WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Bush administration has no plans to develop new nuclear weapons and is not spending any money on such a project, the assistant secretary of state for arms control said Thursday.
Nor does the administration have any plans to conduct a nuclear test, the official, Stephen Rademaker, said at the annual meeting of the private Arms Control Association.
``We are spending zero dollars on the development of new nuclear weapons,″ Rademaker said.
But speaking at the panel discussion, Brazil’s Ambassador Roberto Abdenur, who has held international arms control posts, said the Bush administration was preparing a new nuclear doctrine to authorize the use of low-yield nuclear weapons in conflicts with both nuclear-armed and non-nuclear countries.
He also said the agreement President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin reached in 2002 to gradually reduce their nuclear warhead arsenals by two-thirds was ``easily reversible.″
Abdenur said there was no provision for international monitors to oversee whether the two sides were making good on their agreement.
Under the accord the warheads are removed from missiles but do not have to be destroyed and can readily be reattached.
The Washington Post this week reported the administration began a three-year effort in 2002 to see if an existing nuclear warhead could be fitted with a hardened casing allowing it to dig deep into the earth before exploding.
But, the Post said, the program has been restricted each year by Senate and House members who have argued that even studying the potential for such a new nuclear weapon undermines Washington’s attempts to limit other countries from developing their own nuclear arsenals.
Rademaker, in his speech, portrayed the Bush administration as an ardent proponent of arms control. The U.S. stockpile of strategic warheads bas been reduced from 10,000 to 6,000 and there have been no U.S. nuclear explosions since 1992.
On the Net:
Arms Control Association: http://www.armscontrol.org
State Department: http://www.state.gov