Nuclear Disarmament The Basics


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  • The Project for Nuclear Awareness is a Public Education Organization working to reduce the threat of nuclear weapons. We work with a wide array of people ranging from high school and college students to citizens and United States Senators and Representatives. Nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament is not an easy or simple issue and an informed citizenry is essential to confronting it. Since the end of the Cold War, a common misconception has emerged that nuclear weapons no longer pose a great threat. Making the argument that the threat is still very real and urgent is an important part of what we do. Even though you may not feel or see it, today, we are living in an atomic age . We are living in a world with 23,000 nuclear weapons, with the ability to totally annihilate life on the plant many times over. WHY? This presentation is designed to familiarize you with nuclear weapons, the history of the nuclear disarmament movement, and how nuclear weapons and waste have an impact on our lives today.
  • The movement for nuclear disarmament has a long tradition. The movement first started after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States, and was led by scientists and engineers who had helped build the bomb, and knew the risks of keeping it. In the 1960s, a civil society movement against nuclear testing helped to win the Partial Test Ban Treaty- banning nuclear tests from our atmosphere, and harmful radioactive fallout from our air, water, and soil. In the 1980’s, a combination of the nuclear freeze movement and civil society groups of doctors, lawyers, educators, and others helped to move the United States and the Soviet Union from confrontation in the early ’80’s, to collaboration on nuclear disarmament and an end to the Cold War with the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty of 1991 (START). Two groups that shared the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize, Physicians for Social Responsibility and IPPNW were instrumental in this movement. Others included the Lawyers Alliance for World Security (LAWS), and LCNP, Lawyers Committee for Nuclear Policy in the U.S., and the Association of Soviet Lawyers.
  • While the Cold War ended in the 1980s , well before many of us where even reading newspapers, our nuclear posture today is highly reminiscent of the cold war. Our Cold War legacy has left the United States and Russia with some 10,000 nuclear weapons each , with each country support some 2500 nuclear weapons on high alert status- meaning that they are ready for launch in about 15 minutes! This is surely not a posture conducive to productive international relations. At the same time, many things have changed since the Cold War. For instance, the threat of nuclear terrorism is far greater, as more countries now have nuclear weapons- the U.S., Russia, China, France, Great Britain, India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea. Wider proliferation of nuclear weapons means and increased chance of a nuclear attack. Just as if everyone carried a hand grenade to class, the chance of an accident would increase.
  • President Obama, on goal of “bringing nuclear weapons to an end.”   President Obama has shown committed leadership on this issue. As a Senator, he teamed with Republican Richard Lugar on a Senate Bill to stop nuclear proliferation. He has since pledged to work to end nuclear weapons over time. In fact, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize partially for this reason. How can we achieve this?   As leader of the world's most powerful nation—the first to produce and use nuclear weapons, the President will have to spearhead movement toward a nuclear free world. The process will require strong, determined political leadership, and starts with a White House mandated review, and eventual revision, of existing U.S. strategic policy.   The president must ensure this revision results in downplaying the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. security policy and explicitly de-legitimizes their use - by any nation - in warfare. In other words– it’s never OK to use nuclear weapons. We must restore trust, and President Obama’s pledge begins to do that– but actions must follow these positive statements, as well.  4
  • According to a study Nuclear Security Spending: Assessing Costs, Examining Priorities, funded by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, in 2008, the U.S. government spent 52.4 Billion Dollars of taxpayer money on nuclear weapons and “nuclear security.” As you can see from the graph, this expenditure is in marked contrast to other important programs. We spend more on nuclear weapons than we do on energy research and development, science and technology, and diplomacy and foreign aid. This balance must be redressed. According to this same report, nuclear weapons costs represent some 67% of the U.S. Department of Energy budget! DoE priorities should be realigned for its original purpose- to produce clean energy. With a soaring deficit and financial instability, nuclear weapons are diverting funds from truly needed programs such as education, healthcare, clean energy, and diplomacy.
  • Here is a further break-down of our nuclear weapons budget. As you can see from the graph, vast majority of this total, some 29 billion dollars- was spent on upkeep and deployment of our current nuclear arsenal. In stark contrast, only 8 billion dollars was spent on deferred environmental and health costs, such as compensating atomic veterans and people exposed to radioactive fallout from nuclear testing, and cleaning up nuclear waste sites. Only $5 billion was spent on nuclear threat reduction, which includes safety measures to insure our nuclear weapons do not fall into the wrong hands.
  • The Nuclear Bomb is a unique destroyer of life- a truth that was witnessed in the cases of Hiroshima and Nagasaki where hundreds of thousands died. Fallout and radioactive contamination continue to have negative effects years, and in some cases generations, after the explosions. Exposure to radiation- either through a nuclear explosion, or even nuclear waste, can have devastating effects on the human system. In the case of a nuclear attack on the U.S., it is doubtful that our emergency response services would be ready or able to handle the enormous demands due to the destruction and contamination of healthcare infrastructure for many miles surrounding the epicenter. Out of the 52+ billion dollars spent on nuclear weapons every year by the U.S. government, the smallest percentage, a mere 0.7 billion dollars, is dedicated to “nuclear incident management”- which includes emergency preparedness and incident response in the case of a nuclear attack.
  • The United States stores the majority of high level radioactive waste from nuclear bomb production at a facility in Hanford, Washington. Weapons material production was stopped at Hanford in the late 1980s. It is now one of the most polluted sites in the U.S. According to the DOE, approximately 53 million gallons of high level and hazardous radioactive waste are currently stored at Hanford. Nuclear waste has a life span of hundreds of thousands of years . A lifespan indicates how long a substance is radioactive, and thus hazardous to human health. Due to the long lifespan of radioactive waste, it is difficult to adequately and safely store the waste, as the containers in which it is stored begin to corrode and leak after only 20-30 years. As of today, there is no longer term storage solution of nuclear waste- from weapons- or from nuclear power generation and uranium mining. The Yucca Mountain storage site proposal is off the table, as it is too close to an earthquake zone. Despite the magnitude of nuclear waste and the serious risk it poses to the environment, and by association, human health, the U.S. government only spends 8 billion dollars out of a total 52+ billion to address environmental and the deferred health costs of nuclear weapons testing and waste.
  • Nuclear War and Global Climate According to studies done by scientists at Rutgers University using NASA climate modeling systems, a small nuclear war between India and Pakistan would send such a large amount of smoke and debris into the stratosphere that it would literally block out the sun, causing a GLOBAL temperature drop of at least one degree Celsius. A nuclear war between the U.S. and Russia would cause an even more staggering drop, four degrees Celsius, while the detonation of the entire world arsenal of nuclear weapons would cause a global temperature drop of eight degrees Celsius, or 15 degrees Fahrenheit. Philadelphia, e.g., would have the climate of Saskatchewan! This study also predicts a significant drop in global precipitation or rainfall. The study indicates that these changes in global climate would be long term, lasting as long as 10 years.
  • Nuclear War has a serious impact on agriculture So what is the result of a global temperature drop of 1, 2, or more degrees Celsius? A global temperature drop of just 1 or 2 degrees Celsius would result in a dramatic reduction in agricultural output, taxing an already strained world agriculture. This graph illustrates the dramatic shift in Canadian wheat growing with just a 1 or 2 degree Celsius drop. A similar scenario can be assumed for the United States, however slightly less severe, due to the lower latitude. If we keep in mind that the Northern Hemisphere has 2/3 of the world’s population and food crops, the devastation of even a “smaller” India-Pakistan” nuclear war on world food production would be huge. It would cause mass migrations, as well as create water shortages and other related ills to the biosphere.
  • The Bomb Today: SOLUTIONS Let’s turn to some solutions . The first is Nuclear Weapons Free Zones. Beginning in the 1960’s, whole continents have agreed to end their own nuclear arms race, where they existed, or to prevent starting an expensive and futile search for security with weapons that actually create insecurity , and instability. The areas in blue are all free, by agreement, from nuclear weapons on their land, in their air space, underground, and in their coastal waters. Latin America: The Treaty of Tlatelolco liberated the Americas from nuclear weapons in 1968, from the Texas border, all the way to Tierra del Fuego, by Antarctica to the South. Southeast Asia and Pacific: This nuclear-weapons-free zone extends from Thailand all the way to New Zealand, and includes several U.S. allies, such as Australia, who have agreed that it is safer and more secure to be nuclear-free, than to rely on an illusory nuclear umbrella. Central Asia and Africa : These are the most recent regions, including all 59 countries of Africa, to go nuclear-weapons-free. Nuclear Weapons states: Countries in Red-- The U.S., Russia, and seven other countries shown in RED all have nuclear weapons arsenals. Ironically, by going nuclear, these countries have exposed themselves to the threat of nuclear attack, and have assumed the burden of defense against such attack. The history of the Nuclear Age shows that, from the Cold War, to the Cuban Missile Crisis, to today with North Korea and Iran, the most serious threats to world peace and world survival have come from the existence, and the attempted development, of nuclear weapons.
  • Deterrence and “Post-Deterrence”: The theory of deterrence is that we must have nuclear weapons to deter others’ nuclear weapons from being launched. This began in the 1950’s with the theory of MAD- Mutual Assured Destruction. However, deterrence will not work with non-state actors, such as Al Qaeda or other militant groups. And some states may not always have a rational leader. So, the theory of deterrence is flawed. The only viable post-deterrence policy is: Work toward a nuclear-weapons-free-world. This is also an obligation under the NPT, or Non-Proliferation Treaty. This treaty obligates all nuclear states to work “in good faith” to negotiate nuclear disarmament, and obligates all non-nuclear states to refrain from developing them. Here are the treaties we need to sign, ratify, or enforce: START-Plus Treaty- U.S. and Russia – will reduce operational (deliverable) bombs by 30%- a first step. Fissile Materials Ban Treaty – will ban production and inventory of materials for new nuclear bombs. Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)- Conference in May, 2010- will review progress toward disarming arsenals. Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty- This is the “next big goal” for the world to end the arms race.
  • The Comprehensive Test Ban is a global ban on nuclear testing, to prevent new nuclear weapons from being tested. ( Map of Sites– on all continents– above.) 150 Nations have ratified; nine additional nations must ratify, including the U.S. and China, Israel and Iran . Europe’s on board. 67 votes are needed in the U.S. Senate, including 7-10 Republican Senators. What does civil society need to do? Tell your Senators to support the CTBT. PNA and allies are focusing on key states, where Senators are on the fence. The odds are good that during 2010, the Treaty will be submitted and consented to by the U.S. Senate for ratification. This allows the Treaty to enter into effect, when the needed states have ratified. Proposed: Petition Campaign: “No to Testing Nukes” petitions for schools and citizens to distribute. (bang-usa project? Your opinion…)
  • So, we’re here to learn, and also to take action. Here’s some next steps we’re taking, which we encourage you to get involved in. These may include: Doing your own presentations and video conferences- we can help with this! PNA Visits to Washington and Congressional District offices. Visits to the State Department and US government offices, bang-usa and pna- Check with us on a November trip. United Nations trips– especially for 2010 NPT events, UN-sponsored meetings.
  • Nuclear Disarmament The Basics

    1. 1. Your Life in a World of Nuclear Weapons THE ATOMIC AGE Presented by Project for Nuclear Awareness © PNA, October 2009. All rights reserved, contact PNA for use with credit.
    2. 2. HISTORY OF DISSENT THE NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT MOVEMENT <ul><li>Late 1940s Scientists, Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors </li></ul><ul><li>1960's Movement Against Nuclear Testing </li></ul><ul><li>1963 Partial Test Ban Treaty, NPT, </li></ul><ul><li>1980s Nuclear Freeze Movement changes Reagan's Mind </li></ul><ul><li>START1: Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty </li></ul>
    3. 3. THE COLD WAR LEGACY <ul><li>The United States and Russia = 95% of global nuclear weapons arsenal </li></ul><ul><li>The U.S. and Russia each have 2,500 missiles on hair trigger alert, ready to launch in 15 minutes . </li></ul><ul><li>U.S. has maintained high level of military </li></ul><ul><li>spending since Cold War, </li></ul><ul><li>unlike allies </li></ul><ul><li>New Threats of Today: Nuclear Terrorism </li></ul>
    4. 4. “ We will make the goal of eliminating all nuclear weapons a central element in our nuclear policy.” “ We’ll negotiate with Russia to achieve deep reductions in both our nuclear arsenals and… work with other …powers to reduce global stockpiles dramatically.” “ We will work with the Senate to ratify the Comprehensive-Test-Ban Treaty….” “ I will seek a global ban on the production of fissile materials.” “ I will not develop new nuclear weapons.” U.S. President Barack Obama
    6. 7. HEALTH EFFECTS <ul><li>Radiation Poisoning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Internal damage to nerve cells </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Severe loss of white blood cells (susceptible to disease) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reduced production of blood platelets (Hemorrhaging) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cancers , leukemia, multiple myeloma, sterility, miscarriages, hyperthyroidism, blood disorders premature aging </li></ul><ul><li>Still born, long-term gene mutations, mental disorders. </li></ul><ul><li>Damaged/ Destroyed healthcare infrastructure </li></ul>
    7. 8. ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS <ul><li>Hanford Washington- 53 Million gallons of radioactive waste </li></ul><ul><li>Life span of radioactive waste= 100,000 + years </li></ul><ul><li>No long term storage solution </li></ul><ul><li>Environmental Colonialism </li></ul><ul><li>Reduce use of nuclear materials </li></ul><ul><li>Tighten monitoring of nuclear waste </li></ul><ul><li>Increase funding for solutions for waste storage </li></ul>
    9. 11. THE BOMB TODAY Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones Nuclear weapons states Nuclear sharing Neither, but NPT
    10. 12. NUCLEAR TREATIES FOR A WORLD WITHOUT NUCLEAR WEAPONS <ul><li>START-Plus Treaty: A strategic arms treaty between US and Russia, which expires in December. Obama and Medvedev have agreed to cut strategic nuclear arms by 30%. </li></ul><ul><li>Tactical nukes: The US should remove tactical nuclear weapons from Central Europe. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Fissile Materials: Require improved monitoring system for nuclear materials to prevent the construction of new weapons. </li></ul><ul><li>CTBT: We need a comprehensive test ban, to stop the arms race from resuming, and growing. </li></ul><ul><li>Needed: Agreements with Iran, North Korea, to respect and enforce the NPT- Non-Proliferation Treaty. </li></ul>September 24 th s UN Security Council meeting , chaired by President Obama, showed consensus for a nuclear weapons-free world. December: The Copenhagen Climate Treaty Conference on climate change shows the world is deeply concerned about the environment. However, environmental reform is incomplete without nuclear disarmament. Nothing can damage the biosphere more permanently, than nuclear weapons use.
    11. 13. Time for Decision: Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty <ul><li>CTBT conference September 2009 </li></ul><ul><li>Global ban on nuclear testing will prevent new nuclear weapons </li></ul><ul><li>Nine nations must ratify, including U.S. </li></ul><ul><li>67 votes needed in the U.S. Senate, including 7-10 Republican Senators </li></ul><ul><li>Tell your Senator to support the CTBT </li></ul>
    12. 14. Learn More. Take Action. <ul><li>International Youth Dialogue for Disarmament </li></ul><ul><li> October 26 th -27, 2009 </li></ul><ul><li>Ongoing Congressional visits to D.C.- </li></ul><ul><li>PNA Visits on Test Ban and treaties </li></ul><ul><li>Youth Visits- State Dept. and Congress- see us for the dates! </li></ul>Register for conferences, or Info: Call PNA: 215-546-3030 Email: Washington Trips: Call or Email PNA- Emily Gleason [email_address] Kim Nguyen [email_address]