Hot Potato: Food for Thought
Where Did All the Money Go?
Nuclear Weapons
1997 July 11

The production of weapons-grade uranium is an expensive and energy-intensive business. Tens of thousands of nuclear weapons were built during the cold war, far more than were necessary for any conceivable purpose. The enormous costs contributed greatly to the national debt.

Unfortunately, the costs have not disappeared with the end of the cold war. Facilities such as the Savannah River Plant and the Hanford Works must be cleaned up. The government and its contractors were exceedingly poor housekeepers, and this clean-up is going to take decades and cost billions. The high-level wastes will then have to be safely stored and guarded for at least a thousand years. Someone will still be keeping track of them a million years hence.

This madness was never necessary. Eisenhower's warnings about the military-industrial complex were not heeded, and the resulting economic and ecological costs are gigantic. The military must be kept under closer legislative control.

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