'Nuclear Weapons Articles'

Half Hour Videos on Drone Warfare: Free for Use in Congregational Programs

Posted on 13. Oct, 2017 by .

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From Leadership Conference of Women Religious:

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In the last decade, Drone Warfare has rapidly escalated in war zones as well as in areas where war has not been declared. Up to 80 countries, as well as non-state actors such as ISIS, now have drone warfare capability. Great moral, ethical, and theological issues are raised by this development, but to date there has been relatively little public debate about it.

A project of the Peace Action Education Fund, in cooperation with the Interfaith Network on Drone Warfare, has produced five half hour videos, together with discussion guides that explore the moral, policy, and religious dimensions of this new and troubling development. Military, international law, proliferation, human rights, and policy experts are featured, along with religious leaders from a wide range of faith traditions. Titles include Moral & Safe, The Religious Community and Drone Warfare, Unmanned, National Bird, and Drone.

Each video screening can be followed by a 25-minute guided discussion, for which there are study guides.

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Analysis shows US spending on the road to nuclear nowhere

Posted on 26. Aug, 2017 by .

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The majority of pro-nuclear boosters appear finally to have swallowed a dose of reality — and have ceased clinging to the idea that “new nuclear power plants” and even “new reactor designs” will be the energy answer of the near future. The error- and omission-filled pro-new-nuclear propaganda piece, Pandora’s Promise, was out of date almost as soon as it was released. Even its producers and stars have jumped ship and instead now clamor to keep old, economically failing and technically deteriorating nuclear plants going, just to justify a continued existence.

In a telling piece of research — A retrospective analysis of funding and focus in US advanced fission innovation — by Abdulla et al, a look was taken at how US spending has affected nuclear power development and new reactor design. Unsurprisingly, the authors noted that:

“despite spending $2 billion since the late 1990s—no advanced design is ready for deployment. Even if the program had been well designed, it still would have been insufficient to demonstrate even one non-light water technology. It has violated much of the wisdom about the effective execution of innovative programs: annual funding varies fourfold, priorities are ephemeral, incumbent technologies and fuels are prized over innovation, and infrastructure spending consumes half the budget. Absent substantial changes, the possibility of US-designed advanced reactors playing a role in decarbonization by mid-century is low.” [emphasis added.]

As the authors also explained in their conclusion:

“In this paper, we do not seek to present a comprehensive diagnosis of the problems facing nuclear energy innovation in the US. Rather, we have reconstructed NE’s budget history and evaluated how close the office has come to achieving its advanced reactor mission. Our research shows that, as currently structured, NE has neither the funding levels nor the programmatic focus that it needs to deliver on its mission of developing and demonstrating one or two advanced reactor designs by mid-century. This comes despite multiple strategy roadmaps and billions of dollars of appropriations.”

The only reasonable conclusion to draw is that enough money and time has already been wasted on a failed technology that has zero role to play in our energy pre

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Nuclear Regulatory Commission restarts Yucca dump licensing proceeding

Posted on 19. Aug, 2017 by .

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Taken from Beyond Nuclear:

Despite no funding yet provided by Congress to actually carry out the work, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), by a 2 to 1 split vote, has officially restarted the Yucca Mountain, Nevada high-level radioactive waste dump licensing proceeding. (See an aerial photo of Yucca, right. The split vote could well foreshadow how the current three NRC Commissioners would each continue to vote on Yucca in the future. See related entry on the two currently pending NRC Commissioner nominees, and their bias in favor of the Yucca dump.) Estimates are that the proceeding, the largest in the agency’s history, would take several long years, and cost $2 billion (a third of a billion at NRC, and $1.66 billion for the U.S. Department of Energy). Please continue to urge your U.S. Rep. to oppose H.R. 3053, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2017, which would not only order the resumption of the Yucca proceeding, but would significantly further weaken health and safety standards applied at Yucca, increase the amount of high-level radioactive waste to be buried there (from 70,000 to 110,000 metric tons), and decrease the State of Nevada’s and Native Community Action Council’s ability to argue their very strong cases against the proposed dump, which is scientifically unsuitable, environmentally unjust, and not consent-based. You could get together with friends and colleagues, and request a meeting with your U.S. Rep. during their August recess back home. Contact your U.S. Rep.’s office via the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 225-3121, or find your Representative’s direct contact info., by entering your zip code and clicking GO at this link. You can also communicate your concerns directly with your U.S. Rep.’s office, via phone, email/web form, fax, letter, etc., and urge others to do so as well by spreading the word. More.  

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Fact Sheet: Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty

Posted on 24. May, 2017 by .

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Taken from armscontrolcenter.org –

The Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty was an agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union that limited the number of ground-based anti-ballistic missile systems and sites that each side could have. Both parties also agreed not to develop sea-based, air-based, or space-based ABM systems. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the treaty was expanded to include Belarus, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan.

The ABM Treaty was signed in May 1972 and entered into force in October of that year. Under the Treaty, the United States and the Soviet Union could establish two ABM sites: one to protect the national capitol and one to protect an ICBM launch site. The sites, each of which could have a maximum of 100 interceptors and 100 launchers, were required to be at least 807 miles (1,300 kilometers) apart to prevent the creation of a regional defense zone. The treaty did not limit the number of early warning radars that each country could deploy, but stipulated that future radars be located on the countries’ borders facing outwards.

In 1974, a Protocol to the Treaty was added to limit each side to only one ABM site.

Under the treaty, each member could verify other parties’ compliance using national technical means of verification, such as satellite reconnaissance.

The treaty also created a Standing Consultative Commission (SCC), a forum where each country was represented by a Commissioner, Executive Officer and delegation. The SCC could not impose sanctions or any other repercussions on parties that violated the treaty; instead it served as a forum in which members could raise concerns about other’s compliance. The SCC served as a vital body within which the United States and the Soviet Union remained in communication even when other diplomatic initiatives broke down.

In December 2001, the George W. Bush Administration announced that the United States planned to withdraw from the ABM Treaty. Six months later, the United States officially withdrew from the treaty in order to develop and deploy the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system. This was the only time that the United States has withdrawn from a major international arms control treaty. At the time, Russia said that it did not feel threatened by U.S. withdrawal, but called the move “a mistake”.

WHY IT MATTERED

The ABM Treaty was part of the U.S.-Soviet effort to control the arms race in the 1970s. It was negotiated as part of the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT I) that established limits for strategic offensive weapons.

The ABM Treaty codified the U.S.-Russian understanding that offensive weapons and defensive systems are linked. If a country develops an ABM system, an adversary could be incentivized to build more offensive weapons to overwhelm the defensive system. That would lead to an arms race.

Until the United States withdrew from the ABM treaty, it contributed to strategic stability and helped create the dynamic under which further reductions of U.S. and Soviet nuclear arsenals were possible.

Click here for a printable PDF version.  of this page

Sources: U.S. Department of State, Federation of American Scientists, Nuclear Threat Initiative.

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Restricting Nuclear Weapons

Posted on 05. May, 2017 by .

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Here is the information on a new bill submitted to the House of Representatives to prohibit the President’s first-use nuclear strike without a declaration of war by Congress. Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-CA) have introduced S. 200 and H.R. 669, respectively, the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017.

The Markey bill has been co-sponsored by five Senators: Feinstein (CA), Franken (MN), Merkley (OR), Sanders (VT) and Van Hollen (MD). The Lieu bill has 32 co-sponsors.
Click here  for a list of sponsors and to track the progress of this important bill.

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