US State Department, WASHINGTON: U.S. Senate and House budget conferees have canceled funding for an Energy Department study to design a new generation nuclear “bunker-busting” bomb, says Senate Subcommittee Chairman Pete V. Domenici.
“The focus will now be with the Defense Department and its research to [develop] earth-penetrating technology using conventional weaponry,” Domenici said in a prepared statement October 25.
Previously, the Bush administration had asked for $4 million for the “Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator” study in the 2006 Energy Department's budget and another $4.5 million in the Defense Department budget.
Domenici, who is chairman of the Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee, said the Energy Department's National Nuclear Security Administration asked for the project funds to be canceled.
“The NNSA indicated that this research should evolve around more conventional weapons rather than tactical nuclear devices,” Domenici said.
The nuclear bunker-buster bomb, which would have been a new generation of nuclear weapons, was being researched by the Energy Department for the Pentagon to determine if a tactical nuclear weapon could penetrate deeply buried targets, such as caves and underground tunnels that might be used by terrorist groups, U.S. officials testified before Congress this year.
Previously, the House of Representatives passed a $24.3 billion version of the budget in May without including funds for the bunker-buster research. The Senate included the request in its $25 billion version of the budget that passed in July.
The conference committee has been attempting to resolve differences.
Kremlin says won’t change plans on Belarus nuclear weapons
The Kremlin on Monday said Western criticism would not change plans announced by President Vladimir Putin to deploy tactical nuclear...