"The Energy Department is asking Congress for $6.8 billion for nuclear weapons projects for next year's budget -- double what we spent a decade ago," said Christopher Paine, a senior policy analyst at NRDC's Nuclear Program and author of the report.
"DOE has pursued these projects over the past decade with little accountability or oversight, consuming vast sums of money along the way," said Paine
"In a real world sense, however, this hardly matters," Paine
pointed out, "because if the United States adopted a sensible nuclear arms reduction policy, the facility would not be needed for decades."
At $6.5 billion, the current level of annual U.S. spending on nuclear weapons greatly exceeds the $4.2 billion (in 2004 dollars) the nation spent, on average, every year throughout the Cold War, which stretched from 1948 to 1991.Over the next five years the Bush administration plans to spend $36.6 billion to modernize the nuclear weapons stockpile and laboratory production complex, including $485 million to develop, test, and begin production of the controversial robust nuclear earth penetrating warhead.
Developing a new generation of nuclear weapons could restart an international arms race, Paine
said, making the world less secure.