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Lawmakers express opposition to plan to resume nuclear tests

Most of Nevada’s congressional delegation on Wednesday sent a letter to President Trump expressing opposition to efforts to resume explosive nuclear testing at the Nevada National Security Site.

U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) and Reps. Dina Titus, Susie Lee and Steven Horsford signed the letter, and the delegation has engaged the administration, including the administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, Secretary of Energy and additional experts and stakeholders on the subject. They have received multiple affirmations that the national laboratories have seen no technical reason to resume explosive testing.

“We are writing to express our concern and opposition to any effort by the administration to resume explosive nuclear weapons testing at the Nevada National Security Site – the only facility in the nation equipped to accommodate underground nuclear testing,” the lawmakers wrote.

Cortez Masto said she and her colleagues will continue to be strong advocates for improving the Stockpile Stewardship Program through enhanced scientific capabilities.

In the Fiscal Year 2020 Stockpile Stewardship and Management Plan, then-Energy Secretary Rick Perry wrote, “For the 23rd consecutive year, the science-based Stockpile Stewardship Program has allowed DOE and DoD to certify the safety, security and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile to the president without the use of nuclear explosive testing. This impressive scientific achievement is enabled by DOE/NNSA’s most valuable resource, its workforce.”

“Just last year, senior officials in the administration touted the accomplishments of NNSA and the national laboratories in maintaining the U.S. nuclear stockpile through non-explosive testing,” the lawmakers wrote. “With no stated justification to resume testing, we unequivocally oppose any administration’s efforts to resume explosive nuclear testing in Nevada.

“Not only would such an action compromise the health and safety of Nevadans, degrade vital water resources and harm the surrounding environment, but it would also undermine future stockpile stewardship efforts, undercut our nuclear nonproliferation goals and further weaken strategic partnerships with our global allies.”

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