Joan Rohlfing, Office of the Secretary, DOE
Robin Staffin, DOE Defense Programs
Anita Capoteri, DOE General Counsel
Steve Ferguson, DOE General Counsel
John Harvey, Pentagon
John Norman, DOE Office of Nonproliferation (detail from LLNL)
Lisa Evanson, DOE Office of Nonproliferation (did NIF nonproliferation review)
Ambassador Tom Graham, Arms Control Disarmament Agency (ACDA)
Rusty Johnson, House National Security Committee staff
About 30-35 various staff from Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos National Labs
Arjun Makhijani, Institute for Energy and Environmental Research
Tom Cochran, Natural Resources Defense Council
Bob Tiller, Physicians for Social Responsibility
Maureen Eldredge, Military Production Network
David Culp, Plutonium Challenge
Daryl Kimball, Campaign to Reduce the Nuclear Danger
Frank Von Hippel, Princeton
Bruce Hall, GreenPeace
David Albright, Institute for Science and International Security
Tom Zamora-Collina, Union of Concerned Scientists
Spurgeon Keeny, Arms Control Organization (not sure on the name of his group)
Joe Cirincione, Stimpson Center (invited, did not ever show)
Question and Answer
Keeny: The Equation of State for plutonium has been a concern for 50 years, how can you not have data?
Staffin: Not enough detailed information gathering during tests, imprecise equipment, not good enough data. Were always in a rush to deploy weapons, not gather data.
Hixon: We don't know the spall strength of PU and how it will change with age (ed. note - what is spall strength?)
Staffing: The codes are rich in fudge factors, need to get rid of some of that fudge. Goal is to understand the entirety of the whole puzzle (of how nuclear weapons work).
Zamora: JASONs didn't say subcriticals were essential, what is the urgency, why underground?
Staffin: Didn't ask JASONs if they were essential (just if they were subcritical). Speaks to credibility of the program, need to know the scientific underpinnings of warheads.
Timing - not just Rebound, Holog, but whole series to get data to broaden, deepen understanding of PU, need to start soon, before the original scientists who designed warheads die (he didn't put it quite that way, but that is the gist of it).
Location: Building and certifying an above ground facility would take too long.
Discussion on whether they could do the experiments in existing facilities. Basically, couldn't say they needed to be below ground for Rebound and Holog, but implied that future experiments would have larger amounts of High Explosive necessitating the below ground facility, and for consistency, etc. would start there.
How long is the program? - No finite end, authorized for two, would do as many as needed to get necessary data. Would not answer question regarding whether DOE intends to put weapons configurations into these tests. Implication is that yes, they will be doing that.Why do them? Pit remanufacturing questions are only part of the question. Also the aging of the Pu and its impacts on weapons function. Staffin raised the possibility that the US would have to pull out of the CTBT if we couldn't verify the warheads. Experiments will reassure others, provide knowledge to support US policy.
Question of Transparency: Transparency with respect to foreign governments had been a large part of earlier discussions in 1996. Yet Rohlfing and others at this meeting acted as if they had never heard of this issue or earlier proposals. In Dec. 1996, we were informed that there was a transparency package being worked on in the interagency review process. Again, Rohlfing et.al. acted as if they had no knowledge of this package.
Intent: Long discussion on intent, raised concerns about Staffin's remarks that they are trying to understand equations of state, eliminate fudge factors, understand whole picture - leads directly to ability to design and certify new weapons without testing.
DOE responded with requirement that they retain the capability to design new weapons. Would not want to make a policy statement that the SBSS program is not for the development of new nuclear weapons. CTBT doesn't prevent design of new weapons. The purpose of the SBSS program is to maintain deterrence. Will not press for a statement that the US will not design new nuclear weapons.
**Discussion of Safety vs. Reliability: - First strike definition of deterrence if they are trying to maintain reliability at such high levels.
Staffin: It is not a gradual loss of confidence, e.g. 95%, 93%, etc. but big jumps, e.g. 95% to 50%.
Makhijani: Has DOE ever done a comparison of the variability between pits due to manufacturing process and the impact on performance compared to the variability that might arise due to aging?
**DOE General Counsel prevented an answer to that question.
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Proposition One Guide