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Nuclear Weapons

Beyond Nuclear advocates for the elimination of all nuclear weapons and argues that removing them can only make us safer, not more vulnerable. The expansion of commercial nuclear power across the globe only increases the chance that more nuclear weapons will be built and is counterproductive to disarmament.

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Friday
Mar102017

This troubled, covert agency is responsible for trucking nuclear bombs across America each day

As reported by the L.A. Times.

“Transportation is the Achilles’ heel of nuclear security and everyone knows that,” said Bruce Blair, a retired Air Force missile officer, Princeton University researcher and founder of Global Zero, a nonprofit group that seeks elimination of nuclear weapons.

The danger is not a traffic accident — even a fiery crash is not supposed to explode a warhead — but a heist.

“In an age of terrorism, you’re taking a big risk any time you decide to move nuclear material into the public space over long distances via ground transport,” Blair said. “Bad things happen.”

Tuesday
Mar072017

North Korea says missile launches were training for striking U.S. bases in Japan

Tuesday
Feb282017

Beyond Nuclear letter to the editor in the Washington Post: The looming danger of nuclear weapons

Letter to the Editor, Washington Post:

While the United States and Russia possess more than 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons, the fact that seven other nations have nuclear weapons, albeit in smaller quantities, is highly significant.  

The report “Nuclear Famine: Two Billion People at Risk?” by Ira Helfand warns that even “a limited, regional nuclear war between India and Pakistan would cause significant climate disruption worldwide.” The resulting global cooling would significantly affect “agriculture, food supplies, and human nutrition” and could result in billions of deaths.

Even North Korea’s handful of nuclear weapons is dangerously destabilizing [“Former U.S. officials plan talks with N. Koreans,” front page, Feb. 20]. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists’ Doomsday Clock is at two and a half minutes to midnight, due in large part to President Trump’s provocative statements. It’s high time to take President John F. Kennedy’s 1961 warning to heart: “The weapons of war must be abolished before they abolish us.”

Kevin Kamps, Takoma Park

The writer is a radioactive waste specialist for Beyond Nuclear.

Thursday
Feb092017

Civil rights icon Coretta Scott King was an anti-nuclear activist too!

The civil rights hero Coretta Scott King, an equal partner in the world betterment work of her husband the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is in the news. As reported by Democracy Now!, in segments entitled "Made Me Feel We Were Back in the 1950s: Coretta Scott King Memoirist on Silencing of Elizabeth Warren," and "Sen. Elizabeth Warren Silenced by GOP for Reading Coretta Scott King's Letter about Jeff Sessions," Coretta Scott King's words written 31 years ago were considered too hot for the U.S. Senate floor by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Republican-Kentucky), so Sen. Warren (Democrat-Massachusetts) was "red carded" -- blocked from speaking any more about Sen. Jeff Sessions' (Republican-Alabama) nomination by President Donald J. Trump for Attorney General.

(See also New York Times coverage, including a link to Sen. Warren's Facebook Live reading of Coretta Scott King's letter (done just moments after Sen. Warren was silenced by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell on the Senate floor), and the written text of the 1986 letter, as well as the full congressional testimony -- all of which, Democracy Now! has reported, arch-segregationist Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-SC, Chair of the Judicicary Committee overseeing Sessions' nomination for a federal judgeship in 1986), almost certainly intentionally (that is, it was not a mistake or clerical error), did not include in the official Congressional Record at the time.)

Less known than her civil rights activism is that Coretta Scott King was also an anti-nuclear weapons activist. A photo, displayed at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Non-violent Social Change, shows Coretta Scott King marching with Women's Strike for Peace. Her placard reads "Let's Make Our Earth A Nuclear-Free Zone."

Thursday
Jan262017

It is now 2.5 minutes to midnight. Words matter when Trump speaks of nuclear weapons, climate.

Thank you to Scott Stapf of the Hastings Group's Tweet, calling attention to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' (BAS) historic announcement regarding its iconic Dooms Day Clock -- by setting the Clock at two and a half minutes to midnight, BAS has pegged the current danger to people and the planet -- from nuclear weapons, climate change, and other technological threats such as cyber attacks -- at the same level as 1953, when the U.S. and U.S.S.R. first began exchanging hydrogen bomb test blasts, in the earliest days of the Cold War nuclear arms race.

Watch the BAS press conference, held today at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Note that one BAS speaker pointed to cyber attacks impacting the grid -- and highlighting the potentially catastrophic risks to nuclear power plants as a case in point (atomic reactors, and their high-level radioactive waste storage pools, depend on the electric grid for its primary source of electricity to run safety and cooling systems), another BAS speaker gave nuclear power as a hopeful example of positive technological development that could make the world a better place. Beyond Nuclear very much disagrees with the latter assertion, of course.

The Washington Post has reported on this story. Two of the BAS speakers at the press conference above, Lawrence M. Krauss and David Titley, have published an op-ed at the New York Times entitled "Thanks to Trump, the Doomsday Clock Advances toward Midnight."