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Alert! US Nuclear Weapons Test Imminent

Alert! US Nuclear Weapons Test Imminent

29 August 2002

Kia ora,

The US National Nuclear Security Administration is about to conduct a nuclear weapons test at the Nevada Test Site. This is the first subcritical test since that codenamed 'Vito' was detonated by the US Department of Energy and the British Ministry of Defence on 14 February 2002.

The Nevada Test Site is on Western Shoshone land in Nevada - their land is subject to the Treaty of Ruby Valley - rather than honouring the Treaty, the US and British governments have used the land for nuclear weapons tests since 1945, and have turned it into a radioactive wasteland. From 1951 to 1992, 928 full scale nuclear weapons tests were conducted on Western Shoshone land - 100 either above ground or in the atmosphere, and 828 underground.

Since the US government stopped full scale nuclear weapons tests, successive US administrations have kept the Nevada Test Site open in case they should want to resume full scale testing at any time. There have been various statements emanating from Washington over the past few months which suggest that this may happen sooner rather than later.

*** Where you can get more information

More information is available in the Shundahai Network message in the fourth section of this alert (below). Previous PMA and Shundahai Network alerts about nuclear weapons tests are available on-line at Information about the Western Shoshone people, the Nevada Test Site, the Yucca Mountain High Level Radioactive Waste Repository (the latest outrageous plan to inflict even more toxic radioactive poisons on the Western Shoshone), is available on-line at

*** What you can do

* Let the US government know what you think about their continued nuclear weapons testing programme, write or fax their diplomatic representative here in Aotearoa. Contact details: * US ambassador - Charles Swindells, US Embassy, PO Box 1190, Wellington; tel (04) 472 2068; fax (04) 471 2380 or 472 9804;. Ask him to forward your letter / message as a matter of urgency to their respective governments. Contact details for the White House and National Nuclear Security Administration are in the Shundahai Network message below.

* Please contact the offices of various NZ government politicians and ask them to publicly condemn the impending US nuclear weapons test. Contact details: - phone calls and faxes (all to be prefixed by 04 by those of you out of Wellington, by + 64 4 by those of you receiving this overseas) and email: - Helen Clark, Prime Minister, email tel 471 9998, fax 473 3579; Phil Goff, Minister of Foreign Affairs, email tel 470 6553, fax 495 8444; Marian Hobbs, Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control, email tel 470 6566, fax 495 8467; or the Cabinet (collectively), office - tel 471 9743, fax 472 6332. Letters should be addressed to the relevant person and posted (no stamp needed) to Parliament Buildings, Wellington.

Additionally, it would be useful if you could send copies of your letter/s to Keith Locke, Green Party Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs, email fax 472 6003; and a copy of your correspondence and of any replies to PMA for our files.

*** Shundahai Network Message, 28 August 2002


The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), announced plans to blow up plutonium at the Nevada Test Site on Thursday, August 29, 2002. This test code named "Mario" is part of the ongoing nuclear weapons research and development programs of the Department of Energy National Laboratories. These nuclear weapons programs are part of a continual war on the health and safety of the Earths people and environment.

Join with activists from around the world in protesting this continued hypocrisy. The nuclear weapons programs are a waste of precious money and resources and send the wrong signal to the rest of the world. These tests continue to violate the spirit of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the Non Proliferation Treaty, and the World Court's ruling on the illegality of preparing for nuclear war. It is also a continued violation of the Treaty of Ruby Valley signed with the Western Shoshone Nation. The Western Shoshone National Council has declared that "Newe Sogobia" is a nuclear free zone and have demanded an end to nuclear weapons testing and waste dumping on their lands.

It is time to end nuclear weapons testing around the world! It is time for Nuclear Abolition!

Call, fax and mail President Bush! Demand an end to the hypocritical subcritical nuclear weapons tests. Talking points below.

The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Ave Washington DC 20500 Comment Line: 00 1 202 456 1111 Fax: 00 1 202 456 2461 Email:

Below is the press release from the NNSA's Las Vegas office, announcing the next underground subcritical nuclear test, "Mario," this Thursday, Aug. 29, at the Nevada Test Site.

Please send your messages of protest to NNSA at the contact information below.


For Immediate Release:

Contact: La Tomya Glass, email tel 00 1 702 295 3521 or Darwin Morgan, tel 00 1 702 295 3521

August 27, 2002

National Nuclear Security Administration Scientists to Conduct Mario Subcritical Experiment

Scientific Data to Help Certify and Ensure the Safety and Reliability Of the Nation's Stockpile

The National Nuclear Security Administration Nevada Operations Office will conduct a subcritical experiment called Mario at the Nevada Test Site on Thursday, August 29, 2002.

Subcritical experiments examine the behavior of plutonium as it is strongly shocked by forces produced by chemical high explosives. Subcritical experiments produce essential scientific data and technical information used to help maintain the safety and reliability of the nuclear weapons stockpile. The experiments are subcritical; that is, no critical mass is formed and no self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction can occur, thus there is no nuclear explosion.

Mario, a Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) subcritical experiment, is designed to answer questions about ejecta and spall associated with plutonium. Ejecta is a forceful spray of particles propelled from a material's surface when it is compressed by a powerful shock wave. Spall is the breakup of material from the explosive shock wave reflected back from the surface.

Subcritical experiments are conducted at the Nevada Test Site's U1a Complex located 85 miles northwest of Las Vegas. The U1a Complex is designed to contain these experiments in a safe and secure environment in an underground laboratory of horizontal tunnels with small excavated experiment alcoves mined at the base of a vertical shaft, approximately 960 feet beneath the surface.

Los Alamos scientists conducted their last subcritical experiment, Vito, on February 14, 2002. The last subcritical experiment was Oboe 9 conducted on June 7, 2002.


Also from the Shundahai Network

Nuclear Abolition Talking Points - Since 1945, the world has been held hostage by U.S. nuclear policies that started and fed the international nuclear arms race.

- The U.S. is the #1 nuclear terrorist organization in the world, since we have refused to back down from our possible first strike use of nuclear weapons.

-The U.S. through the Department of Energy's Nuclear Weapons Stockpile Stewardship and Management program is modernizing the nuclear weapons industry to be able to continue to design, test and produce new nuclear weapons for the next 20 years.

-The only safe and reliable nuclear weapon is a dismantled and destroyed nuclear weapon.

-NTS is currently testing nuclear weapons under the guise of subcritical nuclear weapons experiments. This violates the spirit of the CTBT and destroys global trust in U.S. nuclear policy, fueling a continued international arms race.

-The Nevada Test Site is part of the military occupation of Western Shoshone lands. The Western Shoshone believe that U.S. nuclear programs within their country are part of the ongoing efforts of genocide against their people.

-The nuclear weapons programs at the Nevada Test Site and all of the DOE laboratories are directly contaminating the ground water and land around the facilities with radioactive material that will be deadly for hundreds of thousands of years.

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Peace Movement Aotearoa
the national networking peace organisation
PO Box 9314, Wellington, Aotearoa/New Zealand
Tel +64 4 382 8129, fax 382 8173 email
PMA website -
Internet Peace Gateway -
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