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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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Thursday
Nov222012

On eve of Obama visit, Burmese military takes small step towards transparency on suspected clandestine nuclear weapons activities

Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and President ObamaAs reported by the Associated Press, on the very eve of U.S. President Barack Obama's historic visit to Burma, the still entrenched military leaders of the long-isolated country took a small step towards transparency, by indicating they would disclose certain aspects of its nuclear activities. The U.S. government, and nuclear weapons non-proliferation groups like the Center for Strategic and International Studies, have long suspected Burma's military regime of nuclear weapons cooperation with North Korea's military regime. 

Monday
Nov122012

U.S. needs Japan to stay nuclear, CSIS President Hamre urges

As reported by The Japan Times, John Hamre, the president of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington D.C. based think tank, has urged that Japan remain committed to nuclear power, despite the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe and the groundswell of anti-nuclear activism it has inspired. Oddly, Hamre argued that Japan should remain devoted to nuclear power, in order to stem the tide of nuclear weapons proliferation worldwide.

The article reports:

Hamre also said the policy poses a security concern from the viewpoint of international control for nonproliferation of nuclear materials.

"Nuclear power from the very beginning was (not only) a source of promise, but (also) a source of great threat because nuclear power electric generation is also the base for making nuclear weapons, and it's a great risk to the world to have commercial nuclear power plants because there is a possibility of diverting the material and turning it into weapons.

"So for the last 40 years the U.S. and Japan, along with Europe, have been leaders in creating an international system to monitor and control the use of commercial nuclear energy so that we know if people were illegitimately going to divert it and turn it into weapons," he said.

If Japan is to give up nuclear energy — and if nuclear power is to wither in the U.S. due to competition with cheap natural gas and in Europe as in the case of Germany — "the countries that have given us the security system are going to diminish, and who's going to replace them?" he said. "Americans cannot afford from a security standpoint to have Japan abandon nuclear power. It's too important to us."

Of course, the United States is the only country to have actually ever used atomic weapons in warfare -- against Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.

Hamre's arguments that renewable energy cannot replace nuclear power have been disproved, as by Arjun Makhijani's Carbon-Free/Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy.

Monday
Oct292012

"A Mountain of Radioactive Waste 70 Years High: Ending the Nuclear Age," Chicago, December 1-3

A number of experts have confirmed they will speak, including (alphabetical by last name): Kinnette Benedict, Executive Director & Publisher, Bulletin of the Atomic ScientistsRobert Chavez, indigenous youth anti-uranium activist, Okayowingeh (San Juan Pueblo), New Mexico; Diane D'Arrigo, Radioactive Waste Project Director, Nuclear Information and Resource ServiceKay Drey, Beyond Nuclear board member, and nearly four decade long anti-nuclear activist; Norma M. Field, Ph.D., Robert S. Ingersoll Distinguished Service Professor in Japanese Studies in East Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago; Arnie Gundersen, Chief Engineer, Fairewinds AssociatesPaul Gunter, Reactor Oversight Project Director, Beyond NuclearKristen Iversen, author, Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky FlatsArne Jungjohann, Director for the Environment and Global Dialogue Program of the Washington, D.C. office, Heinrich Boell FoundationKevin Kamps, Radioactive Waste Watchdog, Beyond Nuclear; and Dr. Arjun Makhijani, President, Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, and author, Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy PolicyDr. Jeff Patterson, Board of Directors, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Madison, Wisconsin; Kathleen Rude, conducting Active Hope (a workshop to deal with Nuclear Despair, based on the works of Joanna Macy); Kendra UlrichFriends of the Earth USA, Washington, DC; Charmaine White Face, Coordinator, Defenders of the Black Hills, Rapid City, South Dakota; and  Akiko YoshidaFriends of the Earth, Tokyo, Japan

In addition, a film has been confirmed to be screened: The Atomic States of Americaby Sheena Joyce and Don Argot of 9.14 Pictures in Philadelphia.

Finally, on Monday, December 3rd, an optional field trip to Red Gate Woods is being organized. This is the forest preserve in the southwestern suburbs of Chicago where Fermi's first radioactive wastes of the Atomic Age were buried under a mound of earth, and marked with a simple stone marker. Bicycle and hiking paths pass close by. Previous tours to the site have not registered higher than normal background radioactivity levels, although concerns persist about eventual leakage of radioactivity from the site into the environment. We will be sure to take radiation monitors on our Dec. 3rd field trip, in order to document radioactivity levels, as well as to protect ourselves.

Thursday
Oct182012

Beyond Nuclear debates "thorium power" proponent at Sierra Club meeting

On October 10th, Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps debated Timothy Maloney, a proponent of so-called "thorium (nuclear) power," at a meeting of the Nepessing Group of the Sierra Club's Michigan Chapter, at Mott Community College's Regional Technical Center in Flint. The Nepessing Group of Michigan represents Sierra Club members in Genesee, Lapeer, and northern Oakland counties.

Kevin's research in preparation for the debate depended on: a Beyond Nuclear backgrounder compiled by Linda Gunter; "Thorium Fuel -- No Panacea for Nuclear Power," by Dr. Arjun Makhijani of Institute for Energy and Environmental Research and Michele Boyd of Physicians for Social Responsibility (2009); a Science Friday program entitled "Is Thorium a Magic Bullet for our Energy Problems?" featuring Dr. Makhijani (May 4, 2012); "Thinking about Thorium" by Dr. Gordon Edwards of Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility (Sept. 16, 2012); "Thorium Reactors: Back to the Dream Factory," by Dr. Edwards (July 13, 2011); and "What is the Thorium Cycle?" by Dr. Edwards (1978).

The Thorium-232/Uranium-233 nuclear fuel chain shares many similarities with the Uranium-235 and Plutonium-239 nuclear fuel chains, including the risk of nuclear weapons proliferation, the risk that reactors could unleash catastrophic amounts of radioactivity (particularly from intentional terrorist attacks or acts of warfare), the unsolved (unsolvable?!) radioactive waste problem, the astronomical expense of RDD (research, development, and demonstration) for "thorium reactors," and the environmental ruination downwind and downstream (as well as up the food chain and down the generations) from reprocessing facilities.

Wednesday
Oct032012

Great Lakes events in resistance to uranium fuel chain, atomic reactor & radioactive waste, and nuclear weapons risks

The Great Lakes comprise 20% of the world's surface fresh water, providing drinking water for 40 million people in the U.S., Canada, and a large number of Native American First NationsFrom the "Nuclear Labyrinth" conference in Huron, OH Oct. 4-6, to an Oct. 11 "Entergy Nuclear Watch" presentation in Kalamazoo, Michigan (bridging resistance from Vermont Yankee to Palisades), to "A Mountain of Radioactive Waste 70 Years High" summit in Chicago Dec. 1-3 (marking the 70th year since Enrico Fermi first split the atom in 1942, during the Manhattan Project), strong resistance to the uranium fuel chain in the Great Lakes is building! Beyond Nuclear is proud and honored to be a co-sponsor and active participant in all three events.