He suggested that spending more money to modernize the nation’s nuclear arsenal robs from efforts to address poverty.
Federal officials spanning the Obama, Trump and now Biden administrations have argued that modernization is necessary given geo-political instability and ongoing national security concerns. Members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation also have supported efforts to expand work at Los Alamos, pointing to billions of dollars in investment and new jobs that will result.
Wester said the focus should be on shifting weapons work to “life-affirming jobs” that involve environmental cleanup of Cold War-era waste, nonproliferation programs and projects that address climate change. He acknowledged that wouldn’t be easy but said it’s possible, pointing to changes that resulted from the technological revolution and now the transformation of the energy industry.
“It’s really such an important topic. We really can’t dally,” Wester said.