Saturday, July 13, 2013

Religious Leaders/Citizens Demand Nuclear Weapons Free World/ Janice Sevre-Duszynska Joins Jesuits, Franciscans in Witness

PeaceWorks, Kansas City

4509 Walnut, KC MO 64111, 816-561-1181; Facebook at PeaceWorksKC


For immediate release: July 5, 2013

Contacts: Henry Stoever, 913-375-0045; Ann Suellentrop, 913-271-7925


Civil resistance at KC nuclear-weapons-parts plant July 13:

Citizens demand, “Open the door to a nuclear-weapons-free world!”


On Saturday, July 13, members of local peace, health and environmental groups will call for “Opening the Door” to freedom from nuclear weapons at Kansas City’s new nuclear-weapons-parts plant, located across the highway from the former Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base. 


Coinciding with Nuclear Abolition Week July 6-13,1 activists will cross the new plant’s property line, resisting the 85 percent of non-nuclear parts for nuclear weapons that will be made or procured there. About a dozen protesters will step through a symbolic door “to a nuclear-weapons-free future” at the entrance to the new Kansas City Plant, called the Nuclear Security Campus.  Resisters include several Catholic priests—long-time Plowshares anti-nuclear activist Fr. Carl Kabat of St. Louis, his superior Fr. Bill Antone of Chicago, Fr. Bill Bichsel of Tacoma, WA, Fr. Jerry Zawada of Chicago, and woman priest Janice Sevre-Duzinska—along with Des Moines Catholic Workers, KC-area Catholic Workers and PeaceWorks-KC members.  The new plant, located at 14510 Botts Road, near Mo. Hwy. 150, will take over production next year from the old, highly contaminated KC Plant at Bannister Federal Complex at Bannister and Troost.


Participants in the events will begin Friday, July 12, at 3 pm with nonviolence training and a festival of hope until 8 pm2 at Linwood United Church, 3151 Olive, KC, MO.


Recent developments give encouragement to the activists:

--On March 4-5, representatives from 127 countries (not the U.S.) convened in Oslo, Norway, to consider the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons. “This movement to abolish nuclear weapons, led by Norway and Switzerland, is growing and strengthening, even though countries with nuclear weapons are trying to kill it,” says Steve Leeper, former chair of the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation.

--In May, a new United Nations working group began meeting in Geneva to develop proposals to take forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations for the achievement and maintenance of a world without nuclear weapons.  

--On June 19, President Obama in Berlin urged negotiations with Russia to reduce deployed, strategic nuclear weapons by up to one-third further than required in the New START treaty (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty). 

--On June 24, the U.S. Conference of Mayors unanimously adopted a resolution calling for the U.S. to take the lead in global elimination of nuclear weapons and in redirection of military spending to domestic needs. 


The current KC Plant, operated by Honeywell Federal Manufacturing and Technologies (FM&T), produces and procures 85percent of non-nuclear components for U.S. nuclear warheads.  It is operated by the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), a semi-autonomous agency of the Department of Energy (DOE).  The KC Plant relies on Life Extension Program (LEP) work, a program touted to extend the “life” or time that a weapon can safely and reliably remain in the stockpile.3 However, LEPs are voracious spenders of federal funds.  So, on June 27, the Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee reported that it cut funding for one of the most expensive LEPs, NNSA’s B61 nuclear bomb LEP.


“So-called ‘Life’ Extension Program costs are astronomical,”4 said Ann Suellentrop, a mother-baby nurse with Physicians for Social Responsibility-KC.  “Billions upon billions of our tax dollars are slated to be wasted on these outdated, unbelievably catastrophic weapons that we fervently hope are never, ever used.  What insanity!  We all have human rights, and the right to life is No. 1!  Just think what pressing human needs we could use these funds for: housing, education, health care, infrastructure and useful, sustainable jobs!”


Reflecting on the July 13 line-crossing, attorney Henry Stoever, chair of the PeaceWorks-KC Board, said, “Those crossing the line are saying our government has already far crossed the line. It continues to build weapons of mass destruction while the world is crying for reduction and disarmament of WMDs. We are complicit if we do not take strong action against this new plant and seek its conversion to life-giving, not life-threatening, products.”


4 Source:  See p. 189 (chapter 8, figures 8-1 and 8-2).

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