A coalition of 18 House Republicans led by GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., are pressing Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm over her agency’s invitation for foreign adversaries to inspect a sensitive U.S. nuclear testing site.
Stefanik and the other Republicans sent a letter on Thursday morning to Granholm criticizing her for giving China and Russia unprecedented entry to the Department of Energy’s Nevada National Security Site. Bloomberg reports that the DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration invited Chinese and Russian officials to tour the Nevada National Security Site in September to show the U.S. upheld its three-decade-old ban on nuclear weapons testing.
Stefanik stated, “I stand with my colleagues in demanding that President Biden retract this misguided invitation that would give our adversaries unprecedented insight and access into our nuclear arsenals. Stefanik said that inviting Communist China or Russia to the front row at our sensitive nuclear weapons tests would provide them with valuable information about how they could defeat our nuclear capability while improving theirs.
She added, “At a time when our enemies are building their nuclear arsenals to undermine America’s leadership in the world, allowing access to one of our testing sites would only advance this pursuit and lead to our destruction.”
Bloomberg reported that the National Nuclear Security Administration had invited their Chinese counterparts and Russian counterparts who carry out sensitive nuclear experiments in Nevada to visit the site at the recent International Atomic Energy Agency Summit. He stated that China and Russia had not responded to the invitation.
The invitation came months after Russian President Vladimir Putin suspended his country’s involvement in America’s sole nuclear arms control treaty. The State Department has condemned the move, saying it is evidence of a deteriorating relationship between Russia and the United States.
Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., one of the co-signers of Stefanik’s letter to Granholm on Thursday, said allowing foreign adversaries to observe U.S. nuclear testing activities “allows them to derive our methods and procedures and this destroys deterrence.”
As Chairman of the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee, he said, “one of my top priorities was to protect and reinforce our nuclear arsenal.” “In the modern world, losing our nuclear advantage would be a major threat to national security. ”
“Neither Russians nor Chinese should be allowed access to our test. The Colorado legislator said that both countries could have been more transparent in their nuclear weapons development and deployment but chose not to.
Lamborn presented the bill last month in order to prevent foreigners from being able to witness U.S. Nuclear Weapon Testing at national laboratories. This bill was annexed with the Fiscal Year 2020 Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act which the House approved on October 26.
The letter, which was sent Thursday, also noted that China continues to develop its nuclear capabilities and weapons. Stefanik, Lamborn, and other GOP lawmakers also pointed out that the Department of Defense warned China’s development of nuclear weapons is exceeding previous U.S. estimates.
In March, General Anthony Cotton of the U.S. Strategic Command informed lawmakers that the PRC would have over 1,000 warheads in the next decade.
The Republicans wrote to Granholm that China would have no reason to stop its nuclear expansion if they were to give it access to the US without any conditions. “The Republicans noted that China had refused to discuss its nuclear expansion and DOE’s actions could “embolden (China) to continue growing their arsenal.”
Rep. Rob Wittman, a letter signer from the Republican Party of Virginia, said:
“I’m proud to stand alongside my colleagues and demand the Biden Administration to explain why they invited Russian and Chinese Communist Party officials to access our most sensitive laboratories and testing facilities. ”
Joe Wilson, James Moylan, and other GOP Reps also signed the letter.
The DOE didn’t immediately respond to our comment request.