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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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Tuesday
Apr222014

Godzilla's Secret History, Atomic Origins

The Huffington Post has published a cultural history, by Kevin Lankes, of Godzilla's atomic origins. The original Japanese film came out in 1954, shortly after the U.S. military's "Operation Castle Bravo" H-bomb "test" at Bikini blanketed a Japanese fishing fleet with radioactivity, contaminating its catch (some of which was then sold and consumed across Japan to unwitting families), and killing one of the crew members of the fishing boat Lucky Dragon 5 within a matter of months (more Lucky Dragon 5 crew died later from their radiation exposures).

The article quotes Charlotte Eubanks, Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and Japanese at The Pennsylvania State University, on the widespread cultural anxiety at the time of the film's release:

"During the U.S.-led occupation, which lasted until 1952, there was a moratorium on any press coverage dealing with the atomic aftermath in any in-depth way. The thinking was that too much attention to the atomic bombings would derail democratization efforts and would undermine U.S. authority, particularly since the U.S. had already begun using Japanese territory as a base from which to launch bombing raids on Vietnam. With the end of the occupation, some activists and journalists started to deal directly with the atomic bombings, but they were not getting much traction. People were more interested in trying to rebuild. But then there was a real game-changer. The U.S. conducted a nuclear test over the Bikini atoll and a Japanese fishing ship, the Lucky Dragon, its crew, and all their fish were exposed to the fallout radiation. When this hit the newspapers, it ignited an enormous scare, as people throughout the country feared that they had been exposed to nuclear radiation through consuming tainted fish. That was in March 1954, shortly before the release of Gojira, the opening scene of which features a fishing crew exposed to an unexplained, destructive flash of light. So, when that hit the big screens, it touched a real nerve with the Japanese public."

A new Hollywood version of Godzilla will hit theaters on May 16th. In a Daily Beast interview, the director admits that the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe has influenced the film.

Thursday
Apr102014

"Three Years After the Fukushima Dai-Ichi Disaster: Bringing he Focus Back on Life"

The fireball and mushroom cloud from Operation Castel Bravo, March 1, 1954As posted at the Fairewinds Energy Education website, Chiho Kaneko, a member of the Board of Directors of Fairewinds Energy Education, discusses how:

The Fukushima Daiichi disaster opened the door to see how this is not merely a Japanese crisis. It is a crisis that transcends geography and time. We traced the roots of this crisis back 60-years to the fishing boat Daigo Fukuryumaru, or #5 Lucky Dragon, and American efforts to force nuclear power upon the Japanese people.

The website includes a link to the video, as well as the transcript of Chiho Kaneko's remarks.

Monday
Mar312014

Karl Grossman -- "Give Light and the People Will Find Their Own Way"

Karl GrossmanThe March 25, 2014 issue of The Independent, Antioch College's alumni publication, features Beyond Nuclear board member Karl Grossman (Antioch class of 1964). The interview gives a good overview of Karl's distinguished career of investigative journalism, authorship, and teaching.

Karl first entered the field of journalism as a copyboy, during an Antioch College co-op placement at the Cleveland Press. The Press was the first newspaper started by E.W. Scripps, "quite the crusading publisher, highly active during the Muckraking Era," accoring to Karl. At age 18, Karl was inspired by the inscription above the entrance: “Give Light and the People Will Find Their Own Way.”

Karl has gone on to shed much light around the world, with a focus on the issues of nuclear power and weapons, not only on Earth, but in space. His books include Cover Up: What You Are Not Supposed to Know About Nuclear Power, The Wrong Stuff: The Space Program's Nuclear Threat to Our Planet and Weapons in Space.

Karl's 1993 EnviroVideo documentary Three Mile Island Revisited serves as an important milestone by which to remember the disaster, now 35 years on, especially considering the still-unfolding health consequences. Karl's investigation of nuclear catastrophes continues to the present day with his work in the aftermath of the triple meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi.

Asked what he's most proud of accomplishing, Karl pointed to "my journalism that helped in stopping the Shoreham nuclear power plant—the first of seven to 11 nuclear plants planned for Long Island—from going into commercial operation. I wrote hundreds of articles, did TV programs, broadcast on radio and wrote a book on this, Power Crazy. And Shoreham, although it was finished and ready to start operating, was stopped. The additional nuclear plants were never built, and Long Island is now nuclear-free."

For that and other investigative journalism, Karl has been named to the Long Island Journalism Hall of Fame. Karl says this "is quite a kick particularly because among the other 22 persons named is Walt Whitman who founded the Long Islander newspaper in Huntington." Karl's wife of 53 years, Janet, is originally from Huntington.

Tuesday
Mar252014

"Measured Progress on Nuclear Security," or a "World Awash in Nuclear Explosive?"

The Nuclear Genie, as depicted in Walt Disney's 1950s pro-nuclear propaganda book "Our Friend the Atom"The New York Times editorial board has cited "Measured Progress on Nuclear Security," given Japan's pledge to turn over a small fraction of its potentially weapons-usable plutonium and highly enriched uranium to the U.S. for "disposal."

But as the Center for Public Integrity and Truthout have warned in an article by Douglas Birch and R. Jeffrey Smith entitled "The World Awash in Nuclear Explosive?", we have a frighteningly long way to go in our attempts to put the nuclear weapons proliferation genie back in the bottle.

Monday
Mar172014

'Russia could turn USA into radioactive ashes'

Dmitry Kiselyov, in front of an image of a large mushroom cloud and the words 'Into radioactive ashes'As reported by the UK Telegraph:

"Prominent Russian TV host Dmitry Kiselyov, has said in a broadcast that "Russia is the only country in the world able to turn the USA into radioactive ashes". His inflammatory words are a step-up from the flurry of diplomatic discussions regarding the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

Standing in the studio, in front of an image of a large mushroom cloud and the words 'Into radioactive ashes', Dmitry Kiselyov's news report sends a worrying message to the US."

Not only do Kiselyov's words pour gasoline onto the fire of the conflict over Crimea, it also raises the specter that arms control and non-proliferation achievements of past years and decades could be rolled back over the deepening conflict between Ukraine and Russia.