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Mr. DEAN. The ones that are in the stockpile would undoubtedly be effective in the event we went to war tomorrow. By that, I mean very effective.
Mr. Thomas. You are referring to that instrument that we commonly call the “bomb” now, or are you referring to something new and different?
Mr. Dean. Those are all atomic weapons; in that sense, they are all atomic weapons, but they are of different types, and there is already today some flexibility in the program which would permit other uses against military targets, and this will be increasingly so as the other members of the family of weapons enter the stockpile.
Mr. THOMAS. Does the Commission agree with this statement; again reading from the article by Mr. John A. Giles in the Star of September 26 which reads as follows:
Recent publicity about new weaponsexplained Mr. Lovett—and I presume the Mr. Lovett here he is supposed to be quoting is the Secretary of Defense, Mr. Bob Lovett, new developments in warfare and optimistic statements on the military application of atomic energy have given the exaggerated impression that a quick, easy, and inexpensive security might be now at hand.
What have you to say about that?
Mr. DEAN. I do not think there is any quick and easy method of procuring total security. It is expensive.
Mr. Thomas. Mr. Lovett is quoted here as referring to atomic weapons and “new developments in warfare." Do you know of any such new developments in warfare in the application of atomic energy that would lead to any conclusion that for the expenditure of $6 billion, $10 billion, $15 billion, or $20 billion you could now avert World War III and save one-half of the national-defense budget for 1952, which, in all probability, before the year is finished will be about $95 billion?
Mr. Dean. I think it is a question of timing. If you are going to replace
Mr. THOMAS. Well, you do not have much time to do some things in if you are going to save some $40 billion in 1952, because it is going to be over with, Mr. Chairman, in about 9 more months.
Mr. DEAN. I think the answer to that is a flat "No."
Mr. THOMAS. Obviously that is the correct answer. I just do not want this committee to be thought of throughout the country that by failing to appropriate $6 billion we are not going to save $40 billion in the fiscal year 1952, nor do we want the country to think this committee is bringing on world war III when it is alleged that by the expenditure of $6 billion you could prevent world war III. We just want to get this on the record.
Furthermore, you stated awhile ago you have not asked for $1 billion over and above your request, much less $3 billion, $4 billion, $5 billion, $6 billion, or any other amount. Is that true?
Mr. DEAN. That is very true. On the other hand, we do not want to make a rash request. That is the reason. Some people might criticize us for spending so much time to make an evaluation of the expansion program, but, when you get out into those billions, we want to see where it is going, when it gets to you, and what the impact is going to be.
Mr. THOMAS. We certainly want to commend you for that action and that statement. We concur that your position there is 100 percent sound.
There is one other statement here that I want to read from the Congressional Record on page 11733:
Mr. McMahon. Approximately so— he is answering a question by Mr. Moodyit depends on the amount of effort and the amount of money we are willing to put into such a project immediately as to how soon we can bring about that result, but it is apparent now to all of us that there is a supply of raw material coming into being with which we can fabricate atomic bombs by the thousands.
Do you know where that source of raw material is? Mr. DEAN. He is undoubtedly referring to new sources we have in South Africa and Canada and the step-up in production in the Colorado plateau region of this country.
Mr. THOMAS. Do you know of any presently existing supply of material whereby you can make atomic bombs by the thousands?
Mr. DEAN. I hate to get into figures. Mr. THOMAS. Is that your answer? Mr. DEAN. I think that is the answer, Mr. Thomas. I would rather not talk of numbers. Mr. THOMAS. Reading further from the statement, he says:
* * * Of course, the statement as to cost is an approximation of the cost, but I believe that, compared to some of our most expensive tanks, we can get the unit cost of the bomb down to less than what one of our big tanks costs us today.
Do you agree with that statement? Mr. DEAN. In the first place, I do not know the cost of a tank. I think a more accurate statement would be a few tanks.
Mr. GORE. Mr. Chairman [Mr. Dean), do you foresee in the next decade an atomic Air Force?
Mr. DEAN. I think in the next decade you will probably have a plane in the air the power for which comes from a reactor. If the people who run that plane and service it on the ground are the Air Force that is referred to, I think you would have the beginning of an atomic Air Force within a decade.
Mr. GORE. What you are saying is that one plane and the crew to operate it would be the beginning.
Mr. DEAN. Yes.
Mr. DEAN. If by an atomic Air Force is simply meant the service and flying of a plane which can deliver an atomic bomb, we can say that we have an atomic Air Force today.
Mr. GORE. But you would not say that we have an atomic Air Force?
Mr. DEAN, No.
Mr. GORE. Although we do have an Air Force which can deliver atomic bombs.
Mr. DEAN. Exactly.
TACTICAL USE OF ATOMIC WEAPONS Mr. Yates. Mr. Dean, in response to Mr. Andrews' question of a few moments ago, you replied that the atomic weapons were usable for tactical purposes. Is that correct?
Mr. DEAN. That is true. - Mr. YATES. Could such weapons be used for tactical purposes, and the ground area on which they were used be subject to occupation by our own troops within a reasonably short time thereafter?
Mr. DEAN. That also is true..
Mr. YATES. Would that same territory be susceptible to occupation by enemy troops or do our troops have something they do not have?
Mr. DEAN. The position would be the same with the enemy as with our own troops. In short, there is no residual radioactivity in connection with that kind of high air burst which would deny the area to either.
FEASIBILITY OF INCREASING ATOMIC ENERGY DEVELOPMENT
Mr. YATES. In response to Chairman Thomas' question, in his reading a statement from the newspaper that a $6 billion expenditure would win us reprieve from world war III, you said that a future year might begin to bear fruit in that respect. That was your answer; was it not? : Mr. DEAN. What I meant to say was this: that if we start construction on plants today to produce fissionable material you could not begin to get any payoff with any such expenditure for several years; that our payoff in the more immediate future is coming from the expanded program in which we are already engaged.
Mr. YATES. The question that is in my mind is what assurance we have that would win a reprieve from World War III?
Mr. DEAN. My difficulty is that I do not know when World War III is coming—and I do not mean to be facetious.
Mr. YATES. I realize that, but would not your answer have applied in the other case?
Mr. Dean. I mean this: That if I knew today that World War III was coming in 1960—
Mr. YATES. Yes.
Mr. DEAN. And that the country could take the burden of the large expense of plants and equipment, I would say to get it, and to get it very fast. What I was trying to point out in answer to Mr. Thomas' question was that we could not get the pay-off on plants and equipment until a period of several years has passed; that it takes time to build reactors, and it takes time to build these diffusion plants.
Mr. YATES. Can we make any assumption that the Soviets will not do the same thing?
Mr. DEAN. No; we cannot, and I hope that nothing I have said indicates that I would not be, might not come up to this committee within a short time for a substantial expansion. I just wanted to say that we want to know what we are doing when we do, just how much of a program we would have in all directions, and how much the burden is going to cost, and I am not in position to give an exact answer to that today.
Mr. YATES. Is the assumption justified on the basis of past experience—and you may want to answer this off the record, and you may if you want to-based upon your experience as indicated, is the assumption justified that the Soviets are expanding their atomic energy program?
Mr. DEAN. Yes.
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Mr. Yates. Then if we expand, is it not reasonable to expect theirs likely will continue? The point I am trying to get, going back to the question of reprieve from World War III, is there such a thing?
Mr. DEAN. No. I can perhaps say that in one sense we have had a reprieve from World War III up to this time by the existence of our own stockpile—this is an arguable point, but I am inclined to think perhaps it may have had that effect.
Mr. ANDREWS. I think what has happened this year in the tests you had out in New Mexico in February of this year helped. I mean the publicity given to the tests.
Mr. DEAN. Well, some people have given us credit, but we do not deserve the credit, because it was not done for that purpose. We have never expended fissionable material simply for the purpose of impressing the Russians.
Mr. GORE. Coming now to the specific request before this committee, which is all this committee is called upon to decide at this time, I would like you, Mr. Chairman, first, to give us a general statement relating to this particular request.
SAVANNAH RIVER PROJECT
GENERAL STATEMENT Mr. DEAN. Mr. Chairman, if I may, first, I would like to discuss the Savannah River project.
Mr. GORE. The request relates primarily to the Savannah plant?
As you know, the President on January 31, 1950, directed that the production goals and scope of the atomic energy program be greatly increased. That directive launched the Atomic Energy Commission on a construction project larger than any it had previously undertaken. Many problems had to be faced; many questions had to be answered. The four biggest questions of course were: How? Where? By whom? Åt what cost?
The answer to “How?” was to be found by drawing on past experience, sifting out the best of tested theories and applying them to the problem at hand. The answer to “Where?” involved weighing the advantages of expanding and existing site or sites against starting a new site. The answer to “By whom?” required a careful evaluation of contractors to determine the one best fitted for the job. Not until these first three questions were answered could we make any progress on the fourth question—"At what cost?”
The combined thinking of all our reactor scientists, our contractors, the General Advisory Committee's subcommittee on reactors and the Military Liaison Committee went into the selection of the type of reactor to be built. It was decided that a new site would be more advantageous than building at an existing site and a Site Review Committee was established. After a review of the leading chemical contractors in the country, the E. I. duPont de Nemours Co. was selected.
By the summer of 1950 we were in a position to ask for funds to initiate work on the project and the Congress appropriated $247.9 million for that purpose in the First Supplemental Appropriation Act for fiscal year 1951. By December, the duPont Co. had been selected as contractor, the site now known as Savannah River had been selected, land acquisition had begun, and in January 1951, Congress provided an additional $392.0 million in the Second Supplemental Appropriation Act. This amount, plus $28.2 million which the Commission had allocated to the project from funds already available, made a total of $668.1 million available for this project.
. During the course of testimony before the House Appropriations Committee in April and August of 1951, the Commission stated that the total cost of the project would be considerably in excess of funds available and that the duPont Co. was preparing a revised estimate based on an engineering survey and preliminary design. The contractor's estimate is the basis of this supplemental request. Since it is expected that presently appropriated funds will be fully committed by early spring of 1952, the immediate need for additional funds prevents our inclusion of this request in the regular 1953 budget.
If I may be permitted to go off the record for a few minutes, I will discuss briefly some classified features of this project, but before doing so I would like to take the opportunity of our presence here today to say again to the committee that the existing restrictions on personal services in our appropriation for fiscal year 1952 are, we feel, inconsistent with the major expansion now being undertaken by the Commission. We earnestly hope that the Congress will take favorable action on the appeal for relief from these restrictions which we have made in the proposed language of the pending supplemental appropriation bill for 1952.
Mr. GORE. Thank you for your general statement, both on and off the record.
Mr. GORE. Mr. Dean, what is the amount of your request of this coinmittee?
Mr. DEAN. $484,240,000.
Mr. GORE. The bulk of which is on cost of production of fissionable material?
Mr. DEAN. All of which is in that general category. Mr. GORE. I have read the breakdown in your justifications, and I am not able to understand why some of the contents of the secret justifications are so treated, but it is not my responsibility to decide whether they should be secret or should not. That being the case, I will not undertake to interrogate as to the contents of the secret document, but instead will confine my inquiries to the unclassified items.
Do you not think you bend over backwards sometimes in holding something secret? I could pick out a few things which do not appear to me to be at all secret.
Mr. DEAN. I think that is entirely true. For example, Mr. Gore, what appears on page 4 of the secret document is also contained in the unclassified summary.
I think if you will turn to page 4 of the secret you will see they are identical,
Mr. GORE. Yes; I was also referring to that, and also looking on page 5. I will not put those in the record, but being secret
Mr. DEAN. The same applies, Mr. Gore, to page 5 of the secret, which is a copy of page 5 of the unclassified.
Mr. McCARTHY. The first seven pages, Mr. Chairman, of both the secret and the unclassified are the same. In an attempt to help the committee we felt it would be better to work from one book; but the first seven pages of the unclassified and the secret are the same.