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[casi] RNEP could be the DU of the 21st Century

With the knowledge of Depleted Uranium weaponry being used in Iraq in 1991
(and in Bosnia and Kosovo later that decade)and the ensuing environmental
contamination, chromosome damage/birth defects/cancers, etc., the thought of
more "tactical" nuclear weapons being developed is an OUTRAGE! We MUST act


Efforts are continuing to eliminate funding for a study that could lead to
the production of a new nuclear weapon, the Robust Nuclear Earth
Penetrator (RNEP).  Pres. Bush, in his Fiscal Year 03 budget request asked
for $15.5 million for such a study.  Funding for the study was included in
both the Defense Authorization bill and the Energy and Water Appropriations
Eliminating the funding in either bill could derail the project.

The House passed the Defense Authorization bill in May with the RNEP
funding intact.  An amendment to eliminate RNEP funding, offered by Rep.
Markey (MA), was defeated by a 172-234 vote.  The House will take up the
Energy and Water Appropriations bill next week (week of July 22).  Rep.
Markey is expected to again offer an amendment to delete RNEP funding.
There is reason to believe that more representatives could be persuaded to
oppose RNEP funding at this time.  To find out how your representative voted
on the earlier Defense Authorization RNEP funding amendment, follow this

ACTION:  Contact your representative by phone, email or fax.  Ask her or
him to vote for Rep. Markey's amendment to the Energy and Water
Appropriations bill to eliminate funding for the new nuclear weapon.

letter posted in our Legislative Action Center, personalize the language,
then send your message as an email or a free fax directly from our site.
You can also print it out and mail it.  To view a sample letter to your
representative, click on the link below, then enter your zip code and
<Go> in the <Take Action Now> box.  Here is the link:

BACKGROUND:  The Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator (RNEP) would be designed to
destroy hardened and deeply buried targets such as bunkers containing
chemical and biological weapons.
Because of its lower yield and earth penetrating capability, the RNEP is
considered to be a more "usable" nuclear weapon than large yield,
"strategic" nuclear weapons.  However, reports by scientists indicate that
the RNEP is far from being a "clean" weapon.  If detonated in an urban
setting, 10,000 to 50,000 people would receive a fatal dose of radiation
within the first 24 hours. This does not take into account injuries from the
extreme pressures of the blast or the heat of the explosion.  Nor does the
casualty estimate consider the consequences of fires and the collapse of
buildings from the seismic shock that the explosion would produce.  (More
information about the RNEP is posted on the Federation of American
Scientists web site at

Development of this new nuclear warhead may require the resumption of
U.S.nuclear weapons testing, ending the international moratorium which the
U.S. has been observing for ten years.

The development of a Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator would have disastrous
consequences for the international arms control regime.  A nuclear weapon
designed for battlefield use would increase the perception that nuclear
weapons were as usable as any other part of the U.S. conventional weapons
arsenal and that the U.S. was preparing to use them.  If the U.S. proceeds
with these weapons, other nations with far less conventional weapons
capability will seek to deter a U.S. attack by developing their own weapons
of mass destruction, most likely chemical or biological weapons.

Finally, proceeding with the production of the RNEP would significantly
undermine the global  non-proliferation regime because the obvious targets
for these weapons are non-nuclear weapon states.  The nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) prohibits the use of nuclear weapons
against such states.  The U.S. and other nuclear weapon states pledged in
1995, not to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapons states (with
certain exceptions), as an inducement for those non-nuclear weapon states to
agree to extend, indefinitely, the NPT.  Therefore, the development or
testing of these weapons would be a de facto repudiation of these


Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121

Sen. ________
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Rep. ________
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Information on your members is available on FCNL's web site:


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We seek a world free of war and the threat of war
We seek a society with equity and justice for all
We seek a community where every person's potential may be fulfilled
We seek an earth restored...

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