At Y-12, the cost of designing the Uranium Processing Facility keeps spiraling: $92 million in '06, $2 billion by '16. (How do you spend 2 billion dollars designing anything?)
- See OREPA's June '15 UPF update
Click the image to download this large printable map of DOE sites, commercial reactors, nuclear waste dumps, nuclear transportation routes, surface waters near sites and transport routes, and underlying aquifers. This map was prepared by Deborah Reade for the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability.
Daniel Ellsberg at the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation's 11th Annual Frank K. Kelly Lecture on Humanity's Future in Santa Barbara, CA, Feb. 23, 2012.
Daniel Ellsberg: Nuclear Weapons and Humanity's Future
Ellsberg reviews and reveals some frightening moments and close calls which he knew of as a top-secret Pentagon nuclear analyst.
"The problem is not our intelligence. The problem is different- it is our readiness to contemplate, plan, and prepare- and threaten- something that for 20 years we've known meant, probably, the destruction of complex life on earth." -Daniel Ellsberg
Poems of the Manhattan Physicists at The Bulletin
Here's one by Klaus Fuchs, physicist and Soviet spy:
Hitler disliked my politics. He blamed
the Reichstag burning on my comrades.
Only Kristel and I escaped the flames
of der Fuhrer's fury. And both of us went mad.
Capital killed democracy. It built
too powerful an engine. Now an engineer
applies the brakes or puts on steam according
to needs of the machine and not its passengers.
Words are ships
crewed by dead souls
their holed hulls
sieves for living thoughts
their only freight
the breath that shifts
- - -
Since the end of the Cold War, and increasingly in the last years, fragments of the hidden histories of the first atomic age have broken loose from deep classification and emerged in the public view; some once-secret and so disconnected from each other and from the nation's civil forum. Here are some recent finds, and some resources for further research.
60 yrs ago, the biggest nuclear weapon in the US arsenal was accidentally dropped 5 miles south of Albuquerque, New Mexico
On May 27, 1957, 5 miles south of the Albuquerque airport, a Mark 17 H-bomb (pictured at left) was accidentally dropped from a B-36 Peacemaker on it's way to Kirtland AFB. The plutonium pit was not on board, but the fissile 'spark plug' detonated. Bits of the bomb, the biggest ever deployed by the US at 15-20 megatons, could still be found in the area (see picture below). But the authors of this 2010 report urged the collecting public to hurry, as the area would soon be covered over by a development called "Mesa del Sol". And so it now is.
(source: Carl Willis, "Albuquerque, Ground Zero")
Published on Jun 27, 2016: Cooperation of US and Russian scientists helped avoid nuclear catastrophe
at Cold War's end
Former Los Alamos National Laboratory director Siegfried Hecker recounts the epic story of how American and Russian scientists joined forces to avert some of the greatest post-Cold War nuclear dangers.
Hecker is currently a senior fellow at Stanford University's Center for International Security and Cooperation, and a research professor of Management Science and Engineering.
"No-one who saw it could forget it- a foul and awesome display."- Kenneth Bainbridge, Trinity director.
July 16th: 70 Years Ago, the Day That Changed History
July 16, 1945, in the the pre-dawn darkness of the desert of southern New Mexico, suddenly, "the light of a thousand suns". It was the beginning of the Atomic Age.
"The explosion of the bomb had been a success beyond expectation; the energy liberated was clearly near the upper limit, or in excess of our rather dubious predictions. Our satisfaction and pride were great." -Emilio Segré, a physicist present.
J. Robert Oppenheimer, the chief scientist of the Manhattan Project, later said in a 1965 interview,
"We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed. A few people cried. Most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita.... 'Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.' I suppose we all felt that one way or another."
Similarly, Kenneth Bainbridge, director of the test, would later say:
"After the blast wave had passed, I got up from the ground to congratulate Oppenheimer and others on the success of the implosion method. I finished by saying to Robert: 'Now we are all sons of bitches.'" (ref)
- Trinity Then and Now - Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, 7/15/2015
- More Trinity history at Atomic Heritage
click to enlarge
From the Nukevault: U.S. Had Plans for "Full Nuclear Response" In Event President Killed or Disappeared during an Attack on the United States.
- Newly declassified document expands limited public record on nuclear "pre-delegation".
- Both USSR and China were to be targeted simultaneously, even if attack were conventional or accidental, and regardless of who was responsible.
- LBJ ordered a change in instructions in 1968 to permit more limited response, avert "dangerous" situation.
Transcripts Kept Secret for 60 Years Bolster Defense of Oppenheimer's Loyalty "...the declassified material, released Oct. 3 by the Energy Department, suggests that Oppenheimer opposed the hydrogen bomb project on technical and military grounds, not out of Soviet sympathies..."
- Read more: NYTimes, William J. Broad. Oct. 11, 2014
How A War Game Brought The World To The Brink Of Nuclear Disaster
1983: Once-classified documents show how close Soviet Union came to launching nuclear war
"Chilling new evidence that Britain and America came close to provoking the Soviet Union into launching a nuclear attack has emerged in former classified documents written at the height of the cold war...
Cabinet memos and briefing papers released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that a major war games exercise, Operation Able Archer, conducted in November 1983 by the US and its Nato allies was so realistic it made the Russians believe that a nuclear strike on its territory was a real possibility..." (Jamie Doward, The Observer, 10/02/13)
"The NESC reports on nuclear war were multi-volume, highly classified studies and none has ever been declassified in their entirety. The summaries published here today- for the annual reports from 1957 to 1963- provide a glimpse of the full reports, although important elements remain classified. Besides the summaries and fuller reports for 1962 and 1963, today's posting includes a number of special studies prepared by the NESC, including an especially secret report requested by President Eisenhower that led to the production of the comprehensive U.S. nuclear war plan in 1960, the Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP)... (read more)
New York City, 1982: One Million Rally for Nuclear Freeze
On June 12, 1982, one-million concerned citizens gathered in Central Park in New York in an unprecedented call for "the United States and the Soviet Union . . . to adopt a mutual freeze on the testing, production, and deployment of nuclear weapons."
A few months later, Freeze referenda were on the ballots in 9 states and dozens of major cities. Across the nation some 18 million Americans voted on the Freeze in the fall of 1982, with some 10.7 million, or 60 percent, voting in favor.
As Congressman Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said years later: "It was the closest our country has ever come to a national plebiscite on nuclear arms control. Within a very brief time the freeze had taken education at the grassroots and translated it into political muscle at the ballot box, delivering to the White House a resounding vote of no confidence in its nuclear buildup."
Poisoned Waters and Poisoned Places
In 2001, ANA activists worked closely with Peter Eisler, an investigative reporter then at USA Today (now at Reuters), to produce this huge series of reports about the breadth of contamination and health risks from the U.S. nuclear weapons venture.
García-Robles' Nobel Medal Sold at Auction
Alfonso García Robles drafted the 1967 Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1982. He died in 1991. The Treaty of Tlatelolco, as it became known, was the first of its kind and is credited with keeping Latin America and the Caribbean free of nuclear weapons.
"A towering landmark in non-proliferation and disarmament, the Treaty's principles, safeguards and verification measures remain highly influential today." -Christie's, presenting the Nobel medal for auction April 28, 2017, New York City. (It brought $487,500)
Enrico Fermi (l.) and I.I. Rabi (r.) opposed development of the H-bomb. "Since no limit exists to the destructiveness of this weapon, its existence and knowledge of its construction is a danger to humanity as a whole." (ref)
A is For Atom
BBC documentary by the inimitable Adam Curtis, author of The Power of Nightmares, The Trap, and The Century of the Self. Here Curtis looks at the development of industrial nuclear power. Interesting contemporary source materials.
In 1950, AEC officials secretly discussed closing Los Alamos Laboratory
In a declassified memorandum dated June 29 1950, the AEC's Walter Hamilton wrote: "The profits which might be gained by moving out of Los Alamos now might be more top scientists in the project, faster progress on weapons research projects, and financial economies which would free dollars for bombs instead of water wells and golf courses for Los Alamos. It's worth thinking about!" View the complete memo (PDF)
36-Volume History of Manhattan Project
Once Classified, Now Released
General Leslie Groves, head of the Manhattan Engineer District, in late 1944 commissioned a multi-volume history of the Manhattan Project called the Manhattan District History. Prepared by multiple authors, the classified history was "intended to describe, in simple terms, easily understood by the average reader, just what the Manhattan District did, and how, when, and where." The Office of Classification and the Office of History and Heritage Resources has released the 36 volumes, some parts of which still remain classified. View the full listings and contents here
"The splitting of the atom has changed everything but our way of thinking; hence we drift toward unparalleled catastrophe."
Our Mission: Through comprehensive research, public education and effective citizen action, Nuclear Watch New Mexico seeks to promote safety and environmental protection at regional nuclear facilities, mission diversification away from nuclear weapons programs, greater accountability and cleanup in the nation-wide nuclear weapons complex, and consistent U.S. leadership toward a world free of nuclear weapons.