Rachel M. MacNair, Ph.D.
Petition Coordinator, KC Peace Planters
Kansas City, Missouri:
It’s entirely unprecedented for a city to help finance, and for a city agency to own, a plant for producing nuclear weapons components – nowhere in the world has a city had such participation. Yet Kansas City has put up municipal bonds to help finance a new nuclear weapons components plant, and it will be owned by an agency whose board the mayor appoints (the Planned Industrial Expansion Authority). This is the first new plant for nuclear weapons in over 30 years.
The new facility is meant to replace an old one that produces 85 percent of all components for the nation’s nuclear weapons. That facility also uses toxic substances that have already killed over 150 people and made others gravely ill.
Here’s the especially scary part: why do we need new weapons components when we’re cutting down the number of nuclear weapons? Answer: It’s not to add to the stockpile, but to “modernize” by replacing old weapons with new ones. The old ones are big and so they argue it’s not so believable they’ll be used. If they have some more “modern,” smaller ones, then they’re supposed to be a better deterrent because it’s more credible that they would actually be used.
Since City Council voted for financial participation in this plant, we believe city voters are entitled to have a say. Accordingly, thousands of signatures were gathered for a ballot initiative to save jobs, but safe jobs, by converting the plant into other uses such as renewable energy – now, before the toxins arrive and make the buildings dangerous.
Conscience would suggest that “modernizing” nuclear weapons to make them more likely to actually be used, as suggested in the Kansas City Star article of February 26, 2011 (p. A1, paragraph 6) is not something that any city government should involve itself in. Renewable energy production, on the other hand, would be something to be proud of, and could give Kansas City more of a reputation as an economic powerhouse and world-class city.