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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

Back from the Brink platform, a Green New Deal for the nuclear threat.

Climate change isn’t our only existential threat,  https://edition.cnn.com/2019/07/06/opinions/nuclear-war-climate-change-2020-opinion-helfand/index.html, By Ira Helfand, July 6, 2019    (CNN)America confronts a long list of critical problems and they all require urgent attention. But among them, two issues stand out: catastrophic climate change and nuclear war are unique in the threat they pose to the very survival of human civilization. The enormity and imminence of these twin existential threats cannot be overstated and how to confront them must be the central issue of any presidential campaign.

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July 8, 2019 Posted by | election USA 2020 | Leave a comment

Nuclear Weapons and the 2020 USA Presidential Candidates

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The Other Existential Threat: Nuclear Weapons & the 2020 Presidential Campaign https://blog.ucsusa.org/sean-meyer/nuclear-weapons-candidates-primaries

SEAN MEYER, | JULY 3, 2019   The 2020 presidential campaign kicked off in earnest with last week’s Miami debates, and many of the “high profile” topics were covered: climate change, immigration, gun control. One topic was a little more unexpected: nuclear weapons. On the first night, three of the ten candidates on stage said nuclear weapons or the threat of nuclear war is the biggest geopolitical threat facing the United States.

This should not be surprising: recent polling shows that in key primary states, including New Hampshire and Iowa, over 80% of respondents want to know what candidates think about nuclear weapons. We also know from recent national polling that more than 80% of people support arms control treaties with Russia.

Unfortunately, current US policies put the public at danger from nuclear use. Today, the United States retains the right to use nuclear weapons first in a crisis and maintains hundreds of land-based missiles on hair trigger alert. New, more usable nuclear weapons are being developed as part of a trillion-dollar plan to re-build and maintain the entire nuclear arsenal (a proposal mind you that dates to the Obama administration). For its part, the Trump administration has pulled out of crucial nuclear agreements that have kept us safe, including the Iran nuclear deal and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, and seems poised to walk away from the New START Treaty as well.

These kinds of policies should be a major topic of discussion among candidates in the 2020 election, and candidates are already being asked about their positions on the campaign trail. Their responses and comments show a range of thought and understanding on the topic. You can see videos of the conversations with the presidential candidates about nuclear weapons on our YouTube channel.We’ll keep adding videos to this channel as members of the public and activists around the country continue to have these conversations with the candidates in the months ahead.

Indeed, voters have a critical role to play by raising the profile of these discussions and helping to elevate this important conversation and debate—both within our communities and online.

Nuclear weapons and climate change are the two existential threats facing humanity. They are serious. They are growing. They are urgent.  And our country and leaders must act—before it’s too late.

So that’s where “we the people” come in. Let’s educate others. Let’s raise our voices. Let’s insist that those who wish to lead our country do just that—lead us on a path that reduces the risks these horrible weapons pose.

The Union of Concerned Scientists aims to increase public discussion about the use of nuclear weapons; we are posting these videos to highlight such discussion by candidates for president. As a 501c3 nonpartisan organization, UCS does not support or oppose any candidate for election.

July 4, 2019 Posted by | election USA 2020 | Leave a comment

U.S. presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard spells out the danger of nuclear war

Was Tulsi Gabbard’s nuclear war warning during Democratic debate hyperbole, or all too real?   In a rapid-fire question-and-answer portion of the first Democratic presidential debate Wednesday evening, each candidate was asked about the greatest geopolitical threat to the U.S.   abc news, By LEE FERRAN Jun 27, 2019

“This suggests that things are as bad as they ever have been, but not worse,” said Wolfsthal, who sits on the Bulletin’s Science and Security Board.

July 1, 2019 Posted by | election USA 2020, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The threat of nuclear weapons – a survival issue, but ignored in the U.S. Presidential debates

 

The formal debates for the 2020 Democratic nomination for President have begun this week. While there are many substantive topics that need to be covered, there are two existential threats that demand to be addressed. The threat of climate change has been discussed nominally though hardly with the urgency that it requires to stop our steady drift to ever greater catastrophic climate events. The other threat is that of nuclear war which increases as environmental degradation, resource depletion and its associated conflict follows. Yet the threat of nuclear weapons and the concept of nuclear deterrence has not and is not likely to be discussed. Despite growing scientific evidence of the increasing vulnerability and threat posed by these weapons, we seem incapable of having a national dialogue on why they should even exist. Ultimately, they threaten every single thing we care about every moment of every day.

At a time when the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists calculates that we are closer to nuclear war either by intent, cyberattack or accident than at any time since the height of the cold war, we would be well advised to take note so as to take appropriate action and educate our citizenry to eliminate these risks. In keeping their 2019 Doomsday Clock at 2 Minutes to Midnight, the Bulletin’s advisory board noted the close interplay of climate crises with growing international conflict, and the risk of nuclear war.

Our nation and the world need a virtual IQ test to understand the risk we face from these weapons. Each of us and every presidential candidate should be required to take this test and respond to these questions so we can have a greater understanding of the devastating risks we face.

Such an IQ assessment might go as follows:…….

The risk of nuclear war remains with us as long as these weapons exist. The only way to eliminate this risk is by the complete abolition of these weapons. The non-nuclear nations of the world, refusing to be held hostage by the nuclear states, are moving forward in the process of making these weapons illegal by international law and norms in the same way every other weapon of mass destruction has been dealt with before.

Ultimately, nuclear weapons are not a political issue but rather a survival issue. The understanding of this fact by our next president may very well determine our future. https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/06/28/nuclear-iq-presidential-debates-and-our-future

June 29, 2019 Posted by | election USA 2020 | Leave a comment

Sad to see U.S. progessive politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sucked in by the nuclear lobby?

Say It Ain’t So, #Ocasio! (#AOC)   https://www.fairewinds.org/demystify/say-it-aint-so-ocasio-aoc?fbclid=IwAR1J2uPjFoiyDMFfHBT7Ucb6I-MmxZbu4rQ2VrYDzg5reSSvc3M6Yqb0Oc0.by Arnie Gundersen

Since early 2019 we’ve been hearing about the Green New Deal, a program that did not initially include nuclear power. Then suddenly, after an extensive lobbying effort by the atomic power industry, we heard: Ocasio-Cortez: Green New Deal ‘Leaves the Door Open’ on Nuclear.

How Green are the atomic power reactors proposed by the nuclear power industry?  Fairewinds has produced a two minute animation showing that carbon reduction via atomic power reactors is a nuclear industry marketing ploy.

Let’s look at the history of atomic power and the way governments and the atomic weapons and power industries have worked together to promote nuclear power. Nuclear physicists  discovered the nuclear chain reaction in 1938, and power has been produced using the atom since the 1940’s beginning with the Manhattan Project for the creation of the atomic bomb. Splitting the atom and creating nuclear weapons and power are old technologies that began more than 80 years ago! During that 80-year timespan, Americans and ratepayers in other capitalist countries were told  that using nuclear power as a source of electricity would be “too cheap to meter” if taxpayers would only subsidize more research.

Now we see impending financial collapse of almost all of the US nuclear power plants due to green energy! Solar, wind, wave, battery storage, and even newer technologies have proved that electricity can be created anywhere in the world in a manner that creates jobs, saves billions of dollars, and makes the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink much safer for all of us.

Instead of admitting nukes cannot compete with renewable energy, the atomic industrial complex is now proposing dozens of new designs that it claims on paper will compete in timeliness to successfully impact the growing climate crisis, including atomic reactors utilizing thorium and molten salt and new designs like Small Modular Reactors (SMRs), Micro-reactors, Traveling Wave, etc. Once again, the atomic power industry, which is the handmaiden to the nuclear weapons manufacturers, is sending lobbyists to convince your Congressional representatives that the atomic future will be different than the past. Lobbyists now claim that society will be so much better off when taxpayer funds bail out the aged, dangerous, and non-performing nukes and if the atomic power and weapons lobbies are given even more research subsidies.

Since the early 1960s there have been 250 applications to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and its precursor the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) to generate electricity for profit using atomic power reactors. None of these 250 proposed atomic reactors  have been built on time or within budget. You did not misread; truly, every single proposed nuke went millions and then billions of dollars over budget and have started generating electricity years later if at all.

If a baseball player was at bat 250 times and struck out 250 times, would he still be playing baseball? Yet, the atomic lobbyists marketing nuclear power want us to pay them for more chances to use our money and strike out one more time.

Renewables, storage and conservation already have a well-proven track-record of lower costs, more jobs, and environmental compatibility than any of these newly imagined nukes will ever have – I say newly imagined because I have spent my career life as a nuclear engineer. When I first began my career, I drank the Kool-Aid and believed that nuclear power reactors were the solution to the world’s energy shortages and that atomic power created from the same technology as the atomic bomb was as safe as the nuke power industry claimed. As the 5 commercial meltdowns during the last 40-years have proved, especially the 3 major meltdowns that included explosions at Fukushima, nuclear power is simply not a safe method of generating electricity. The impact of the devastation from three simultaneous meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi to the social culture, environmental legacy, personal health, and financial welfare of Japan in 2011 is not a legacy that should be passed onto future generations.

Why then is the US Congress, including AOC – one of the brightest members of this new Congress and the creator of the Green New Deal (#GND) – “leaving the door open” for the  same old atomic power marketing ploys? For more than 80-years, we have witnessed the economic failure, ratepayer bailouts, subsidized atomic meltdown insurance, and actual catastrophic meltdowns.

When will they ever learn?

June 17, 2019 Posted by | election USA 2020, politics | 1 Comment

Where 2020 Democrats stand on  Climate change and on Nuclear Power” interactive page, Washington Post

June 3, 2019 Posted by | election USA 2020, politics | Leave a comment

Trump re-election push – big effort to make sure that Ohio lawmakers approve nuclear and coal subsidies

Ohio advances coal, nuclear subsidies after pressure from Trump campaign official, Politico, By GAVIN BADE, 05/29/2019  

The Ohio House approved a bill Wednesday to gut clean energy standards and subsidize at-risk nuclear and coal plants after a last-minute push from a Trump reelection official to secure its passage.

Bob Paduchik, a senior adviser to the Trump reelection campaign, made calls Tuesday night to at least five members of the Ohio House of Representatives, pressuring them to vote ‘yes’ on the bill, five people familiar with the outreach told POLITICO. Sources said Paduchik emphasized preserving jobs at the Perry and Davis-Besse nuclear plants, both located in northeastern Ohio on the shores of Lake Erie…

“The message is that if we have these plants shut down we can’t get Trump reelected,” said one senior legislative source with knowledge of the conversations. “We’re going into an election year, we can’t lose the jobs.”

Paduchik did not return requests for comment, but confirmed to a local reporter that he called lawmakers to support the bill, saying he did so as a personal matter……..

The bill, which would create a $300 million subsidy program for two nuclear plants and two coal plants in the state, passed 53-43 Wednesday afternoon. It now heads to the state Senate.

Owner FirstEnergy Solutions has threatened to shut the plants down if they are not subsidized, and Cleveland.com reports Republican Gov. Mike DeWine, and labor union leaders made similar arguments in other 11th hour calls to lawmakers.

Legislators contacted by Paduchik include Republican Reps. Don Manning, Darrell Kick, Laura Lanese, Reggie Stoltzfus and Dave Greenspan, sources told POLITICO. The sources requested anonymity because they have other business before the legislature.

Paduchik led President Trump’s successful 2016 campaign in Ohio, after which he became co-chair of the Republican National Committee. In December, the Trump 2020 campaign announced he would return to oversee the president’s reelection bid in the crucial Midwestern swing state.

The White House referred questions on Paduchick’s involvement to the Trump campaign, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In addition to Paduchik, three sources said some legislators received calls from two members of the Ohio delegation to the U.S. House — Republican Reps. Steve Stivers and Bob Gibbs. Their offices did not return requests for comment.

FirstEnergy Solutions, which split from utility FirstEnergy in a bankruptcy proceeding last year, said it did not engage Paduchik or the House members on its behalf. FirstEnergy’s political action committee has supported Trump, DeWine and Ohio Republicans in the past, and CEO Chuck Jones met with the president and Secretary of Energy Rick Perry on energy policy before the utility and subsidiary split……..

Along with subsidizing the nuclear plants, HB 6 would also increase existing payments to two large coal plants owned by the Ohio Valley Electric Corporation, a conglomeration of Midwestern utilities. To pay for the new subsidies, the bill would eliminate the state’s energy efficiency standard and its 12.5 percent-by-2027 renewable energy standard, which are financed on customer utility bills.

Approval in the House means the bill will now move to the Senate. Insiders told POLITICO earlier this week that chamber could take longer to debate the bill, which could create a conundrum for FirstEnergy Solutions, which must decide next month whether to refuel the Perry plant or move ahead with shutdown procedures…….. https://www.politico.com/story/2019/05/29/ohio-coal-nuclear-trump-1347274

June 1, 2019 Posted by | election USA 2020, politics | Leave a comment

Iowa Science Group Launches Effort to Push Presidential Candidates on Nuclear Issues

May 21, 2019 Posted by | election USA 2020 | Leave a comment

Presidential candidate Joe Biden is only lukewarm about action on climate change

A Biden Presidency Would Be a ‘Death Sentence,’ Climate Activists Warn   https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/a3x39g/climate-activists-dont-like-joe-biden  12 May 19

The former vice president’s campaign has them very, very worried.   Joe Biden backed one of the first climate bills in US history, has a relatively strong score from the League of Conservation Voters, and calls fighting global temperature rise “a matter of survival.” The former vice president—who became the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination shortly after entering the race last month—has the profile, on paper, of someone who should be able to tout his bona fides on climate change and the environment.

But Biden appears to be running as a moderate on these issues. On Friday, Reuters reported that while he would support re-joining the Paris climate agreement, he was also open to boosting natural gas and technologies to capture and bury emissions from industrial facilities. That was alarming to some climate activists, who already didn’t trust him on the issue—and that might be putting it mildly.

It’s difficult to find many climate thinkers or activists these days who are all that excited about Biden’s entry into the Democratic primaries—and some interviewed for this story worry that if he wins he could actually slow down progress at a time when the planet is least able to afford it.

“This is an existential threat that we are talking about for all life on Earth, all Americans,” said Leah Stokes, a political scientist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who closely follows the politics of climate change and energy. “I don’t trust him at all… I think he’s got some explaining to do about what exactly his plan is to deal with the climate crisis.”

Biden’s campaign website contains only three sentences about the greatest crisis ever to face humankind, and these are located midway down a secondary page. “We must turbocharge our efforts to address climate change and ensure that every American has access to clean drinking water, clean air, and an environment free from pollutants,” the site reads. His campaign did not respond to VICE’s request for more details on the actual policies this would entail.

There are virtually no specifics about how Biden plans to cut emissions in half by 2030—which is what United Nation scientists calculated is required to stabilize the world at or below 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming and keep cities like Houston, London, Shanghai, Jakarta, Bangkok, Lagos, Manila and Dhaka above water.

But the Reuters story sheds light on what a Biden presidency might include when it comes to climate—a return to Barack Obama’s policies of regulating emissions and working with the international community, but not the kind of aggressive action favored by experts and advocates. One of the sources for the Reuters article, Heather Zichal, previously advised Obama on climate change and is now an informal advisor to Biden. She is affiliated with Cheniere Energy, a major liquefied natural gas producer based in Houston.

Unsurprisingly, activists were alarmed by this news.

“A ‘middle ground’ policy that’s supportive of more fossil fuel development is a death sentence for our generation and the millions of people on the frontlines of the climate crisis,” Varshini Prakash, co-founder of the Sunrise Movement, which has been leading the push for a Green New Deal, said in a statement.

Even before the Reuters story, there were plenty of reasons for people like Prakash to be skeptical of Biden on climate. When he launched his campaign for president on April 29 in Pittsburgh he didn’t mention climate change once. Instead, he gave a lengthy shout-out to union leaders in the audience, promising to “restore,” “rebuild,” and “unify” America after four years under Donald Trump. Buried deep in his 40-minute speech, Biden made a passing reference to low-carbon growth, pledging his support for “rebuilding America’s clean, renewable energy.” He went on to brag that “North American energy makes us independent,” a phrase often used in reference to oil and gas production.

Ed Fallon, a former Iowa legislator turned radio talk show host and climate activist who once played a game of pool with Biden, wasn’t impressed. He found the former vice-president to be “an eloquent speaker and an all-around likable guy.” But with Iowa recovering from two months of historic flooding linked in part to global carbon emissions, and Democrat supporters rating climate change as a top concern, Fallon wanted to know how seriously Biden takes human survival on our planet.

So when Biden spoke in Des Moines on May 2, Fallon and 11 others put on penguin masks and stood directly in front of Biden’s podium holding signs that read “Climate is a crisis.” Biden addressed Fallon’s group directly. “Don’t worry, I’ll get to climate change,” he said, adding, “I introduced climate legislation way, way back in 1987,” a reference to a bill he’d pushed urging President Ronald Reagan to back a task force studying global warming. “You’re preaching to the choir,” Biden said.

But Fallon isn’t so sure. Biden at one point told the crowd that “the United States is soon going to be the largest producer of energy of any nation in the world by the end of the 2020s. My lord, what are we so afraid of?” Biden appeared to be referring to the fact that US oil production has rocketed over recent years to 12.1 million barrels per day, surpassing the output of Saudi Arabia and Russia.

He’s proud of that,” Fallon told VICE. “Joe’s boasting about being the biggest oil producer. You can’t be proud of that and fight climate change.”  

Several days later Biden travelled to Los Angeles to speak at some of his campaign’s first fundraising events. At the home of UCLA School of Medicine faculty member Cynthia Telles and media executive Joe Waz, Biden discussed global warming “in passing,” according to notes emailed to reporters from his campaign. Notes from an event at the Jonathan Club, a private Los Angeles social club, don’t mention climate change at all.

“This is not a second-tier problem,” Stokes said. “This is not something we can pretend will be easy to do and we’ll talk about later, this is a fundamental conversation that has to be happening.”

Biden has at times seemed willing to discuss climate change with the urgency it requires. Earlier this year he told the Conference of Mayorsthat the US could easily quadruple the wind power it generates and that half of electricity in North America should come “from non-polluting sources” with six years. If rising seas force millions of people out of their homes, he said, “that’s how wars start.”

Biden received an 83 percent score from the League of Conservation Voters for his support of environmental policy as a US senator, a score that may have been higher if he hadn’t missed votes while several times competing in Democratic presidential primaries, said Tiernan Sittenfeld, the group’s senior vice president for government affairs.

But she said with the impacts of climate change becoming clearer and more deadly all the time, “all candidates who are serious about running for president need to make climate change an absolute top-tier priority.” They must prove every day to voters, Sittenfeld went on, that they’ll “move forward in ambitious ways on combating climate change starting on day one in the Oval Office.” The world as we know it could literally be depending on it.

Geoff Dembicki is the author of Are We Screwed? How a New Generation Is Fighting to Survive Climate Change. Follow him on TwitterThis article originally appeared on VICE US.

May 14, 2019 Posted by | election USA 2020 | Leave a comment

Trump administration re-ignites the political issue of nuclear waste and Nevada’s Yucca Mountain

In Nevada, Trump administration revives a radioactive campaign issue, CBS News, BY ALEXANDER TIN,  MAY 2, 2019 /Last year, the Trump administration faced a dilemma: where could the Department of Energy stow a metric ton of surplus, weapons grade plutonium?

Efforts to recycle thousands of pounds in unwanted radioactive material had been crippled by cost overruns. Now the government faced a court ordered deadline to remove the plutonium from South Carolina, where it had been stockpiled.

For the plutonium’s new home, the administration turned to Nevada. Over the state’s objections, authorities planned to ship some of the radioactive material to a site adjacent to Yucca Mountain, where the federal government has long sought to store dangerous nuclear waste. ……

The state fought for months in court to block the new plutonium delivery, until a bombshell revelation in early 2019 that the administration had already quietly trucked in much of the plutonium, with details kept secret for “operational security.”

The response from Nevada’s government was swift.

“They lied to the state of Nevada, misled a federal court, and jeopardized the safety of Nevada’s families and environment,” Gov. Steve Sisolak said in a statement. Nevada Democratic Sen. Jacky Rosen slammed the move as “deceitful” and “unethical.”

Energy Secretary Rick Perry then struck a deal with Nevada Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez-Masto, and department has since promised to pull out the plutonium. But the shipment has added fuel to a political firestorm in Nevada over recent efforts to resurrect Yucca Mountain, sowing mistrust over a key issue for the state, which is home an early and important presidential primary contest.

On Wednesday, the administration’s push to reopen Yucca Mountain that drew a forceful condemnation from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

“The proposal by President Trump and Republicans in Congress to send our nuclear waste to Yucca Mountain would be a geological, environmental, and social disaster,” the presidential candidate said in a statement.

Sanders joins a long list of fellow White House hopefuls in questioning the project’s future, including former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, California Sen. Kamala Harris, and former Obama HUD secretary Julián Castro.

Opponents have long cited the risks of seismic activity under the site, and its proximity to an aquifer and a military test range. They have rejected arguments that Yucca Mountain would hasten the transfer to a more environmentally friendly economy, warning of the risks for communities through which waste would pass through……

Testifying before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Rosen — Heller’s successor — joined Cortez-Masto in calling on Congress to help Nevada block Yucca Mountain. Their bill would require consent from state and local authorities before storing nuclear waste in their respective jurisdictions.

Only six other senators have so far cosponsored the proposal: Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Kirsten Gillibrand.  https://www.cbsnews.com/news/in-nevada-trump-administration-revives-a-radioactive-campaign-issue/

May 4, 2019 Posted by | election USA 2020 | Leave a comment

 Senator Chris Van Hollen on Gorging at the Nuclear Buffet Table

REMARKS: Gorging at the Nuclear Buffet Table  Arms Control Association,   May 2019
By Sen. Chris Van Hollen  “…….we gather here at another urgent moment. It has been important work all along, but we are in an urgent moment now. Because with the Trump administration, all signs indicate that we’re jettisoning, we’re abandoning what has been a bipartisan tradition of recognizing that we need to modernize our nuclear forces, we need to modernize our triad, we need to make sure its survivable and resilient, but that we should do it within the framework of an arms control architecture that leads to predictability, stability, and transparency. That has been an important formula even as relations between the United States and the Soviet Union, now Russia, have gone up and down. We have still maintained that conversation, we have still maintained that structure, and that structure has helped keep the peace.

Now with this new administration, with [National Security Advisor] John Bolton in the White House, we are in a very different world. He has not found a nuclear arms agreement or, as far as I can tell, any multilateral agreement or international agreement that he likes.

But when it comes to arms control, despite his being a foe, he has never explained how an unconstrained nuclear arms race would actually make us any safer. He can never answer that argument. He just tells us what he doesn’t like, but he doesn’t tell us what is better, that would make us more stable.

That’s where we are right now. The tearing up of the INF Treaty was an early indication of where this administration is going……

The notion that we should therefore just proceed with developing not just one, but multiple noncompliant INF missiles makes no sense. We already have a robust capability when it comes to responding to anything in the European theater. We already have dual-capable bombers with gravity bombs, we have air-launched cruise missiles, we have a range of weapons that already serve as a deterrent. So, just building more for the sake of building more doesn’t do us any good, and it creates more instabilities.

In addition, I don’t buy the argument that we need to have an intermediate-range missile on Guam with the purpose of holding the Chinese in check. There are lots of things we need to be doing in that region, but I don’t think a missile on Guam does the job. As you know, our other allies, Japan and South Korea, have made it very clear they won’t deploy this kind of missile.

There is really no good argument for rushing to tear up the agreement. …….

The other issue I want to focus on has to do with the overall nuclear posture that this administration is pursuing when it comes to nuclear weapons. I think we all agree that we need to modernize our nuclear forces, but we don’t need to add on every single, conceivable new capability.

It’s like showing up at a buffet and, instead of having a balanced meal, you say, “I will just gorge on every single capability that is out there.” When you only need a balanced meal to do the job, you don’t need to eat everything at the nuclear buffet table, including offensive and defensive weapons.

Unlike a dinner buffet where it’s “all you can eat at a fixed price,” the nuclear buffet table requires you to pay for everything. With the current spending plan, that is right now estimated to be $1.7 trillion over the next 30 years by the Congressional Budget Office. If you add on all the other capabilities this administration apparently wants to add on, you’re talking about an even bigger price tag.

So, in addition to having a big price tag, you’re also talking about building additional capabilities that are not only unnecessary, but can be very destabilizing. That is especially true when it comes to the administration considering two new capabilities with submarine-launched ballistic missiles, putting a low-yield warhead on some, as well as resuscitating the nuclear-armed, sea-launched cruise missile.

I think that if you look at the direction we’re going, it is very worrisome from a price tag perspective when we have so many other national requirements and priorities. But also, we are going to be spending taxpayer money on something that actually makes us less, not more, safe by lowering the threshold of use of nuclear weapons. Therefore, we’re increasing the risks of an all-out
nuclear war…….. https://www.armscontrol.org/act/2019-05/features/remarks-gorging-nuclear-buffet-table?fbclid=IwAR1vuIj-ArO29ADKtaUGtH990DcT5OYD97SvRnZ3tuwBopgnFbQaX5iMX4k

May 4, 2019 Posted by | election USA 2020, politics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

An emerging hopeful trend for US nuclear policy

A new, hopeful moment for US nuclear policy, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, By Joe Cirincione, April 17, 2019  Underneath the daily, depressing headlines, five converging trends offer hope, for the first time in more than a decade, for dramatic positive change in US nuclear policy.

The first trend is the growing recognition that current US nuclear security strategies have failed to make America safer. The policies pursued by President Donald Trump have made every nuclear danger he inherited worse, not better. Military budgets are spiraling out of control, new weapons and new doctrines are increasing the risk of nuclear use, effective treaties and agreements are frivolously discarded, and diligent diplomacy is replaced with narcissistic summitry. Our policies have alienated our allies and, most ominously, the instability of the president has exposed the underlying insanity of a system that gives one person the unchecked power to start a nuclear war that could end human civilization.

It is hard to find a bright spot in the Trump approach to nuclear affairs. The world is fully entrenched in a new arms race, with every nuclear-armed nation producing new weapons. Yet Trump is trying to destroy the accord that rolled back and contained Iran’s nuclear program, and he has seesawed his way to an incoherent North Korea policy. In fact, he and National Security Adviser John Bolton are methodically shredding the entire nuclear safety net of agreements, treaties, alliances, and security assurances constructed by their predecessors over decades.

This torrent of bad news has had one positive impact: It has made crystal clear that the United States needs a fundamentally new, saner nuclear strategy.

The second trend offers hope for developing such a strategy. The November elections brought fresh leadership and energy to the Congress. The House of Representatives can provide a check on a dangerous president and become a proving ground for new ideas and new policies. Leaders old and new are rising to the challenge.

Rep. Adam Smith, a 20-year veteran and now chair of the House Armed Services Committee, wants to “totally re-do the nuclear posture review.” Dozens of senators and members have introduced visionary legislation that could form the planks of a new strategic platform. There will be debates and votes on new weapons, a no first use policy, and efforts to prevent a nuclear arms race by preserving existing treaties.

The presidential campaigns, meanwhile, have started in earnest. Some candidates are already advancing dramatic, alternative security policies to end unjust wars and rethink our nuclear posture. Sen. Elizabeth Warren—who says, “our current nuclear strategy is not just outdated, it is dangerous”—mirrors Smith’s policy priorities with a three-part proposal: No new weapons, more arms control not less, and no first use. Sen. Bernie Sanders told a Fox News town hall April 15, “We have to bring the United States and the rest of the world together to do everything we can to rid this world of nuclear weapons.”

Meanwhile, six candidates have already said that one of their top priorities would be to re-commit the United States to the Iran anti-nuclear deal, including Warren, Sanders, Kamala Harris, Julian Castro, Amy Klobuchar, and Wayne Messam. Many also support negotiations with North Korea—but done with a competent team, a fully staffed State Department, and plans that rely less on summitry and more on diplomacy.

The most important trend, however, is the rise of vibrant mass movements that have translated angry street protests into sustained political action, powered 100 new members into Congress, and now are linking up with the “activist leadership” style of these members and some presidential candidates. Though primarily focused on domestic matters, these organizations are ready to embrace national security in their campaigns for a more just and equitable society. This is precisely the type of grassroots pressure needed to encourage political leaders to break with the nuclear-industrial complex and its outmoded programs and strategies—and then press for the implementation of new policies in Congress and in the White House.

Relatedly, the success of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons campaign indicates that the global appetite for the elimination of these weapons is growing. Allied governments—often in the grip of conservative defense officials who resist changes to nuclear doctrine—may be more receptive to discussion about disarmament, faced with this popular sentiment and the scares Trump’s personality and policies have given them.

Finally, trillion-dollar tax cuts and profligate military spending have brought budget realities home to America.  ….. https://thebulletin.org/2019/04/a-new-hopeful-moment-for-us-nuclear-policy/

April 22, 2019 Posted by | election USA 2020, politics | Leave a comment

Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard slams decision to sell Saudi Arabia nuclear weapons tech 

‘How does this serve US interests?’ Gabbard slams decision to sell Saudi Arabia nuclear weapons tech  https://www.rt.com/usa/455279-gabbard-saudi-arabia-extremism-isis/  2 Apr, 2019 Tulsi Gabbard has slammed the US for allowing firms to sell Saudi Arabia nuclear tech despite its history of exporting extremism which inspires Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) and Al-Qaeda, which she says the Kingdom supports.

The Hawaiian congresswoman and Democratic presidential candidate took aim at the Kingdom’s history of extremism in a Twitter video that criticized Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s secret authorizations, to six US companies, allowing for the sale of nuclear power technology and assistance to Saudi Arabia, as Reuters revealed last week. Gabbard said the move is “both mind-blowing and inexplicable.”

Saudi Arabia is the “primary exporter of jihadist ideology, Wahhabi Salafist ideology that is the motivation and inspiration for terrorist groups like ISIS and al Qaeda – groups that the Saudis both directly and indirectly support,” Gabbard said.

The kingdom has been tied to Al-Qaeda and extremism in the past, with 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers coming from Saudi Arabia, according to the CIA. In 2015, one of the alleged hijackers, Zacarias Moussaoui, claimed several members of the Saudi royal family had been listed as Al-Qaeda donors in the database he worked on under orders of Osama bin Laden, US media reported.

WikiLeaks cables from the US State Department from 2009 revealed“donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.” In a 2014 email, published by WikiLeaks, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Saudi Arabia was “providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region.” It has also supplied weapons to IS in Syria.

Saudi Arabia is reportedly planning to create at least two nuclear power plants, but many are concerned that’s a precursor to developing nuclear weapons, which would further destabilize the region. It was also reported, last year, that Israel was selling Saudi Arabia nuclear secrets.

 

April 8, 2019 Posted by | election USA 2020, politics, Saudi Arabia | Leave a comment

The children’s climate fight is a fight against despair

March 21, 2019 Posted by | climate change, election USA 2020 | Leave a comment