21. “The University of California and Nuclear Weapons Research”

by Project Censored
Published: Updated:

Almost all of the nuclear weapons research and development in the United States is carried on by two laboratories–the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico, and the Lawrence Livermore Lab in Livermore, California..

The prestigious University of California manages both labs under a renewable five-year contract.

Since the weapons labs are officially owned by the Department of Energy, the professed justification for an academic institution’s involvement in such military programs is that DOE is a civilian agency.

While the DOE is a civilian agency, however, all military aspects of atomic energy, i.e., nuclear weapons, are under the control of a General and his military staff, appointed by the Pentagon.

Many contend that the labs are managed by the military only and that the UC management is a facade.

The labs, under UC management, are expected to present to legislators unbiased technical information about new weapons; instead they actively promote weapons, including the neutron bomb. California Congressman Pete Stark has complained that the Livermore Lab has been “grubbing for money in the Halls of Congress.”

Not only do the labs promote specific weapons, but also changes in military strategy. In 1970, while director of the Livermore Lab, Michael May published an article in Orbis, a foreign policy journal, analyzing the U. S. nuclear deterrent strategy and advocating a change to a counterforce strategy: In 1974, then Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger (now Secretary of Energy) announced a U: S. shift to counterforce strategy.

The failure of the media to inform the American public of the UC-nuclear weapon connection qualifies this story for nomination as one of the “best censored” stories of 1978:


Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, September, 1978, p. 20, The Berkeley Controversy Over Nuclear Weapons,” by Charles Schwartz.