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.



Nuclear Heartland and an End to Land-Based Missiles: Book Talk by John LaForge, Nukewatch WI, Busboys@Takoma, March 14, 7pm

The cover of Nuclear HeartlandNuclear Heartland and an End to Land-Based Missiles

John LaForge, longtime staffer at Nukewatch, regular contributor to CounterPunch, and Co-editor of Nuclear Heartland, Revised: A Guide to the 450 Land-Based Missiles of the United States (see photo, left), will discuss this new book from Nukewatch, at Busboys & Poets @ Takoma, in the Nicolás Guillén Room, Monday, March 14, from 7 to 9 p.m.

Busboys @ Takoma is located at 235 Carroll St NW, Washington, DC 20012, right on the border with the Nuclear-Free Zone of Takoma Park, MD (the Takoma Metro Rail Station, on the Red line, is a short couple blocks walk away).

This event is co-sponsored by Beyond Nuclear, Council for a Livable World, Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), the Nuclear-Free Takoma Park Committee, Peace Action, and Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR).

About the Book

LaForge and a partner visited all 1,000 U.S. land-based missiles in 1988 to document their locations for the original Nuclear Heartland. They are the only people ever to see all 1,000 missile silos.

In a foreword, Matthew Rothschild, former Editor of The Progressive magazine, writes, “Becoming aware of these hideous weapons in our midst is the first step toward arousing people to take another run at nuclear disarmament, and that’s why Nuclear Heartland is so vitally important today,” Rothschild writes. “It shows us where the weapons are, and how they’ve almost become a part of the landscape.”

Come hear about what Dr. Helen Caldicott (Beyond Nuclear's Founding President) calls “one of the most frightening books I have ever read.” With high-level military and civilian officials calling for the complete elimination of the country’s ICBMs, the message of Nuclear Heartland could not be timelier. 

Nukewatch has a website section devoted to Nuclear Heartland.

About the Editor     

John LaForge, 59, has worked on the staff of Nukewatch, a nuclear watchdog and environmental justice group in Wisconsin, since 1992 and edits its Quarterly newsletter. He and Barb Katt visited all 1,000 U.S. land-based missiles to document their locations, and an account of their journey is published in both the 1988 and 2015 editions of Nuclear Heartland. His articles on nuclear weapons, reactors, radioactive waste and militarism have appeared in The Progressive, New Internationalist, Z Magazine, Earth Island Journal, the opinion pages of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and elsewhere. He is a regular contributor to Counterpunch, Peacevoice, and the Duluth, Minn., Reader Weekly. He has testified before British and Dutch parliamentarians on the outlaw status of depleted uranium weapons used widely by the United States. He’s been a member of anti-war Plowshares Land Trust near Luck, Wis. for 27 years, and has served over four years in jail and prison for nonviolent protests, and was a 2004 recipient of the Peace and Justice Studies Association's Social Courage Award.

John LaForge can be contacted at: 715-472-4185; <>.


St. Louis moms up in arms over nuclear waste fears

Moms and their children carry a child-sized casket filled with petitions for Gov. Nixon demanding that a state of emergency is declared. As reported by CBS Evening News, concern among residents in neighborhoods of North St. Louis County around the old radioactive waste dump adjacent to a smoldering landfill fire is deepening:

Ed Smith is an environmentalist who's been studying the site. "The folks around the St. Louis metro area need to be paying attention. We're talking about the possibility, if there's a surface fire, for radioactivity leaving the site."


Nuclear Hotseat: SPECIAL – St. Louis Nuclear Nightmare

West Lake Landfll, North St. Louis County, MONuclear Hotseat #227: West Lake Radioactive Waste Fire -- Dr. Caldicott, Bob Alvarez, Dawn Chapman

A full length Nuclear Hotseat SPECIAL on the West Lake Landfill in North St. Louis - a Manhattan Project-era radioactive waste dump - and the encroaching underground fire less than a quarter mile away.


  • The history of the West Lake Landfill nuclear waste with Bob Alvarez, who served as senior policy adviser to the Energy Department’s secretary and deputy assistant secretary for national security and the environment from 1993 to 1999. He is a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies and wrote the landmark November, 2013 report: The West Lake Landfill: A Radioactive Legacy of the Nuclear Arms Race.
  • The medical consequences faced by those exposed to the West Lake radioactive waste with Dr. Helen Caldicott, arguably the single most articulate and passionate advocate of citizen action to remedy the nuclear and environmental crises in the world.   A medical doctor and former instructor in pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, she co-founded Physicians for Social Responsibility – which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985 – and was herself nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling. She is the author of Nuclear Power is Not the Answer.
  • What it’s like on the ground in the North St. Louis neighborhoods impacted by the radioactive waste with Dawn Chapman, a mother who lives less than two miles from the West Lake Landfill. She Admins the Facebook West Lake Landfill page.



  • President Barack Obama The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500 Please include your e-mail address Phone Numbers Comments: 202-456-1111 Switchboard: 202-456-1414 TTY/TDD Comments: 202-456-6213 Visitors Office: 202-456-2121 Twitter: @POTUS @POTUSPRESSPOOL
  • Senator Roy Blunt United States Senate 260 Russell Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 201510 (202) 224-5721 Twitter: @RoyBlunt @RoyBluntMO @RoyBluntPress
  • Senator Claire McCaskill United States Senate Hart Senate Office Building, Ste. 506 Washington, D.C. 20510 (202) 224-6154 Twitter: @clairecmc
  • Congresswoman Ann Wagner United States House of Representatives 435 Cannon House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 (202) 225-1621 Twitter: @RepAnnWagner
  • Congressman William Lacy Clay United States House of Representatives 2418 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 (202) 225-2406 Twitter: @LacyClayMO1
  • EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, William Jefferson Clinton Building mail code: 1101A 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, DC 20460 Twitter: @EPAGina

"Senate Dems block GOP measure to kill Iran [nuclear] deal"

As reported by Politico:

Senate Democrats on Thursday successfully blocked a measure meant to kill President Barack Obama's nuclear deal with Iran, dealing a decisive defeat to Republicans’ attempts to derail the controversial agreement and ensuring its survival.

With a 58-42 vote, Democrats filibustered the disapproval resolution that Republicans and other deal opponents had tried to send to Obama's desk, where it would have been vetoed. But with more than enough support from Democrats to sustain that veto, the fight largely turned to the minutiae of Senate procedure and the suspense of whether Democrats would halt the bill from reaching the White House altogether.


"Energy secretary is urged to end U.S. nuclear fuel program at Savannah River"

As reported by Steven Mufson at the Washington Post:

A group of more than a dozen prominent former arms negotiators and senior diplomats has sent a letter to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz urging an end to the U.S. nuclear fuel program at the government’s Savannah River complex that they say is too costly and a threat to non-proliferation efforts.

...The signatories included former nuclear arms negotiators Robert Einhorn and Robert Gallucci; former ambassadors Thomas Pickering and Joseph Nye; former White House director for arms control, former Pentagon and intelligence official Henry S. Rowen; former head of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Jessica Matthews; former Nuclear Regulation Commission members Peter Bradford and Victor Gilinsky; National Medal of Science winner and a designer of the first hydrogen bomb Richard Garwin; and nuclear policy experts Henry Sokolski, Frank von Hippel, S. David Freeman and Ploughshares Fund president Joseph Cirincione.

SRS Watch has posted the letter online.

The MOX fuel fabrication facility [FFF] at the U.S. Department of Energy's [DOE] Savannah River Site [SRS] was supposed to convent 34 metric tons of excess weapons-grade plutonium into nuclear fuel for commercial atomic reactors. MOX is short for Mixed Oxide, referring to mixed uranium-plutonium oxide nuclear fuel.

The MOX FFF has proceeded despite the protests of anti-nuclear and non-proliferation critics for the past two decades, who urged that the excess weapons-grade plutonium be mixed back into the high-level radioactive waste from which it came in the first place, and treated as dangerous, deadly radioactive waste, not a commercial nuclear power commodity.

The MOX FFF project has turned into a $5 billion boondoggle. The still under construction MOX FFF was built too small to house the needed equipment, for one thing! But if the project continues, tens of billions of additional taxpayer dollars could be wasted, on an undertaking that undermines U.S. credibility on nuclear weapons non-proliferation, not to mention the risks of using plutonium fuel in reactors not designed for it in the first place.

For example, Fukushima Daiichi Unit 3 had loaded MOX fuel into its reactor core in September 2010, just six months before the nuclear catastrophe began. 6% of the core consisted of MOX fuel; plans were to expand that to a 33% MOX core. Unit 3 then experienced the largest of the hydrogen gas explosions in March 2011, after its core began to melt down. The radioactive dust, so to speak, has not yet settled on what role the MOX fuel played in contributing to the full-scale melt down at Unit 3, the size of its destructive H2 explosion, and, most significantly of all, the severity of the hazardous radioactivity releases that resulted.

Critics have long resisted MOX. This has included grassroots anti-nuclear efforts, as in the Midwest. In the mid- to late-1990s, for example, a coalition of groups from Chicago to Ontario undertook a Nix MOX caravan, that generated significant media coverage.

This was followed by a lawsuit -- Alice Hirt v. Bill Richardson, Secretary of Energy -- in federal court in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The pro bono environmental attorneys, Terry Lodge and Kary Love, on behalf of clients including Alice Hirt of Don't Waste Michigan in Holland, MI, sought to block DOE's shipment of weapons-grade plutonium, converted to experimental MOX reactor fuel, by truck from Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory in New Mexico, through Michigan, to Chalk River Nuclear Lab, Ontario. The environmental coalition initially won a Temporary Restraining Order against the shipment in late 1999, but by January 2000, DOE was able to force the shipment through.

Despite this, plans to use MOX fuel at Commonwealth Edison (later Exelon) reactors in IL, as well as at the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station in ON, fell apart. The MOX FFF at SRS, however, has kept the MOX scheme alive for 20 years, at huge cost to U.S. federal taxpayers, as well as at risk of nuclear weapons proliferation and environmental catastrophe.

Here are some additional examples of Nix MOX activism in the late 1990s: