Issue No. 23, February 1998
The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty & US Nuclear Weapons:
Remarks by President & Energy Secretary
'Remarks by the President to the workers and community of Los
Alamos National Laboratory,' Albuquerque, New Mexico, White House
transcript, 3 February 1998
"Now, just a few minutes ago, I toured the labs here to see some
of that 21st century technology our balanced budget will help to
develop further. The supercomputers here, along with those at
Lawrence Livermore and Sandia Laboratories, are already the fastest
in the world. They're already being used to do everything from
predicting the consequences of global warming to designing more
fuel efficient engines to discovering life saving drugs to cracking
down on Medicare fraud. ...
Now, that to me is just the beginning. Today I also want to
announce to you that that balanced budget includes over $500
million - $517 million to be exact - to help the Department of
Energy develop the next generation of supercomputer technology.
Just recently, we signed contracts with four leading United States
companies to help to build supercomputers that will be 1,000 times
faster than the fastest computer that existed when I took office.
By 2001 they'll be able to perform more calculations in a second
than a human being with a hand-held calculator could perform in 30
Now, even a person as technologically challenged as me can
understand that is a big deal. It is a good investment. It is an
investment we must secure. Of all the remarkable things these
supercomputers will be able to accomplish, none will be more
important than helping to make sure that the world is safe from the
threat of nuclear weapons. For more than 50 years, since we first
split the atom and unleashed its awesome force, the nuclear threat
has hovered over our heads. Throughout the Cold War and the arms
race, it has been an ever present threat to our people and the
people of the world. For five years I have worked to reduce that
threat. Today, there is not a single Russian missile pointed at
America's children. But we have to do more. Last fall, I sent the
Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban treaty to the Senate for its advice
and consent. In my State of the Union address last week, I asked
the Senate to approve that treaty this year. By banning all nuclear
tests for all time, we open a new era of security for America.
At the same time, our national security requires that we
maintain a nuclear arsenal strong enough to deter any adversary and
safe enough to retain the confidence of our military leaders, our
political leaders and the American people.
Five years ago, I directed the development of the Stockpile
Stewardship Program to maintain our nuclear arsenal through
science. The program is an essential safeguard to accompany the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. In fact, I don't think we can get
the treaty ratified unless we can convince the Senate that the
Stockpile Stewardship Program works; that we will be secure while
we try to make the world safer from the dangers of nuclear
development and nuclear use in other countries. Now, by combining
past nuclear data with the high-tech simulations that computers
like those here at Los Alamos make possible, we are keeping the
arsenals safe, reliable and effective. And we're doing it without
detonating a single explosion. I just received a briefing...by Dr.
Browne and the other directors of our national labs on the
Stewardship Program. They confirmed that we can meet the challenge
of maintaining a nuclear deterrent under the Comprehensive Test Ban
Treaty through the Stockpile Stewardship Program. This Test Ban
Treaty is good for America's security. Already, four former
chairmen of the Joints Chief of Staff, General John Shalikashvili,
General Colin Powell, General David Jones and Admiral Bill Crowe
have all endorsed it. I also discussed the issue last week when I
had my annual meeting with our nation's senior military leadership
- all of our four stars, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the heads of
various commands around the world.
General Shelton, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and General
Habiger, the Commander-in-Chief of our Strategic Command, have both
given the treaty their full support. This is in America's
interests. Five years ago, I extended the moratorium on testing
passed by Congress in 1992. The Test Ban Treaty will hold other
nations to the same standard we already observe - that is its
importance. Its ban on all nuclear explosions will constrain the
nuclear powers from developing more advanced and more dangerous
weapons, making a costly arms build-up less likely.
It will also make it more difficult for States that don't now
have nuclear weapons to develop them, because without testing
there's no way for them to know whether a new weapon will work as
it is designed or whether it will work at all. The treaty will also
put in place an extensive global network of monitoring stations to
detect and deter nuclear explosion on land, under ground, beneath
the sea, or in space.
Our national security demands that we monitor such nuclear
weapons programs around the world. We have to do that with or
without the Test Ban Treaty. But with the treaty in force, we will
gain a powerful new tool to do that monitoring. The great
scientist, Louie Pasteur, once said that he held, 'The
unconquerable belief that science and peace will triumph over
ignorance and war; that nations will come together not to destroy,
but to construct. And that the future of humanity belongs to those
who accomplish the most for humanity.'
With the new balanced budget, with our commitment to science and
technology, with our commitment to the Test Ban Treaty, with the
work you have done here and at the other labs to assure the safety
of the treaty through the Stockpile Stewardship program, all these
things are helping to build a stronger America for the 21st
century, a safer world for our children in the 21st century and a
legacy worthy of America's glorious past. ..."
Editor's note: the Department of Energy (DOE) issued a
press release ('President Clinton announces DOE partnership with
computer companies,' R-98-009) on 3 February providing more details
of the President's commitment to the US supercomputer-development
programme. The full text of the press release follows.
"President Bill Clinton today announced PathForward, the next
step in the Department of Energy's effort to develop the
supercomputers of the 21st century. The computers and simulation
capabilities will be used to keep the US nuclear weapons stockpile
safe, secure, and reliable without nuclear testing. The four-year,
$50 million contracts are with Digital Equipment Corporation of
Maynard, Mass., International Business Machines (IBM) of
Poughkeepsie, New York, Sun Microsystems, Inc. (SUN) of Chelmsford,
Mass., and Silicon Graphics/Cray Computer Systems (SGI/Cray) of
Chippewa Falls, Wisc. These collaborations with the computer
industry will help reach the department's long-term goal of
developing a 100 Teraflops computer by 2004.
ASCI [Accelerated Strategic Computing Initiative] was created to
develop unprecedented computer simulation and modeling
capabilities. The simulation tools will be validated using data
from past nuclear tests and new nonnuclear experiments to assure
the safety and reliability of the stockpile. Achieving these
capabilities is essential to support the United States commitment
to refrain from further nuclear testing. ...
Secretary of Energy Federico Peña said, 'The Department
of Energy and its national laboratories are proud to rise to
President Clinton's challenge: to develop technologies necessary to
certify confidence in the safety and reliability of the enduring
nuclear weapons stockpile. PathForward will help us meet this
challenge.' PathForward is part of the Accelerated Strategic
Computing Initiative...to develop the simulation capability needed
for stockpile stewardship. The PathForward project will develop
technologies to interconnect tens of thousands of advanced
commodity processors, providing the collective computing power of
at least 30 Teraflops (30 trillion floating point operations per
Improvements in critical scaling and interconnectivity
technologies as well as operating systems are vital to achieving
maximum performance in the time frame needed to keep the nuclear
stockpile safe and secure.
The Department of Energy's national laboratories will need
computers thousands of times more powerful than those normally
available in the marketplace today. To meet the simulation
requirements, the department is partnering with the US high-end
computing industry to acquire a series of computers capable of 10,
30 and ultimately 100 Teraflops by 2004.
With the PathForward project using 'commodity' (off-the-shelf)
parallel processing components, the department is capitalizing on a
natural synergy with private sector partners: these four companies'
business plans already coincide with the department's own goals and
objectives for supercomputing. These developments would not occur
on this accelerated time line without the department's active
participation. PathForward is a cooperative research and
development plan jointly administered by the Department of Energy's
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Los Alamos National
Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories. More information on
the department's ASCI program can be found on the World Wide Web
(the URL address is http://www.llnl.gov/asci)."
Prepared remarks by US Secretary of Energy Federico
Peña to the National Press Club, Washington, 12 February
"This treaty represents an important building block for both our
national and our international security. There have been numerous
arguments put forward for ratification of this treaty. But today I
want to focus on what I believe are the three most important.
First, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty effectively 'puts the
brakes' on the arms race. Because it prohibits all nuclear
explosions, it constrains the development of more advanced types of
nuclear weapons by the declared nuclear powers.
Most Americans do not realize that there are currently five
declared nuclear-weapons States - the United States, Russia, Great
Britain, France, and China. None of us would be able to develop
with high confidence new, more advanced and more dangerous weapon
types without nuclear testing. Therefore, all five States would be
effectively 'frozen' at current levels of weapons sophistication -
and a fifty year spiral of escalation would be ended. ...
This brings me to the second reason for ratification - that the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty will constrain other countries from
developing nuclear weapons. As I mentioned earlier, there are
currently five nations in the 'nuclear club.' But there are more
who want to join the nuclear ranks. How can the treaty deter them?
Well - even if these nations were to assemble sufficient nuclear
material to produce a simple fission weapon, without nuclear
testing, their military leaders would be forced to place confidence
in an untested design. Moreover, the treaty would constrain any
further improvements in nuclear weapon design.
Furthermore, if these nations insist upon defying the world by
building a nuclear weapon, with the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty,
we will improve our ability to detect and deter nuclear explosive
testing. Under the treaty, we will deploy a broad network of more
than 300 sensors, blanketing the globe, that can detect a nuclear
explosion and help us identify nations that have acquired nuclear
The third reason for ratification was recently summed well by
President Clinton when he said, 'The Test Ban Treaty will hold
other nations to the same standard we already observe - that is its
importance.' Most Americans don't realize it, but it has been more
than five years since the United States last conducted a nuclear
weapons test - ironically enough, a test named 'Divider.' Although
the scientists did not appreciate it at the time, 'Divider' would
be the line separating an era of nuclear testing from an era of
nuclear silence. ...
Next year, we expect a special conference to take place where it
will be decided how to best encourage more nations to sign on and
bring the treaty into force. Only those nations that have already
ratified the treaty will be allowed to participate. Do we want to
be at the table, leading these discussions as we have historically
led the world in nonproliferation initiatives? Or do we want to be
excluded from those negotiations?
Seventy percent of the American public has said that they
support this treaty - that they want us to be at the table. I
believe that it is not only in our best interests to ratify this
treaty, but it is also our responsibility to the American people. I
had the opportunity to talk about this issue with the President
last week when I accompanied him to the place where the very first
nuclear bomb was built - the Department of Energy's Los Alamos
National Laboratory. The President wanted to visit Los Alamos
because achieving a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty is one of his
highest priorities. ...
The awesome power unleashed by our scientists at Los Alamos
brought an end to World War II, but a beginning to the arms race
and another kind of war - the Cold War. The President and I are
about the same age. And as we were touring Los Alamos and being
briefed by the scientists there, I could not help but be reminded
of the Cold War world we once lived in.
As a young man, I can remember watching people build bomb
shelters. And I remember the Cuban Missile Crisis - all of us
watching the clock on the wall as the eleventh hour approached and
we wondered whether we'd soon be witnesses to, or even victims of,
a nuclear exchange between the superpowers.
And it was, perhaps, standing so close to the precipice of
nuclear destruction that led President Kennedy to call for a test
ban treaty in 1963 when he stated that, 'Such a treaty, so near,
and yet so far, would check the spiraling arms race in one of its
most dangerous areas... It would decrease the prospects of war.
Surely this goal is sufficiently important to require our steady
pursuit, yielding neither to the temptation to give up the whole
effort, nor to the temptation to give up our insistence on vital
and responsible safeguards.' ...
Now, there are those who question whether this treaty is a good
idea. There are critics who doubt that we can keep our nuclear
weapons stockpile safe, secure, and reliable unless we continue
nuclear testing. To those people I say, we can do it - and, in
fact, we are doing it today.
When President Clinton extended the moratorium on testing in
1993, he directed the Department of Energy to develop a program to
maintain the safety, security, and reliability of our nuclear
deterrent...without nuclear testing. This program is called
'stockpile stewardship,' and it is based upon the principle that we
can replace nuclear testing with the use of new, advanced
scientific tools that will allow us to analyze our weapons without
actually exploding them.
For example, we have a very aggressive program for increasing
the computational powers that will be necessary for the modeling
and simulation of what happens inside a nuclear weapon. We have
begun building the facilities that we will need...such as the
National Ignition Facility which is designed to produce, for the
first time in a laboratory setting, conditions of temperature and
density of matter close to those that occur in the detonation of
nuclear weapons. And we have put in place a rigorous program to
train a new generation of scientists and engineers on how to care
for the enduring stockpile.
Stockpile stewardship is working. And working so well, that I am
pleased to announce that today, President Clinton will forward to
Congress the annual certification from the Secretaries of Defense
and Energy that the nuclear stockpile remains safe, secure, and
reliable, and that there is no need to return to nuclear testing at
this time. Secretary Cohen and I have given the President our full
assurance that we have conducted a painstaking and thorough review
of every weapon type in the stockpile. And we undertake this review
from the bottom up. From the technicians who work every day with
the weapons, to the scientists who designed the weapons, to the
directors of our three weapons laboratories, John Browne, Paul
Robinson, and Bruce Tarter, to the Commander of US Strategic
Command, General Habiger. ...
I am proud that we were able to certify to the President for the
second year in a row that the stockpile stewardship program is
working and that our nuclear deterrent remains safe, secure, and
reliable. And I was proud last week to be able to show the
President the Los Alamos National Laboratory and to show him why we
were able to make that certification - to show him some of the
technologies we are using to replace nuclear testing.
The President and I saw one of the supercomputers that we are
using now to ensure that the stockpile remains safe, secure, and
reliable. But I told the President that as the stockpile continues
to age, we will need to develop new tools. And today, I am making
an important announcement about one of those new tools. It gives me
great pleasure to announce that the Department of Energy has taken
a major step forward in providing for the safety, security, and
reliability of our stockpile well into the future.
Today, the Department of Energy has signed a contract with the
IBM Corporation, to develop a supercomputer that is capable of
performing ten trillion operations per second. The President often
jokes about being 'technologically challenged'. So let me put this
into terms even the 'technologically challenged' might understand -
in one second this computer can do the same number of calculations
that it would take us ten million years to do with one of our hand
This announcement builds upon a record of computational
breakthroughs at the Department of Energy that is unparalleled in
the world. And it builds upon a partnership with the IBM
Corporation that has been one of the Department's greatest assets.
In an industry that has seen many changes in technology and
structure, there have been few constants - and IBM has been one of
them. IBM has made a long-term and firm commitment to assist the
Department with the technology needed for stockpile stewardship.
From their perspective it's both good business and good for the
country. I share this perspective.
It seems incomprehensible to realize that when research for the
Manhattan Project first began, computations were done on desk
calculators. The wives of our weapons scientists formed a computing
pool to do the repetitive calculations needed to determine the
effect of the nuclear explosion. The Department has certainly come
a long way from those days to emerge as the preeminent
supercomputing power in the world.
In December of 1996, the Department of Energy achieved the
astounding world record of one trillion operations per second. By
early 1999, we expect to achieve an incredible three trillion
operations per second. And with the partnership that we have
announced today, we expect to reach an earth-shattering ten
trillion operations per second by early 2000.
To put this into context, it means that as we enter into the
first year of the new millennium we will be able to do in less than
a day all of the calculations that were performed at the weapons
laboratories for the first fifty years of the nuclear weapons
program. What we learn will not only support our national security
mission, but also has unlimited potential for global climate
problems, biotechnology, and a host of other applications important
to the future health and well-being of our citizens.
This is truly revolutionary technology. And perhaps what is most
amazing is that three years ago, almost no one believed that any of
this would be possible. There were predictions that it would be
into the next century before we had a one trillion operations per
second system - we demonstrated one in December of 1996.
We proved to the world that it is possible. And we are proving
it again and again as we meet our commitments to the President and
to the American people to develop the technologies we will need to
keep our nuclear weapons stockpile safe, secure, and reliable into
the next millennium - all without nuclear testing. ..."
Editor's note: the DOE issued a Press Release to
accompany the Energy Secretary's speech: 'Peña Calls for
Ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty; DOE, IBM
Partnership Launches New Dimension In Supercomputing -
10,000,000,000,000 in 2000' (Press Release R-98-016, 12 February).
Substantial extracts follow:
"Peña announced that today President Clinton forwarded to
Congress the second annual certification of the safety and
reliability of the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile - an annual
requirement of the Secretaries of Energy and Defense. To further
advance the stewardship program, he also announced the award of an
$85 million contract to IBM Corporation (Armonk, N.Y.) for a
10-trillion-operations-per-second computer system. ...
The contract with IBM will enable the Department of Energy to
meet a series of important milestones in computational power and
speed. In December 1996, the ASCI program achieved a world record -
one trillion operations per second - with its 'Option Red' machine
located at the Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New
Mexico. The Department of Energy's 'Option Blue' system will
achieve three trillion-operations-per-second in 1999.
The supercomputer announced today - to be designated 'Option
White' - is scheduled for complete installation at DOE's Lawrence
Livermore National Laboratory in 2000, will be the world's fastest
computer, capable of sustaining a speed of ten TeraOps (i.e., 10
To obtain the 10 TeraOps system, the Department of Energy has
exercised its option to extend the partnership with IBM from the
earlier competitively awarded 'Option Blue' procurement. ...
Today's system is the third step of a planned dramatic increase
in computing power. The large systems are not the end but the means
to drive extremely complex computer simulations. ASCI's goal is to
develop the capability to simulate nuclear weapons' behavior to
ensure their safety and reliability over the long term. This
requires the ability to calculate what happens to billions of data
points in small fractions of a second. The 10 TeraOps supercomputer
at Livermore will consist of more than 8,000 of IBM's newest and
fastest RS/6000 processors. Future plans call for acquisition of a
30 and a 100 TeraOps system.
'As these computers increase their speed, they vastly expand the
complexity of the calculations we can do,' observed Dr. Bruce
Tarter, director of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
'Not only will we be able to calculate improved weapon physics and
weapon aging problems, but we are advancing computer science in
ways that will help us better understand global climate change, to
more quickly develop new drug therapies that could lead to cures
for chronic and catastrophic illnesses, and to increase public
safety through better aircraft and automotive design.'"
© 1998 The Acronym Institute.
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