70 years ago, nuclear weapons made extinction of all Life on Earth possible.
That prospective reality never went away and its chances keep increasing.
If we do not abolish nuclear weapons they will surely abolish us.
, 12 August 1945
In 1945, Albert Einstein said, “The release of atomic power
has changed everything except our way of thinking.” In
2015, seventy years later, we are still stockpiling nuclear
weapons in preparation for nuclear war. Our continued
willingness to allow huge nuclear arsenals to exist clearly shows
that we have not fundamentally grasped the most important truth
of the nuclear age: that a nuclear war is not likely to be
survived by the human species.
Remarkably, the leaders of the Nuclear Weapon States have chosen
the authoritative, long-standing scientific research
done by the climatologists, research that predicts virtually
nuclear war, fought with even a fraction of the operational
and deployed nuclear arsenals, will leave the Earth essentially
It is not clear that these leaders are even aware
findings of this research, since they have consistently refused
to meet with the scientists who did the studies.
A universal ignorance of basic nuclear facts ultimately creates a
very dangerous situation, because leaders who are unaware that
nuclear war can end human history are likely to lack the gut fear
of nuclear war that’s needed to prevent them from leading
us into a nuclear holocaust.
Without this basic knowledge, it is almost impossible for anyone
to understand the immense dangers posed by nuclear war. Thus I am
now going to take some time to explain these facts, to try to
insure my message today is clear.
Context For The Symposium and How It Came To Be:
The articles that caused Dr. Caldicott to set up the conference:
Complacency on Superintelligent Machines,”
by Stephen Hawking, Max Tegmark, Stuart Russell, &
The Huffington Post, 19 Apr 2014
looks at the implications of artificial intelligence –
but are we taking AI seriously enough?,”
by Stephen Hawking, Max Tegmark, Stuart Russell, &
The Independent, 1 May 2014
“But What Would the End
of Humanity Mean for Me?,”
by James Hamblin, The Atlantic, 9 May 2014
“Think maybe we’d better say something about it?”
Herblock, Washington Post
Here we are on this planet, and we humans have decided to build
this device. It’s called the Spectacular Thermonuclear
Unpredictable Population Incineration Device. I’m a
little bit inspired by Dr. Seuss here, I have to confess.
This is a long mouthful so let’s just abbreviate it:
It’s a very complicated device—it’s a bit like a
inside. A very
elaborate system. Nobody—there’s
not a single person on the planet who actually understands how 100
percent of it works.
It was so complicated to build that it really took the talent and
resources from more than one country, they worked really hard on
it, for many, many years. And not just on the technical
side—to invent the technology to be able to create what
this device does. Namely, massive explosions around the planet.
But also to overcome a lot of human inhibitions towards doing
just this. So this system actually involves also a lot of very
clever social engineering where you put people in special
uniforms and have a lot of peer pressure and you use all the
latest social coercion technology to make people do things they
otherwise normally wouldn’t do.
And so a lot
of clever thought has gone into building STUPID.
It’s kind of remarkable that we went ahead and put so
much effort into building it since actually, really, there’s
almost nobody on this spinning ball in space who really wants it
to ever get used.
Dr. Helen Caldicott: Opening Remarks
Striving for Armageddon
The US Nuclear Forces Modernization Program,
Rising Tensions with Russia, and
The Increasing Danger of a World Nuclear Catastrophe
“This modern life makes our games ever shorter”
There are two types of targets: nuclear air bursts and
ground bursts. The cities would burn and firestorms
would build. Ground bursts also produce dust and in
one case the sunlight gets absorbed and in another
case it gets reflected. But that means very little
sunlight would reach the ground. And that would cause
rapid, large drops in surface temperature. This would
be devastation to agriculture and natural ecosystems.
The smoke in the atmosphere also heats the upper atmosphere
which then destroys ozone and that would mean a lot more
ultraviolet radiation reaching the ground; also which would
be devastating for life. So this produces what we call
Nuclear Winter with cold, dry, dark conditions at the surface, more
ultraviolet-producing, crops dying, and global famine.
The number of countries with nuclear weapons has increased
about 1 every 5 years until the Soviet Union broke up and
we have 2 more since then and now we have 9 nuclear nations.
Every Trident [submarine] has 100
nuclear weapons and they’re much more powerful
than the Hiroshima bomb. So each Trident submarine
can produce about 1,000 Hiroshimas and the US has
14 of them. And that’s only half of our arsenal.
And Russia has got the same size arsenal.
We could produce much, much, much more smoke
if we used them. So we did a simulation
of what would happen if the US and Russia had a nuclear
. And [there would be] a lot
more smoke. It would
go up in the atmosphere and cause much more temperature
Mark Twain said,
“Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.”
It feels good psychologically to pretend you
didn’t hear what I just said and go home and
pretend it doesn’t exist. And most of the world
does that. Helen calls that psychic numbing.
But another action is to try and do something
about it to get rid of the weapons.
already banned biological weapons in the world,
chemical weapons, land minds, and cluster munitions
But the worst weapons of mass destruction of
all—nuclear weapons—have not been banned.
So the ICAN is the International
Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
, is working to actually
ban nuclear weapons.
Max mentioned Dr. Seuss. I’ll just end with another
quote from Dr. Seuss. “Unless someone like you cares
a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.
“My advice, my appeal to all, is this: Be a first
mover. Don’t look to others or to your neighbours
to start disarmament and arms control measures. If you
take the lead, others will follow.”
—BAN KI-MOON, UN Secretary-General, 2013
A treaty banning nuclear weapons is a global humanitarian imperative
of the highest order. It is achievable and increasingly urgent.
The following provide means to implement a treaty banning nuclear
weapons as well as increase consciousness of the necessity to do so.
we hear calls to “engage,
not enrage” the nuclear-armed states, that a
would be “confrontational,” a
“provocation” or “disruption” that
would jeopardise further steps towards disarmament, that
there is no substitute for gradual, incremental progress
– even as none is happening. If you have a dream
that one day nuclear weapons will be prohibited and
eliminated, then you need to rise up and act. Somebody has
to take the first step, to refuse to give up their seat on
the bus. So which country will be the Rosa Parks of
A unique resource of information, inspiration, and ways to participate
ICAN was launched in Vienna on April 30, 2007. This
conveys a sense of its momentum. The Campaign expects that the
process to prohibit nuclear weapons will get started in 2015,
and will need all the help possible to achieve the goal of
enactment of an international treaty banning nuclear weapons.
Please become a supporter and
International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.
The ICAN action plan has three strategic components:
there is a humanitarian imperative to stigmatize nuclear weapons
as fundamentally inhumane; banning them outright requires a
comprehensive treaty-based approach rather than arms control;
the time is right to build stronger links and common cause with
local, national, and international humanitarian, peace, human
rights, environmental, and disarmament NGOs, and to develop a
network of civil society campaigners all over the world committed
to push for nuclear abolition;
non-nuclear-weapon states can and should take the lead to prepare
for and negotiate a global treaty banning nuclear weapons, which
will create an indisputable obligation for the nuclear-weapon
states to eliminate their arsenals.
: “If Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr were alive today,
they would be part of ICAN.”
: “I can imagine a world without nuclear
weapons, and I support ICAN.”
: “Because I cannot tolerate these
appalling weapons, I whole-heartedly support ICAN.”
: “With your support, we can take ICAN
its full distance – all the way to zero nuclear
: “Governments say a nuclear weapons
ban is unlikely. Don’t believe it. They said the same about
a mine ban treaty
: “We can
do it together. With your
help, our voice will be made still stronger. Imagine peace.”
: “I salute ICAN for working with such
commitment and creativity.”
Produces yearly reports identifying financial institutions
heavily invested in companies involved in the US, British,
French, Indian and Israeli nuclear weapon programmes and
offers multi-pronged strategies for Divestment Campaigns.
An effective global divestment campaign has the potential to help
put a halt to nuclear weapons modernization programmes,
strengthen the international norm against nuclear weapons, and
build momentum towards negotiations on a universal nuclear
The financial institutions most heavily involved in financing
nuclear weapons producers include Bank of America, BlackRock and
JP Morgan Chase in the United States; BNP Paribas in France;
Deutsche Bank in Germany; and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial in Japan.
2014 edition of
Bank on the Bomb Report
consists of two separate documents:
Summary provides a quick overview of global
investments in nuclear weapons producing companies and of the
The Don’t Bank on the Bomb 2014 Report
provides all the details of the investments of 411 financial
institutions in 28 identified producing companies. The report
also provides profiles of the 28 nuclear weapons producing
companies and the profiles of financial institutions in the Hall
of Fame and Runners-Up categories. Research definitions,
methodology and analysis of the data are found in the main report
Both documents were prepared based on research conducted by
Profundo, an economic research consultancy analysing commodity
chains, financial institutions and corporate social
responsibility issues. The methodology used for each piece of the
report is explained in detail at the beginning of each chapter.
This report does not provide a fully comprehensive overview of
all involvements of financial institutions in the nuclear weapon
industry. The selection of financial institutions is limited by
the fact that the report uses a threshold. Only share and bond
holdings larger than 0.5% of the total number of outstanding
shares of one or more of the nuclear weapon producing companies
are listed. The reason for this is practical: a threshold of 0.1%
for example would have resulted in a report profiling nearly
3,000 financial institutions.
From the Introduction to the 2014 Report:
Almost seventy years after the invention of nuclear weapons over
16,000 remain in the arsenals of nine
– China, France, India, Israel, North Korea (Democratic
People’s Republic of Korea), Pakistan, Russia, the UK and US, are
planning to spend a staggering USD 100,000,000,000 or USD 100
billion per year to upgrade and maintain their
of World Nuclear Forces,” Federation of the American
Scientists, last updated: 29 Apr 2015
Nuke Spending to Top $1 Trillion Per Decade,”
Time, 4 June 2011;
also see Bruce G. Blair and Matthew A. Brown,
Zero Cost Study, June 2011.
regarding outlawing nuclear weapons
This group is exercising refreshing human intelligence with clarity.
The analysis presented is cogent and well-informed as well as highly
effective at exposing government hypocrisy.
Richard Lennane, listed as Wildfire’s “Chief Inflammatory
Officer,” is based in Geneva, Switzerland and also serves as
Implementation Support Unit
, Biological Weapons
Convention,” United Nations Institute for Disarmament
Affairs (UNODA). Two highly incisive youtube films are
statement at HINW14 Vienna
(4:56, Dec 2014) and
approach to nuclear disarmament
(3:19, 22 Jun 2015). Read a
penetrating 2-page summary concerning the What, Why, How, Where, Who, &
When of “A
treaty banning nuclear weapons
The following 2 pages at Wildfire are representative of the
perspective and understanding presented:
some cold hard truths
Nuclear-weapon states will not engage in negotiations
on a comprehensive nuclear disarmament treaty.
Not now, not ever.
Negotiating detailed disarmament procedures and verification
provisions for nuclear weapons is vastly complex - and pointless
without the participation of the nuclear-weapon states.
The so-called step-by-step approach has got nowhere. This will not change.
The NPT legitimizes nuclear weapons. It holds the
non-nuclear-weapon states in thrall, powerless and paralyzed
by their good intentions, as eternal supplicants to the nuclear powers.
The civil society effort to abolish nuclear weapons is
flailing. Without a clear, achievable short-term goal,
it cannot unify, focus or exert effective pressure on governments.
All the cards are on the table. The catastrophic consequences
of any use of nuclear weapons are understood. The motivations
of the nuclear-weapon states are clear. Further research,
commissions, studies, analysis, eminent windbags and general
whining will add nothing.
It’s time to change the game.
Changing the game
The key: separate prohibition from disarmament.
Outlaw nuclear weapons now. Disarmament will follow later.
Two steps to a world free of nuclear weapons:
Negotiate, conclude and bring into force a ban.
Negotiate the disarmament and verification process.
Nuclear-weapon states need not be involved in step 1.
Nuclear weasel states (NATO members and other umbrella-dwellers)
need not be involved in step 1.
Step 1 could be achieved in as little as two years.
There are around 140 states which could start step 1 now.
What are they waiting for?
Step 1 requires only a simple treaty:
that completely and permanently bans the acquisition, possession,
transfer and use of nuclear weapons: no exceptions, no loopholes,
that non-nuclear-weapon states parties to the NPT may join
that nuclear-weapon states (NPT parties or not) may join after
entry into force by negotiating an accession protocol stipulating
time-bound disarmament steps and verification provisions (Step
(Click here to
read more about the treaty in a separate window)
time to change the game. >_
Sign Petition Supporting Nuclear Zero Lawsuits
On April 24, 2014, the Republic of the Marshall Islands
(RMI) filed lawsuits against all nine Nuclear Weapon
States in the International Court of Justice and,
separately, against the United States in U.S. Federal
The Non-Proliferation Treaty has been in force for
over 44 years. The Nuclear Weapon States continue to
rely heavily on nuclear weapons and are engaging in
modernization programs to keep their nuclear weapons
active for decades to come. The time has come for the
Nuclear Weapon States to be held accountable for
Sign the Petition at nuclearzero.org
The Marshall Islands’ Nuclear Zero Cases
in the International Court of Justice
Significant resource provided by the
Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy -
Marshall Islands and the NPT
, Robert Alvarez, Bulletin of
the Atomic Scientists
, 27 May 2015
Provides historical background on the lawsuit
Nuclear Zero Lawsuits: The Unkept Promise
Landmark lawsuits were filed on April 24, 2014 against
all nine nuclear weapon states in the
International Court of
(ICJ) and, on the same day,
the United States in U.S. Federal District Court
At the heart of the lawsuits is
this: holding these nations accountable for their breach of the
(NPT), specifically Article VI
of the treaty. At no time ever before in U.S. history has the
United States been sued in U.S. court for breach of an
A brief history:
The NPT was opened for signature in 1968 and
entered into force in 1970. Article VI obligates signatories to
pursue negotiations in good faith for an end to the nuclear arms
race at an early date and for nuclear disarmament. The NPT
nuclear weapon states (U.S., UK, Russia, France and China) are in
violation of their treaty obligations by continuing to modernize
their nuclear forces and by failing to negotiate in good faith
for nuclear disarmament (44 years since entry into force of the
treaty does not meet the definition of at an early date
For the same reasons, the four nuclear weapon states not party
to the NPT (Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea) are in
violation of customary international law.
David vs. Goliath:
The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) has
filed these lawsuits in the ICJ and in U.S. court. RMI is a small
island nation in the Pacific whose people have suffered greatly
at the hands of U.S. atmospheric nuclear tests in the 1940s and
1950s. Their filings are a bold form of peaceful, non-violent
action aimed at making substantial changes to the status quo on
an issue that threatens the security and future of all
Who stands behind this small nation:
Nuclear Age Peace
has been working since 2012 to assemble a world-class
legal team to represent RMI in this important case.
NAPF’s official role in the case is as a consultant to RMI. Many
NGOs from around the world have indicated strong support for the
strategy and will be working to mobilize the public around the
If not now, when?
Litigation filed in the women’s suffrage
movement, as well as the civil rights movement, was instrumental
in leading to unprecedented social and political change. The
issue of nuclear disarmament must also be debated in a binding,
public forum with a written record. Will the six nuclear weapon
states that have not committed to compulsory jurisdiction at the
ICJ agree to the legitimacy of the case against them? If not,
what does this say about their commitment to nuclear disarmament?
The United States Constitution specifically provides that when
the United States is a party to a treaty, that treaty is the
supreme law of the land in this country. Will the U.S. government
tell the world in a public forum that its treaties are
meaningless and unenforceable?
The Nuclear Zero Lawsuits call upon the nuclear weapon giants to
fulfill their collective legal and moral promise of nuclear
disarmament. Zero is the only safe number of nuclear weapons on
Kick The Habit
Rob Wout aka
Demand the President of the United States publicly acknowledges
and addresses the threat the US nuclear arsenal poses to the
continued existence of Life on Earth
To the President of the United States
Authoritative peer-reviewed scientific studies (see
, below) predict that the detonation of even
a small fraction of US and Russian nuclear arsenals in cities
or industrial areas will leave the Earth essentially uninhabitable. Yet
studies have been ignored
by you and all leaders of
the nuclear weapon states as well as the mainstream media.
Consequently most people are unaware of these scientific
predictions, and do not realize the
continued modernization of
means preparation for a war that will destroy
the human race. It is imperative that this information be widely
publicized and that you, and the leaders of the other nations
possessing nuclear weapons, take all necessary actions to
prevent a nuclear war that would end human existence.
Destruction: The climate impacts of Nuclear War,”
by Alan Robock and Owen Brian Toon, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists,
winter revisited with a modern climate model and current
Still catastrophic consequences,”
Alan Robock, Luke Oman, and Georgiy L. Stenchikov,
Journal of Geophysical Research, 2007
effects and societal consequences of regional scale nuclear
and acts of individual nuclear terrorism,”
O.B. Toon, R.P. Turco, et al, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 2007
PRIMARY GOAL OF THIS PETITION:
The political and military leaders of the states possessing
nuclear weapons, and particularly the leaders of the United
States and Russia, must publicly acknowledge and discuss the
existential threat that their nuclear arsenals now pose to all
peoples and nations, as well as to the animals and complex life
forms of Earth. They must also take all necessary actions to ban
and eliminate existing nuclear arsenals, which if detonated in
conflict or by accident, would end human existence and as well
as that of all other complex forms of life.
Chris Jordan photographic
arts: “Edge-walking the lines between beauty
and horror, abstraction and representation, the near and the far,
the visible and the invisible, Jordan’s images confront the
enormous power of humanity’s collective will.”
E Pluribus Unum
depicts the names of one million organizations around the world
that are devoted to peace, environmental stewardship, social
justice, and the preservation of diverse and indigenous culture.
The actual number of such organizations is unknown, but estimates
range between one and two million, and growing.
While there are a wealth of disturbing facts visualized by Jordan,
still, as with all the eternal opposites, forever joined like
two sides of a coin, there is also the “enormous
power of humanity’s collective will” to understand and
be informed by. This power is what we must
ALL engage, direct, and
focus, to close the book on the possibility of nuclear annihilation for
the sake of the children, all we share Earth with, and all yet to be
born and live out their lives here long, long, long after we are gone.
Pluribus Unum, 2010 24x24 feet, laser etched onto aluminum panels
The Power of Thought
Thought forms create an energetic field strong enough
to empower the course of planetary destiny.
The Power of Words
Words carry vibrations strong enough to inspire, heal and
transform the human heart as well as the Kingdom of
plants, animals and all creation.
The Power of
May Peace Prevail On Earth
May Peace Prevail On Earth is an all inclusive message
and prayer. It is a meeting place of the heart bringing
together people of all faiths, backgrounds and culture
to embrace the Oneness of our planetary family.
Our Mission is Simple
To spread the Universal Peace Message and Prayer,
May Peace Prevail On Earth, far and wide to embrace
the lands and people of this Earth
The Universal Message and Prayer, May Peace Prevail On
Earth, was conceived in a moment of great inspiration by
Masahisa Goi of Japan. Since its birth over half a century
ago, the simple yet profound words, May Peace Prevail On
Earth, has reached deep into the hearts and lives of
global citizens everywhere.
The History of Arms Reduction Talks
Auth, Philadelphia Inquirer
It is the
non-nuclear-weapon states on whom we must depend to drive a
process to ban nuclear weapons, to stigmatize them, to make
them socially and politically unacceptable, to make it harder
for nations to get away with possessing and upgrading them,
and to help the nuclear-weapon states overcome this awful,
This flips the traditional arms-control approach on its head. The
humanitarian initiative is about empowering and mobilizing the
rest of the world to say “enough.” It is about
shifting the debate from “acceptable,”
“safe” numbers of nuclear warheads to their
fundamental inhumanity and incompatibility with basic standards
of civilized behaviour. It is about taking away from the
nuclear-armed states the power to dictate the terms of the debate
and to set the agenda—and refusing to perpetuate their
Through its normative force, a nuclear weapon ban treaty would
profoundly affect the behaviour even of states that refuse to
join. The public, the media, parliamentarians and mayors would
have a powerful new tool with which to challenge the possession
of nuclear weapons by their governments. The ban would compel
allies of nuclear-armed states to end the practice of hosting
nuclear weapons on their soil, and to reject the pretence of
protection from a “nuclear umbrella.” It would oblige
all states to divest from companies that manufacture nuclear
The U.S. government, interestingly,
compelled to attend
the Vienna Conference in December,
having boycotted the earlier conferences in Norway and
Mexico, which it labelled a “distraction” from
America’s many other efforts to achieve nuclear
disarmament. Why the apparent change of heart? Does this mean
that the U.S. is now supportive of the initiative? Not at all.
That was obvious in Vienna. But it is beside the
point—because the initiative does not depend on their
endorsement. Its success will depend on the collective resolve of
nuclear-free nations and effective public mobilization.
In a tone-deaf statement delivered immediately after the searing
testimonies of survivors of America’s nuclear atrocities in
Japan and the Marshall Islands and its own backyard, the U.S.
ambassador declared that your country does not support, and will
oppose, moves to ban nuclear weapons. He came across as callous,
almost comically out of touch, a pariah in the room—not the
mythical “responsible” nuclear power. That concept
the humanitarian initiative has torn apart.
The U.S. attended Vienna for two reasons: it wanted to
be seen as doing the right thing in the minds of its own citizens
and before the international community, but also it wanted to
stop the ban treaty proposal from gaining any further traction.
The problem is that the momentum of this initiative is already
considerable. The train has left the station and is gaining speed.
Some states, of course, will get off along the way and others will
jump on board. The journey will be a
rocky one. But we are confident that, before long, the train will
reach its destination.
I encourage you all to join in the
International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear
—to work with us to put in place a global, legal prohibition on
the worst weapons ever created. This August marks 70 years
since the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
An appropriate milestone, one could not deny, for the
start of negotiations on a ban.
“Our weapons dictate what we are to do. They force us
into awful corners. They give us our living, they sustain
our economy, they bolster up our politicians, they sell our
mass media, in short we live by them. But if they continue
to rule us we will also most surely die by them.”
The Power of Nuclear Weapons, Then and Now
The single atomic bomb that destroyed the Japanese city of Hiroshima on
August 6, 1945 had an explosive power of roughly 15,000 tons of TNT
(also called 15 kiltons). This is a picture of Hiroshima before
the atomic bomb was detonated:
It is shocking to see what the atomic bomb did to Hiroshima.
More than 4 square miles of the city were utterly destroyed,
transforming it into a barren wasteland.
Today, one of the standard single strategic nuclear warheads
in the US and Russian arsenals contains an explosive power of
about 800 kilotons (800,000 tons) of TNT. Such a thermonuclear
warhead contains 64 times more destructive force than the
Hiroshima bomb. The following is
an excerpt from
Steven Starr’s talk:
The firestorm produced by a strategic nuclear weapon is
vastly larger than that produced by an atomic bomb. This graphic
illustrates the most likely size of a fire zone, created by an
800 kiloton strategic nuclear warhead. This graphic shows it also
being detonated above where we are now in New York.
On an average day, the detonation of the warhead would instantly
ignite fires over a total area of approximately 90 to 152 square
miles. 20 to 30 minutes after the detonation, these fires would
have joined together to form a single, immense firestorm.
Air temperatures in the fire zone would be above the boiling
point of water. Hurricane force winds would blow towards the
center of the firestorm, driving the flames horizontally, causing
everything remotely flammable to burn. There would be no
survivors in the fire zone.
Remember, 800 kilotons equals 800,000 tons of TNT. Russia has
1,000 strategic nuclear warheads that it can launch with less than
15 minutes warning, and 700 of these have an explosive power of
800 kilotons. In a war with the US, it would require about 30
minutes for these warheads to hit US cities.
Imagine a nuclear war in which hundreds or thousands of such
firestorms were ignited in the course of less than one hour.
There would be hundreds of cities, and hundreds of thousands of
square miles, all burning at the same time....
The US and Russia together maintain a total of more than 800
launch-ready ballistic missiles, which can be fired with less
than 15 minutes warning, and will strike their targets in 30
minutes or less. Once they are launched, they cannot be
recalled from flight. These missiles are armed with a total
of about 2400 strategic nuclear warheads, which have a
combined explosive power of approximately 808 million tons
That’s a lot of TNT to visualize.
The explosive power of 808 million tons of TNT is easier to
visualize if you have something to compare it to.
The small red dot on the left side of this figure represents 2.7
million tons of TNT, which is estimated to be the total explosive
power of all the bombs exploded by all the armies of the world
during the 5 years of World War 2.
The large red circle represents the 808 million tons of TNT
explosive power of US and Russian launch-ready nuclear weapons.
This amount is 300 times greater than the explosive power of
all the bombs exploded during World War 2. It would require
less than one hour for these launch-ready weapons to all
detonate over their targets.
The Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons
Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons
8-9 December 2014
The Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear
Weapons was the result of a decisive development within the
nuclear disarmament regime. Since the 2010 Review Conference of
the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear
Weapons (NPT), the international community has refocused its
attention to the humanitarian dimension of and the risks
associated with nuclear weapons. This evolution was reflected
through cross-regional humanitarian statements in UN fora and
culminated in the organisation of three Conferences on the
Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in
(February 2014) and
The Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear
Weapons was attended by 158 States, a broad spectrum of
international organisations from the UN system, the Red Cross and
Red Crescent Movement, many academics and experts and several
hundred representatives of civil society.
Austria attempted to reflect the breadth of views that exist in
the international community on the way forward in the
Summary, which was
presented in her sole responsibility. The Chair’s Summary
contains eight key substantive conclusions that have emerged in
the humanitarian initiative of the past three years and the
international conferences in Oslo, Nayarit and Vienna. In
addition, Austria issued a
national pledge that goes
beyond the Chair’s Summary that contains the conclusions that
Austria drew from the humanitarian arguments.
Along with the Vienna 92
Conference Report in PDF (as well as an
the Vienna site
contains a mass of materials including
Conference Information, Conference Proceedings, and Additional Resources.
Alternatively, Reaching Critical Will has a section devoted to the
impact of nuclear weapons which contains data from the three
conferences held in
Nayarit, and now
Vienna. The Vienna section at RCW is still missing elements
that for the present (as of 1 August 2015) are still available
at the Vienna site.
War of Human Consequences:
Health Consequences of the use of nuclear weapons,
Mary Olson, Senior Radioactive Waste Policy Specialist with Nuclear
Information and Resource Service (NIRS)
Global Famine after a Regional
Nuclear War: Overview of recent Research,
Dr. Michael J. Mills, National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)
Overview of the History of
Nuclear Testing 1945 until today, Martin Kalinowski Ph.D.,
Chief, Capacity Building and Training Section, International
Data Centre Division, CTBTO Preparatory Commission
Assessing the Harm
from Nuclear Weapons Testing and Production,
Arjun Makhijani Ph.D. Institute for Energy and Environmental Research
The humanitarian origins
of international law regulating arms,
Dr. Gro Nystuen, International Law and Policy Institute
The fundamental ethical
and moral principles on which international legal regulations of nuclear
weapons are based, Nobuo Hayashi, University of Oslo
Nuclear Weapons: The Humanitarian Facts
IPPNW Campaign Kit, November 2014
Eric Schlosser speaking on 8 December 2014 at the Vienna Conference
on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in Session II,
“Risk Drivers for Deliberate or Inadvertent Nuclear Weapons
The US Nuclear Weapons Labs: Deception Is Baked Into Their DNA
Greg Mello and Robert Alvarez were two speakers at the Symposium
who possess significant understanding of the United States Nuclear
Weapons Labs. The following promotes understanding of how the
Nuclear Weapons Labs system operates and how the business of
nuclear weapons actually functions.
Greg Mello is
Executive Director, and a co-founder of the
Los Alamos Study Group,
and has led its varied activities
since 1989, which have included policy research, environmental
analysis, congressional education and lobbying, community
organizing, litigation, advertising, and the nuts and bolts
of running a small nonprofit. Greg led the first environmental
enforcement at Los Alamos National Laboratory. He
was a hydrogeologist for the New Mexico Environment Department
and later a consultant to industry.
Robert Alvarez is a
at the Institute of Policy Studies,
where he is currently focused on nuclear disarmament, environmental, and
energy policies. Between 1993 and 1999, Mr. Alvarez served as a Senior
Policy Advisor to the Secretary and Deputy Assistant Secretary
for National Security and the Environment. While at DOE, he
coordinated the effort to enact nuclear worker compensation
legislation. In 1994 and 1995, Bob led teams in North Korea to
establish control of nuclear weapons materials. He coordinated
nuclear material strategic planning for the department and
established the department’s first asset management program. Bob
was awarded two Secretarial Gold Medals, the highest awards given
by the Department of Energy. In 1975 Bob helped found and direct
the Environmental Policy Institute (EPI), a respected national
public interest organization.
In his presentation
at the Symposium, Greg Mello reviewed some of the history
of the creation of nuclear weapons and the culture of the
U.S. nuclear weapons complex. The following is an excerpt of
his talk. [See Also: Interview with Greg Mello:
National Nuclear War Laboratories Have Run Amok, Block Disarmament,
& Should Be Shut Down,” Los Alamos Study Group, 6 March 2015]
In his presentation,
Robert Alvarez discussed how lateral proliferation could trigger
a nuclear holocaust. Articles by Mr. Alvarez recently published
in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists that pertain to
the US Nuclear Weapons Complex and the nuclear waste that
their operations generate include the following:
The people in charge of the Manhattan Project knew, 17 months
before the Trinity test that Germany was on the road to defeat.
Los Alamos was founded the same month as the Russian victory
in Stalingrad. Project Alsos went through Europe and the information
began to come back. By the time they interviewed Joliot-Curie it was
all clear. But that was when the work truly speeded up.
Starting from March 1944 it was understood by General Groves as
well as the leading scientists at Los Alamos that this was a
project about post-war domination. There was a dinner at the
Chadwick’s house in Los Alamos that Joseph Rotblat was at
and wrote about subsequently where General Groves said this is
about controlling Russia after the war. That was in March of 1944.
All the information about how there wasn’t a German
bomb program was all in hand by the end of ’44, and
that’s when Joseph Rotblat quit.
The two lessons that you get from this and much more history
is that deception is baked into the DNA [of the nuclear weapons
labs] both for internal morale purposes as well as for funding,
for CYA, for everything. And the second is that the
bureaucracies once set in motion cannot absorb new information
from the real world. So we have a changing national security
situation today but the nuclear weapons complex and the
military industrial complex cannot absorb this
information. It will be decades, if ever, before they could
ever—it will only absorb things if it’s profitable.
And they have built now, a system, of such inordinate
profitability that they can’t learn. They can’t manage,
they can’t finish projects, and they can’t learn.
The salaries at the weapons laboratories are among the
most highly guarded secrets out there. I can give you a few
hints. There’s about a thousand people at each weapons
laboratory that make on the order of 350,000 a year. This
is much more than Cabinet officials or members of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff. These are not senior scientists. These are
mid-career people. The average compensation at the weapons
laboratories is on the order of 180,000. That includes
pension and health care and so forth. The Directors of the
laboratories make a million and a half or even more. The
upper-most management is also very highly compensated. No
one can make this kind of money in the real world. And so
they’re locked into a situation where they can’t change,
they can’t work on things that they would have to compete
with people at universities or anywhere else in society.
They’re locked in. And I think that a lot of the activists
don’t really get this ... They forget things like conflict
of interest, they don’t really know how much money
they’re making, and they don’t know how little
expertise of any broad sense is present in these laboratories....
(recording span: 12:02-15:48)
What we did not understand in the beginning but we do
understand now is that the Cold War was only over on
one side. That’s why I put in a little [bit] ... about
PNAC. There was an end-run around reform. And there have
been phases of break out from government control. One
person in government remarked to me that the laboratories’
basic business plan is to substitute themselves for the
government decision-making process, control all the
information that could make it possible for government
to reassert its authority, and to blackmail the government
if any attempt is made to change either of the first two
conditions. The blackmail is accomplished through the annual
stockpile certification letter and through a broader suite
of political activities in which they engage.... It goes
beyond lobbying to simply replacement of government. This
is so confusing that even Senator Feinstein did not know
that the Directors of the weapons laboratories are
contractors. She thought they were federal.
(recording span: 16:29-18:22)
bucks for the bang, 23 Feb 2015
“The cost of the nuclear weapons complex keeps going up,
even as the size of the nuclear arsenal falls.”
the nuclear weapons complex won't reform it, 18 Jan 2015
“The nuclear weapons production and laboratory system
created during the Cold War is simply far too large for the
current military situation and needs drastic consolidation that
includes the closing of labs and other facilities.”
nuclear weapons dismantlement problem, 1 Nov 2014
“In preparation for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
(NPT) review conference next year, the United States reports
great progress in physically dismantling its nuclear
weapons—a foundation for a key pillar of the treaty, which
aims, ultimately, to reduce and eventually eliminate the arsenals
of the world’s nuclear powers. The US Government
Accountability Office (GAO), however, presents a very different
Poster child for a dysfunctional nuclear weapons complex, 4 Aug 2014
“The Y-12 National Security Complex has not produced
weapons for some 25 years, but its annual budgets have increased.
by nearly 50 percent since 1997. The dysfunction must end,
WIPP problem, and what it means for defense nuclear
waste disposal, 23 Mar 2014
“As Energy Department contractors send robots to explore
WIPP's caverns, the future of the world’s only operating
high-hazard radioactive waste repository is uncertain.”
primer: Military nuclear wastes in the United States, 24 Feb 2014
“The radioactive legacy of the US nuclear weapons program
has spawned the most costly, complex, and risky environmental
cleanup effort ever undertaken, with a long-term liability
estimate ranging up to $1 trillion.”
Personalizing the Bomb –
Teaching an Online Generation About The Effects of Nuclear Weapons
Nukemap was written by
Wellerstein, a historian of science who
works on the history of nuclear weapons and nuclear secrecy. He is
also a web developer who is always looking for new ways to engage
audiences on questions of social relevance for issues that involve
science and technology.
We live in a world where nuclear weapons issues are on the front
pages of our newspapers on a regular basis, yet most people still
have a very bad sense of what an exploding nuclear weapon can
actually do. Some people think they destroy everything in the
world all that once, some people think they are not very
different from conventional bombs. The reality is somewhere in
between: nuclear weapons can cause immense destruction and huge
losses of life, but the effects are still comprehendible on a
The NUKEMAP is aimed at helping people visualize nuclear weapons
on terms they can make sense of – helping them to get a
sense of the scale of the bombs. By allowing people to use
arbitrarily picked geographical locations, I hope that people
will come to understand what a nuclear weapon would do to places
they are familiar with, and how the different sizes of nuclear
weapons change the results.
There are many different political interpretations one can
legitimately take away from such results. There is not intended
to be a simple political "message" of the NUKEMAP.
A write-up of usage patterns over the first 4 months of the original
Nukemap on the web is here:
Long, Mom, I’m Off to Drop the Bomb: A Case Study in Public
Usage of an Educational Tool,” What the surprising
popularity of a website suggests about our complicated relationship
with nuclear weapons. by Alex Wellerstein, WMD Junction / The
Nonproliferation Review, James
Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, 3 May 2012.
6 million Americans live within the current 10 mile evacuation zone
for US reactors; over 120 million live within the 50 mile evacuation
zone required for US citizens in Japan during the Fukushima nuclear
disaster. First Responders have consistently stated that while US
evacuation plans exist, none are implementable. How close do you
live to a nuclear power reactor?
Do you live within 50 miles of a nuclear reactor? One third of
Americans do. Property contaminated by nuclear materials is not
covered by insurance, so if your house is affected, you could be
displaced permanently and lose everything. Use this simulator to
find out if you are within an evacuation zone and are at risk.
Also notice the number of people who would have to be evacuated
if there was an accident at the plant closest to you. Do you
really think that is possible? We don't.
The 25th anniversary of Chernobyl [in 2011] and the continuing crisis at
Fukushima—both Level 7 nuclear disasters—are clear
reminders that standard evacuation zones cannot protect the
public from a nuclear accident. Current NRC regulations stipulate
a 10 mile evacuation zone around nuclear plants. This is clearly
insufficient and 50 miles has been recommended.
Radioactivity in Spent Nuclear Fuel Pools in the US
The Threat of Massive Releases During Conventional or Nuclear War Fighting
In his symposium presentation,
Steven Starr described
how the rods in a nuclear spent fuel pool contain 5 to 7 times more
radioactivity than is inside the nuclear reactor and that
“even if spent fuel pools are not directly targeted in a nuclear
war or during wartime, they would probably still be destroyed by
the long-term loss of off-site electrical power, which is required
to run their cooling systems ... [and subsequently] release huge
amounts of radioactivity”. Although the following report
does not specifically mention loss of on-site power as a result of
nuclear or conventional war fighting, its information is
nevertheless extremely relevant regarding the vulnerability of
spent nuclear fuel pools being breached from any kind of warfare.
Spent Nuclear Fuel Pools in the US:
Reducing the Deadly Risks of Storage
U.S. reactors have generated about 65,000 metric tons of spent
fuel, of which 75 percent is stored in pools, according to
Nuclear Energy Institute data. Spent fuel rods give off about 1
million rems (10,000Sv) of radiation per hour at a distance of one
foot – enough radiation to kill people in a matter of seconds.
There are more than 30 million such rods in U.S. spent fuel
pools. No other nation has generated this much radioactivity from
either nuclear power or nuclear weapons production.
by Robert Alvarez, Institute for Policy Studies, May 2011
Complete IPS Report (PDF, 36 pages)
IPS Fact Sheet (1 page)
Quick Facts About
Safer Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel, Union of Concerned Scientists
Nearly 40 percent of the radioactivity in U.S. spent fuel is
cesium-137 (4.5 billion curies) – roughly 20 times more than
released from all atmospheric nuclear weapons tests. U.S. spent
pools hold about 15-30 times more cesium-137 than the 1986 Chernobyl
accident released. Located in Ukraine, Chernobyl illustrated the
damage cesium-137 can wreak. Nearly 200,000 residents from 187
settlements were permanently evacuated because of contamination
by cesium-137. The total area of this radiation-control zone is
huge. At more than 6,000 square miles, it is equal to about
two-thirds the area of the State of New Jersey.
Even though they contain some of the largest concentrations of
radioactivity on the planet, U.S. spent nuclear fuel pools are
mostly contained in ordinary industrial structures designed to
merely protect them against the elements. These storage
facilities resemble large above-ground swimming pools and this
practice puts the American public at risk. Spent fuel storage
pools are often housed in buildings no more secure than a car
Spent fuel storage pools are vulnerable. Massive land
contamination, radiation injuries, and myriad deaths would result
from a terrorist attack, earthquake, or even a prolonged
electricity blackout – as happened at the Fukushima Daiichi
reactor site in Japan following an earthquake and tsunami. Pools
need electricity to pump water to cool the rods, as well as to
maintain a high water level to diffuse the escape of radiation.
Despite these dangers, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)
doesn’t require nuclear reactor operators to even have back-up
power supplies for these spent-fuel pools to prevent disaster.
The fuel rods in these spent fuel pools should be safely stored
in dry, hardened, and sealed storage casks. Dry cask storage is a
much safer alternative to pools – which were originally
designed to hold less than one-fifth of what they now contain. It
doesn’t rely upon a constant supply of electricity or
water, and it also can be stored in separate blast-proof
containers, making it less susceptible to terrorist attack or
Over the next 10 years, we could remove all spent fuel older than
five years for a cost of $3 billion-$7 billion. The cost of
fixing America’s nuclear vulnerabilities may be high, but the
price of doing too little is incalculable.
70th Year Articles Worthy of Note
and Nukes — Still a Live Issue,
by Ira Helfand, M.D., and Victor W. Sidel, M.D.,
New England Journal of Medicine, 14 Oct 2015
Bows Out After Plowshares Conviction is Vacated:
Appeals Court Ill-Informed on Nuclear Overkill,
by John LaForge, Counterpunch, 25 Aug 2015
Nuclear Power: Insurance and Health:
Insurance: America Goes Naked,
Earth Focus, KCET
Los Angeles Community Television, 25 Aug 2015 (26:40)
Dylan and America’s 70-Year Nuclear Nightmare
by Rev. John Dear, Counterpunch, 7 August 2015
and Nagasaki: Gratuitous Mass Murder
by Stephen Lendman, Counterpunch, 7 August 2015
Nuclear Power: 70-Years After Nuclear Carnage,
by Caroline Phillips, Fairwinds Energy Education, 7 Aug 2015
Years on from Nuclear Devastation, by Emily Watson,
Politics Personified, 7 August 2015
War Was Won Before Hiroshima—And the Generals Who Dropped the Bomb Knew It
Seventy years after the bombing, will Americans face the brutal truth?
by Gar Alperovitz, The Nation, 6 August 2015
by Miriam German, director of
harrowing story of the Nagasaki bombing mission,
by Ellen Bradbury & Sandra Blakeslee, Bulletin of the
Atomic Scientists, 4 Aug 2015
for Sanity on Sixtieth Anniversary of the Russell-Einstein Manifesto,
by Emanuel Pastreich, Foreign Policy in Focus, 9 Jul 2015
Weapons Proliferation: Made in the USA,
by John LaForge Counterpunch, 27 May 2015
End Launch-on-Warning — Take Missiles Off Hair-Trigger Alert:
and Russian Generals Call for Reducing the Risk of Inadvertent Nuclear War,
by David Wright, Union of Concerned Scientists, 20 April 2015
Talks by David T. Ratcliffe About
A New Movement to Ban Nuclear Weapons
[Starting in the late 1970s] I organized with others, Physicians
for Social Responsibility and we held conferences throughout
America describing the medical consequences of
nuclear war. The first such symposium was held at
Harvard and the reporters there were absolutely
perplexed. They said, What are doctors talking
about nuclear war for? This is a political
issue. And we said, No, it’s not. It’s
a medical issue because nuclear war will
create the final epidemic of the human race.
Then the Bishop, or Archbishop of Boston—Cardinal
whoever—would wake up the next morning and
there would be a map of Boston with the concentric circles
of vaporization, and third degree burns, and fires, etc.,
and he’d say, I don’t think Jesus would approve of this.
It happened all over the country so finally the Catholic
Bishops got together and wrote a Pastoral Letter against
nuclear war. Then the Methodist Bishops got together and
they did a similar thing and their Pastoral Letter was
even better than the Catholic Bishops.
Eventually we had a million people in Central Park in
1982 in June, the biggest rally ever in the history
of America. Black lesbians from Harlem, Southern
Baptists, Mormons, everyone. It was just amazing.
We had 80 percent of people supporting the notion that
nuclear weapons must be eradicated, really. Gorbachev
then had the support of the world with Reagan. They
met in Reykjavík, these two men, and over a
weekend they almost agreed to abolish nuclear weapons.
So therefore there is a precedent to abolish nuclear
weapons and it’s time that happened.
The country that’s holding up the abolition of
nuclear weapons is America. Without America moving,
Russia won’t move. If America moves, unilaterally,
Russia will too. We know that. Because they can’t
afford these weapons and they’re very aware of
what happens in war because they lost 30 million people
on the Russian front in the Second World War
and that’s deeply embedded in their souls.
I can remember as a little girl standing in the
kitchen. My mother said, Thank God, he’s turned
on Russia. He’ll never beat Russia. But they
suffered terribly. And they’ll never forget it.
This library is dedicated to the children, the Earth, and all
Life exploring itself ongoing into what can only be called
eternity. I am grateful to Dr. Helen Caldicott for her
passion to call us all to examine with intelligence
and clarity the etiology of killing and the etiology of
possible nuclear extinction so that we can heal this disease
for the benefit of today and tomorrow. (She explained that
physicians need to look at etiology of disease and that
etiology means the cause of a disease.)
Steven Starr contributed the wording for the
Petition to the President
of the United States. It was his presentation,
“Nuclear War: An
Unrecognized Mass Extinction Event Waiting To Happen,”
that generated the inspiration to make the petition. Mr. Starr,
Alan Robock, Theodore Postol, Bruce Gagnon, and Tim Wright generously
contributed copies of the text they read from and or slides
where they were used. Michael Mills created the animations of
Black Carbon Mass Mixing Ratio in greyscale at
10 frames and
5 frames per second.
Maria Gilardin contributed the continuity of her
First of Eight
programs on this symposium. Richard Lennane gave helpful
insights on the Petition to address the threat to all Life posed
by the nuclear weapon states. Rebecca Lord helped with researching
the petition process and its strategy. I especially wish to
thank my wife, Nina Vansuch. Through her counsel and advice
she helps me see a wider perspective engendering more
constructive communication. She is an advocate for and champion
of the children in our community and their families and her
devotion and dedication to serving our community is an
inspiration to all who know her.
Many warnings have been uttered by eminent men of science and
by authorities in military strategy....
We have found that the men who know most are the most gloomy....
People scarcely realize in imagination that the danger is to
themselves and their children and their grandchildren, and not
only to a dimly apprehended humanity. They can scarcely bring
themselves to grasp that they, individually, and those whom
they love are in imminent danger of perishing agonizingly....
We appeal as human beings to human beings: Remember your
humanity, and forget the rest.