Washington, DC – The defense spending bill passed by the House today by a vote of 370 to 49 includes ground-breaking provisions based on initiatives by Congressman Tom Lantos (D-CA), chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, to reduce the spread of nuclear weapons.

“This is a strong bill for our brave men and women in uniform, for America’s friends and allies around the world, and our own security,” Lantos said of the National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1585). “I am proud that the House has acted to create an international nuclear fuel bank, which will help make the world safer by promoting nuclear nonproliferation.”

The defense authorization follows the lead of Lantos’ bipartisan International Nuclear Fuel for Peace and Nonproliferation Act (H.R. 885) which was passed by the House in June. It designates $50 million to support the establishment of an international nuclear fuel bank under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Any country wishing to use nuclear fuel for civilian purposes will be eligible to draw from this resource, removing any rational incentive for countries to build their own uranium enrichment plants – facilities that can make fuel for both civil power reactors and nuclear bombs.

“This legislation will force rogue nations to put their money where their mouth is,” Lantos said. “If states like Iran intend to maintain a peaceful nuclear program, they should welcome an opportunity to ensure a stable supply of nuclear fuel from an internationally-supported nuclear fuel bank.”  

Additionally, the legislative package passed today responds to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center scandal and to the most egregious problems with veterans’ healthcare treatment nationwide by making key improvements in care for injured soldiers, and it creates a Strategic Readiness Fund to addresses serious deficits in military readiness caused by long engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan.