WASHINGTON, July 13 (UPI) -- Scientists Tuesday said the federal government is planning to spend $175 billion in the next 20 years to reduce the size of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
The Federation of American Scientists and the Union of Concerned Scientists released the U.S. Department of Energy's fiscal 2011 budget, which calls for reducing the arsenal to 3,000 to 3,500 warheads -- as much as a 40 percent reduction.
"Nuclear weapons are now a liability, not an asset, so the plan to reduce the U.S. nuclear stockpile is a step in the right direction," said Lisbeth Gronlund, UCS's Global Security Program co-director.
U.S. weapons reductions currently under way will reduce the arsenal to 4,700 from today's total of around 5,000 weapons to 4,700 by the end of 2012. The plan provides "the future NNSA (National Nuclear Security Administration) infrastructure will support total stockpiles up to a range of approximately 3,000 to 3,500 (warheads).
"The 3,000 to 3,500 total warhead target is a ceiling. Of course, the United States could reduce its arsenal to even lower levels through negotiated agreements with Russia and the other nuclear weapon states," said Hans Kristensen, Nuclear Information Project director at the Federation of American Scientists.