Who Will Disarm America?




Date:    November 11, 2002

To:       Michael R. Anastasio, Director

            Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

            7000 East Avenue

            Livermore, California

Fax:      (510) 423-3597


Dr. Anastasio:


            This is to serve notice that a Citizen Weapons Inspection Team including representatives from community, veterans and student organizations, will visit the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory on Veteran’s Day, Monday, November 11, 2002, to investigate the Lab’s involvement in clandestine activities related to the research and development of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear and biological weapons.  The Citizen Weapons Inspection Team will arrive at the West Gate of the Laboratory at approximately 12:00 noon, where we will present evidence of weapons work obtained from open public sources.  At that time we will also announce our intent to gain “immediate, unimpeded, unconditional, and unrestricted access to any and all, including underground, areas, facilities, buildings, equipment, records, and means of transport,” we may wish to inspect, as well as “private access to all officials and other persons” whom we wish to interview “in the mode or location of”our choice.[1]  In regard to the second clause, we intend to request an interview with you at a time and location to be determined.  A partial list of the known Livermore Lab facilities we wish to inspect follows:


            The Plutonium Facility (Building 332), (may house up to 1,550 pounds of plutonium);


            The Tritium Facility (Building 331);


            The Uranium Manufacturing and Process Development Facility;


            The National Ignition Facility (Building 581);


Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASCI) facilities including the ASCI White and Blue Pacific supercomputers, (Building 451);


            The High-Explosives Application Facility;


            The Hardened Test Facility;


            The Flash X-Ray/Contained Firing Facility (Site 300);


The Biosfety Level (BSL) - 2 laboratory and proposed site for the BSL-3 laboratory (Building 360 complex);


            The Conflict Simulation Laboratory;


            The International Assessments Center;


Construction sites for the International Security Research Facility and the Terascale Simulation Facility (groundbreaking ceremonies April 4, 2002);


            We are not seeking to acquire justifiably secret information about the design details of existing or proposed nuclear or biological weapons.


            On November 8, 2002, under the threat of unilateral military action by the United States, the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1441, which affords Iraq “a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations” by setting up “an enhanced inspection regime with the aim of bringing to full and verified completion the disarmament process” established by prior Security Council resolutions.            


            We welcome the return of inspectors to Iraq and call for all states, either known or suspected of having nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction — including the United States — to accept inspections of their own facilities on the same terms.


            Numerous publicly available U.S. government documents make explicit Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s historic and ongoing nuclear weapons mission.  The purpose of the Citizen Weapons Inspection Team visit is to investigate the scope and specifics of the Lab’s current nuclear weapons research, development, testing and production activities and to demand cessation and termination of those activities pursuant to Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which entered into force and became U.S. law in 1970.  NPT Article VI reads: “Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes 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, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”


            Further, in light of successful U.S. efforts to block adoption of a verification protocol to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), we also intend to investigate the Lab’s growing involvement in biological weapons research.  The BWC, which entered into force and became U.S. law in 1975, bans the development, production, stockpiling, or acquisition of biological

agents or toxins of any type or quantity that do not have protective, medical, or other peaceful purposes, or any weapons or means of delivery for such agents or toxins. The National Nuclear Security Administration released a Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Proposed Construction of a Biosafety Level 3 facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in June, 2002.  According to the EA, “The proposed facility would have the unique capability within DOE/NNSA to perform aerosol studies to include challenges of rodents using infectious agents or biologically derived toxins (biotoxins).”


            In July 1996, the International Court of Justice unanimously held that


 “There exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control.”


            Moreover, the Court specified that


“The legal import of [the NPT Article VI] obligation goes beyond that of a mere obligation of conduct; the obligation involved here is an obligation to achieve a precise result -- nuclear disarmament in all its aspects -- by adopting a particular course of conduct, namely, the pursuit of negotiations on the matter in good faith.”


            We note that at present there are no formal bi-lateral or multi-lateral negotiations underway with regard to nuclear disarmament.  Further, there is extensive, well-documented evidence that, contrary to the promise of nuclear disarmament embodied by the NPT, the United States is vigorously pursuing nuclear weapons research, development, testing and production activities at its Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories, the Nevada Test Site, and other Department of Energy (DOE)/National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) sites, under the deceptively-named “Stockpile Stewardship” program.


            The January 2002 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) reaffirmed the centrality of nuclear weapons in U.S. national security policy.  Its basic thrust is to maintain maximum flexibility with regard to arsenal size and capabilities, with minimum treaty limitations.  While unilateral cuts in deployed U.S. strategic arms are anticipated over the next 10 years, the capability to rapidly reconstitute the arsenal size is emphasized.  The capability to modify existing nuclear weapons or develop new weapon types will be retained, along with an upgraded capacity to resume full scale underground nuclear tests. The policies declared in the NPR are designed to make the use of nuclear weapons more credible.  The NPR relocates nuclear weapons within a broad spectrum of warfighting capabilities including not only missile defenses, but new military systems ranging from more sophisticated long range, accurate conventional missiles to weapons designed to disrupt or destroy electronic command, control, and air defense systems. The NPR also calls for the modernization of the research laboratories and production plants needed to design and build new nuclear warheads and other strategic weapons.  


            The NNSA relied on the NPR as its primary budget justification for its $5.9 billion request to the U.S. Congress for nuclear weapons activities (not including delivery systems) in Fiscal Year (FY) 2003.


“The centerpiece of the NPR is the New Triad of flexible response capabilities consisting of the following elements:


            non‑nuclear and nuclear strike capabilities including systems for command and control,


            active and passive defenses including ballistic missile defenses, and


R&D [research and development] and industrial infrastucture needed to develop, build, and maintain nuclear offensive forces and defensive systems


            Of particular interest... is that the New Triad reflects a broad recognition of the importance of a robust and responsive nuclear weapons infrastructure in sustaining deterrence and dissuasion.  In this connection,... the flexibility to sustain our enduring nuclear weapons stockpile, to adapt current weapons to new missions, or to field new weapons, if required, depends on a healthy program for stockpile stewardship... as well as a robust infrastructure for nuclear weapons production.... Most importantly, this review reemphasizes the importance of nuclear weapons to deter the threats of weapons of mass destruction, to assure allies of U.S. security commitments, to hold at risk an adversary's assets and capabilities that cannot be countered through non‑nuclear means and to dissuade potential adversaries from developing large‑scale nuclear or conventional threats.”[2]


            Under the Stockpile Stewardship program, the U.S. is building an array of new nuclear weapons research and production facilities of unprecedented sophistication — many of them at the Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos National Laboratories.  These facilities will allow the U.S. to continue testing many aspects of nuclear weapons function in the laboratory, even setting off small thermonuclear explosions in containment vessels. Together with the world’s most powerful super‑computers, they will allow the U.S. to train a new generation of nuclear weapons designers and to explore new weapons concepts, despite the moratorium on full scale underground nuclear testing.  Since signing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty 1996, as part of Stockpile Stewardship, the U.S. has detonated 19 “subcritical” nuclear explosions underground at the Nevada Test Site.  In addition to providing information relevant to nuclear weapons design, these experiments help to keep the Test Site and lab personnel prepared for full‑scale underground nuclear tests.


            On May 5, 2000, at the conclusion of the first NPT Review Conference since the Treaty's indefinite extension in 1995, the U.S. agreed to 13 practical steps for the systematic and progressive implementation of Article VI.  These steps include: ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT); the principle of irreversibility as applied to nuclear disarmament and related arms control and reduction measures; an unequivocal undertaking to accomplish the total elimination of its nuclear arsenal; full implementation of START II and conclusion of START III as soon as possible while preserving and strengthening the Anti‑Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty; increased transparency regarding nuclear weapons capabilities; concrete measures to reduce the operational status of nuclear weapons; and a diminishing role for nuclear weapons in security policies. 


            The NPR amounts to an unequivocal rejection of most of these steps, as well as of nuclear disarmament itself.  The entire thrust of the NPR is not to make weapons reductions  “irreversible,” but rather to assure for many decades to come that an enormous force of nuclear warheads and delivery systems can be reconstituted, and that new and improved nuclear weapons can be designed and built.  On February 14, 2002, NNSA head John Gordon, told the Senate Arms Services Committee that the NPR endorsed plans to “[r]eestablish nuclear warhead advanced concepts teams” at the nuclear weapons laboratories. The eventual goal “is to maintain sufficient R&D and production capability to be able to design, develop, and begin production on the order of five years from a decision to enter full‑scale development of a new warhead.” This is roughly the same length of time it took to design and produce a new nuclear weapon during the Cold War.


            Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s FY 2002-2007 Institutional Plan identifies Livermore as the design lab for four nuclear weapons systems in the current U.S. stockpile: the W87 and W62 ICBM warheads, the B83 bomb, and the W84 cruise missile warhead.  The Institutional Plan describes life-extension programs (LEPs) now underway for these weapons, as well as for the W80 cruise missile warhead, a Los Alamos design. “Production of refurbished W87 warheads is now in progress, and we are now developing additional LEPs to extend the stockpile life of the other Livermore-designed systems.” According the Institutional Plan, “The schedule calls for the first production unit of the refurbished [W80] warheads in FY 2006.”


            Further, according to newspaper reports, the Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos National Laboratories have been funded to begin preliminary work on a Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator. Livermore will undertake “a feasibility study on strengthening the B-83 hydrogen bomb and mounting it inside a narrow, pointed case so that it can withstand a high-speed collision with the ground and a grinding trip through several dozen feet of rock, concrete and dirt before exploding.”  Los Alamos will study similar modifications to the B-61 bomb.  As reported in the Mercury News, “The ‘design contest’ between the two labs is intended to generate enthusiasm among their workers, who have engaged in a spirited nuclear competition for five decades.”[3]


            Evidence of Livermore Lab’s ongoing work on nuclear weapons, contrary to U.S. obligations under the NPT is overwhelming.  Just as the United States and the United Nations are demanding of Iraq, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory must provide assurances that it is no longer engaged in nuclear weapons research and development activities, and must provide convincing evidence that any bioweapons research is purely defensive.  Ongoing inspections by a strengthened International Atomic Energy Agency, other international agencies, and future Citizen Weapons Inspection Teams will be required in order to verify that nuclear and biological weapons research and development activities at the Lab have ceased.


            On March 19, 1998 then-Livermore Lab Director Bruce Tarter, told a Senate subcommittee that, “as UNSCOM’s difficulties in Iraq demonstrate, face-to-face cooperation is unlikely or unfeasible with suspected proliferants...”  We hope that we will not find this to be the case at the Livermore Lab.  Thank you in advance for your cooperation.


On behalf of the Citizen Weapons Inspection Team,



            Jacqueline Cabasso                                                                          

            Western States Legal Foundation                                        Tara Dorobji  

            1504 Franklin Street, Suite 204                                                Tri- Valley CAREs

            Oakland, CA 94612                                                                 2582 Old First Street

            (510) 839-5877                                                                       Livermore, CA 94550

                                                                                                            (925) 443-7148

            James Long

            Vice-Commander, American Legion Post 315                     Peter Ferenbach        

            Veterans for Peace                                                                California Peace Action        

            Box  40430                                                                              2800 Adeline Street                 

            San Francisco, CA                                                                   Berkeley, CA 94703               

            (415) 255-7331                                                                       (510) 849-2272




cc:        United States President George W. Bush

            U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell

            U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld

            U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein, California

            U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, California

            Representative Ellen Tauscher, 10th Congressional District, California

            The Regents of the University of California

            Kofi Annan, Secretary-General, United Nations           

            Jayantha Dhanapala, Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs, United Nations

            Members of the United Nations Security Council

            Dr. Hans Blix, Executive Chairman, United Nations Monitoring, Verification and

            Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC)

            Mohamed El Baradei, Director General, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)


[1] The language in quotes is excerpted from United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441 on Iraq, adopted Nov. 8, 2002.

[2] Weapons Activities/Executive Summary, FY 2003 Congressional Budget

[3] “Work on Burrowing Bomb OK’d, Congressional Compromise Allows Livermore to Begin Weapon Design,” Dan Stober, Mercury News, October 10, 2002, P. 5A