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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
May122015

Beyond Nuclear on Thom Hartman's "The Big Picture" re: Chinese proliferation concerns

Thom Hartmann, host of "The Big Picture"Thom Hartmann, host of "The Big Picture," had Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps on to discuss the Obama administration's attempt to extend approval nuclear power commerce with China, despite congressional concerns about dual-use technology that could be transferred to China's nuclear submarines, as well as "vertical" and "horizontal" proliferation concerns from reprocessing plutonium (adding to China's own nuclear arsenal, or the spread of nuclear weaponry to other countries or terrorist groups, respectively).

(Thom and Kevin also discussed the transformer fires at Entergy Nuclear's Indian Point nuclear power plant, and consequent oil spill into the Hudson River upstream from New York City.)

(See the segment from the 46:00 minute mark to the 52:15 minute mark.)

Friday
May082015

Appeals court overturns convictions and vacates sentences of Oak Ridge 3

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals handed down a decision in favor of the Megan Rice, Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed (pictured) who were convicted in 2013 of sabotage for their July 28, 2012 Transform Now Plowshares protest of nuclear weapons production at the Y12 Nuclear Weapons Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

“The purpose of the action of Michael, Megan and Greg was to call attention to the ongoing production of thermonuclear weapons components at the bomb plant in Oak Ridge and, more specifically, to oppose plans to build a new, multi-billion dollar bomb plant—the Uranium Processing Facility—at Y12,” said Ralph Hutchison, coordinator of the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance. “They were nonviolent protestors in the tradition of Gandhi, not saboteurs. We are pleased the Sixth Circuit appreciated the difference.”

The court ruled 2-1 in a decision handed down on May 8, 2015, that the government failed to prove the Transform Now Plowshares activists intended to “injure the national defense,” a requirement for conviction under the sabotage act.  Disposing of the government’ arguments one by one, the court finally states simply: “The defendants’ convictions under §2155(a) must be reversed.”

Michael Walli is currently serving his sentence at McKean federal prison in Bradford, PA; Greg Boertje-Obed is in Leavenworth, KS; Megan Rice is in federal prison in Brooklyn, NY. Her release date is currently in mid-November, 2015. More.

Thursday
Apr302015

Mobilizing for the abolition nuclear weapons and atomic power

As we approach the 70th commemoration of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki this August 6th and 9th, those nations that openly and clandestinely possess nuclear weapons have failed to take treaty obligations seriously bringing the entire planet closer to nuclear destruction by accident, insanity or a deliberate act of war.  We can no longer afford to leave the future of planet Earth in the hands of governments, military and dirty, dangerous and dangerous energy industrialists.

This is the central message of The Peace & Planet Mobilization for a Nuclear Free Peaceful, Just and Sustainable World which was convened in New York City on April 24 through April 26, 2015. The weekend conference event culminated Monday in a march of nearly 8,000 participants to the United Nations to deliver 8 million signatures to the United Nations calling for “No More Nukes.”

The international event, sponsored by Peace Action, The American Friends Service Committee and the Western States Legal Foundation, drew more than 300 groups from around the world under the single umbrella with a message to the United Nations’ Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference that we must end the Nuclear Age before it ends civilization.

Conference plenary speakers included Daniel Ellsberg, the publisher of the Pentagon Papers, Professor Zia Mann, Princeton University and Director of Project On Science and Global Security, and Setsuko Thurlow, a Hiroshima bombing survivor and Nobel Peace Prize Nominee for 2015.  

Beyond Nuclear’s Kevin Kamps was interviewed on the organization’s commitment to end “The Dangers of Nuclear Escalation.”

Beyond Nuclear has joined nearly 100 other organizations in endorsing "The Nuclear Danger Today: Existing Nuclear Arsenals are the Greatest Nuclear Threat," a group sign on statement drafted by Andrew Lichterman of the Western States Legal Foundation. On May 1, a session of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference at UN headquarters in New York will be dedicated to civil society statements, including this one.

Thursday
Apr302015

"The Danger of Nuclear Escalation"

In an episode entitled "The Danger of Nuclear Escalation," Margaret Harrington, host of "Nuclear-Free Future Conversation" on CCTV in Burlington, Vermont, interviewed Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps about the related risks of nuclear power and nuclear weapons, on the eve of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference. The NPT review is held once every five years at the United Nations in New York City, drawing thousands of anti-nuclear weapons and power activists from around the world to shadow conferences, including large numbers of Japanese citizens, including Hibakusha, survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings in 1945. Margaret and Kevin discussed the fatal flaw at the heart of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the prospects for nuclear abolition.

Wednesday
Apr222015

UCS warns MOX program could take a century to complete, at a cost of over $100 billion!

In a press release, the Union of Concerned Scientists has brought to light a U.S. Department of Energy contractor's warning that the Mixed Oxide Plutonium-Uranium (MOX) Fuel Fabrication Facility, under construction at the U.S. Department of Energy's Savannah River Site in South Carolina, could cost taxpayers more than $100 billion, and may not be functional till Fiscal Year 2100, a century after the construction project began!

UCS also emphasizes that the DOE contractor report reaffirms that immobilization -- the mixing of the excess weapons-grade plutonium back into the high-level radioactive waste from which it came in the first place -- and disposal as radioactive waste, would be quicker and cheaper than the MOX option.

Nix MOX activists have called for immobilization as the more sensible option for two decades, but their pleas have fallen on deaf ears in both Democratic and Republican administrations, as well as Congresses.

In addition to the astronomical costs, MOX undermines U.S. non-proliferation efforts. It sets a bad example for other countries to follow, of plutonium reprocessing that could easily lead to nuclear weapons proliferation.