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Nuclear Ban Treaty obligates countries to assist nuclear victims and remediate environments

Policy Approaches Addressing the Ongoing Humanitarian and Environmental Consequences of Nuclear Weapons: A Commentary, Wiley Online Library Nate Van Duzer Alicia Sanders‐Zakre 20 January 2021  https://doi.org/10.1111/1758-5899.12870

Abstract

The 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) not only bans nuclear weapons, it obligates its states parties to engage in assisting victims and remediating contaminated environments (Articles 6 and 7). As states and civil society consider the best methods to implement these provisions, it is important to take stock and review existing policy approaches addressing the ongoing humanitarian and environmental consequences of nuclear weapons. This practitioner commentary, written by members of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which was awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for its advocacy for the TPNW, reviews existing programs of victim assistance and environmental remediation. It highlights key considerations for policy makers seeking to improve on the existing mechanisms.

……….. Key takeaways

Dozens of identified sites around the world remain contaminated by nuclear weapons use, production and testing, and there is no one standard for their remediation. Notably, there is no widely accepted standard to determine how clean is clean, or how to monitor radiation levels over time. Speed and thoroughness of cleanup vary widely as well, and the cost to remediate each site ranges from millions of US$ to billions. Even remediated sites are often still somewhat closed to the public. The nuclear‐armed states have historically done the most to direct and carry out the cleanup of sites, even if the test site is not under those states’ jurisdiction. However, nuclear‐armed states do not always respond to local requests for action.   https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1758-5899.12870

January 25, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

5 nuclear activities that are now Illegal under international law

Here are five examples of the type of activities that will be Illegal under international law on 22 January 2021  https://nukewatch.org/new-and-updated-item/here-are-five-examples-of-the-type-of-activities-that-will-be-illegal-under-international-law-on-22-january-2021/

One of the main problems with talking about nuclear weapons is that it often becomes abstract and hypothetical. Most people barely know which countries have nuclear weapons and do not know to what extent other actors are involved in maintaining and upholding nuclear weapons.

WHAT THE TREATY PROHIBITS

Article 1 of the treaty prohibits states parties from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, transferring, possessing, stockpiling, using or threatening to use nuclear weapons, or allowing nuclear weapons to be stationed on their territory. It also prohibits them from assisting, encouraging or inducing anyone to engage in any of these activities.

#1: THE TREATY BANS THE DEVELOPMENT OF NEW NUCLEAR WEAPONS SYSTEMS

Right now, all nuclear armed states are quantitatively or qualitatively advancing their nuclear arsenals, to the tune of nearly $73 billion in 2019 alone. Developing nuclear weapons is banned for states parties in Article 1(a) of the treaty. So activities like India’s Agni-V intercontinental ballistic missile? Banned under international law. Pakistan’s Babur-3 submarine-launched ballistic missile? Banned under international law. North Korea’s’ growing nuclear warhead arsenal? Banned under international law. Nuclear-armed states may not be legally obligated to comply with a treaty they haven’t joined. But their behavior contradicts this new instrument of international law and the growing norm it represents.

#2: THE TREATY BANS ASSISTING WITH DEVELOPING NUCLEAR WEAPONS

Dozens of U.S. universities are involved in the U.S. nuclear weapons complex, including through direct management and research partnerships with the laboratories that design and can produce nuclear weapons components. The University of California, Texas A&M University, Johns Hopkins University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of Rochester receive billions in contracts to directly manage laboratories that work on nuclear weapons. The University of California and Texas A&M University are both operators of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, which provides design and engineering for several nuclear warhead types, conducts simulated experiments to evaluate warheads, and has the capacity to produce plutonium pits, the core material for nuclear warheads. An average-sized U.S. nuclear weapon, that could be designed and developed at Los Alamos overseen by the University of California and Texas A&M University, detonated over the center of Paris would immediately kill over 500,000 civilians, and injure more than one million, causing third-degree burns all the way out to the suburbs.

From 22 January 2021, these universities, and others that are participating in the development and production of nuclear weapons, are carrying out activities that are banned under international law. Students should demand their universities focus on research to save lives, not end them.

#3: THE TREATY BANS THE HOSTING OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS

Article 1(g) of the TPNW explicitly prohibits allowing the stationing, installation or deployment of nuclear weapons.

January 25, 2021 Posted by | politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Protest rally against University of Arkansas’ involvement with nuclear weapons corporation

Group protests UA involvement with nuclear corporation, https://www.nwahomepage.com/news/group-protests-ua-involvement-with-nuclear-corporation/ by: Megan Wilson, Jan 22, 2021, FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – Northwest Arkansans join peace groups around the world celebrating an international treaty on prohibiting nuclear weapons.

While 86 countries signed the treaty, the U.S. was not one of them.

A group gathered at the University of Arkansas to protest its contract with the nuclear weapons corporation Honeywell International.

Abel Tomlinson is the founder of Arkansas Non-Violence Alliance.

He said the University contradicts its mission statement by building non-nuclear components for the bombs.

“Its mission statement says that they’re ‘determined to build a better world.’ and we belive that building nuclear bombs is the complete opposite of that. Nobody should be having them. They’re endangering everyone, it’s unacceptable,” Tomlinson said.

The University of Arkansas was aware of today’s protest, but did not wish to comment.

January 25, 2021 Posted by | Education, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Arab League hails passing of Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

Arab League hails passing of Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, Business Standard, 24 Jan 21, The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was adopted in July 2017 and was opened for signature in September 2017

The Arab League has welcomed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, commonly known as the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty’s coming into force and urged for intensifying international efforts to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.

In a statement on Friday, AL Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit descibed the move as an important step towards the disarmament and the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons in the world, reports Xinhua news agency.

Aboul-Gheit stressed that this development would help commence a new phase that would be a motivation for intensifying international efforts to achieve the final and irreversible disposal of nuclear weapons worldwide.

He explained that the Arab countries were supportive of international efforts during the negotiation process for this treaty, “despite Israel’s boycott of this path as an extension of its anti-nuclear disarmament policies and its stances opposing international efforts aimed at getting rid of nuclear weapons, especially in the Middle East”.

“It is time to intensify efforts to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, which is fully consistent with the objectives of this treaty,” the AL chief said… https://www.business-standard.com/article/international/arab-league-hails-passing-of-treaty-on-prohibition-of-nuclear-weapons-121012300306_1.html

January 25, 2021 Posted by | MIDDLE EAST, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The nuclear weapons ban treaty is groundbreaking, even if the nuclear powers haven’t signed

January 23, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Russia welcomes US proposal to extend New Start nuclear treaty

Russia welcomes US proposal to extend nuclear treaty, 9 News, By Associated Press

Jan 23, 2021  The Kremlin on Friday welcomed US President Joe Biden’s proposal to extend the last remaining nuclear arms control treaty between the two countries, which is set to expire in less than two weeks.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said that Russia stands for extending the pact and is waiting to see the details of the US proposal.
The White House said on Thursday that Biden has proposed to Russia a five-year extension of the New START treaty………
The treaty, signed in 2010 by President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, limits each country to no more than 1550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed missiles and bombers, and envisages sweeping on-site inspections to verify compliance.

January 23, 2021 Posted by | politics international, Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

More than half of public supports UK joining UN ban on nuclear weapons.

The National 22nd Jan 2021, More than half of public supports UK joining UN ban on nuclear weapons.

https://www.thenational.scot/news/19029821.half-public-supports-uk-joining-un-ban-nuclear-weapons/

January 23, 2021 Posted by | public opinion, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Despite Covid regulations, 22 nuclear bombs delivered to Scotland

22 nuclear bombs delivered to Scotland despite Covid, The Ferret, Rob Edwards, January 22, 2021

As many as 22 nuclear warheads were transported from England to Scotland in eight road convoys during 2020 despite coronavirus restrictions, according to a new report by campaigners.

Another bomb convoy arrived at the Royal Naval Armaments Depot at Coulport in Argyll on 15 January and set off south to the nuclear weapons factory at Burghfield in Berkshire on 20 January during a ban on non-essential travel.

Nukewatch, which monitors the convoys, accused the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) of taking “disregard for public safety to a new low”. Critics and politicians questioned whether the convoys were essential…..

A historic United Nations treaty banning nuclear weapons came into force on 22 January 2021 after being signed by 51 countries. It is supported by the Scottish Government, but opposed by the UK Government.

Convoys comprising 20 or more vehicles regularly transport Trident nuclear warheads by road between Coulport and Burghfield for maintenance and upgrades. They are tracked and filmed by activists, and often travel close to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Manchester and Birmingham.

The Ferret reported in May 2018 that safety problems plaguing the convoys had risen to a record high. The total number of incidents logged by the MoD over ten years was 179.

A historic United Nations treaty banning nuclear weapons came into force on 22 January 2021 after being signed by 51 countries. It is supported by the Scottish Government, but opposed by the UK Government.

Convoys comprising 20 or more vehicles regularly transport Trident nuclear warheads by road between Coulport and Burghfield for maintenance and upgrades. They are tracked and filmed by activists, and often travel close to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Manchester and Birmingham.

The Ferret reported in May 2018 that safety problems plaguing the convoys had risen to a record high. The total number of incidents logged by the MoD over ten years was 179……..

Jane Tallents from Nukewatch criticised the MoD for ignoring lockdown travel bans. “We call on the MoD to suspend these non-essential movements at least while the Covid restrictions are at this high level,” she told The Ferret.

“The emergency plans for dealing with a serious accident while transporting nuclear weapons always looked inadequate to us. But travelling while all our hospitals are near to being overwhelmed by the pandemic is taking the MoDs disregard for public safety to a new low.

“The resources are just not available to organise an evacuation and tell people to take shelter near to the site of a radiation leak from a damaged warhead in transit especially in any of the high population areas they travel through.”

Tallents pointed to evidence that the warhead convoy often broke down. “We are told to trust their safety record with nuclear weapons but it appears they can’t even manage to keep their vehicles roadworthy,” she said.

The Nuclear Information Service, which researches nuclear weapons, also urged the MoD to stop bomb convoys during Covid restrictions. “I can’t see any reason for the convoys to happen during lockdown,” said the group’s director, David Cullen.

“I’m sure there’s enough leeway in the programme to work around the restrictions if they wanted to. There’s no way drivers and security staff can maintain safe distances within the convoy vehicles.”

He added: “The government owes Scotland an explanation, and I’d like to see them release the risk assessment they used to justify this.”

The Scottish Greens also disputed whether the bomb convoys were essential. “It is deeply irresponsible to have weapons of mass destruction on our roads, especially at the moment,” said Green MSP, Mark Ruskell.

“They increase the risk of being targeted by terrorist groups, and although the likelihood of a catastrophic incident remains slim, the implications of a safety breach would be horrific and impossible to contain.”   https://theferret.scot/22-nuclear-bombs-scotland-covid/

January 23, 2021 Posted by | safety, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The 70-year nuclear gloom begins to lift on January 22

Abolishing Nuclear Weapons: A New Chance, https://portside.org/2021-01-19/abolishing-nuclear-weapons-new-chance 20 Jan 21,

The 70-year nuclear gloom begins to lift on January 22, 2021. The nine countries that have held the world captive to the threat of nuclear war are losing moral ground to 122 smaller countries that approved the world’s first nuclear weapons ban.

Anuclear darkness has engulfed the world for seven decades, with only intermittent breakthroughs of light when treaties among nuclear nations were negotiated.  Some treaties have been violated for decades; others, walked away from by Trump.  Any progress made on eliminating nuclear weapons has ceased.  Worse, a new weapons upgrade is in the works by the nuclear nations.   In 2009 President Obama spoke of the dream of a world without nuclear weapons, yet a handful of years later he put the U.S. on course to spend nearly $2 trillion on upgrading its nuclear weapons arsenal and delivery systems over a period of 30 years.  Trump has augmented the budget for and added new nuclear weapons with threats to use them.

The 70-year nuclear gloom begins to lift on January 22, 2021. The nine countries that have held the world captive to the threat of nuclear war are losing moral ground to 122 smaller countries that approved the world’s first nuclear weapons ban in July 2017.  Once 50 of those 122 approving countries completed the ratification process of the UN Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in their legislatures, it became international law in October 2020.

The law goes into effect January 22, 2021 to the profound relief of most people of the world.  Those now 51 “freedom fighter” countries commit to having nothing to do with nuclear weapons – no design, testing, manufacturing, storage, transport, use or threat of use.  Consider this a marathon for disarmament to outpace the current nuclear arms race in which all nuclear-armed countries are, in lockstep, upgrading their weapons.

And this is only the beginning. Thirty five additional countries are in the process of ratifying the Treaty; 50 more support the Treaty; a dozen more have immense popular support, among them Canada, and are one election away from signing the Treaty.  If the United States, where a majority of citizens does not want to use nuclear weapons, signed the Treaty, the rest would follow.

Actions of note:

  • The General Electric Company stopped production of nuclear weapons in 1993.
  • Two of the world’s largest pension funds have divested from nuclear weapons.
  • Mitsubishi UFG Financial Group, 1 of the 5 largest banks in the world, has excluded nuclear weapons production from its portfolio, labeling them “inhumane.”
  • Kennedy and Khrushchev were working toward the abolition of nuclear weapons when Kennedy was assassinated.
  • Reagan and Gorbachev agreed to a radical dismantling of their nuclear weapons.
  • Our goal must be a world “without nuclear weapons… “nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought:” Former Republican Secretary of State George Schultz and former Democrat Secretary of Defense William Perry.
  • Mayors for Peace: 7675 cities in 163 countries support the total abolition of nuclear weapons.
  • 56 former presidents, prime ministers, foreign and defense ministers from 20 NATO countries and Japan and South Korea recently signed an open letter in support of the UN treaty to ban nuclear weapons. “Sooner or later our luck will run out – unless we act…There is no cure for a nuclear war,” they asserted. “Prevention is our only option.”
  • Pope Francis: “The use of atomic energy for purposes of war is immoral. As is the possession of atomic weapons.”

A limited nuclear war could trigger a global famine that would likely end billions of lives.  A full scale nuclear war would end human and most other life on Earth, reminding us of the classical depiction of total war: they had to destroy the village to save it.  A nuclear war, whether by accident, misjudgment or intention to destroy the enemy would destroy the rest of us as well – how insane is that?

What then can President-elect Biden do?

Open dialogue with and renew nuclear agreements and diplomacy with Russia immediately.

Change US policy in 3 key ways: No first use of nuclear weapons; take weapons off of hair trigger alert; and select another senior official to share decision-making about “pressing the button.”

Revive the agreement with Iran: they do not develop nuclear weapons, we lift sanctions.

With South Korea, engage in diplomacy with North Korea to freeze and roll back their nuclear weapons program.

Stop the new program of upgrading nuclear weapons.

Listen to the world’s majority and lead the United States toward signing the new UN Treaty and the others will follow.  It is our only solution to exit a dead-end system that permits a single human being, in the words of national security analyst Joseph Cirincione, “to destroy in minutes all that humanity has constructed over millennia.”

Pat Hynes, retired from Boston University, is on the board of the Traprock Center for Peace and Justice https://traprock.org.

January 21, 2021 Posted by | politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Biden can’t ignore that continuing crisis -the danger of nuclear annihilation.

January 21, 2021 Posted by | politics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

A view from the law: The Danger Of Sole Presidential Authority Over Nuclear Weapons

Without being removed from office, in the absence of a Senate trial, could a leader described as “increasingly isolated, sullen and vengeful” be a dangerous decision-maker with the world’s deadliest arsenal, and what is US policy and law with respect to the limits on such authority?
The Congressional Research Service notes that Presidents have sole authority to authorize U.S. nuclear weapons use, inherent in their constitutional role as Commander in Chief.

January 21, 2021 Posted by | legal, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Trump’s worst move – gambling on nuclear war with North Korea

He didn’t merely threaten to attack North Korea if it possessed the ability to strike the U.S. He ordered the Pentagon to develop new plans, over the resistance of then-Secretary of Defense James Mattis, to do so. As Slate columnist Fred Kaplan reports in his book “The Bomb,” the Joint Chiefs of Staff created new war plans “that assumed the United States would strike the first blow.”

January 21, 2021 Posted by | politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Investigation of Algerians affected by France’s nuclear bomb tests

Le Monde 20th Jan 2021, At the heart of Franco-Algerian memory: the fight against those irradiated from the Sahara. This January 20, historian Benjamin Stora submits to the
President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, his report on Franco-Algerian memory. The nuclear tests carried out until 1966 in the Sahara are one of the disputes between the two countries. Investigation.

https://www.lemonde.fr/afrique/article/2021/01/20/au-c-ur-de-la-memoire-franco-algerienne-le-combat-des-irradies-du-sahara_6066872_3212.html

January 21, 2021 Posted by | AFRICA, France, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Pakistan test-fires nuclear-capable surface-to-surface ballistic missile

Pakistan test-fires nuclear-capable surface-to-surface ballistic missile

The missile is capable of carrying nuclear and conventional warheads to a range of 2,750 kms, the statement said.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan said on Wednesday that it successfully test-fired a nuclear-capable surface-to-surface ballistic missile which can strike targets up to 2,750 kilometres. …… https://www.newindianexpress.com/world/2021/jan/20/pakistan-test-fires-nuclear-capable-surface-to-surface-ballistic-missile-2252773.html

January 21, 2021 Posted by | Pakistan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Hiroshima ‘peace clock’ reset to 49 days following US nuclear test

January 21, 2021 Posted by | Japan, weapons and war | Leave a comment