Resources

ANA DC Days14 May

May 14th Press advisory
The Colorado Coalition for Prevention of Nuclear War
for immediate release
For more information contact Bob Kinsey, 303-949-4073
On May 16 five Coloradans will join community leaders around the country to oppose the U.S. Department of Energy nuclear weapons projects they say will waste billions in taxpayer funds, damage the environment and undermine the nation’s non-proliferation goals.   They will be meeting with leading members of Congress, committee staffers, and top administration officials with responsibility for the U.S. nuclear policies to press for new funding priorities.
The Colorado Coalition for Prevention of Nuclear War is supporting 5 members of the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center (RMPJC) joining the 27th annual Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA) “DC” Days. The five are, Jade Begay and Chris Allred on staff at RMPJC , Dr. LeRoy Moore, key Rocky Flats activist and  long time member of the Rocky Flats Citizen Oversight Board, Judith Mohling a Boulder therapist and ANA Board member, and Jon Lipsky, retired FBI agent who led  in the 1989 FBI raid of the Rocky Flats  and testified in the follow-up Grand Jury investigation.  Mr. Lipsky will be honored by ANA at the DC days awards reception for his work to achieve justice for Rocky Flats workers and uncover.    DC Days participants will deliver copies of its just published report, “The Growing U.S. Nuclear Threat  (http://bit.ly/growing_nuclear_threat). 
The new 20-page analysis dissects the Obama Administration’s latest plans to spend hundreds of billions more on nuclear weapons programs without, the authors conclude, enhancing U.S. security.
“Massive spending on nuclear weapons ‘modernization’ increases the nuclear danger for the U.S.   Lack of accountability at DOE wastes billions and puts the public at even greater risk,” explained Ralph Hutchison of the Oak Ridge Environmental PeaceAlliance, the report’s editor.   “ANA members from across the country will urge policy-makers to cut programs that fund dangerous boondoggles. The money saved should be redirected to cleaning up the legacy of nuclear weapons research, testing and production.”
Participants in DC Days include activists from groups that monitor such U.S. nuclear weapons facilities as Hanford, Lawrence Livermore, Rocky Flats, Los Alamos, Kansas City Plant, Pantex, Sandia, Oak Ridge, Savannah River and the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.
“There are currently 49 nuclear armed missiles in NE Colorado that could be launched withi only 30 minutes warning. The Rocky  Flats plant was creating as many as 300 the plutonium pits, the initial nuclear explosion in a thermonuclear weapon, during the nuclear arms race of the cold war. Rather than focusing the security
resources (perhaps as much as $6 Trillion dollars in 70 years) on building and hiding behind weapons of mass destruction the US could have achieved security and peace by spending to create a just economic system that would produce peaceful stability among the nations and a decent life for all. Its time to turn our national security policy in this life giving direction rather than accelerating our investments in anew nuclear arms race.” said Bob Kinsey, board member the TCC.
“Today, after 70 years, more than 16,000 nuclear weapons in the world continue to pose an intolerable threat to humanity. And the danger of nuclear war is growing. Whether a nuclear conflagration is initiated by accident, miscalculation or madness, the radiation cloud will know no boundaries. The US plans to spend a trillion
dollars over the next thirty years “modernizing” its nuclear arsenal.  The human cost of this is astronomical—to our health, environmnent, ethics and democracy, to our prospects for global peace, and to our confidence in human survival. The Colorado Coalition has worked since 1987 to get the truth out about the US Nuclear Weapons program and the dangers the presence of these weapons hold for humanity, ” commented Marylia Kelley, director of Tri Valley CARES which monitors the Lawrence Livermore Labs in California.
http://static1.squarespace.com/static/52311edfe4b0830625de8366/t/5548ed82e4b0ba4d57466f68/1430842754606/growing_nuclear_threat.pdf

Resources

Garamendi Warns of New Nuclear Arms Race during Defense Authorization Amendments Hearing12 May

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: April 30, 2015
Contact: Donald Lathbury (202) 570-3178 donald.lathbury@mail.house.gov

Garamendi Warns of New Nuclear Arms Race during Defense Authorization Amendments Hearing

WASHINGTON, DC – Yesterday evening, during the House Armed Services Committee’s consideration of the FY2016 National Defense Authorization Act, H.R. 1735, Committee Member Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA) introduced and spoke in favor of a series of amendments that seek to better inform Congress about the costs and risks of America’s participation in a new nuclear arms race.

The Republican majority on the Committee rejected every amendment introduced, even amendments that simply asked for reports from the Department of Defense (DOD) and National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) to better understand the total lifecycle costs of nuclear weapons programs. It is estimated that America’s nuclear weapons posture, as currently envisioned, will cost the nation more than a trillion dollars over 30 years, but the federal government does not currently consider the costs of these programs beyond ten years.

“I think it’s about time to pause for a moment and consider what this all means. We really are well into the first quarter of a new nuclear arms race,” Garamendi said during the Armed Services Committee hearing. “You will come to realize that over the next 20 to 25 years, we’ll be spending well over a trillion dollars on nuclear weapons systems. While we’re doing it, so are Russia and China. It’s an arms race, much like we saw in the ‘60s and ‘70s. And this one is particularly troublesome, because the weapons are far more sophisticated, the bombs are far more precise, and the delivery systems are too. Just think about the implications.”

Garamendi continues to pursue amendments to take America a step back from the nuclear arms race on the House floor during today’s debate on floor amendments to the House Energy and Water Appropriations bill, H.R. 2028.

NDAA Amendments

Triad v. Dyad v. Monad Report
Video of the Congressman’s remarks on this amendment.

This Garamendi amendment would have directed the DOD to provide a briefing on the options and analysis informed by the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review on retaining a nuclear triad versus moving to a nuclear dyad or monad. The nuclear triad consists of strategic bombers, intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), and submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs). Garamendi wants more information on why this posture is necessary.

“This is simply a request for the Department to deliver to us the information that we will need to make some strategic decisions about these issues. That’s it. If we want to be ignorant then turn this down,” Garamendi said before the Committee rejected the amendment.

Plutonium Pits Report
Video of the Congressman’s remarks on this amendment.

Another Garamendi amendment requires the Administrator for the NNSA to submit a report on the rationale and cost of expanding our plutonium pit production capacity from the current 5-10 pits per year to as much as 50-80 a year. Plutonium pits are the core component of most modern nuclear weapons, and it’s unclear to the Congressman why this program needs to be expanded, especially when we already have an unused stockpile of more than 10,000 plutonium pits.

“The NNSA wants to expand the ability to make new nuclear plutonium pits to the tune of 50 to 80 a year. The current production is about 5 to 10 a year and yet there is no explanation of why we need to go to 50 to 80,” Garamendi said. “Why we want to go out and build this extremely expensive facility – it’ll be at least 1.4 billion dollars – is beyond me. We’ve never been given the information on why this in necessary, either in classified hearings or in public hearings.”

Nuclear Life Extension Program Report
Video of the Congressman’s remarks on this amendment.

This amendment requires the DOD, U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM), the Nuclear Weapons Council, and NNSA to submit a report on all current and planned nuclear life extension, modernization, development, and procurement programs, with special attention to the costs of such programs beyond ten years. Given geopolitical considerations and the growing costs of nuclear waste cleanup, Garamendi thinks we need to more carefully consider the wisdom of preserving and expanding our nuclear arsenal.

Nuclear Cleanup Prioritization
Video of the Congressman’s remarks on this amendment.

The final Garamendi amendment would shift $125 million dedicated to the MOX Fuel Fabrication Facility in Savannah River, South Carolina toward various nuclear cleanup projects around the country. Garamendi and many experts think the technology employed at the MOX facility is not living up to its promise, and the money dedicated to MOX is better redirected to other more efficient nuclear waste reduction efforts. When the MOX program was originally authorized, it was expected to cost $1.6 billion. The latest estimated total lifecycle cost of the program has now ballooned to $4.4 billion.

Other Amendments
· Video of Garamendi’s remarks on the 25-year cost estimate amendment.
· Video of Garamendi’s remarks on the NATO alliance amendment.
· Video of Garamendi’s remarks on the Army base support amendment.

During the hearing, Garamendi also spoke up in favor of amendments authored by Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) and Congressman Rick Larsen (D-WA). One Sanchez amendment sought a report on the status of our nuclear partnership with NATO allies, with a particular emphasis on ways to reduce the burden on U.S. taxpayers while protecting current operational capabilities. Another Sanchez amendment sought to redirect $237.7 million from various NNSA weapons activities toward critical infrastructure upgrades on military bases. The Larsen amendment sought an estimate on the costs of America’s nuclear weapons pursuits over the next 25 years.

“We are the ones that must make a decision about spending a trillion dollars on nuclear weapons and nuclear weapon delivery systems over the next 25 years,” Garamendi told the Committee during consideration of Rep. Larsen’s amendment. “We need to know. This is our work. So why would we deny ourselves the basic information that we must have as we enter into the second, third, and fourth quarter of a trillion dollar nuclear enterprise that we’re going to rebuild. Do we want to be ignorant? I hope not. Do we want to have the very best knowledge going forward? I would hope so. And make a decision based upon that information.”

After reflecting on yesterday’s hearing, Garamendi added, “I’m disappointed the Majority on the Armed Services Committee turned down this opportunity to learn more about our new nuclear arms race. During these times of fiscal belt tightening we need to invest in a smart national defense. I will continue to ask the tough questions, even if that means ruffling a few feathers back in Washington, D.C.”

Resources

NEW REPORT SEEKS CUTS IN BOMB PLANTS, WARHEAD MODERNIZATION12 May

http://static1.squarespace.com/static/52311edfe4b0830625de8366/t/5548ed82e4b0ba4d57466f68/1430842754606/growing_nuclear_threat.pdf

Alliance for Nuclear Accountability
A national network of organizations working to address issues of nuclear weapons production and waste cleanup
for immediate release Wednesday, May 13, 2015

WATCHDOG GROUPS HEAD TO D.C. TO URGE CONGRESS, OBAMA ADMIN. TO CONFRONT “THE GROWING U.S. NUCLEAR THREAT;”
NEW REPORT SEEKS CUTS IN BOMB PLANTS, WARHEAD MODERNIZATION DIVERTING SAVINGS TO CLEANUP AND WEAPONS DISMANTLEMENT

Dozens of community leaders from around the country will visit Washington, DC next week to oppose U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) nuclear weapons projects, which they say will waste billions in taxpayer funds, damage the environment and undermine the nation’s non-proliferation goals. The group will meet with leading members of Congress, committee staffers, and top administration officials with responsibility for U. S. nuclear policies to press for new funding priorities.

Activists from nearly a dozen states are participating in the 27th annual Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA) “DC Days.” They will deliver copies of ANA’s just-published report, The Growing U.S. Nuclear Threat (http://bit.ly/growing_nuclear_threat). The new 20-page analysis dissects the Obama Administration’s latest plans to spend hundreds of billions more on nuclear weapons programs without, the authors conclude, enhancing U.S. security.

“Massive spending on nuclear weapons ‘modernization’ increases the nuclear danger for the U.S. Lack of accountability at DOE wastes billions and puts the public at even greater risk,” explained Ralph Hutchison of the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, the report’s editor. “ANA members from across the country will urge policy-makers to cut programs that fund dangerous boondoggles. The money saved should be redirected to cleaning up the legacy of nuclear weapons research, testing and production.” Participants in DC Days include activists from groups that monitor such U.S. nuclear weapons facilities as Hanford, Lawrence Livermore, Rocky Flats, Los Alamos, Kansas City Plant, Pantex, Sandia, Oak Ridge, Savannah River and the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.

ANA is a network of local, regional and national organizations representing the concerns of communities downwind and downstream from U.S. nuclear weapons production and radioactive waste disposal sites. As part of its DC Days, ANA will sponsor an Awards Reception honoring leaders of the movement for responsible nuclear policies on Monday evening, May 18. Honorees include U.S. Senator Harry Reid, U.S. Representative John Garamendi, Los Alamos whisteblower Dr. James Doyle, former FBI investigator of Rocky Flats Jon Lipsky, and nuclear campaigner Michael Keegan: The event will take place in Room B-340 of the Rayburn House Office Building from 5:30pm to 7:30pm.
– – 3 0 – –

Resources

2012 Transform Now Plowshares convictions reversed!!08 May

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals handed down a decision in favor of the Megan Rice, Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed 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.”

The circuit court had the option of merely reversing the sabotage conviction but letting the defendants’ sentences stand on the other charge for which they were convicted—depredation of government property. Noting the lesser charge would have resulted in lesser sentences—the men received 62 month sentences and Megan Rice a sentence of 35 months—under federal sentencing guidelines (“it appears that the guidelines ranges for their § 1361 convictions on remand will be substantially less than their time already served in federal custody.“), the court chose to vacate all sentences and remand the their cases for resentencing on the remaining depredation count.
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.
At this time, it is not clear when resentencing will take place.

for more information
Ralph Hutchison 865 776 5050

Resources

Almost silence, as if threat of nuclear war no longer exists08 May

Almost silence, as if threat of nuclear war no longer exists
Friday, May 8, 2015
The Non Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons talks in New York are now well under way. Good job I promised to follow the proceedings as there has been hardly a peep from the media. It’s as if the threat of a nuclear war no longer exists.

Prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union, the nuclear arms race was all go. The media never let up putting fear of annihilation into us all.

Proliferation between factions striving to outdo each other resulted in today’s mega-tonnes of nuclear warhead stockpiles.

Lately responsible diligence has weakened beyond belief. Radiation leaks from decaying silo sites, with a good chance of an exterminating mushroom cloud occurring.

To review the many near disasters see: www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_military_nuclear_accidents

From The New York Times, Sept 21, 2014 Modernising a Nuclear Arsenal: “The US government is upgrading major nuclear weapon plants and laboratories, which employ more than 40,000 people.”

Last Monday, the first day of four weeks of talks, US Secretary of State John Kerry again pushed limiting Iran’s ability to build a nuclear weapon — yet made no mention of Israel’s 80 threatening nuclear warheads.

Thank heaven New Zealand and many other counties are serious. I remind readers of our MPs’ letter urging the five great nuclear powers to disarm.

United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon last Monday urged real progress towards the elimination of nuclear weapons, as agreed five years ago. Without it the plan “could risk fading in relevance”.

On Friday, May 1, Mr Jacek Bylica of the European Union spoke on behalf of the EU, the former Yugoslav republic, Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania, Ukraine and Georgia, all pursuing nuclear disarmament in accordance with the treaty.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif spoke of the imminent humanitarian consequences for the non-nuclear weapons states and extreme concern about Israel’s undeclared arsenal. He joined the call for total elimination of stockpiles.

Iran insists its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes and pleads with the United States to have sanctions affecting their country removed soon as possible.

Why focus on Iran’s possible nuclear capabilities?

An honest effort to disarm the aging remaining 16,000 warheads is obviously the best deterrent of all.

BOB HUGHES

Resources

Abandoned Uranium Mines Plague Navajo Nation07 May

Abandoned Uranium Mines Plague Navajo Nation
Earth Island Journal | Sonia Luokkala | May 5, 2015
http://www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/elist/eListRead/abandoned_uranium_mines_pla
gue_navajo_nation/

Mining companies left behind a legacy of poisoned wells and contaminated earth

The mesas of Monument Valley rise deep red on the horizon. We are in Diné Bikéyah, land
of the Navajo.

“This is John Wayne country,” trained Navajo guide Gregory Holiday repeats his lines for an
enchanted group of tourists. The view opens boundless to the sacred land of the Diné
people, but for visitors it is presented as the iconic west of cowboys and Americana.

The sun sets and the last traveler boards the bus to leave Navajo Nation and head back to
Flagstaff and into US-governed territory. With the bus´ departure, Gregory´s role as the
light-hearted Indian guide ends. We take a gravel road to his home in the village of Oljato.
During the jolty ride the rehearsed stories of Wild West heroes shift to memories of
deceased loved ones.

“My daughter loved to ride her motorbike in the desert,” he says.

Two years ago Gregory´s daughter died of lung cancer. Her child, Gregory´s granddaughter,
was a victim of Navajo neuropathy, a rare condition named after the only population in
which it occurs. For those suffering from the disease, limbs begin to tingle, then lose all
sense of touch, and eventually appear curled as claws. Ultimately, the victim dies of liver
failure. One study put the average age of death at 10. First described in medical literature in
1976, there is no cure.

In the 1940s, surveyors discovered significant uranium deposits throughout the once
worthless desert landscape of the reservation. Between 1944 and 1986, as the US
government aimed to cut off all dependence on imported uranium, nearly 4 million tons of
ore were extracted to fuel the Cold War nuclear arm´s race. With the end of the war, the
mining companies moved out. They were not required to clean up their mess and left behind
the legacy of their extraction efforts, including mining waste and abandoned mines.

The incidence of Navajo neuropathy is five times higher on the western side of the Navajo
reservation than on the eastern side. Some researchers believe this discrepancy is linked to
the land: On the western side, the mines were mostly tunnels, whereas in the west they were
primarily open pits. After the uranium companies left, the unfilled pits started to fill with
water. Some, as deep as 130 feet, eventually formed into small lakes. Unsuspecting
Navajos and their livestock use the contaminated water for drinking.

A 1990 study of Navajo neuropathy ruled out water contamination as a possible cause of the
disease. However, that study has since been cast into doubt. In 2006, the Los Angeles
Times reported that the study “did not fully consider the role of uranium mining.” Interviewed
for the LA Times story, Steve Helgerson, lead scientist for the study, said his team had ruled
out water contamination because families impacted by Navajo neuropathy were supplied by
multiple water sources. He said the team did not explore whether these multiple sources
shared common contaminants.

As the Los Angeles Times also reported, in 1986, Thomas Payne an environmental health
officer for Indian Health Services, along with a National Park Service ranger, took water
samples at 48 sites surrounding Cameron, AZ, a town in Navajo Nation. These samples
revealed uranium levels in wells as high as 139 picocuries per liter. In abandoned pits, the
levels were as high as 4,024 pinocuries. The EPA limit for safe drinking water is 20
picocuries per liter. At the time of his study, Helgerson was not aware of these results.

No further studies have been conducted on the possible links between the environment and
Navajo neuropathy. The source of the illness remains formally unknown, although similar
symptoms were seen in the children of Chernobyl and in the victims of Minamata disease in
Japan, both caused by environmental factors.

Conditions in Holiday´s hometown, Oljato, resemble those of a third world country.
Residents have limited access to clean water and live in houses constructed of
uranium-contaminated gravel.

Six abandoned uranium mines that still emit dangerous gamma rays surround the village. In
2014, the EPA scanned almost 500 mines across Navajo Nation for radiation; the majority
measured levels at least 10-times greater than background radiation levels, some as high
as 25-times background radiation. Many of the highest radiating mines were found to be
located within a quarter-mile of inhabited structure.

Gregory draws a deep breath through an oxygen mask attached to a tank standing beside
his couch. A few years ago he also was diagnosed with a now common occurrence in
Navajo Nation, lung cancer.

In the 1950´s, cancer rates in the Navajo population were so low that the people were
thought to be immune to it
. An article titled “Cancer immunity in the Navajo” was published
in a medical journal in 1959. A decade into the mining era, cancer rates had more than
doubled. According to a report by the Navajo Epidemiology Center, by 2004, cancer had
become the leading cause of illness and death for the Navajo, a generally nonsmoking
population.

“Everything here makes us and the animals sick,” Gregory said.

In his youth, Gregory was one of thousands of Navajo men lured to work in the uranium
mines and mills. For him, as well as many others, employment as a miner or millworker was
his first contact with the US wage economy. At the time, the miners were grateful.

But the Navajo saw little of the huge profits from uranium. Copies of miners´ pay stubs show
payments of minimum wage or less: wages varied from an hourly $0.81 to $1.00.

Moreover, in 2011, journalist Judy Pasternak reported in her book Yellow Dirt: A Poisoned
Land and a People Betrayed that the miners suffered radiation exposure four times that of
the Japanese targeted by nuclear bombs during World War II. Navajo language had no
word for radiation and few Navajo people spoke English before the mining began. Officials
knew uranium exposure posed serious health risks but made no effort to educate their
workers. Protective clothing, masks or ventilation were never provided. Miners returned to
their families daily with clothes covered in the yellow dust of uranium.

“Others working with me died a long time ago” Gregory says.

The table is set with traditional Navajo soup made from Gregory´s family´s sheep. His is a
story not heard by the 400,000 annual tourists crossing Monument Valley off their bucket list
just 10 minutes out of town.

Today, more than 1,200 uranium mines lay abandoned within the borders of Navajo Nation.
Some are barred with rubble, but most are left exposed.

The task of cleanup is daunting. EPA coordinator Lillie Lane told me the cost to clean just
two mines is estimated to be $131 million. Navajo Nation EPA is currently researching and
identifying the mining companies responsible for the waste. The paper trail is long, but
under the Superfund Act, these companies can be held accountable for the cost.

“It is going to take 100 years,” said Lillie Lane, referring to the task of tracking down the
responsible parties.

Last week, those working to clean up the mining waste received a boost from the federal
government: The Justice Department announced that the US will place $13.2 million in a
trust to pay for the evaluation of 16 abandoned uranium mines on Navajo land. The
contribution is part of a settlement agreement with the Navajo Nation.

In the meantime, fragile communities continue to live amid the poisoned wells and
contaminated earth, and the uranium riddled sagebrush flats are home for the next
generation of Navajo children. That is, at least until those responsible are held to account
and the landscape is restored to what it once was, before profits were prioritized above the
land and its people.

Sonia Luokkala is an environmental journalist from Finland, where during the past ten years
she has written about issues such as the civil and land rights violations against the
indigenous Sámi people of Finnish and Swedish Lapland. She moved to the States two
years ago, and is currently leading a nomadic lifestyle with her baby daughter, dog and
husband.

= = =
Henk VanderKeur
blog.splijtstof.info

Resources

Marco Rubio Tells Lies.05 May

http://www.politifact.com/florida/statements/2015/may/05/marco-rubio/marco-rubio-says-united-states-not-modernizing-its/

Marco Rubio says the United States is not modernizing its nuclear weapons

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., argues that the United States needs to do more to beef up its military to face down evil.

Speaking at the Iowa Faith and Freedom summit on April 25, Rubio said that threats worldwide “require strong American leadership, which we cannot exert as long as we eviscerate military spending, which is what we are doing now. We are placing our nation at a dangerous position.”

Then he said this about the country’s nuclear stockpiles: “We are the only nation that is not modernizing its nuclear weapons.”

We wanted to know whether Rubio was correct that the United States isn’t modernizing its nuclear weapons, so we consulted with experts on U.S. nuclear policy. (We reached out to Rubio’s presidential campaign and Senate office and did not get a response.)

Modernizing nuclear weapons

Multiple experts told us that Rubio’s claim about nuclear weapons is wrong because ongoing and planned nuclear modernization efforts are extensive. The United States has been spending billions modernizing nuclear equipment — and has plans to continue to do so.

The National Nuclear Security Administration’s March 2015 report to Congress details plans to modernize nuclear equipment including various warheads over the coming years. A Congressional Research Service Report issued the same month covered similar topics.

Modernization is happening for many different types of nuclear programs, said Matthew Bunn, an expert on nuclear proliferation and a professor Harvard University. (During the 1990s, Bunn was adviser to the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy.)

“First, while we haven’t deployed major new strategic systems in some time, we’ve been modernizing the ones we’ve got more or less continuously — new rocket motors and guidance systems for the Minuteman missiles, lots of rebuilt parts for the B-52s, etc., etc. We’re in the middle of a $10 billion modernization of the B-61 bomb,” Bunn said.

These modernization plans are not cheap. The Congressional Budget Office estimated in January that the administration’s plans for nuclear forces would cost $348 billion over the next decade. During the next three decades, the cost to maintain the nuclear arsenal and purchase replacement systems could rise to more than $1 trillion, according to a 2014 report by the The James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies.

The size of the U.S. stockpile has been declining since the 1960s and will decline further under the new START Treaty agreed to with Russia in 2011. But nuclear weapons can “live” for a long time. Several nuclear weapons introduced or upgraded in the 1990s or 2000s can be used for another 20 to 30 years, said Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists. (Kristensen pointed to several upgrades in recent decades.)

One analyst we spoke with had concerns that the upgrades aren’t happening fast enough. Tom Donnelly, a defense policy analyst at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, told PolitiFact that “we are not really modernizing our nukes very seriously” and that some projects are years — even decades — away and could could fall prey to budget cuts.

But Benjamin Friedman, an expert at the libertarian Cato Institute, said that even if some modernization plans were canceled, “we would still be modernizing our nuclear arsenal or our nuclear weapons, just less of them. So any normal definition of ‘modernize,’ describes what the United States is doing with its nuclear weapons.”

Rubio compared the United States to the rest of the world without naming any other countries when he said “we are the only nation that is not modernizing its nuclear weapons.”

Rubio said that the United States was “the only nation” not modernizing its weapons, but Bunn, the Harvard professor, said comparing the United States on that basis with other countries is misleading. China, for example, is modernizing its arsenal, but its arsenal is also far smaller. The United States and Russia have over 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons, he said.

“So I would say: (a) not true that we haven’t been modernizing at all; (b) IS (mostly) true that we haven’t bought any big new strategic delivery systems lately; (c) highly misleading not to mention that all nuclear powers other than ourselves and Russia have tiny nuclear arsenals compared to ours,” Bunn said.

Our ruling

Rubio said that the United States “is not modernizing its nuclear weapons.”

Most of the experts we interviewed disputed Rubio’s statement. While the United States has reduced the number of warheads, it has also been modernizing nuclear equipment and has plans to continue to do so.

We rate this claim False.

Resources

Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures (SANE)05 May

By JUDITH MOHLING

As the world staggers under devastating natural and ongoing human-created disasters, the SANE Act might bring a modicum of relief and sanity to your day. It was recently introduced by Senator Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Representative Earl Blumenauer (D.Ore.) It is joint House/Senate legislation that would cut $100 billion from the obscenely gigantic nuclear weapons budget over the next decade.

The Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures (SANE) Act cuts specific nuclear weapons and related programs without harming national security. The United States spends more money on nuclear weapons than all other countries combined, and according to the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability, intends to spend over $1trillion over the next 30 years. “We are robbing America’s future to pay for unneeded weapons of the past,” said Senator Markey. “As we debate the budget and Republicans rally around devastating cuts to Medicare, Head Start and investments in research and science, it makes no sense to fund a bloated nuclear arsenal that does nothing to keep our nation safe in the 21st century. We should cure disease, not create new instruments of death. We should fund education, not annihilation. Even within its own budget, the Defense Department should prioritize spending for current threats from ISIL, al Qaeda and cyberterrorists. The SANE Act cuts the nuclear weapons and delivery systems that we don’t need and will never use so we can invest in the people and programs that will make America safe and prosperous in the future.”

The SANE act will save $21 billion by reducing nuclear subs and not purchasing replacement submarines.

It will save $21 billion by canceling construction of new nuclear weapons processing facilities—we absolutely do not need them. We have plenty of weapons now, enough to devastate the planet many times over. According to Lester Stone, History News Network, an all out nuclear war would probably mean the end of human beings. I can imagine the final life on a burned out planet, darkened from smoke and thick with nuclear radiation, being cockroaches.

No new ICBM’s would save $16 billion; the US currently has 450 of them deployed, including 49 of them in north-eastern Colorado.

No new long range bombers, $34 billion saved.

No gravity bomb life extension program and cancellation of new air-launched cruise missiles, $7 billion saved.

Resulting in a safe, saner defense—and, ultimately abolition of them all.

Resources

Nuclear Scofflaws31 Mar

http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/158896
Who Are the Nuclear Scofflaws?

by Lawrence S. Wittner
Dr. Lawrence Wittner (http://lawrenceswittner.com) is Professor of History emeritus at SUNY/Albany. He is the author of “Confronting the Bomb: A Short History of the World Nuclear Disarmament Movement” (Stanford University Press).

Given all the frothing by hawkish U.S. Senators about Iran’s possible development of nuclear weapons, one might think that Iran was violating the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
But it’s not. The NPT, signed by 190 nations and in effect since 1970, is a treaty in which the non-nuclear nations agreed to forgo developing nuclear weapons and the nuclear nations agreed to divest themselves of their nuclear weapons. It also granted nations the right to develop peaceful nuclear power. The current negotiations in which Iran is engaged with other nations are merely designed to guarantee that Iran, which signed the NPT, does not cross the line from developing nuclear power to developing nuclear weapons.
Nine nations, however, have flouted the NPT by either developing nuclear weapons since the treaty went into effect or failing to honor the commitment to disarm. These nine scofflaws and their nuclear arsenals are Russia (7,500 nuclear warheads), the United States (7,100 nuclear warheads), France (300 nuclear warheads), China (250 nuclear warheads), Britain (215 nuclear warheads), Pakistan (100-120 nuclear warheads), India (90-110 nuclear warheads), Israel (80 nuclear warheads), and North Korea (10 nuclear warheads).
Nor are the nuclear powers likely to be in compliance with the NPT any time soon. The Indian and Pakistani governments are engaged in a rapid nuclear weapons buildup, while the British government is contemplating the development of a new, more advanced nuclear weapons system. Although, in recent decades, the U.S. and Russian governments did reduce their nuclear arsenals substantially, that process has come to a halt in recent years, as relations have soured between the two nations. Indeed, both countries are currently engaged in a new, extremely dangerous nuclear arms race. The U.S. government has committed itself to spending $1 trillion to “modernize” its nuclear facilities and build new nuclear weapons. For its part, the Russian government is investing heavily in the upgrading of its nuclear warheads and the development of new delivery systems, such as nuclear missiles and nuclear submarines.
What can be done about this flouting of the NPT, some 45 years after it went into operation?
That will almost certainly be a major issue at an NPT Review Conference that will convene at the UN headquarters, in New York City, from April 27 to May 22. These review conferences, held every five years, attract high-level national officials from around the world to discuss the treaty’s implementation. For a very brief time, the review conferences even draw the attention of television and other news commentators before the mass communications media return to their preoccupation with scandals, arrests, and the lives of movie stars.
This spring’s NPT review conference might be particularly lively, given the heightening frustration of the non-nuclear powers at the failure of the nuclear powers to fulfill their NPT commitments. At recent disarmament conferences in Norway, Mexico and Austria, the representatives of a large number of non-nuclear nations, ignoring the opposition of the nuclear powers, focused on the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear war. One rising demand among restless non-nuclear nations and among nuclear disarmament groups is to develop a nuclear weapons ban treaty, whether or not the nuclear powers are willing to participate in negotiations.
To heighten the pressure for the abolition of nuclear weapons, nuclear disarmament groups are staging a Peace and Planet mobilization, in Manhattan, on the eve of the NPT review conference. Calling for a “Nuclear-Free, Peaceful, Just, and Sustainable World,” the mobilization involves an international conference (comprised of plenaries and workshops) on April 24 and 25, plus a culminating interfaith convocation, rally, march, and festival on April 26. Among the hundreds of endorsing organizations are many devoted to peace (Fellowship of Reconciliation, Pax Christi, Peace Action, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Veterans for Peace, and Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom), environmentalism (Earth Action, Friends of the Earth, and 350NYC), religion (Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, Unitarian Universalist UN Office, United Church of Christ, and United Methodist General Board of Church & Society), workers’ rights (New Jersey Industrial Union Council, United Electrical Workers, and Working Families Party), and human welfare (American Friends Service Committee and National Association of Social Workers).
Of course, how much effect the proponents of a nuclear weapons-free world will have on the cynical officials of the nuclear powers remains to be seen. After as many as 45 years of stalling on their own nuclear disarmament, it is hard to imagine that they are finally ready to begin negotiating a treaty effectively banning nuclear weapons―or at least their nuclear weapons.
Meanwhile, let us encourage Iran not to follow the bad example set by the nuclear powers. And let us ask the nuclear-armed nations, now telling Iran that it should forgo the possession of nuclear weapons, when they are going to start practicing what they preach.

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Vanunu, Hero — Obama declassifies Israel’s Ruse19 Mar

Peace Train for March 20, 2015

By JUDITH MOHLING

“In 1985, Mordechai Vanunu shot two rolls of film that exposed Israel’s clandestine seven story underground Weapons of Mass Destruction Facility in the Negev. Vanunu was released from 18 years in Ashkelon prison on April 21, 2004 under draconian restrictions that denied him the right to freedom of speech or to leave Israel,” according to author, Eileen Fleming. At the end of May, Vanunu might receive full freedom. Israel has long concealed its nuclear program. After Vanunu revealed the truth of Israel’s nuclear weapons, estimated now to be around 200, the facts went underground as he languished in solitary confinement.

Mark H. Gaffney wrote in “Counterpunch” recently that, “for his courage Vanunu suffered a fate worse than death. Kidnapped by Israeli agents, he was taken from Rome to Israel in chains and convicted of treason in a kangaroo court. The man of conscience spent 18 years in Ashkelon prison, 11 of them in solitary confinement, during which time he endured terrible abuse by his Israeli handlers.”

It is a strange twist in the history of Israel, that, according to Wikipedia they were the sixth country to develop nuclear weapons, were helped secretly by France, denied all this to the US and the rest of the world, — and now Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and many Israelis are suspicious about Iran and whether the Iranians have intentions to develop nuclear weapons, even though Israel’s Mossad and all 16 US intelligence agencies report that there is no hard evidence that Iran is attempting to develop nuclear weapons, according to “Aljazeera” and “Counterpunch.” It seems to me that the Israeli people might be uneasy because they have done first what they are accusing Iran of doing.

Mark H. Gaffney again from “Counterpunch: “Finally. After many years of official hypocrisy, a US president appears to be playing hardball with Israel. The other day, the US government declassified a 1987 report documenting Israel’s secret nuclear weapons program. The declassified 1987 report indicates that from the 1980s on the US was well-informed about Israel’s hidden nuclear agenda.”

Gaffney praises President Obama for declassifying the report and praises the courage of Mordechai Vanunu for being a whistleblower: “Never doubt that one brave man can change the world. Vanunu did.” Strength in the service of truth. We all need more of it.

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