By Sasha Pyle and Joni Arends | Posted: Saturday, June 14, 2014 7:00 pm
> The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant was never going to solve America’s nuclear
> waste problem. We have too much waste — too many kinds — for one facility,
> the long-controversial WIPP. And even if you believe geologic disposal could
> work, there aren’t suitable locations to sequester the poisons from the
> biosphere or future human intrusion.
> But if WIPP’s real purpose was to create the illusion of a solution — so we
> could keep on making more weapons and waste — then it did a pretty good job
> of that, until this year.
> Public relations efforts have always been a big part of WIPP. Now they are
> driving official Department of Energy policy again.
> Remember Energy Department officials saying decades ago WIPP waste consisted
> of “gloves and booties” — an image calculated to allay fears and distract
> from, ahem, plutonium? Now they’re ceaselessly invoking organic “kitty
> litter” for causing February’s explosion that contaminated the facility,
> exposed 21 workers, and blew a cloud of americium and plutonium up the shaft
> and out into the world.
> Why the cute misnomer for industrial absorbents? This is no household
> hygiene moment or YouTube cat video. This accident wasn’t caused by “kitty
> litter.” Manipulating us again with cutesy language is another attempt to
> downplay the dangers WIPP poses to life for the next quarter of a million
> Simultaneously, there’s a desperate attempt to shift the blame elsewhere,
> anywhere. WIPP consultant Jim Conca got his 15 minutes of fame promoting the
> term “kitty litter,” claiming WIPP performed perfectly and the disaster was
> caused by waste packers at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
> Nonetheless, this accident was absolutely WIPP’s fault — because WIPP
> management has tirelessly petitioned the New Mexico Environment Department
> for dozens of modifications to the original operating permit.
> They haven’t been begging for more stringent regulation. All the requests
> have been to weaken the terms of the permit, protections we were promised
> for decades.
> Notably, persuading the Environment Department that it would be safe to stop
> doing previously required headspace-gas sampling of the barrels (aimed at
> preventing explosions) now looks like it was a very bad idea indeed.
> The barrels have many organic materials — not just the absorbent currently
> blamed — mixed with hazardous chemicals and radioactive debris, decaying
> unpredictably. WIPP waste has always been at risk of exploding, whether on
> the highway, during handling or after disposal.
> This was one specter that generated furious controversy among scientists and
> the public when WIPP was first proposed. Additionally, poor record-keeping
> at weapons sites during frenzied Cold War bomb-building meant that wastes
> were inconsistently documented. Waste characterization and sampling were
> issues of grave concern when WIPP was being debated 25 years ago. Clearly,
> they are once again. The state permit should never have been so dangerously
> Unsurprisingly, Los Alamos shipped easily analyzed wastes to WIPP first,
> saving “mystery” wastes for later, when regulations were relaxed and safety
> protocols at WIPP had slipped into routine. The 2004 dismantlement of the
> Environmental Evaluation Group, WIPP’s only truly independent oversight, and
> the permit modifications that virtually ended sampling, rendered accidental
> release inevitable.
> We’re also hearing a lot of desperate PR about reopening the facility ASAP.
> Really? First, how about an independent investigation to quantify future
> exposure workers and neighbors might face? WIPP boosters — including folks
> who want to get back to work right away — should consider a bigger picture
> with national, international and essentially permanent consequences. This
> isn’t about your job. It’s about materials with the power to taint land, air
> and water — to poison and kill living things — for tens of thousands of
> years. PR baby-talk can’t alter that deadly serious fact.
> Call your elected officials today and ask for an independent investigation
> of the release.
> Sasha Pyle and Joni Arends are longtime nuclear activists in Northern New
> Mexico with Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety and the Alliance for
> Nuclear Accountability, a national coalition. Pyle was a founding member of
> Nuclear Watch New Mexico and has produced many of its publications.
By Sasha Pyle and Joni Arends | Posted: Saturday, June 14, 2014 7:00 pm
By JUDITH MOHLING
Three of us from Boulder’s Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center are here in DC lobbying Colorado legislators about the “Billion Dollar Boondoggles” of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) plan to spend more money for less security, as well as local issues. We are here with financial help from The Colorado Coalition for Prevention of Nuclear War.
You may know that there has been a plan to “modernize” the U.S. nuclear weapons complex. It has been a flop according to an analysis by the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA). The report says that many NNSA projects are “over-budget and behind schedule.” The analysis points to lack of accountability in the U.S. nuclear weapons programs and that the Obama Administration should shift spending priorities and maintain the “currently reliable stockpile” and save taxpayer bucks.
ANA activist Marylia Kelley, Director of the Livermore, CA-based Tri-Valley CAREs, said, “Our report demonstrates that the agency’s ‘Life Extension Programs’ have become more a playground for bomb designers than a means to maintain nuclear safety and reliability. The NNSA is a runaway train headed toward the U.S. Treasury.”
The group we lobby with is the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability, a network of organizations from communities near U.S. nuclear facilities, including those that are closed like Colorado’s Rocky Flats. Activists from across the country have held nearly 75 meetings with Administration and Congressional officials this week.
The “Billion Dollar Boondoggles” report is based on the latest data from the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Request and NNSA’s current Stockpile Stewardship & Management Plan. It updates a Congressional Budget Office’s estimate that “modernization” will cost U.S. taxpayers at least $355 billion over 10 years.
As we met in congressional offices, we strongly suggested a far better policy of instituting fiscal accountability for NNSA and a focused ‘Curatorship’ program to manage nuclear weapons until they are retired.
We described two parallel bills, the SANE Act in the Senate and REIN IN Act in the House that would save U.S. taxpayers $100 billion over ten years by scaling down, delaying, or canceling a variety of nuclear weapons programs and facilities.
As Brenna Schaetzle, Boulderite, remarked, “How great it would be to use even a fraction of $100 billion to invest in real human security needs like education, disaster relief, safer roads and unemployment benefits.”
Cecelia Gilboy added, “ Whoa! Maybe Rocky Flats could really be cleaned up.”
Castle Bravo Nuclear Explosion–Bikini Atoll– Marshall Islands
“Those without a lot of wealth or a lot of power are getting absolutely killed in America today,” according to Michael Snyder from “The American Dream,” and the same could be said world wide. The big corporations, the major financial institutions, the ultra-wealthy and those connected to the top levels of government are thriving even though the economies overall are in shambles. Meanwhile, ordinary people are being abused, harassed, regulated, taxed and mistreated like never before.
To maintain this status quo, the nuclear nations spend 100 billion dollars yearly upgrading nuclear arsenals, according to the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, and they aren’t stopping.
Enter onto this world stage a tiny nation, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, abused for 60 years by US nuclear testing, accompanying deadly nuclear radiation and resulting suffering and deaths. Sixty-seven nuclear bombs were detonated there from 1946 to 1958, according to “Nuclear Zero.” This David and Goliath little nation has filed land mark cases in the International Court of Justice and US Federal District Court against the nuclear giants, claiming that the nine nuclear-armed nations with their 17,000 nuclear bombs have failed to comply with their obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and customary international law, to pursue negotiations for the worldwide elimination of nuclear weapons.
They are acting for the seven billion of us who live on this planet–”to end the nuclear weapons threat hanging over all humanity.”
The nuclear nations are the United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France and China, who have signed on to the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty. Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea have not signed on but are nuclear nations “bound to the obligations by customary international law,” according to the Nuclear Zero law suits.
The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty countries meet every five years at a Review Conference to assess the implementation of the treaty. There is a Preparatory Committee conference that meets for two weeks in the three years leading up to the Review Conference. One has just convened at the United Nations in New York in preparation for the 2015 Review Conference. Undoubtedly these landmark lawsuits will be highlighted at the conference, as well as the rattling of nuclear sabers re: the Russia, US, Ukraine struggle.
May the ‘little guy,’ the Republic of the Marshall Islands, win. The world will be infinitely safer.
DEAD — a grave threat to global health
APRIL 7, 2014
An uncommon but severe disorder that has been present for over half a century but is not yet officially classified is an under-recognised threat to global health. It relates to the most powerful weapons ever created, nuclear weapons, which have the potential to indiscriminately destroy most forms of life on earth. I propose the term Destruction of Everything Addiction Disorder (DEAD) to describe the condition of those who refuse to give up their reliance on these weapons despite overwhelming evidence of the harm they cause.
The importance of recognising this condition lies not so much in treatment for the affected individuals, but in the protection of global health from their actions.
The number of individual cases of DEAD globally is not known, as sufferers almost universally deny their condition and refuse any interventions. Despite the extreme risk this condition poses for others, there is no mandatory reporting of individual cases. However it is well established that the condition occurs in clusters, and these clusters are found in the USA (where the condition was first recognised), Russia, the UK, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea. In addition, there was a small cluster in South Africa during the 1970s, but this represented the only recorded instance thus far of resolution of the condition.
Rocky Flats Redux25 Apr
ROCKY FLATS UPDATE
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What’s Happening at Rocky Flats Today?
For nearly 40 years the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant near Denver produced plutonium pits for nuclear weapons, with extensive toxic and radioactive contamination on- and off-site.
Colorado continues to struggle with the long-term environmental and historical legacy of Rocky Flats. Upcoming events include an unprecedented symposium at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities June 6-8, community organization meetings, meetings for citizens concerned about a new dog park on contaminated land, and more. Find out what you need to know.
UPCOMING EVENTS ABOUT ROCKY FLATS
On June 6, 7, and 8, 2014 the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities will host Rocky Flats Then and Now, a multifaceted art and humanities event commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the FBI raid on Rocky Flats. It will feature an art and history exhibit (including photographs and artifacts from the Rocky Flats plant), information booths, and panel discussions focusing on the raid and its consequences, including a grand jury investigation and subsequent disputed settlement of charges involving environmental crimes. Speakers will include former Colorado Governor Roy Romer, former U.S. Representative David Skaggs, former FBI agent Jon Lipsky (who led the raid on Rocky Flats), Kristen Iversen, Len Ackland, and plant workers, neighbors, activists, and experts.
Live in the Area? Concerned About Rocky Flats? Don’t Miss This Important Meeting!
Informational meeting for local residents and citizens concerned about contamination, health effects, and other issues related to Rocky Flats. Friday, June 6th, 3:30-4:30 PM, Standley Lake Library. Kristen Iversen and others will speak at this event. For more information contact Alesya at email@example.com
Concerned About the Health of Your Animals or Pets?
Some veterinarians report higher-than-average rates of cancer in dogs and studies have found levels of contamination in animals on and near the Rocky Flats site. The Denver Post recently featured an article “Plutonium in the Westminster Dog Park.” The next meeting for people concerned about the dog park is Saturday, April 26th at1 pm at the Standley Lake Library. For more information contact Alesya at firstname.lastname@example.org
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT ROCKY FLATS, SEE:
“Practices of the Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant” by nuclear physicist Tom Cochran, an expert in the process of manufacturing nuclear weapons. Cochran was Director of the Nuclear Program at the National Resources Defense Council and served on boards for the Department of Energy and Nuclear Regulatory Commission. He was asked to analyze some of the practices at Rocky Flats for the class-action lawsuit, Merilyn Cook et al vs. Rockwell International Corporation and the Dow Chemical Company. (1996). There are three parts, 30 minutes total.
“Buried History: What Lies Beneath the Rocky Flats Wildlife Refuge” produced by High Country News. This brief video examines what remains at the Rocky Flats site.
Book trailer for Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats is a good brief summary of the plant’s history and Kristen’s own family story.
Kristen’s facebook author page contains maps, pictures, stories, and other information about Rocky Flats,with regular updates.
See the Rocky Flats Nuclear Guardianship website for more information about Rocky Flats.
Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats has just been published in China and is forthcoming in Japan. Kristen Iversen continues to speak around the country and abroad at universities, schools, libraries, museums, and to various environmental and history groups about Rocky Flats. Visit her website for a list of upcoming events or to make a request.
The Rocky Flats Story Project is a new multimedia project chronicling the stories of people who live or lived near the plant, grew up in the area, or worked at Rocky Flats. For more information, or to contribute your story to this important project, please email Kristen at Kristen@kristeniversen.com.
Copyright © 2014 Kristen Iversen, author, All rights reserved.
APRIL 23, 2014
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An Open Letter to President Obama
Keeping Our Side of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Bargain
by CounterPunch Newswire
April 16, 2014
Dear President Obama,
During the closing session of the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague on March 25, 2014, you cited a number of concrete measures to secure highly-enriched uranium and plutonium and strengthen the nuclear nonproliferation regime that have been implemented as a result of the three Nuclear Security Summits, concluding: “So what’s been valuable about this summit is that it has not just been talk, it’s been action.”
Would that you would apply the same standard to nuclear disarmament! On April 5, 2009 in Prague, you gave millions of people around the world new hope when you declared: “So today, I state clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.” Bolstered by that hope, over the past three years, there has been a new round of nuclear disarmament initiatives by governments not possessing nuclear weapons, both within and outside the United Nations. Yet the United States has been notably “missing in action” at best, and dismissive or obstructive at worst. This conflict may come to a head at the 2015 Review of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT).
We write now, on the eve of the third Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) meeting for the 2015 Review Conference of the NPT, which will take place at UN headquarters in New York April 28 – May 9, 2014, to underscore our plea that your administration shed its negative attitude and participate constructively in deliberations and negotiations regarding the creation of a multilateral process to achieve a nuclear weapons free world. This will require reversal of the dismal U.S. record.
The 2010 NPT Review Conference unanimously agreed to hold a conference in 2012, to be attended by all states in the region, on a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear and other Weapons of Mass Destruction. The U.S. was a designated convener, and a date was set for December 2012 in Helsinki. The Finnish ambassador worked feverishly, meeting individually with all of the countries in the region to facilitate the conference. Suddenly, on November 23, 2012, the U.S. State Department announced that the Helsinki conference was postponed indefinitely.
In March 2013, Norway hosted an intergovernmental conference in Oslo on the Humanitarian Impacts of Nuclear Weapons, with 127 governments in attendance. Mexico hosted a follow-on conference in Nayarit, Mexico in February 2014, with 146 governments present. The U.S. boycotted Oslo and Nayarit. Austria has announced that it will host a third conference, in Vienna, late this year.
In November 2012, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) established an “Open-Ended” working group open to all member states “to develop proposals to take forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations for the achievement and maintenance of a world without nuclear weapons,” and scheduled for September 26, 2013, the first-ever High-Level meeting of the UNGA devoted to nuclear disarmament. The U.S. voted against both resolutions and refused to participate in the Open-Ended working group, declaring in advance that it would disregard any outcomes.
The U.S. did send a representative to the UN “High-Level” meeting, but it was the Deputy Secretary for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, rather than the President, Vice-President or Secretary of State. Worse, the U.S. joined with France and the U.K. in a profoundly negative statement, delivered by a junior British diplomat: “While we are encouraged by the increased energy and enthusiasm around the nuclear disarmament debate, we regret that this energy is being directed toward initiatives such as this High-Level Meeting, the humanitarian consequences campaign, the Open-Ended Working Group and the push for a Nuclear Weapons Convention.”
In contrast, Dr. Hassan Rouhani, the new President of Iran, used the occasion of the High-Level Meeting to roll out a disarmament “roadmap” on behalf of the 120 member Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). The roadmap calls for: “early commencement of negotiations, in the Conference on Disarmament, on a comprehensive convention on nuclear weapons for the prohibition of their possession, development, production, acquisition, testing, stockpiling, transfer, use or threat of use, and for their destruction; designation of 26 September every year as an international day to renew our resolve to completely eliminate nuclear weapons;” and “convening a High-level International Conference on Nuclear Disarmament in five years to review progress in this regard.” The NAM roadmap was subsequently adopted by the UNGA with 129 votes in favor. The U.S voted no.
Meanwhile, your Administration’s FY 2015 budget request seeks a 7% increase for nuclear weapons research and production programs under the Department of Energy’s semi-autonomous National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). NNSA’s “Total Weapons Activities” are slated to rise to $8.2 billion in FY 2015 and to $9.7 billion by 2019, 24% above fiscal year 2014. Your Administration is also proposing a $56 billion Opportunity Growth and Security Initiative (OGSI) to be funded through tax changes and spending reforms. OGSI is to be split evenly between defense and non-defense spending, out of which $504 million will go to NNSA nuclear weapons programs “to accelerate modernization and maintenance of nuclear facilities.” With that, your FY 2015 budget request for maintenance and modernization of nuclear bombs and warheads in constant dollars exceeds the amount spent in 1985 for comparable work at the height of President Reagan’s surge in nuclear weapons spending, which was also the highest point of Cold War spending.
We are particularly alarmed that your FY 2015 budget request includes $634 million (up 20%) for the B61 Life Extension Program, which, in contravention of your 2010 Nuclear Posture Review, as confirmed by former U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff, General Norton Schwartz, will have improved military capabilities to attack targets with greater accuracy and less radioactive fallout.
This enormous commitment to modernizing nuclear bombs and warheads and the laboratories and factories to support those activities does not include even larger amounts of funding for planned replacements of delivery systems – the bombers, missiles and submarines that form the strategic triad, which are funded through the Department of Defense. In total, according to the General Accounting Office, the U.S. will spend more than $700 billion over the next 30 years to maintain and modernize nuclear weapons systems. The James Martin Center places the number at an astounding one trillion dollars. This money is desperately needed to address basic human needs – housing, food security, education, healthcare, public safety, education and environmental protection – here and abroad.
The Good Faith Challenge
This our third letter to you calling on the U.S. government to participate constructively and in good faith in all international disarmament forums. On June 6, 2013, we wrote: “The Nuclear Security Summit process you initiated has been a success. However, securing nuclear materials, while significant, falls well short of what civil society expected following your Prague speech.” In that letter, we urged you to you speak at the September 26, 2013 High-Level Meeting on Nuclear Disarmament at the United Nations; to endorse UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Five-Point Proposal on Nuclear Disarmament; to announce your convening of a series of Nuclear Disarmament Summits; to support extending the General Assembly’s Open-Ended Working Group to develop proposals to take forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations for the achievement and maintenance of a world without nuclear weapons; and to announce that the U.S. would participate in the follow-on conference on the humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons in Mexico in early 2014.
In our second letter, dated January 29, 2014, we urged that you direct the State Department to send a delegation to the Mexico conference and to participate constructively; and that your administration shed its negative attitude and participate constructively in deliberations and negotiations regarding the creation of a multilateral process to achieve a nuclear weapons free world. And we called on the United States to engage in good faith in efforts to make the Conference on Disarmament productive in pursuing the objective for which it was established more than three decades ago: complete nuclear disarmament; and to work hard to convene soon the conference on a zone free of WMD in the Middle East promised by the 2010 NPT Review Conference.
Since our last letter, the U.S. – Russian relationship has deteriorated precipitously, with the standoff over the Crimea opening the real possibility of a new era of confrontation between nuclear-armed powers. The current crisis will further complicate prospects for future arms reduction negotiations with Russia, already severely stressed by more than two decades of post-Cold War NATO expansion, deployment of U.S. missile defenses, U.S. nuclear weapons modernization and pursuit of prompt conventional global strike capability.
Keeping Our Side of the NPT Bargain
Article VI of the NPT, which entered into force in 1970, and is the supreme law of the land pursuant to Article VI of the U.S. Constitution, states: “Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”
In 1996, the International Court of Justice, the judicial branch of the United Nations and the highest and most authoritative court in the world on questions of international law, unanimously concluded: “There exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control.”
Forty-four years after the NPT entered into force, more than 17,000 nuclear weapons, most held by the U.S. and Russia, pose an intolerable threat to humanity. The International Red Cross has stated that “incalculable human suffering” will result from any use of nuclear weapons, and that there can be no adequate humanitarian response capacity. Declaring that “our nation’s deep economic crisis can only be addressed by adopting new priorities to create a sustainable economy for the 21st century,” the bi-partisan U.S. Conference of Mayors has called on the President and Congress to slash nuclear weapons spending and to redirect those funds to meet the urgent needs of cities.
We reiterate the thrust of the demands set forth in our letters of June 13, 2013 and January 29, 2014, and urge you to look to them for guidance in U.S. conduct at the 2014 NPT PrepCom. We stress the urgent need to press the “reset” button with Russia again. Important measures in this regard are an end to NATO expansion and a halt to anti-missile system deployments in Europe.
We urge you to work hard to fully implement all commitments you made in the Nuclear Disarmament action plan agreed by the 2010 NPT Review Conference and to convene the promised conference on a zone free of WMD in the Middle East at the earliest possible date.
We urge you again to take this opportunity to endorse UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Five-Point Proposal on Nuclear Disarmament, to announce your convening of a series of Nuclear Disarmament Summits, and to engage in good faith in efforts to make the Conference on Disarmament productive in pursuing the objective for which it was established more than three decades ago: complete nuclear disarmament.
We call on you to declare that the U.S. will participate constructively and in good faith in the third intergovernmental conference on humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons to be held in Vienna late this year.
As an immediate signal of good faith, we call on your Administration to halt all programs to modernize nuclear weapons systems, and to reduce nuclear weapons spending to the minimum necessary to assure the safety and security of the existing weapons as they await disablement and dismantlement.
Mr. President: It’s time to move from talk to action on nuclear disarmament. There have never been more opportunities, and the need is as urgent as ever.
We look forward to your positive response.
Western States Legal Foundation
[contact for this letter: email@example.com; (510) 839-5877
655 – 13th Street, Suite 201, Oakland, CA 94612]
John Burroughs, Executive Director, Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy
Kevin Martin, Executive Director, Peace Action
David Krieger, President, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
Joseph Gerson, Disarmament Coordinator, American Friends Service Committee (for identification only)
Alicia Godsberg, Executive Director, Peace Action New York
Endorsing organizations (national):
Robert Gould, MD, President, Physicians for Social Responsibility
Tim Judson, Executive Director, Nuclear Information and Resource Service
Michael Eisenscher, National Coordinator, U.S. Labor Against the War (USLAW)
Michael McPhearson, Interim Executive Director, Veterans for Peace
David Swanson, WarIsACrime.org
Jill Stein, President, Green Shadow Cabinet
Terry K. Rockefeller, National Co-Convener, United for Peace and Justice
Hendrik Voss, National Organizer, School of the Americas Watch (SOA Watch)
Alfred L. Marder, President, US Peace Council
Robert Hanson, Treasurer, Democratic World Federalists
Alli McCracken, National Coordinator, CODEPINK
Margaret Flowers, MD and Kevin Zeese, JD, Popular Resistance
Endorsing organizations (by state):
Marylia Kelley, Executive Director, Tri-Valley CAREs (Communities Against a Radioactive Environment) Livermore, California
Blase Bonpane, Ph.D., Director, Office of the Americas, California
Linda Seeley, Spokesperson, San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace, Californi
Susan Lamont, Center Coordinator, Peace and Justice Center of Sonoma County, California
Chizu Hamada, No Nukes Action, California
Lois Salo, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Peninsula Branch, California
Rev. Marilyn Chilcote, Beacon Presbyterian Fellowship, Oakland, California
Margli Auclair, Executive Director, Mount Diablo Pleace and Justice Center. California
Roger Eaton, Communications Chair, United Nations Association-USA, San Francisco Chapter, California
Dr. Susan Zipp, Vice President, Association of World Citizens, San Francisco, California
Michael Nagler, President, Metta Center for Nonviolence, California (for identification only)
Rev. Marilyn Chilcote McKenzie, Parish Associate, St. John’s Presbyterian Church of Berkeley, California (for identification only)
James E. Vann, Oakland Tenants Union, California (for identification only)
Vic and Barby Ulmer, Our Developing World, California (for identification only)
Judith Mohling, Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center, Colorado
Bob Kinsey, Colorado Coalition for the Prevention of Nuclear War
Medard Gabel, Executive Director, Pacem in Terris, Delaware
Roger Mills, Coordinator, Georgia Peace & Justice Coalition, Henry County Chapter
Bruce K. Gagnon, Coordinator, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, Maine
Lisa Savage, CODEPINK, Maine
Natasha Mayers, Whitefield, Maine Union of Maine Visual Artists
Shirley “Lee” Davis, GlobalSolutions.org, Maine Chapter
Lynn Harwood, the Greens of Anson, Maine
Dagmar Fabian, Crabshell Alliance, Maryland
Judi Poulson, Chair, Fairmont Peace Group, Minnesota
Marcus Page-Collonge, Nevada Desert Experience, Nevada
Gregor Gable, Shundahai Network, Nevada
Jay Coghlan, Executive Director, Nuclear Watch New Mexico
Joni Arends, Executive Director, Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety, New Mexico
Lucy Law Webster, Executive Director, The CENTER FOR WAR/PEACE STUDIES, New York
Alice Slater, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, New York
Sheila Croke, Pax Christi Long Island, chapter of the international Catholic peace movement, New York
Richard Greve, Co Chair, Staten Island Peace Action, New York
Rosemarie Pace, Director, Pax Christi Metro New York
Carol De Angelo, Director of Peace, Justice and Integrity of Creation, Sisters of Charity of New York (for identification only)
Gerson Lesser, M.D., Clinical Professor, New York University School of Medicine (for identification only)
Ellen Thomas, Proposition One Campaign, North Carolina
Vina Colley, Portsmouth/Piketon Residents for Environmental Safety and Security, Ohio
Harvey Wasserman, Solartopia, Ohio
Ray Jubitz, Jubitz Family Foundation, Oregon
Cletus Stein, convenor, The Peace Farm, Texas
Steven G. Gilbert, PhD, DABT, INND (Institute of Neurotoxicology & Neurological Disorders), Washington
Allen Johnson, Coordinator, Christians For The Mountains, West Virginia
John Kerry, Secretary of State
Rose Gottemoeller, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security
Thomas M. Countryman, Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and
Susan Rice, National Security Advisor
Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor
Samantha Power, Permanent Representative to the United Nations
Christopher Buck, Chargé d’Affaires, a.i., Conference on Disarmament
Walter S. Reid, Deputy Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament
ICBM Caucus10 Apr
The Pentagon appears to have acceded to the wishes of lawmakers in retaining large numbers of land-based missiles, says one nuclear expert.
In its Tuesday announcement on the implementation of nuclear delivery vehicle reductions under the New START accord with Russia, the Defense Department said it would keep its present arsenal of 454 Minuteman 3 intercontinental ballistic missiles, though 54 of the weapons would be removed from their silos and placed in reserve. Those emptied underground launch facilities are to be kept in “warm” status, permitting their potential usage in the future.
The Pentagon’s decision follows a concerted lobbying push to limit cuts to the Minuteman arsenal by a coalition of lawmakers from Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming — the three states that host the missile silos, the Associated Press reported.
“This decision appears to have more to do with the [Obama] administration surrendering to theICBM caucus [in Congress] than with strategic considerations about national security,” wrote Federation of American Scientists nuclear forces analyst Hans Kristensen in an email to the news agency.
The New START pact requires the United States by 2018 to reduce the total number of deployed heavy bombers as well as strategic land- and sea-based ballistic missiles to 700 with an additional 100 systems allowed in reserve.
By not making any cuts to its roughly 450 ICBM silos, the Pentagon has decided to make much deeper cuts to its stockpile of submarine-launched ballistic missiles — going down to a total of 280 SLBMs from the present 336. While the sea-based fleet is more expensive to maintain than the other two legs of the nuclear triad, the submarines are also seen as the most strategically valuable because they would be harder to eliminate in a potential first-strike, according to AP.
Never before when the military has made cuts to its silo-based missiles have their launch facilities been maintained in standby status, said a high-ranking Pentagon official to journalists.
“The Obama administration’s decision to retain the 50 silos ‘reduced’ under the New START treaty instead of destroying them is a disappointing new development that threatens to weaken New START treaty implementation and the administration’s arms reduction profile,” wrote Kristensen in a Thursday blog post.
Meanwhile, lawmakers from North Dakota, Wyoming and Montana praised the Pentagon’s decision in a flurry of press releases.
April 9, 2014
Obama Administration Decision Weakens New START Implementation
At the same time the Air Force is destroying 50 silos at Malmstrom AFB
(above) and another 50 at F.E Warren AFB emptied by the Bush
administration, the Obama administration has decided to retain 50 silos
scheduled to be emptied under the New START treaty.
By Hans M. Kristensen
After four years of internal deliberations, the U.S. Air Force has
empty 50 Minuteman III ICBMs from 50 of the nation’s 450 ICBM silos.
Instead of destroying the empty silos, however, they will be kept “warm” to
allow reloading the missiles in the future if necessary.
The decision to retain the silos rather than destroy them is in sharp
contrast to the destruction of 100 empty silos currently
Malmstrom AFB and F.E. Warren AFB. Those silos were emptied of Minuteman
and MX ICBMs in 2005-2008 by the Bush administration and are scheduled to
be destroyed by 2016.
*A New Development*
The Obama administration’s decision to retain the silos 50 silos “reduced”
under the New START treaty instead of destroying them is a disappointing
new development that threatens to weaken New START treaty implementation
and the administration’s arms reduction profile. And it appears to be a new
A chart in a DOD’s unclassified report to Congress shows that the plan to
retain the 50 non-operational ICBM launchers is different than the treaty
implementation efforts so far, which have been designed to “eliminate”
The plan to retain non-deployed ICBM launchers is different than other
aspects of the U.S. New START implementation plan
Indeed, a senior defense official told the *Associated
the Pentagon had never before structured its ICBM force with a
substantial number of missiles in standby status.
*Reducing Force Structure Flexibility*
The decision to retain the 50 empty silos is also puzzling because it
reduces U.S. flexibility to maintain the remaining nuclear forces under the
New START limit. The treaty stipulates that the United States and Russia
each can only have 700 deployed launchers and 100 non-deployed launchers.
But the 50 empty silos will count against the total limit, essentially
eating up half of the 100 non-deployed launcher limit and reducing the
number of spaces available for missiles and bombers in overhaul.
Five years ago this week, President Obama announced our nation’s commitment to working toward a world without nuclear weapons. He said,
“So today, I state clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons. …. It will take patience and persistence. …We have to insist, “Yes, we can.”
Military experts agree that the bloated U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal is an increasing burden on our nation’s resources. In the next decade, the United States will spend over $550 billion dollars on sustaining, upgrading, and cleaning up the environmental impact from these weapons, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
For economic and national security reasons, the United States needs a different approach.
A concrete next-step is here:
· Senators Ed Markey (D-MA) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) have introduced S. 2070, the Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures (SANE) Act.
· In the House, Congressman Blumenauer has introduced a companion bill: H.R.4107, the Reduce Expenditures in Nuclear Infrastructure Now (REIN-IN) Act.
These bills would save U.S. taxpayers about $100 billion over ten years by scaling down, delaying, or canceling a variety of nuclear weapons programs and facilities.
Even a fraction of $100 billion would go a long way toward investing in human security needs: public education, disaster relief, unemployment benefits, safer roads and bridges, and the list goes on.
The SANE and REIN-IN Acts put us one step closer to fulfilling the promise we made five years ago by putting the money where it can do the most good. This step forward prioritizes ‘we, the people’ by investing in our future instead of our capacity for destruction.
As the trustee of the United Nations Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, the United States had an obligation to protect the health and welfare of the Marshallese Islanders. Instead, the U.S. conducted 67 nuclear tests in the Marshall Islands between 1946 and 1958. These 67 nuclear tests had an explosive power equivalent to 1.6 Hiroshima bombs daily for 12 years. In short, the U.S. used these islands shamefully, and the Marshallese people continue to suffer today as a result.
Castle Bravo testMarch 1, 2014 marks the 60th anniversary of the Castle Bravo nuclear test, the largest and most devastating nuclear test ever conducted by the U.S. At 15-megatons, this single blast at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands was 1,000 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Because the Castle Bravo test was done near ground level, the radiation fallout was far greater than that at either Hiroshima or Nagasaki, where the bombs were exploded well above ground level.
According to a report presented to the U.N. Human Rights Council in September 2012 by Special Rapporteur Calin Georgescu, “Radiation from the testing resulted in fatalities and in acute and long-term health complications. The effects of radiation have been exacerbated by near irreversible environmental contamination, leading to loss of livelihoods and lands. Moreover, many people continue to experience indefinite displacement.”
The Castle Bravo nuclear test rained down radiation like soft snow on the people of the Marshalls, who were located on islands outside the designated danger zone. It was several days before the U.S. evacuated these people away from the radioactive danger, resulting in 60 years of pain, suffering and stillbirths.
Radiation from the blast traveled over 100 miles to irradiate the Japanese fishing boat, Lucky Dragon. The boat’s chief radio operator, Aikichi Kuboyama, died less than six months later of radiation poisoning. He is thought to be the first Japanese victim of a hydrogen bomb. Kuboyama’s last words were, “I pray that I am the last victim of an atomic or hydrogen bomb.” This was not to be.
March 1st will be solemnly remembered this 60th anniversary year in Asia and the Pacific. In the Marshall Islands, flags will be flown at half-mast during the Nuclear Memorial and Survivors Remembrance Day.
In the U.S., flags will not fly at half-mast. Most people will go about their business with little awareness of the tragedy we left in the wake of our nuclear testing, either in the Pacific or on the lands of indigenous peoples in Nevada. Again, on this 60th anniversary, there will be no apology. Nor will there be adequate compensation provided to the people of the Marshall Islands for the pain and injury they have suffered from U.S. nuclear testing.
The anniversary of Castle Bravo is an acute reminder that nuclear weapons leave a legacy of horror. We must wage all-out peace until we reach Nuclear Zero. For the sake of the seven billion of us who share this Earth and for the people of the future, we must strive to achieve Nuclear Zero, the only number that makes sense. Nukes are nuts.
David Krieger is President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.