Salt Lake Tribune Letter to the Editor

This letter by my wife, Amy Brunvand, in the January 19th Salt Lake Tribune is about the 2003 National Defense Authorization Act. Rep. Tauscher (D-CA) proposed an amendment to shift funding for new nuclear testing into conventional weapons development, but Rep. Bishop (R-UT) and Rep. Cannon (R-UT) voted instead to put Utahns downwind again.It was a close vote and if these congressmen were competent and caring enough they could have turned around the 13 congressmen needed to stop this new threat to our families.

It is worth noting that none of this new testing is needed to keep our fleet of nuclear weapons in tip-top shape. It is intended to develop new much lower powered nuclear weapons that can be used in place of conventional weapons. Since that would obviously escalate quickly into a nuclear war these weapons will never be used in real life outside a full-scale nuclear war. But in a full-scale nuclear war (pray we never see it), they would be too small to be worthwhile. Therefore they are simply a pork barrel boondoggle.

And these weapons will produce radioactive clouds of fallout that drift over Utah even though they are buried. The Congressional Office Of Technology Assessment studied below ground explosions and found that hundreds of them in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s randomly emitted dangerous radioactivity onto the surface.

Utahns have suffered enough for nuclear testing with tens of thousands of cancer deaths directly linked to testing in the last fifty years. Let’s let our congressmen know that our children’s lives are not to be wasted for weapons we can never use.

I hope every voter in Utah’s 1st Congressional District read the Jan. 11 Salt Lake Tribune article quoting U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop saying that he will always support the military even if it means putting Utah downwind from nuclear testing. Bishop has already voted to resume nuclear tests just across the border from us at the Nevada Nuclear Test Site and to fund the testing of nuclear “bunker busters” in Nevada, when he could have voted to spend the same money on conventional weapons development. Do you really trust him that there is no possibility these tests could leak, or that none of the fallout is going to fall on us.
Amy Brunvand
Salt Lake City
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