University of California Hunger Strike Against Weapons Labs Passes 1-Week Mark

A hunger strike initiated by 44 University of California students, several alumni and a professor has passed its 1-week mark. The hunger strikers are demanding that the UC Board of Regents withdraw from their contracts to operate Los Alamos and Livermore National Laboratories based on, “the grounds that the Reliable Replacement Warhead program and Los Alamos Labs’ ongoing preparations to conduct plutonium pit manufacturing both clearly violate Article VI of the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.” The hunger strikers have put their bodies on the line in a time of enormous flux for US nuclear weapons policy. Their target, the UC, has been identified by them as a site of strategic importance in the wider campaign against new nuclear weapons.

Anchored by the Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore National Labs and the small circle of corporations who run these and other weapons facilities for the federal government, the US nuclear weapons complex is hurriedly working to finalize designs for and to begin building a new nuclear weapon, called the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW). This program, if supported by the president and funded by Congress, will expend many billions of dollars on nuclear weapons over the next few decades and guarantee the longevity of the US nuclear weapons complex. It will also lead to a US violation of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, a global arms control regime that has mostly worked up to the present. Furthermore, the new US weapons program will necessarily produce many tons of nuclear and toxic waste and create un-imaginable opportunity costs.

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