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"I want to thank the Arms Control Association … for being such effective advocates for sensible policies to stem the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and most importantly, reduce the risk of nuclear war."
– Senator Joe Biden
January 28, 2004
Report Criticizes Stockpile Stewardship Program
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In a report released August 19, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) strongly criticized the Department of Energy's (DOE's) stockpile stewardship program, claiming that it goes beyond the stated objective of ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear arsenal under the Comprehensive Test Ban (CTB) Treaty. Citing numerous examples from recently declassified portions of the DOE stewardship plan, the NRDC report, entitled End Run, argues that the plan explicitly seeks to develop the capability to permit the design of advanced types of new nuclear weapons without testing. The report contends that these activities will undermine the intent of the CTB as articulated in the preamble.

DOE, on the other hand, argues that its stewardship plan is necessary to maintain the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear arsenal under the CTB, and will only result in minor modifications to existing nuclear weapons, not the development of new warhead designs. Speaking for the Clinton administration toward the conclusion of the CTB negotiations, Robert Bell, the senior director for defense policy and arms control at the National Security Council, said in July 1996 that "We are not seeking through our technology to acquire the means to frustrate the CTB or to find technological alternatives to build new weapons types, absent testing. We accept that the effect of the treaty will be to rule out opportunities to create new weapon types, absent nuclear testing."