Nuclear Age Peace Foundation Issue #160 – November 2010

US Votes Again to Keep Nuclear Weapons on High-Alert

In a vote held on October 27 in the United Nations General Assembly First Committee on Disarmament, the United States voted “NO” to a resolution that called for nuclear weapons to be taken off high-alert status. The resolution, introduced by New Zealand, Switzerland, Chile, Malaysia and Nigeria, called upon the United States and Russia to lower the operational readiness of their nuclear weapons.

The final vote was 144 in favor and 3 against (United States, United Kingdom and France). There were 22 abstentions. The UK and France have already lowered the operational readiness of their nuclear weapons.

In a recent Action Alert sent out by the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, thousands of people wrote to President Obama asking him to take US nuclear weapons off high-alert status. The Foundation intends to keep up the pressure on this important issue. If you have not yet taken action by writing to President Obama, please click here and do it today.

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Latin American Mayors Unanimously Support Nuclear Weapons Ban

Dr. Tadatoshi Akiba, President of Mayors for Peace, received unanimous support from the Latin American mayors during the “Semana del Municipalismo” in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In mid-October, FLACMA (Latin American Federation of Cities, Municipalities and Associations of local governments) signed an agreement with Mayors for Peace to support eliminating nuclear weapons by 2020.

The Treaty of Tlatelolco, which entered into force in 1968, made all of Latin America a Nuclear Weapon Free Zone.

“Latin American Mayors Unanimous in Support of Global Nuclear Weapons Ban by 2020,” Mayors for Peace 2020 Vision Campaign, October 17, 2010.

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Argentina to Begin Enriching Uranium

Cristina Kirchner, President of Argentina, has announced that the country will soon begin enriching uranium at a facility that was closed in the 1980s. Argentina joins 12 other countries that currently enrich uranium: Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Iran, Japan, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Enriched uranium can be used in nuclear power plants or, if enriched to a high enough level, in nuclear weapons. Unfavorable prices and negative public opinion forced the Argentine facility to close in 1983.

“Argentina to Join Small Group of Uranium-Enriching Countries,” Agence France Presse, October 25, 2010.

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2010 United Nations Day Keynote Address

by David Krieger
My subject today is nuclear disarmament. The United Nations Charter was signed on June 23, 1945.  The first nuclear weapon was tested successfully just over three weeks later on July 16, 1945. The United Nations sought to save the world from the “scourge of war,” among other high ideals. Nuclear weapons threatened to destroy the world.

The subject of nuclear weapons is one that many people, perhaps most, understandably would like to put out of their minds. Assuring a human future demands that we resist that temptation.

To read more, click here.

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Consequences of Nuclear Weapons

by Steven Starr
In the debate on nuclear weapons, there is an urgent need to put human and planetary survival back in the forefront of discussions. This presentation offers ecological and humanitarian perspectives that demonstrate the urgent need to transform outdated doctrines and postures in order that the nuclear weapons problem can be finally and firmly resolved.

Recent scientific studies have found that a war fought with the deployed U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals would leave Earth virtually uninhabitable. In fact, NASA computer models have shown that even a “successful” first strike by Washington or Moscow would inflict catastrophic environmental damage that would make agriculture impossible and cause mass starvation.

To read more, click here.

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  • Perspectives
    • 2010 United Nations Day Keynote Address by David Krieger
    • Consequences of Nuclear Weapons by Steven Starr
  • US Nuclear Weapons Policy
    • US Votes Again to Keep Nuclear Weapons on High-Alert
  • Nuclear Disarmament
    • Latin American Mayors Unanimously Support Nuclear Weapons Ban
  • Nuclear Proliferation
    • Argentina to Begin Enriching Uranium
  • Nuclear Insanity
    • US Temporarily Loses Control of 50 Nuclear Weapons
    • President Clinton Lost Nuclear Launch Codes
    • UK Nuclear Submarine Gets Stuck in Mud
  • Military-Industrial Complex
    • Congressional Group Wants to Cut Pentagon Budget
  • Resources
    • Children’s Peace Book
    • The Uncertain Future of Nuclear Energy
    • Fact Sheet: Small Modular Reactors
  • Foundation Activities
    • What Is NAPF?
    • NAPF Letter in The New York Times
    • NAPF Welcomes Two New Staff Members
    • NAPF Associate Addresses UN General Assembly
  • Quotes
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US Temporarily Loses Control of 50 Nuclear Weapons

A communications failure at Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming on October 23 led to missile commanders being unable to communicate with the missiles. The failure also caused the outage of intrusion alarms and warhead separation alarms. According to military officials, the entire outage lasted for about one hour. Officials are still unsure what exactly caused the failure.

The United States has approximately 450 Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles on hair-trigger alert, ready to be fired at a moment’s notice.

Ambinder, Marc, “Failure Shuts Down Squadron of Nuclear Missiles,” The Atlantic, October 26, 2010.

President Clinton Lost Nuclear Launch Codes

US President Bill Clinton is reported to have lost a card containing nuclear launch codes in the year 2000. According to a new book by retired General Hugh Shelton, “During the Clinton administration, the codes were actually missing for months.”

A book published seven years ago by retired Lt. Col. Robert Patterson asserted that Clinton lost the codes in 1998 on the morning that the Monica Lewinsky scandal became public.

“Clinton Lost Nuclear Launch Codes, Retired General Says,” Global Security Newswire, October 21, 2010.

UK Nuclear Submarine Gets Stuck in Mud

A British nuclear-powered submarine got stuck in the mud off the coast of Scotland on October 23 while attempting to take on-board new crew members in shallow waters. The HMS Astute is the UK’s newest nuclear submarine. It was stuck in shallow waters off the Isle of Skye for hours until the tide rose and it was able to be towed back to deep water.

The British Ministry of Defense stressed that there was no chance of a nuclear reactor leak due to the accident. The cause of the incident has not been revealed.

Wilkes, David and Steven Henry, “Royal Navy Shame as Nuclear Submarine HMS Astute Left High and Dry on Scottish Coast,” Daily Mail, October 24, 2010.

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Congressional Group Wants to Cut Pentagon Budget

More than 50 members of Congress wrote a letter to President Obama’s deficit commission, calling for a significant reduction of military spending. The three key leaders behind the letter, Representatives Barney Frank, Ron Paul and Ron Wyden, want the same “rigorous scrutiny” for military spending as non-military expenditures. Currently the Department of Defense budget accounts for 56 percent of all discretionary spending. The writers believe cuts can be made without threatening national security and the US commitment to fighting terrorism. China, which has the second largest defense budget, spends only a fifth of what the US does on its military.

Paul, Frank and Wyden believe that $1 trillion can be cut from defense spending over the next 10 years.

Rizzo, Jennifer, “Congressional Group Wants Defense Budget Cut to Lessen Deficit,” CNN, October 13, 2010.

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Children’s Peace Book

The Children’s Peace Book is Jolene DeLisa’s message of hope. She asked children around the world to share what peace means to them in her global travels, on peace marches and in everyday encounters. Their words and drawings have been brought together in this memorable book. As Jolene writes in her introduction, “Put a group of children together and they overcome language and culture and quickly learn how to be friends. We must learn from them.”

Paul Chappell, NAPF Peace Leadership Director, reviewed the book. He said, “This elegant and important book shows that children possess timeless wisdom and the potential to become adults capable of making monumental advances in the struggle for peace. This book is filled with hope and insight, and it is a valuable tool for educators, activists, parents, and all people who care about humanity and our future.”

Click here to order the book online.

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The Uncertain Future of Nuclear Energy

A new report from the International Panel on Fissile Materials, entitled The Uncertain Future of Nuclear Energy, has been released. The report provides an overview of the status of nuclear power worldwide, with country studies for China, India, Japan, South Korea, the United States and Western Europe. It discusses why the International Atomic Energy Agency and the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency project nuclear power as approximately maintaining, but not greatly increasing, during the next two to four decades its 14% of global electric power generation in 2009. The reasons include the currently very limited capacity to build nuclear power plants, high capital costs in North America and Western Europe, the perception by the private sector that nuclear power plants are risky investments, and continuing public mistrust of the nuclear industry despite the passage of two and a half decades since the Chernobyl accident.

Click here to download the report.

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Fact Sheet: Small Modular Reactors

Arjun Makhijani of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research and Michele Boyd of Physicians for Social Responsibility have published a new fact sheet on small modular reactors, which are touted by some as being safer, more economical and less wasteful than large nuclear reactors.

Makhijani and Boyd explain in their 8-page fact sheet why small modular reactors will not solve any of the problems currently facing large-scale nuclear power and may, in fact, exacerbate the problems.

Click here to download the fact sheet.

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Quotes

“Let us have the courage to proclaim that all nuclear or conventional weapons, everything that is used to make war, must disappear.”

— Cuban President Fidel Castro

“This calls for a pragmatic step-by-step approach rather than the impractical leap of seeking to negotiate a nuclear weapons convention or the pointless calls for convening a fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament, for which there is no international consensus.” 

Rose Gottemoeller, US Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, denigrating the idea of urgent action to abolish nuclear weapons.

“We are outraged by your trampling on the expectations and hopes of the A-bomb survivors and the vast majority of Earth’s inhabitants.” 

Tadatoshi Akiba, Mayor of Hiroshima, in a letter to President Obama condemning the United States’ subcritical plutonium test in September 2010.

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This entry was published on November 1, 2010 at 11:57 pm. It’s filed under Nuclear Peace and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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