plant in Amarillo, Texas, will be placed in a W-88 nuclear warhead fitted for a Trident submarine.  The US has not made a plutonium pit since 1989 when the plutonium factory in Rocky Flats, Colorado was shut down due to environmental contamination.

In 1996, the Department of Energy re-established a pit-manufacturing center at Los Alamos.  The first pit was produced in 2003.  Since then, the lab has been perfecting a certification process.  The certification process was determined in the summer of 2006 and the work of certification began in November.  The National Nuclear Security Agency plans to build 10 new certified pits per year for new nuclear weapons.

The lab went as far as to invite Congressional delegates and dignitaries on July 2 to celebrate the first certified pit.  Jay Coghlan, the director of Nuclear Watch New Mexico, stated "Los Alamos should prioritize real national security threats like global climate change and the proliferation of nuclear weapons, instead of encouraging proliferation through new nuclear weapons production."

Source: Wong, Raam, "LANL Celebrates First Certified Pit in 18 Years,"
Albuquerque Journal, 8 June 2007.

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