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Thursday, March 20, 2008  
Plan to change nuclear labs draws skepticism

By: David Perlman
Published In: SF Chronicle

Marylia Kelley, the organization's executive director, brought technical diagrams of weapons-related buildings at the Livermore lab that would be altered under the plan, and argued that the Nuclear Security agency is concealing its intention to retain there dangerous inventories of tritium - the crucial radioactive fuel for hydrogen bombs. She said the agency should move immediately to get rid of all its tritium, plutonium and uranium rather than wait. Those elements, she maintained, have already polluted the environment perilously throughout the town of Livermore.

Long-range plans to transform the nation's complex of nuclear weapons laboratories and bomb-building plants drew a crowd of anti-nuclear activists and a few supporters to a public hearing Wednesday in Livermore - the same town where scientists and engineers for decades designed some of the world's most powerful bombs and warheads.

There were strong doubts from a couple of recently retired weapons designers who had long worked at Livermore. One of them, a nuclear engineer with more than 37 years at the lab who now consults with the agency as a contractor, argued that the entire plan - which he maintained would cost $10 billion to $20 billion - means only another attempted reorganization. It would mean little until the agency adopts an entirely new national nuclear weapons policy, he said.

The opposition came from Quaker groups, Veterans for Peace, Peace Action West, the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, and Tri-Valley CARES, the anti-nuclear group that monitors every technical development that goes on at the Livermore lab.

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