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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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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.

Tuesday
Mar112014

Chomsky: From Hiroshima to Fukushima, Vietnam to Fallujah, State Power Ignores Its Massive Harm

Noam ChomskyAs reported by Democracy Now! on the Pacifica Radio Network:

World-renowned political dissident, linguist, author and MIT Professor Noam Chomsky traveled to Japan last week ahead of the three-year anniversary of the Fukushima crisis. Chomsky, now 85 years old, met with Fukushima survivors, including families who evacuated the area after the meltdown. "[It’s] particularly horrifying that this is happening in Japan with its unique, horrendous experiences with the impact of nuclear explosions, which we don’t have to discuss," Chomsky says. "And it’s particularly horrifying when happening to children — but unfortunately, this is what happens all the time."

Chomsky also addresses the radioactive contamination of Iraq due to the U.S. military's use of depleted uranium weapons, as well as the lingering health impacts from the Vietnam War due to the U.S. military's use of chemical poisons there.

Wednesday
Feb262014

60th anniversary of "Castle Bravo" H-bomb disaster, March 1, 1954

Castle Bravo was the code name given to the first U.S. test of a dry fuel thermonuclear hydrogen bomb device (the first practical deliverable hydrogen bomb in the U.S. nuclear arsenal), detonated on March 1, 1954 at Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands, as the first test of Operation Castle. Castle Bravo was the most powerful nuclear device ever detonated by the United States (and just under one-third the energy of the most powerful ever detonated), with a yield of 15 megatons, about 1,000 times more powerful than the Hiroshima or Nagasaki atomic bombs.

A several mile-wide fireball erupted within seconds, visible 250 miles away. A Lucky Dragon fishing boat crew member described the sight as the Sun rising in the west. The crater formed was 6,500 feet in diameter and 250 feet deep. A mushroom cloud 47,000 feet high (nearly 9 miles high) and 7 miles in diameter formed within a minute. The mushroom cloud grew to 130,000 feet high (nearly 25 miles high) and 62 miles in diameter in less than 10 minutes, expanding at 100 meters per second (or 220 miles per hour).

That yield, far exceeding the expected yield of 4 to 6 megatons (due to a theoretical physics error), combined with other factors, led to the most significant accidental radiological contamination ever caused by a United States nuclear weapon test. Fallout from the detonation — intended to be a secret test — poisoned the islanders who had previously inhabited the atoll and returned there afterwards, as well as the crew of Daigo Fukuryū Maru ("Lucky Dragon No. 5"), a Japanese fishing boat, and created international concern about atmospheric thermonuclear testing.

The cloud contaminated more than 7,000 square miles of the surrounding Pacific Ocean, including dangerous levels of radioactive fallout over an area hundreds of miles long, including surrounding inhabited islands like Rongerik, Rongelap (100 miles downwind), and Utirik (300 miles downwind). Downwind Marshall Islanders suffered doses as high as 200 Rems, and thus immediate -- as well as latent -- health impacts, including radiation poisoning, and later birth defects and thyroid tumors (children on Rongelap later suffered 90% thyroid tumor rates, beginning just a decade later). In 1964, the U.S. government admitted responsibility and provided some compensation.

Some attribute the radiological incident to moving Nevil Shute to write the 1957 novel On the Beach.

As described on the Wikipedia site for Godzilla, "With the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Lucky Dragon 5 incident still fresh in the Japanese consciousness, Godzilla was conceived as a metaphor for nuclear weapons."

The American magazine Consumer Reports began warning about atmospheric bomb tests’ Strontium-90 fallout contaminating milk supplies.

The documentary film Nuclear Savage chronicles the experience of Marshall Islands under U.S. nuclear weapons testing: "a Pacific island paradise...until the United States tested nuclear weapons and conducted secret human radiation experiments. Experiments that would remain top-secret for decades..."

As Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps described in his "70 Years of Radioactive Risks in America and Japan," presented at Helen Caldicott's conference, Medical and Ecological Consequences of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident, held at the NY Academy of Medicine on the second anniversary of the beginning of the Fukushima catastrophe, the death of a Lucky Dragon #5 crew member, as well as the sale and consumption of radioactive tuna throughout Japan, outraged the Japanese people, less than 9 years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Unprecedented, large protests followed. The U.S. and Japanese governments were concerned that Japan would "go communist." The U.S. CIA was deployed to Japan, to sell "Atoms for Peace" to the Japanese people, in an effort to calm the protests. The CIA recruited an agent, Shoriki, a Class A War Criminal, owner of Japan's biggest newspaper and t.v. station, to sell "Atoms for Peace" to the Japanese people. He was wildly successful. This is how the Nuclear Village, and the Nuclear Safety Myth, were born in Japan, ultimately leading to Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe. See Kevin's Power Point presentation, slides 12 to 16 (including the accompanying notes), for more information.

Friday
Feb212014

Unbowed and unrepentant, "Transform Now Plowshares" sentenced

Unbowed and unrepentant, Sister Megan Rice, Greg Boertije-Obed and Michael Walli of the “Transform Now Plowshares” were sentenced on February 18, 2014 by U.S. District Court Judge Amul Thaper. They are to serve 3 to 5 years in federal prison and pay $53,000 in restitution for their July 2012 call for disarmament action by cutting through multiple perimeter fences to enter onto the Y-12 Nuclear Weapons Complex at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, splashing their blood and spray painting on a silo containing nuclear weapons grade uranium.

The protesters against the preparation for thermonuclear annihilation remained resolute in their charge that the production and possession of these weapons of mass destruction is a crime against humanity in violation of international law that includes the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty, the Geneva Protocols, the United Nations Charter and U.N Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

In fact, modern civilization has devolved to make real the ancient and cruelest wish of Caligula, “Would that the Roman people had but one neck.”

It was President Richard Nixon who said, “I can go into my office, pick up the phone and in 25 minutes 70 million people will be dead.” He was describing the minimal effort it takes to initiate a tight chain of command to annihilate entire societies with the “first use” of nuclear weapons. It would be decades after his shamed departure as America’s Chief of State before it was disclosed that Nixon had contemplated using nuclear weapons no less than four times in “the madman” strategy. President Truman had already demonstrated America’s indiscriminate “first use” policy twice with the 1945 atomic bombings on human populations in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. President Eisenhower contemplated initiating nuclear strikes in 1954 in the Taiwan Straits and against the Soviet Union over Berlin in 1959. President Kennedy considered launching an all out nuclear war in 1962 against the former Soviet Union over Cuba and two other undisclosed lands. President Johnson considered a pre-emptive nuclear attack on China to prevent them from developing nuclear weapons. President Reagan would deploy hundreds of first strike nuclear weapons to the European borders of the former Soviet Union entrenching the hair trigger policy of “launch on warning” that precariously persists to this day.

Never before have so few had so much power to exterminate so many, so quickly.  Where an obedient German people under the Third Reich brought a captive people to the crematoria, today we as a society are poised to bring unimaginable crematoria to the people of entire countries with a more dispassionate and efficient system of command and control.

The courageous actions and self sacrifice of Rice, Boertije-Obed and Walli to begin nuclear disarmament here in the United States give us the glimmer of hope that there is also a global future beyond nuclear weapons.

Thursday
Feb202014

Beyond Nuclear/PSR speaking tour across MI a big success!

Alfred Meyer, PSR board memberAlfred Meyer (photo, left), national board member of Physicians for Responsibility (PSR), spoke throughout Michigan on a tour organized by Beyond Nuclear from Feb. 12-17. His presentations of "Nuclear Power: What You Need to Know about Price, Pollution and Proliferation" were dedicated to the memory of Dr. Jeff Patterson, PSR's Past-President.

Mr. Meyer also addressed nuclear weapons risks and impacts.

Alfred's first stop on Feb. 12, at Grand Rapids' Fountain Street Church, drew 35 attendees, despite the wintry weather. Corinne Carey of Don't Waste MI video-recorded the talk, and will post it to cable access t.v. in the near future.

Alfred had a productive day in Kalamazoo on Feb. 13th. His presentation at Western Michigan University (WMU) was attended by over 50 people, and garnered an extended interview by Gordon Evans on WMUK Radio, as well as an article by Yvonne Zipp in the Kalamazoo Gazette. Alfred also spoke at a press conference held at WMU's impressive solar panel array, launching a campus climate campaign to divest the university from fossil fuel investments. Alfred was also interviewed by Dr. Don Cooney, WMU Social Work professor and Kalamazoo City Commissioner, and Dr. Ron Kramer, WMU criminology prof., on "Critical Issues: Alternative Views" t.v. program. The interview will be aired on Kalamazoo cable access in the near future, as well as posted to YouTube.

The tour stop in South Haven (4 miles from Entergy's Palisades atomic reactor) on Feb. 14 drew 25 attendees, despite it being Valentine's Day. Kraig Schultz of Michigan Safe Energy Future--Shoreline Chapter video-recorded the talk, and will post the recording to the MSEF YouTube channel in the near future.

Ferndale in Metro Detroit on Feb. 15 drew 75 attendees. Damon J. Hartley of the Peoples Tribune did a write up and took lots of photos.

Monroe's event (within the 10-mile Emergency Planning Zone from the GE BWR Mark I, Fermi 2, as well as the proposed Fermi 3) on Feb. 16, drew 30 attendees, and garnered coverage in the Monroe News (text, PDF). The Ann Arbor (home base for PSR's new MI chapter) event on Feb. 17 also drew an audience despite an impending winter storm.

Beyond Nuclear has been honored and privileged to work with the following groups to make this speaking tour a success: Michigan Physicians for Social Responsibility; Sierra Club; Fountain Street Church; WMU Lee Honors College; WMU Environmental Studies program; WMU Institute of Government and Politics; Michigan Safe Energy Future (both Kalamazoo and South Haven chapters); Don't Waste Michigan; Ferndale Public Library; Alliance to Halt Fermi 3; Ellis Library; Don't Waste Michigan; Coalition for a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes; and the Ecology Center.

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