Amendment no. 1085
The PRESIDING OFFICER.
The Senator from California.
Amendment No. 1085
FEINSTEIN. Mr. President, on behalf of Senators Kennedy,
Feingold, Dorgan, Levin, Wyden, Clinton, Mikulski, Lautenberg, Boxer,
Reed, Harkin, and
Biden, I send an amendment to the desk.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report the amendment.
The legislative clerk read as follows:
The Senator from <st1:state><st1:place>California</st1:place></st1:state> [Mrs.
Feinstein], for herself,
Mr. Kennedy, Mr. Feingold, Mr. Dorgan, Mr. Levin, Mr. Wyden,
Mrs. Clinton, Ms. Mikulski, Mr. Lautenberg, Mrs. Boxer, Mr.
Reed, Mr. Harkin, and Mr.
Biden, proposes an amendment
FEINSTEIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the
reading of the amendment be dispensed with.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
The amendment is as follows:
(Purpose: To prohibit the use of funds for the Robust
Penetrator and utilize the amount of funds otherwise available to
reduce the National debt)
At the appropriate place, insert the following:
Sec. __. (a) Prohibition on Use of Funds for Robust
Earth Penetrator.--None of the funds appropriated or
otherwise made available by this Act may be used for any
purpose related to the Robust
Nuclear Earth Penetrator
(b) Utilization of Amount for Reduction of Public Debt.--Of
the amounts appropriated by this Act, an amount equal to the
amount of funds covered by the prohibition in subsection (a)
shall not be obligated or expended, but shall be utilized
instead solely for purposes of the reduction of the public
FEINSTEIN. Mr. President, I was 13 years old when I saw this
picture. When we discuss
nuclear weapons, this is the picture I
remember. The only country on Earth that has ever used
is our own. It has been debated ever since whether this was positive
because it saved American troops and ended the war or whether it has
launched our country and other countries into a race which well could
prove disastrous for all of us.
This is a photograph of <st1:city><st1:place>Hiroshima</st1:place></st1:city> after the
nuclear bomb was dropped
on the city on August 6, 1945. Mr. President, 80,000 people died from
the initial blast and 60,000 people died from radiation poisoning, for
a total of 140,000 people dead. And that bomb was 15 kilotons.
The second photograph is of <st1:city><st1:place>Nagasaki</st1:place></st1:city> after August 9, 1945.
Approximately 75,000 of the city's 240,000 residents were killed
instantly. In total, approximately 100,000 people died in the blast.
I rise today once again to address a critical issue that is related
to the security of the American people and our
efforts: the renewed push by this administration to reopen the
door, including funding for a 100-kiloton
I have argued this on the Senate floor before,
that such actions,
combined with the policy of unilateralism and preemption, run counter
to our values and nonproliferation efforts and put <st1:place><st1:country-region>U.S.</st1:country-region></st1:place> national
security interests and American lives at risk. Therefore, those of us
who are cosponsors of this amendment wish to delete the $4 million, for
the study and development of the robust
amendment redirects the funds for debt reduction.
The time has come for this Senate, like the House has done in this
bill, to send a clear and unambiguous message to the White House and
the Pentagon: We will not support funding for programs to develop new
Congress made a strong statement last year in deleting funding for
the development of this
buster by eliminating $27.5
million for the
buster, $9 million for the advanced concepts
initiative, which included the study of the development of low-yield
weapons. This action was due in no small part to the leadership of
Representative David Hobson, chairman of the House Appropriations
Energy Committee. The House took a strong position of opposition and
they are to be commended.
In fact, the House removed new
nuclear weapons from all bills,
including the Fiscal Year 2006 Defense authorization bill, the Fiscal
Year 2006 Defense appropriations
bill, and the 2006 Energy
appropriations bill. This was a consequential victory for those of us
who believe the <st1:place><st1:country-region>United States</st1:country-region></st1:place> sends the wrong signal to the rest of the
world by reopening the
nuclear door and beginning the testing and
development of a new generation of
nuclear weapons. That is why I was
so disappointed to learn that the administration requested funds this
year to resume the
As a matter of fact, this year Secretary
Rumsfeld asked the
Department of Energy to place the $4 million in the energy budget and
$4.5 million in the defense budget, thereby splitting the amount
requested for the
buster. He hoped to weaken opposition and
split the budget between two Departments so that if it could not get
funding in one, he could get it in the other. The House had the
foresight to reject this idea and has reasserted its determination not
to move forward with the
During its markup on the 2006 Defense authorization bill, the House
Armed Services Committee eliminated all the Department of Energy
funding for the RNEP, and transferred the $4 million to the Air Force
budget for work on a conventional
nonnuclear version of the
buster. The House Armed Services Committee member, Silvestre Reyes,
stated: The committee took the ``N,'' or ``
nuclear,'' out of the RNEP
Following the Armed Services Committee action, Chairman Hobson and
Representative Ellen Tauscher led the effort to eliminate the
Department of Energy funding of $4 million for the
buster in its
markup in the 2006 Energy and Water appropriations bill. That bill also
eliminated funding for the modern pit facility and banned site
selection for the facility in 2006.
Finally, the House 2006 Defense appropriations bill limits research
buster to a conventional program. These three actions by
authorizers and appropriators, Republicans and Democrats alike, have
dealt another blow to the administration's plans to develop new
weapons and reinforced the clear intent of Congress that we should not
go down that path because it will only encourage the very proliferation
we are trying to prevent.
Why should the Senate continue to fund programs that are
losing support in the House and the administration? Now the Senate has
an opportunity to follow the House's lead. Senator Kennedy and I and
others have come to the floor to offer this amendment to do just that.
During previous debates on this issue, we have argued that according
to the laws of physics, it is simply not possible for a missile casing
nuclear warhead to survive a thrust into the earth to take out a
hard and deeply buried military target without spewing millions of tons
of cubic feet of radiation into the atmosphere. Consider this: A 1-
nuclear weapon detonated 25 to 50 feet underground would dig a
crater the size of Ground Zero in <st1:place><st1:state>New York</st1:state></st1:place> and eject 1 million cubic
feet of radioactive debris into the air.
Given the insurmountable physics problems associated with burrowing a
warhead deep into the earth, one would need a weapon with more than 100
kilotons of yield to destroy an underground target at a depth of 1,000
Now let me explain. The maximum feasible depth of a
35 feet. At that depth, a 100-kiloton
buster would scatter 100
million cubic feet of radioactive debris into the atmosphere. There is
no known missile casing that can survive a 1,000-foot thrust into the
Earth and avoid overwhelming and catastrophic consequences. That is a
fact. There is not a single scientist who will say that.
The head of the National
Nuclear Security Administration agrees.
At the March 2, 2005, House Armed Services Strategic Forces
Subcommittee, Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher asked Ambassador Linton
Brooks, the following question:
I just want to know is there any way a [robust
penetrator] of any size that we would drop would not
produce a huge amount of radioactive debris?
The Ambassador replied:
No, there is not.
When Congresswoman Tauscher asked him how deep he thought a
buster could go, he answered:
. . .
a couple of tens of meters, maybe. I mean certainly--
I must apologize for my lack of precision if we in the
administration have suggested that it was possible to have a
bomb that penetrated far enough to trap all fallout. I don't
believe that--I don't believe the law of physics will ever
let that be true.
Here is the head of the National
Nuclear Security Administration
saying there is no way one can drive a missile casing deep enough to
prevent radioactive spewing.
Let me just show what this means. For a 100-kiloton weapon, one would
have to drive it 800 feet deep into the earth to contain the
fallout. One can only drive it a small distance: 35 feet. So the result
is 1.5 million tons of radioactivity. If it is 5 kilotons, one would
have to drive it 320 feet. One could only drive it 35 feet. The spewing
of radioactive debris is 200,000 tons. If it is 1 kiloton, one would
have to drive it 220 feet. One could only drive it 35 feet and the
radioactivity is 60,000 tons. If it is .2 kilotons, one would have to
drive it 120 feet. One can only drive it 35 feet, and the radioactive
spewing is 25,000 tons.
This is not from me. This is the National Academy of Sciences,
nuclear scientists, physicists, the head of the National
Security Administration. There is widespread agreement about this. So
why are we doing it?
On April 27, the National Academies of Sciences study commissioned by
Congress to study the anticipated health and environmental effects of
Nuclear Earth Penetrator Weapon found that current experience and
empirical predictions indicate that the Earth-penetrating weapons
cannot penetrate to depths required for total containment of the
effects of a
nuclear explosion. It would take a 300-kiloton weapon at a
penetration of 3 meters, or 10 feet, to destroy hard and deeply buried
targets at 200 meters, or 656 feet.
To destroy a hard and deeply buried target at 300 meters you would
need a 1-megaton weapon--not kiloton, megaton. The number of casualties
from an Earth
penetrator weapon detonated at a few meters depth is, for
all practical purposes, equal to that of a surface burst of the same
That is what the National Academies of Sciences studies say. For
attacks near or in densely populated areas, using
Penetrator Weapons on hard and deeply buried targets, the number of
casualties can range from thousands to more than a million, depending
primarily on weapon yield.
The bottom line is that a
buster cannot penetrate into the
Earth deeply enough to avoid massive casualties and the spewing of
millions of cubic feet of radioactive materials into the atmosphere. It
would result in the death of up to a million people or more if used in
a densely populated area.
This chart shows that. The source is the National Resources Defense
Council and the EPA. What it shows is the predicted radioactive fallout
from a B61-11 300-kiloton explosion in <st1:place><st1:city>West Pyongyang</st1:city>, <st1:country-region>North Korea</st1:country-region></st1:place>,
using historical weather data for the month of May.
Here is the blast, here is <st1:place><st1:city>Seoul</st1:city></st1:place>,
here is the radioactive fallout.
Why are we doing this? It makes no sense.
I think this is the strongest evidence to date that we should not
move forward with this study and that we should put a stop to it once
and for all. In reality, this has never been about a study. It has been
about the intent of this administration to develop new
While the administration is silent this year on how much it plans to
spend on the program in the future, last year's budget request totaled
$485 million on the robust
penetrator over 5 years. This
5-year figure was omitted this year.
Let's look, for a brief moment, at the policies underlying this
request, for they, too, have not been changed. The 2002
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The time of the Senator has expired.
FEINSTEIN. Mr. President, I yield myself another 5 minutes.
Nuclear Posture Review places
nuclear weapons as part of the
strategic triad. Therefore, the aim is to blur the distinction between
nuclear weapons. This makes them easier to use.
National Security Directive 17 indicates that the <st1:country-region><st1:place>United States</st1:place></st1:country-region> would
engage in a first use of
nuclear weapons--a historic statement in
itself. We have never had a first-use policy. We have always had
strategic ambiguity, but we have never before said we would ever
countenance a first use of
nuclear weapons. In Security Directive 17 it
is said in response to a chemical or biological attack--and seven
nations are actually named--we would consider a
nuclear response. In
essence, these policies encourage other nations, and they have
encouraged <st1:country-region>North Korea</st1:country-region> and they have encouraged <st1:place><st1:country-region>Iran</st1:country-region></st1:place>--those are two of
the nations suggested--to develop their own
nuclear weapons, thereby
putting American lives and our own national security interests at risk.
We are telling the world, when it comes to
nuclear weapons: Do as we
say, not as we do. I object to that policy. It is hypocrisy.
There are alternatives. I have just been briefed by Northrop Grumman
on a program they are working on with Boeing to develop a conventional
buster, the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, which is designed to go
deeper than any
buster and take out 25 percent of
underground and deeply buried targets. This 30,000-pound weapon, 20
feet in length, with 6,000 pounds of high explosives, will be delivered
from a B-2 or a B-52 bomber. It can burrow 60 meters into the ground
psi of reinforced concrete. It will burrow 8 meters into
the ground through 10,000
psi reinforced concrete.
We have already spent $6 million on this program, and design and
ground testing are scheduled to be completed next year.
We should focus on conventional programs. The House has said this.
The Senate should concur.
We have a solemn obligation to spend our resources in the most
effective manner and to make this country safer and more secure. That
is why I am so concerned about this administration's decision to come
back to Congress and request additional funds for new
I would like to give my kudos and congratulations to the House of
Representatives. They truly have their heads on straight. I am
delighted that they have eliminated the authorization and the funding
for this entire program in the 2006 appropriation. I urge us to do the
same on just one part of this, which is the
I yield 15 minutes to the distinguished Senator from <st1:state><st1:place>Massachusetts</st1:place></st1:state>,
Mr. KENNEDY. I thank the Senator. I think I had consent for a half-
hour. I do not expect to use it all.
FEINSTEIN. The Senator is right. I change that to a half-hour.
Mr. KENNEDY. First, I commend my friend and colleague, Senator
Feinstein, for her attention to this issue. She has long been an
advocate for sensible and responsible
nuclear arms policy. Again, this
evening, she is leading the way in the Senate. All of us are grateful
for her leadership. I welcome the opportunity to join with her in
offering this amendment.
It is intended to reverse a reckless proposal by the Bush
administration to develop a new generation of
We do not ``provide for the common defense,'' as called for in our
Constitution, by launching a new
nuclear arms race and making the world
more dangerous, but that is precisely what the administration plans to
President Bush and Secretary
Rumsfeld want to develop a new tactical
nuclear weapon called the robust
penetrator, and their
hope is that these
bunker busters can crash deep into the Earth and
destroy bunkers and weapons caches. They hold the dangerous and
misguided belief that our Nation's interests and values are served by
developing what they consider a more easily usable
I think most Americans believe that is wrong. Our challenge in
nuclear nonproliferation issues is not that there are too
nuclear weapons in the world but that there are too many; not that
they are too difficult to use but that they are too easy to use.
<st1:country-region><st1:place>North Korea</st1:place></st1:country-region> has them and is rattling its
nuclear saber every day.
<st1:country-region><st1:place>Iran</st1:place></st1:country-region> is moving forward on the development of
nuclear capability. We all
hope and pray that al-
Qaida and other terrorist groups never ever get
their hands on a
So why on Earth, in this dangerous
nuclear world, with the specter of
nuclear cloud at the hands of terrorists and rogue states, should the
be adding more
nuclear weapons to the global arsenal?
What moral authority do we have to ask others to give up their nukes if
we are determined to develop a new generation of
nuclear weapons of our
For the past 2 years, Congress has raised major doubts about the
program and significantly cut back on its funding. But the
administration still presses forward for more work on these robust
nuclear earth penetrators. Last year, the administration requested $15
million for it and Congress reluctantly provided half that amount. For
2005, they requested another $27 million and submitted a 5-year request
for nearly $500 million. But cooler heads prevailed, and the House
Appropriations Committee rejected the request. As the committee report
The Committee continues to oppose the diversion of
resources and intellectual capital away from the most serious
issues that confront the management of the nation's
deterrent . . . The Committee remains unconvinced by the
Department's superficial assurance that the RNEP activity is
only a study . . . The Committee notes that the management
direction for the fiscal year 2004 sent to the directors of
the weapons design laboratories left little doubt that the
objective of the program was to advance the most extreme new
nuclear weapon goals irrespective of any reservations
expressed by Congress.
This year, nothing has changed. The FY06 budget request from the
President includes $4 million for the Department of Energy to study the
buster and $4.5 million to the Department of Defense for the
same purpose. Thankfully our colleagues in the House were wiser and
decided to eliminate its funding.
The administration obviously is still committed to this reckless
Rumsfeld made his position clear in January, when
he wrote to Secretary Abraham:
I think we should request funds in FY06 and FY07 to
complete the RNEP study . . . You can count on my support for
your efforts to revitalize the
nuclear weapons infrastructure
and to complete the RNEP study.
The fiscal year 2006 budget requests funds only to complete the
feasibility study for these new
nuclear weapons. But we already know
what the next step is. In the budget they sent us last year, the
administration stated in plain language that they intend to develop it.
Ambassador Linton Brooks, the head of the National
Administration, claims those future budget projections are merely
placeholders, ``in the event the President decides to proceed with
development and Congress approves.'' But their fiscal year 2005 budget
clearly shows the administration's unmistakable intention to develop,
and ultimately produce, this weapon.
The Bush administration would like us to believe that this is a
nuclear weapon. They say it will burrow into
underground targets and destroy them with no adverse consequences for
the environment. They can believe all they want, but the science says
their claims are false.
The National Academy of Sciences confirms exactly what most of us
nuclear weapons, like other
nuclear bombs, result
nuclear fallout. The fallout can poison tens of
millions of people and create radioactive lands for years and years to
The study goes on to say, ``Current experience and empirical
predictions indicate that earth-
penetrator weapons cannot penetrate to
depths required for total containment of the effects of a
explosion. . . .
To be fully contained, a 300 kiloton weapon would have to be
detonated at the bottom of a carefully stemmed emplacement hole about
800 meters deep. Because the practical penetration depth for an earth
penetrating weapon is a few meters--a small fraction of the depth for
the full containment--there will be blast, thermal, initial
radiation, and fallout effects from use of an EPW.
This chart simulates the likely
nuclear fallout from a one megaton
buster detonated at a hypothetical underground target 20
kilometers east of an Iranian air force base in
Dezful. This model uses
the same simulation program as the Pentagon's Defense Threat Reduction
Agency. During summer months, the
nuclear fallout is predicted to
travel 150 to 200 miles, across <st1:country-region>Iraq</st1:country-region> and <st1:place><st1:country-region>Saudi Arabia</st1:country-region></st1:place>. The radiation
could kill up to 650,000 people.
Even the person in charge of the program, Linton Brooks, conceded at
a House Armed Services Committee Hearing on March 2 that the robust
penetrator could not be used without significant
fallout. He stated:
I really must apologize for my lack of precision if we in
the Administration have suggested that it was possible to
have a bomb that penetrated far enough to trap all fallout. I
don't believe that--I don't believe the laws of physics will
ever let that be true.
This chart depicts a 400 kiloton
bunkerbuster hitting underground
facilities at <st1:place><st1:country-region>North Korea</st1:country-region></st1:place>'s Air Base at
Nuchon-ni. Fallout from this
explosion would blow southeast across the DMZ towards <st1:place><st1:city>Seoul</st1:city></st1:place>. This
attack could kill over 4 million people.
Even if the
United States were willing to accept the catastrophic
nuclear explosion would cause, the
bunkerbuster would still
not be able to destroy all of the buried bunkers the intelligence
community has identified.
So we would have a new bomb that can kill and poison tens of millions
of civilians, spread fallout for more than a thousand miles, make their
lands radioactive, but still not destroy its target.
The huge, one megaton weapon that the administration is contemplating
cannot reach deeper than 400 meters. All an adversary would have to do
is bury its
bunker below that depth.
Bunkerbusters also require pinpoint accuracy to hit deeply-buried,
hardened bunkers. This requires precise intelligence on the location of
the target. As the National Academy Study emphasized, an attack by a
nuclear weapon would be effective in destroying weapon or weapons
nuclear materials and chemical or biological
agents, only if it's detonated in the actual chamber where the weapons
or materials are located. Even more disturbing, if the bomb is even
slightly off target, the detonation may cause the spread of such deadly
chemicals and germs, in addition to the radioactive fallout.
As we know from the <st1:country-region><st1:place>Iraq</st1:place></st1:country-region> experience, our intelligence isn't always
accurate. In fact, the Bush administration told us there were weapons
of mass destruction and there and we had to send in troops to take them
out. If we had robust
nuclear earth penetrators at the time, what if
this White House had used them against suspected chemical or biological
bunkers--which turned out not to exist? Charles
Duelfer, the head of
the Iraqi Survey Group, shows us how dangerous this approach could have
been when he told the Senate Armed Services Committee last October
that, we were almost all wrong on <st1:place><st1:country-region>Iraq</st1:country-region></st1:place>. Despite the administration's
Duelfer's Comprehensive Report on <st1:place><st1:country-region>Iraq</st1:country-region></st1:place>'s WMD stated,
``There are no credible indications that <st1:city><st1:place>Baghdad</st1:place></st1:city> resumed production of
The intelligence community still faces many challenges in getting its
intelligence right. In their report in March for the President's
Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the <st1:country-region><st1:place>United States</st1:place></st1:country-region>
Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction, Laurence
Silberman and Chuck
Robb found that
The flaws we found in the Intelligence Community's <st1:place><st1:country-region>Iraq</st1:country-region></st1:place>
performance are still all too common. In some cases, it knows less now
than it did five or ten years ago.
How can we contemplate using a weapon of this destructive power, if
our intelligence can't guarantee where an underground target really is?
Finally, if it were clear that this weapon is needed to protect our
troops, then I believe many more in Congress would support it. But
that's not the case. At the House Armed Services
Committee hearing in March, program chief Linton Brooks once again was
asked if there was a military requirement for the
stated categorically, No, there is not.
Peurifoy, the retired Vice President of
Laboratory, one of our premier
nuclear weapons labs, had this to say:
If you can find somebody in a uniform in the Defense Department who can
talk about the need for
bunker busters without laughing, I'll
buy him a cup of coffee. It's outlandish. It's stupid. It is an effort
to maintain a payroll at the weapons labs.
The administration's effort to build a new class of
nuclear weapon is
only further evidence of their reckless
nuclear policy. This action
contradicts the spirit of our obligations under the nonproliferation
treaty to disarm our stockpiles.
It demonstrates the administration's contempt for the
nonproliferation treaty, the foundation of all current global
arms control. The nonproliferation treaty, signed in 1968, has long
stood for the fundamental principle that the world will be safer if
nuclear proliferation does not extend the five nations that nations
nuclear weapons at the does not extend beyond the five
nations that possessed
nuclear weapons at that time--the <st1:place><st1:country-region>United States</st1:country-region></st1:place>,
, the Soviet Union, China, and France. It reflected the
worldwide consensus that the greater the number of nations with
weapons, the greater the risk of
The Bush administration's policy jeopardizes the entire structure of
nuclear arms control so carefully negotiated by world leaders over the
past half century, starting with the Eisenhower administration. This is
just another example of the administration's Do as I say, not as I do
How can we ask <st1:country-region>Iran</st1:country-region> and <st1:place><st1:country-region>North Korea</st1:country-region></st1:place> to halt their
when we fail to halt our own? By proceeding with the Robust
penetrator, we are headed in the wrong direction. Our efforts
will only encourage other nations to follow our example and produce
nuclear weapons of their own.
We have studied this issue long enough. It is ridiculous for the
administration to try to keep this program going, and it could be
suicidal for the Nation and for our troops. If we need this kind of
weapons system, we ought to follow the conventional weapons research
that is being undertaken and not support this proposal. I hope the
Senate will reject it.
Mr. President, I yield the time back to the Senator from <st1:state><st1:place>California</st1:place></st1:state>.
The PRESIDING OFFICER.
The Senator from California.
FEINSTEIN. Mr. President, I thank the distinguished Senator from
<st1:state><st1:place>Massachusetts</st1:place></st1:state>. I thought the remarks were excellent. I think they were
really right on. The tragedy of this is that people do not listen. I
hope, Senator Kennedy, your words were heard.
Mr. President, I yield 15 minutes to the Senator from <st1:state><st1:place>Michigan</st1:place></st1:state>, Mr.
The PRESIDING OFFICER.
The Senator from Michigan.
Mr. LEVIN. Mr. President, I thank the Senators from <st1:state><st1:place>California</st1:place></st1:state> and
<st1:state><st1:place>Massachusetts</st1:place></st1:state> and others who have come to the floor at this late hour
to argue and debate an issue which is so critical to the security of
We will be a lot less secure if we go down this
nuclear road. We know
other countries are going down the
nuclear road. We know we are even
threatening those countries--such as <st1:country-region>Iran</st1:country-region> and <st1:place><st1:country-region>North Korea</st1:country-region></st1:place>--that we will
not let them go down that road. We are even holding out the prospect
that they would be the subject of military attacks if they go down the
But at the same time we are doing this, that we are telling the
world, we are telling <st1:country-region>Iran</st1:country-region>, we are telling <st1:place><st1:country-region>North Korea</st1:country-region></st1:place>, ``Do not walk
nuclear road,'' the administration is proposing to take
another step down our
nuclear road. It is a decision which, if upheld
by this body, will make us less secure. It will make it more likely
that <st1:country-region>North Korea</st1:country-region> and <st1:place><st1:country-region>Iran</st1:country-region></st1:place> will say to us, and say to the world: The
<st1:country-region><st1:place>United States</st1:place></st1:country-region> threatens us if we go to
nuclear weapons, but they
themselves are relying more and more and more on
The administration has asked for $4 million to restart the
feasibility study for the robust
penetrator. I emphasize
``restart'' because we ended this mistake in fiscal year 2004. We
should not restart this. We did not need it in 2005. We do not need it
The $4 million that the Department of Energy seeks for fiscal year
2006 will not finish the study. An additional $14 million will still be
needed in fiscal year 2007, just to finish the RNEP study.
What is it that the Department of Energy wants to study? What is the
weapon they want to study? What is the RNEP appropriation for? It is to
look at modification of a
nuclear bomb called the B83. That is what is
being looked at as a possible earth-penetrating weapon, the RNEP. The
B83 is a large
nuclear bomb. It is huge. It has a maximum yield on the
order of 1 megaton. And 1 megaton is the equivalent of 71 <st1:city><st1:place>Hiroshima</st1:place></st1:city>
So the weapon they are looking at, or want to look at, to modify for
this function, is a bomb that has the power, the yield, as they call
it, of 71 <st1:place><st1:city>Hiroshima</st1:city></st1:place> bombs. The goal of that feasibility study is to
increase the penetrating capability of the B83. The yield, the power,
of the B83, would stay the same. That is not being reduced. So the idea
is to see whether or not that B83--that bomb with the power of 71
Hiroshimas--can be made to penetrate the earth.
According to the report of the National Academy of Sciences, it will
not be possible, no matter how good the design. The deepest that an
RNEP could ever penetrate is about 12 feet. And when an RNEP detonates
at 12 feet, 12 feet in the earth, it will generate, according to the
<st1:place><st1:placename>National</st1:placename> <st1:placetype>Academy</st1:placetype></st1:place> of Sciences, more fallout than if it were exploded in
the air. So if we go down this road, we will be looking at a weapon
which cannot penetrate deeper than 12 feet in the earth and will have
greater fallout than if it were exploded in the air, according to the
We talk about collateral damage as though it is some kind of a cold
term. This is damage which is so massive. We think of a weapon 71 times
the size of <st1:place><st1:city>Hiroshima</st1:city></st1:place>, with more fallout than if it were exploded in
the air, which--no matter what its design; even if this study is
successful--cannot penetrate more than about 12 feet in the ground, and
we are telling the rest of the world, ``Do not go down that
road,'' when we ourselves are thinking--thinking--about designing a
weapon which has that kind of a power and that kind of a fallout.
It is not the hundreds of millions of dollars which this would cost
to implement, assuming this study is completed, it is the absurdity, it
is the utter nonsense, it is the danger to <st1:place><st1:country-region>U.S.</st1:country-region></st1:place> security that would be
created if we take this step down the road, telling the world: Do not
do what we urge you to do because we are not doing it ourselves. That
is the message. We can tell the world,
Do not do it, do not go
but what they are going to say to us is: Hey, you are going
further than you already are. You are modifying weapons to try to make
them ``usable'' against deeply buried targets. And you are telling us
and the rest of the world we should not go
nuclear when you are looking
for more and more uses for
We asked the National Academy of Sciences to look at this program. We
asked them how much yield would an RNEP have to have to hold a deeply
buried target at risk, and what would the effects be of using an RNEP?
So the Academy reviewed the universe of hard and deeply buried targets
and found you would have to have a huge yield to have any effect on
deeply buried targets. What the Academy concluded was that yields in
the range of several hundreds of kilotons to a megaton are needed to
effectively hold hard and deeply buried targets at risk.
This report was issued this year, in April of 2005. What it said is
that to be effective against a target 1,000 feet deep, an RNEP would
have to have a yield of 1 megaton.
There are 10,000 hard and deeply buried targets in the world, about
10,000. According to the <st1:place><st1:placename>National</st1:placename> <st1:placetype>Academy</st1:placetype></st1:place> of Sciences, 2
of those targets would have some strategic significance. But the
Academy finds that on the order of only about 100 deeply buried targets
would be potential targets for RNEP. And many others--many others--
would be too deep to even reach with a 1-megaton yield such as RNEP
So what this study would have us do is spend more millions, take us
down a road which endangers us because of the message it sends to
countries that are contemplating
nuclear weapons. It endangers our
security to study a weapon that cannot succeed in achieving its goal of
hitting many deeply buried targets. And it would have an extensive
fallout because of its huge size, 71 times the size of <st1:place><st1:city>Hiroshima</st1:city></st1:place>.
Mr. WARNER. Mr. President, will the Senator yield for a question?
Mr. LEVIN. I would be happy to yield.
Mr. WARNER. My distinguished colleague on the Armed Services
Committee is fully aware that we have worked on this matter for several
years. There is an existing law that we passed on our bill. But the
simple, basic, elementary thing here is we are talking about a study.
And our distinguished colleagues from <st1:state>California</st1:state>, <st1:state><st1:place>Massachusetts</st1:place></st1:state>, and
yourself make allegations of a lot of facts. What is the harm
getting the study? The study may confirm the very facts, and then the
Senate is well informed. And the Congress must pass on any dollars
before this thing proceeds to a full test situation.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senators are advised to ask their
questions through the Chair.
Mr. WARNER. Mr. President, I am sorry, I did not hear the ruling of
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senators are advised to address their
questions through the Chair, not directly from Senator to Senator.
Mr. WARNER. The Presiding Officer is most correct. I extend my
apologies to the Presiding Officer of the Senate.
Mr. President, I asked if the Senator would yield for a question. I
thought I said that.
Mr. LEVIN. I am happy to yield for a question.
Mr. WARNER. Why not have the study so the Senate and the Congress can
all be well informed? And it will either verify or there will be a
denial of the assertions made by our three colleagues who are in
opposition, and possibly a fourth.
It is interesting. We modified one of the weapons during the <st1:city><st1:place>Clinton</st1:place></st1:city>
administration, and it was approved by that administration. But it was
later determined that that weapon could not effectively deal with a
hardened silo. I ask my good friend the question.
Mr. LEVIN. I thank my friend from <st1:state><st1:place>Virginia</st1:place></st1:state> for the question. First of
all, it is not three Senators who are making these assertions. It is
the National Academy of Sciences which has made these assertions we are
quoting. That is No. 1. No. 2, the message which is being sent by going
down this road endangers the security of the <st1:place><st1:country-region>United States</st1:country-region></st1:place>. We are
telling other countries--<st1:country-region>North Korea</st1:country-region>, <st1:place><st1:country-region>Iran</st1:country-region></st1:place>--do not go
nuclear. That is
our message. It is a very clear message. The President is even
threatening military action. He is saying he is going to have to put
that option on the table if they go
nuclear. Then at the same time the
administration wants to restart a program, the program in this case
being a study of a deeply penetrating
nuclear weapon that has 70 times
the power of <st1:place><st1:city>Hiroshima</st1:city></st1:place> in order to get to deeply buried targets. There
are 10,000 of those targets, according to the <st1:place><st1:placename>National</st1:placename> <st1:placetype>Academy</st1:placetype></st1:place> of
Sciences, and perhaps 100 of them would be held at risk by this weapon.
So the idea that we are taking another step--you call it a study, but
it is a step down the road, because the purpose of the study is to at
least consider doing something. What we are saying, what the National
<st1:place><st1:placetype>Academy</st1:placetype> of <st1:placename>Sciences</st1:placename></st1:place> has said, is this cannot accomplish its purpose. It
will have a huge fallout. And what we are saying is the possibility
that you could ever consider doing this is so far outweighed by the
danger to us, by the message which is being sent to the world, that we
are walking down a road we are telling others do not walk. That is the
Mr. WARNER. In reply to my colleague, I refer to a letter from the
Secretary of State a year ago: Dear Mr. Chairman--addressed to me--I am
writing to express support for the President's 2004 budget request to
fund the feasibility and cost study for the robust
penetrator and to repeal the legislation that prohibits the United
States from conducting research and development on low-yield
weapons. I do not believe that these legislative steps will complicate
our ongoing efforts with <st1:place><st1:country-region>North Korea</st1:country-region></st1:place>. And he goes on to explain the
North Koreans will not be in any way deterred by this action of the
to have a study.
Mr. LEVIN. I would expect the administration would say something like
that. But common sense tells us otherwise. Common sense tells you that
if you are sitting down with people, in this case the Europeans,
telling them we have to try to persuade <st1:place><st1:country-region>Iran</st1:country-region></st1:place>, don't go down that road,
with the Japanese and the Russians and the Chinese sitting down with
the North Koreans, do not go down that road, each of us has some
experience as human beings. It seems to me it is absolute common sense
that we will be confronted by those countries saying: You are lecturing
us, threatening us, when you yourself are now looking at the
possibility of redesigning a weapon 70 times the size of <st1:place><st1:city>Hiroshima</st1:city></st1:place> so
that you can more deeply penetrate into the ground. It undermines our
position. It weakens our position. It seems to me that
means it weakens
Mr. WARNER. Mr. President, I could only say to my distinguished
colleague, the Secretary of Defense Colin Powell, a man who has been
held in high esteem by this body, disagrees respectfully with my good
colleague from <st1:place><st1:state>Michigan</st1:state></st1:place>. But the effect of denying a study on this is
simply saying to the world, where there are countries proceeding with
nuclear programs, you can go deep. There is no deterrence on the
horizon. It is off limits, and you can do as you wish and go deep, and
you can then conceal your programs from the eyes of the world and there
is no deterrence for them to go deep.
Mr. LEVIN. Mr. President, how much time do I have remaining?
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Thirty seconds.
Mr. LEVIN. I reserve the balance of my time.
The PRESIDING OFFICER.
The Senator from California.
Mr. DOMENICI. Will the Senator yield?