Feb 28 2008
02:25 pm
By: Chris Lugo for ...

Let's make Tennessee Nuclear Free

In August of 1945 the United States embarked on a new chapter in world history with the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Since that time the United States has built up an arsenal of thousands of deadly nuclear warhead, ready to strike at a moment's notice anywhere in the world delivering their deadly, destructive power. Regardless of how we feel about the decision to use the atomic bomb in 1945, now we can take a step toward insuring that they are never used again on innocent civilians and non-combatants.

Tennessee has a unique role in the development of the nuclear bomb with the Oak Ridge National Laboratories. At the beginning of World War II President Roosevelt ordered the construction of the Oak Ridge National Laboratories and the Y-12 Complex for the processing of uranium and other components vital to the construction of the nuclear bomb. Oak Ridge employed thousands of people during the construction of these bombs and the processing all done in a top secret security environment.

In the 1980's the world stood on the verge of thermonuclear war during the extended global conflict between the United States and the former Soviet Union. Since that time, the issue has faded from the national spotlight, but the United States remains the greatest threat to international stability. We already have an arsenal big enough to destroy the world many many times. We should be making it smaller, not bigger. Every nuclear weapon we dismantle will bring us that much closer to world peace. Oak Ridge has could play an instrumental role in the dismantling of weapons of mass destruction.

Recently, the National Nuclear Security Administration has announced its plans to build a new nuclear weapons production plant in violation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Oak Ridge is being targeted for new bomb production facilities. The United States committed in 1970 to pursue complete nuclear disarmament “at an early date” in the Nonproliferation Treaty. It is time for us to keep our word.

Nuclear bombs are dirty business. The toxic materials that we produce in the production of these bombs sticks around for hundreds of thousands of years. Scientists are still many years from figuring out how to do anything with nuclear waste except put it underground and hope people forget about it. Nuclear bombs are also very expensive, much more so than most people realize. President Bush recently proposed spending another $21 billion on future nuclear maintenance and production.

If we remain silent, we are giving our approval to a new nuclear arms race, an enduring nuclear arsenal, and a nuclear shadow over generations to come. The threat of nuclear weapons remains the greatest threat to global peace and security. As a world leader the United States plays a fundamental role in the direction of global security. It is time for us to take steps toward peace and disarmament.

As a candidate for federal office I support full and open disclosure regarding our nuclear arsenal, the dismantling of all weapons of mass destruction, elimination of the nuclear weapons maintenance and production facilities still in existence including Tennessee's Y-12 and Oak Ridge National Laboratories. I support redirection of DOE and EPA dollars to cleanup and restoration where possible of environments devastated by our nuclear legacy, including the Oak Ridge bioregion, Savannah River, Hanford Complex, Nevada Test Site and Rocky Flats. I do not support the long term storage of radioactive nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain in Nevada.

Together we can make a difference. We can spend our money on warfare and the apocalypse or we can spend billions on building a stronger society, where everyone has food, shelter, health care, and the prospect of a living wage job. It is time to lead the world to true security and keep the promise we made in the Nonproliferation Treaty in 1970 to pursue complete disarmament.

Chris Lugo for US Senate
9 Music Sq So #164
Nashville, TN 37203


Welcome to the fray...

As a candidate for federal office, it would be a good idea to get facts straight prior to a full frontal assault.

I had occasion a year ago to do some research and to talk to some people directly involved with what I believe you are talking about.

First off: No plant at Oak Ridge has EVER made the first bomb. There have been COMPONENTS for every nuclear weapon in the US arsenal made at Oak Ridge. But no plant at Oak Ridge has EVER produced the weapon.

Second: There are no plans for a new bomb plant at Oak Ridge. Again, no weapons are made at Oak Ridge.

Third: There ARE plans for a new plant that will 1)re-process aging and less stable parts of weapons to make them more stable and hence less likely of causing a problem from deterioration, and 2) upgrade facilities used for the dismantling of nuclear weapons components of the US and other countries that have agreed to do this.

There is no NEW nuclear arms race. There are fewer nuclear weapons now than there have been for a long time. What's NEW is improving the quality and stability of certain components that do exist legally and within the constraints of existing nuclear treaties, and the new expansion of safe, secure dismantling facilities.

Full disclosure? You mean there should be no nuclear secrets?

Right. Turn your swords into plowshares and the world will follow and we'll all be safe. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it, and history has taught us this approach will not work.


I love it when folks agree

I love it when folks agree so perfectly.


RB, I kinda think you're splitting hairs. Just because the final product is not assembled here, isn't the same thing as "we don't make bombs."

I understand Lugo's point, and you probably do too. Whether we agree is another argument.

It's all good, isn't it, WC?

This is another one I'm right with ya on! :>))


(big grin today!)

I do agree, at least partly, Mark

We can't get rid of all of 'em. I also agree that I'd like to see more work on increasing production of nuclear power.

Coupla points (taken from friends who work in the nuclear industry and who know)... Weapons grade uranium isn't what they use for power reactors. They process it to spiff it up somehow after it's degraded somewhat but is still "hot" enough to be weapons grade.

What the new place it Oak Ridge is supposed to do is what IMHO are a coupla positive things: 1) Take material that is on legally existing warheads that is of a certain age and condition and process it so it's more stable and safe, and 2) provide larger, safer facilities for the actual dismantling of nuclear weapons that have been decommissioned. I just see that as a positive thing. It is NOT going to be making NEW weapons in the sense of additional weapons. I think that distinction is easy to understand, too.


I think I agree :-)

I think thee and me is on the same page here.


Oh well, then, we can disagree :-)

I agreed first when your only comment was "I love it when folks agree so perfectly. ;>)"

There is a distinction, although those who hate anything nuclear often are unable to see it.

If you work at a GM plant that makes transmissions, do you think you would say you worked at a plant that makes cars? the distinction is simple.

Lugo's post said: "Oak Ridge is being targeted for new bomb production facilities." That sounds like the whole enchilada to me. My distinction about that is as clear as the one about do you make cars or only parts for cars. You are not a car plant unless you assemble cars. You are a parts plant. Same applies here. Never has taken a nuclear physicist to see the distinction.


Well, we're almost agreeing, anyway...

Mark, as much as I respect you, I will disagree slightly...

As an able attorney, you know the devil's in the details. And I know you know that. The difference lies in who feels what is important. And we all know slight or small distinctions can still be important factual distinctions.

You don't think the distinction is worth making. I do. Big or small, it is a distinction.

It's not unsupported, it's a fact. It's just not a distinction YOU feel is important, which is not really the same as unsupported. I didn't really make an unsupported statement; I made one which you and others feel is an unimportant distinction.

It's OK that you feel my distinction is small or unimportant. I've made my point.

NOW I'll take your advice and let it go :-)


Lugo is running as a Green

Lugo is running as a Green candidate.

I believe he's running in the Democratic primary.

Based on his website...

Mr Lugo is a Green who has decided to run as a Democrat so as to enhance his chances.

"In 2006 he decided to step up his politics a level by running as the Green Party of Tennessee candidate for US Senate. Having been active in the campaigns for Ralph Nader for President, David Cobb for President, Tom Burrell for US Senate and Jonathan Farley for Congress, Lugo decided to step in the race in 2006. He cited the need for a peace alternative in the 2006 race after having interviewed Harold Ford Jr. at an open meeting where Ford encouraging a stepping up of the US war effort in Iraq.

In 2008 after considering an independent run for the US Senate in Tennessee again to advocate for peace and social justice issue Lugo stepped into the race as a Democrat, hoping that perhaps it would be a better choice to advocate for the social justice issues that he feels are being ignored by political insiders including the crisis of poverty in Tennessee, the lack of adequate health care for hundreds of thousands of Tennesseans, and the need to bring an end to the war in Iraq."


Yes, I am quite familiar

Yes, I am quite familiar with Mr. Lugo and his Green credentials. However, I believe if you look on the ballot in August you will find his name on the Democratic primary ballot as he mentions on his website. So he is not running as a Green as previously stated. No big deal, just clarifying.

All we need now is more Democrat voters who believe in social, economic, and environmental justice to support candidates such as Mr. Lugo who believe in social, economic, and environmental justice, as opposed to some of the Tennessee-style Democrats who have to run to the right to get elected (or in the case of Ford run way to the right and still can't get elected).

I never denied how he was running, Randy

I have no doubt he'll show up on the Democrat part of the ballot. I simply quoted directly from his own website that described him as a Green who became a Democrat to enhance his political chances. I didn't criticize him for that - it's reality politics. I'm just clarifying as well - I never said he was running as a Green. Doesn't matter to me which party he runs under - whatever floats his boat. That's American politics.


Well, there might be a tree

Well, there might be a tree left for him to hug, but maybe not, after Pakistan, Iran , Iraq or North Korea exploited his new found "flower power" status.

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