Japanese glass maker Hoya Corp. plans to resume suspended shipments of glass slabs to the U.S. Energy Department’s nuclear weapons research facility, believing the product will not lead to new nuclear development, the company said.

“It was confirmed that this glass itself will not lead to new nuclear development, and the research programs are to contribute to the elimination of nuclear weapons,” the company said Monday in a letter to antinuclear groups.

The company last month temporarily suspended deliveries of the slabs by its U.S. subsidiary Hoya Corp. U.S.A. in the wake of domestic opposition claiming the deal will help the United States keep its nuclear weapons.

The company sent the letter Monday to the Japan Congress Against A- and H-bombs (Gensuikin) and other antinuclear and peace organizations based in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the cities hit by atom bombs toward the end of the World War II.

Gensuikin blasted Hoya in a statement for failing to serve its “social responsibility as a company in a country that suffered from atomic bombing,” and also indicated its intention to stage a boycott of Hoya products if it goes ahead with the shipments.

The Hoya subsidiary, based in California, is responsible for supplying half the 3,500 glass slabs to be used in the National Ignition Facility (NIF), under construction in California. The other half is being supplied by Schott Glass Technologies Inc. of Pennsylvania.

The slabs will be used to amplify laser rays in the nuclear fusion process at the new facility at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, due to start partial operations in 2004 and be completed by 2007.

U.S. antinuclear groups claim the facility will be in breach of the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) due to its vital role in the development of nuclear weapons.

The U.S. Energy Department, responsible for the development of U.S. nuclear weapons, says the $3.4 billion facility is needed to ensure the country’s nuclear weapons remain safe and reliable.

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