By Martin Leatherman, Newsdesk.org
The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty meeting at the U.N. this month has spurred contentious debate about America’s pursuit of new, smaller nuclear weapons. The treaty was signed in 1968, and went into effect in 1970. President George H.W. Bush enacted a moratorium on nuclear testing in 1992, but the current Bush presidency’s 2002 Nuclear Posture Review paved the way for today’s efforts to fund new testing. The president’s 2006 budget asks for $8.5 million — split between the departments of Energy and Defense — for research into a nuclear bunker buster. Supporters say Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrators would be useful in the war on terror against hardened targets such as bunkers or underground chemical weapons arsenals.