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.
Dan Carlin's HardCore History: The Destroyer of Worlds
What happens if human beings can't handle the power of their own weaponry? This show examines the dangerous early years of the Nuclear Age and humankind's efforts to avoid self-destruction at the hands of its own creation.
"The fact of the matter is, every nuclear weapon is an accident waiting to happen or a potential act of mass murder. And the fewer nuclear weapons there are, the less likely there is to be a disaster."
-Eric Schlosser on Democracy Now Sept 18, 2014 (transcript)
Lawrence Bender, who produced Countdown to Zero
(and 'An Inconvenient Truth'), is interviewed on CBS News.
Countdown To Zero This award-winning documentary traces the history of the atomic bomb from its origins to the present state of global affairs: a world held in a delicate balance that could be shattered by an act of terrorism, failed diplomacy, or a simple accident.
Countdown to Zero is available on DVD and streaming; see IMDB listing.
Command and Control
18 September 1980, near Damascus, Arkansas. In a Titan II ICBM silo, a dropped socket punctures a fuel tank, causing an explosion which destroys the silo, killing an airman, and sending a 9 megaton nuclear bomb flying through the night air to crash in a ditch near the road. Miraculously, it didn't detonate. A documentary based on Eric Schlosser's Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety (2014)
The Day After (1983)
An ABC Television docudrama-style film depicting the impact of a full scale nuclear exchange on ordinary folks in Kansas. Appearing as the anti-nuclear weapons movement of the 80's was building, it was seen by 100 million people, with no commercial breaks after the nuclear strikes.
Following the film, ABC aired a live debate hosted by Nightline's Ted Koppel, featuring scientist Carl Sagan, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Elie Wiesel, former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, General Brent Scowcroft and conservative writer William F. Buckley, Jr.. Sagan argued against nuclear proliferation, while Buckley promoted the concept of nuclear deterrence. Sagan described the arms race in the following terms: "Imagine a room awash in gasoline, and there are two implacable enemies in that room. One of them has nine thousand matches, the other seven thousand matches. Each of them is concerned about who's ahead, who's stronger."
President Ronald Reagan watched the film several days before its screening, on November 5, 1983. He wrote in his diary that the film was "very effective and left me greatly depressed", and that it changed his mind on the prevailing policy on a nuclear war. The film was also screened for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. A government advisor who attended the screening, a friend of director Nicholas Meyer's, told him "If you wanted to draw blood, you did it. Those guys sat there like they were turned to stone."
(ref) The full movie is shown on YouTube; click the full screen button on the video above to watch in full screen mode (you can also change settings for higher resolution).
(film info at IMDB)
"A powerful documentary- a brilliant job of highlighting the shared human dimension of these tragedies. Citizen activism, enlightened leadership in governments and disarmament education together have the potential to point the way to a brighter future for all, one free of the nuclear threats so graphically and compellingly described in this film. We must remember this history and learn from it, lest we find ourselves repeating tragedies of the past." -Randy Rydell, Senior Political Affairs Officer, UN Office for Disarmament Affairs. (more info here)
The Atomic States of America Based in part on Kelly McMasters' book "Welcome to Shirley", about growing up in the shadow of the Brookhaven National Lab on Long Island, the film explores the health consequences documented by people living in Shirley, as well as near other nuclear facilities. Their concerns call into question who can be trusted to provide truthful information, and how much influence the nuclear industry has over the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and its decisions. (more info)
Rethinking the Unthinkable
"The longer we have gone without seeing nuclear weapons used, the more we assume they will not be used. Three new books challenge that complacency, from three different directions."
Bill Keller, former New York Times Chief Editor, reviews
Five Myths About Nuclear Weapons by Ward Wilson,
The Second Nuclear Age by Paul Bracken, and
Nuclear Iran by David Patrikarakos. (see review)
2002: The Sum Of All Fears A loose nuke sold on the black market threatens to trigger a US-Russian apocalypse.
1997: The Peacemaker
A stolen Russian nuke ends up in New York- can George Clooney and Nicole Kidman save the day?
We Will All Go Together When We Go Tom Lehrer, 1967
Books and Films on Nuclear Issues
Dec 5, 2017: Daniel Ellsberg: The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner
Daniel Ellsberg recounts his experiences and lessons learned as a nuclear war planner for the Pentagon at the transition to the Kennedy administration. He recalls being tasked to review the
SIOP- strategic warfighting plans in effect under Eisenhower, and discovering that they called for "hitting every city- actually every town- above 25,000 population" in Russia and China and East Europe. Pressed for an estimate of death toll, the pentagon came up with 600 million dead. And that was not counting US and West European death tolls. "I thought, 'This is the most evil plan that has ever existed. It's insane.'"
Referring to US and Russian ICBM forces still to this day on alert: "Here is what we now know: the United States and Russia each have an actual Doomsday Machine."
Democracy Now interview with transcript Harper's Magazine excerpt, Dec 6, 2017
Dave Davies excellent NPR interview / at Amazon
October 2, 2017:
The U.S. Sprayed, Injected and Fed Radiation to Countless Innocents in
Secret Cold War-Era Testing
- Military scientists exposed American civilians to radiation without their knowledge or consent.
- "Behind the Fog" documents a dark chapter of "large-scale organizational deviance"...
From the publisher:
"Martino-Taylor documents the coordinated efforts of a small group of military scientists who advanced a four-pronged secret program of human-subject radiation studies that targeted unsuspecting Americans for Cold War military purposes... Agency and academic partnerships advanced, supported, and concealed the studies from the public at large who ultimately served as unwitting test subjects.
"'They targeted the most vulnerable in society... They targeted children. They targeted pregnant women in Nashville. People who were ill in hospitals. They targeted wards of the state. And they targeted minority populations.'
"Martino-Taylor's comprehensive research illuminates a dark chapter of government secrecy, the military-industrial-academic complex, and large-scale organizational deviance in American history. In its critical approach, Behind the Fog effectively examines the mechanisms that allow large-scale elite deviance to take place in modern society."
(ABC News story / publisher's book page)
By award-winning documentary filmmaker Deborah Cammissa
"The City of St. Louis has a little known nuclear past as a uranium-processing center for the Atomic bomb. Government and corporate negligence led to the dumping of Manhattan Project uranium, thorium, and radium, thus contaminating North St. Louis suburbs, specifically in two communities: those nestled along Coldwater Creek Ð and in Bridgeton, Missouri adjacent to the West Lake-Bridgeton landfill..."
A graphic novel by Andy Kirk with artist Kristian Purcell
"The U.S. tested nearly a thousand atomic weapons in the Nevada desert 125 miles north of Las Vegas.... Did they really build fake towns out in the desert and then blow the whole place up with atomic bombs? And the answer is yes, in fact, they did do that...
"The purpose as stated by the civil defense agencies of creating these "Doom Towns" and then widely disseminating on film their being destroyed was to encourage Americans to be concerned about the possibility of civilians being the target of nuclear attack."
Raven Rock: The Story of the U.S. Government's Secret Plan to Save Itself- While the Rest of Us Die.
"Raven Rock is this massive, hollowed-out mountain. It's a free-standing city... with individual buildings, three-story buildings, built inside of this mountain. It has everything that a small city would- there's a fire department there, there's a police department, medical facilities, dining halls. The dining facility serves four meals a day, it's a 24 hour facility, and it was sort of mothballed to a certain extent during the 1990s as the Cold War ended and then was restarted in a hurry after Sept. 11 and has been pretty dramatically expanded over the last 15 years, and today could hold as many as 5,000 people in the event of an emergency."
See NPR's audio podcast book review at right.
Almighty: Courage, Resistance, and Existential Peril in the Nuclear Age
By Dan Zak, reviewed by Kai Bird
"Zak's narrative is a perfectly measured blend of biography, suspense and history. He skillfully uses the small, finite story of the Y-12 protest [the break-in 4 years ago by Sister Rice and friends] to explore our national identity as a people whose culture is now intimately connected with things nuclear. Our bomb culture has not come cheap; the environmental costs have been devastating for many communities. And even though scores of governments- but not our own- are on record supporting a treaty that would ban nuclear weapons, Zak shows this is still an outlier dream. He quotes a United States admiral intoning: 'I don't see us being nuclear-free in my lifetime. Or in yours.'
"We are stuck with Armageddon in our dreams. And in the meantime the Sister Megans of our bomb culture will no doubt try again and again to cry out against our complacency. But truly, it seems hopeless. As Billy Pilgrim laments repeatedly in Kurt Vonnegut's 'Slaughterhouse-Five', 'So it goes.'"
(more at NYTimes)
September 15, 2017: Interview with Dan Zak, "Almighty" author
A Texas public radio interview with the very knowledgable and thoughtful Dan Zak, author of "Almighty". Dan discusses The Lieu-Markey bills to restrict presidential authority to launch nuclear war, the B61-12 nuclear bomb and its new capabilities, the planned trillion-dollar "modernization" of the US nuclear arsenal, North Korea, deterrence, and the Oak Ridge Y-12 break-in of 2012. (audio podcast here)
"I know of no person who understands the science and politics of modern weaponry better than William J. Perry, the US Secretary of Defense from 1994 to 1997. When a man of such unquestioned experience and intelligence issues the stark nuclear warning that is central to his recent memoir, we should take heed."
-California Gov. Jerry Brown (ref)
My Journey at the Nuclear Brink
William J. Perry [Former Secretary of Defense]
Published by Stanford Security Studies, Nov. 2015
From his first work at Sylvania's Electronic Defense Laboratories beginning in 1954, and later his own company ESL, during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, through the 70's under Carter, and the eighties at the climax and end of the cold war, Perry was there, and playing an ever-larger role. For example, Perry conceived and managed the "offset strategy" of countering Soviet quantity with quality- smart weapons, smart sensors (think GPS), and stealth technology. Throughout, he saw his purpose to be to prevent a nuclear war which no-one wanted, by developing weapons systems to discourage the Soviets from an attack, reconnaissance and analysis tech to provide critical knowledge of the adversary's capabilities and procedures, and face to face contacts with the Soviets through the various arms limitation efforts (developing 'context' so critical in avoiding catastrophic misunderstandings). As Secretary of Defense under Clinton in the post-Soviet world, he oversaw the effort to remove and dismantle the myriad nuclear weapons left in former Soviet republics. A most interesting journey indeed, and one which has a lot to say about the nuclear weapons predicament, now in its 7th decade- which Perry says is the most dangerous decade yet.
Perry argues that nuclear weapons now "endanger our society rather than securing it." He is one of the founders, along with Sam Nunn, George Schultz, and Henry Kissinger, of the Nuclear Security Project.
In his own words:
"This book is a selective memoir of my experiences with nuclear weapons and nuclear crises, and its purpose is to alert the public to the real and growing dangers of a nuclear catastrophe.
I hope you will read this book and learn from it. But I realize that this book, even if effective, will reach only a small audience. In particular, it will reach very few of our young people. The problems I have described are going to be with us for decades, so our young people must play a key role in dealing with them.
"Therefore I have undertaken to put these concepts into a form more widely accessible and available to young people. I am doing this through the William J. Perry Project, whose goal is mass education on nuclear dangers... For some years I have taught a course at Stanford about nuclear dangers, and I am now developing that course into an online course that has the potential to reach not just hundreds of students, but hundreds of thousands... The broader series of educational materials under development is called "Nuclear Weapons: 20th-Century History, 21st-Century Decisions," or 20-21 for short. We not only want people to understand the history, but to engage in current-day issues facing the United States, such as the impending nuclear arms race and the danger of a resumption of nuclear testing.
"I hope to encourage young people to take the baton I am trying to pass to them. My generation created this existential problem- their generation must find a way to solve it."
The William J. Perry Project
Los Alamos: A Whistleblower's Diary
"A shocking account of foul play, theft and abuse at our nation's premier nuclear R&D installation, uncovering a retaliatory culture where those who dare to question pay with their careers and, potentially, their lives.
"Tommy was unrecognizable. His face was swollen, bruised, and stained with blood, his eyes barely visible through ballooning eyelids and a broken jaw. On his cheek was a ghostly imprint- the tread mark of someone's shoe. Suddenly, with a slight movement of his hand, Tommy waved me in closer to hear him. Speaking softly through lips that barely moved, he said, 'Be careful . . . They kept telling me to keep my fucking mouth shut; they kept telling me to keep my fucking mouth shut,' he repeated." (read more excerpts at the book's website)
Los Alamos: A Whistleblower's Diary, by Chuck Montaño, released April 28, 2015. Order your copy from Amazon, or better yet, from the author directly.
Radio interview with Chuck Montaño on the book: KSFR Santa Fe.
Chuck Montaño was given the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability's Whistleblower Award in Washington DC on April 19, 2016.
Chuck Montaño serves on Nuclear Watch New Mexico's Steering Committee.
Special limited edition: Hard Duty- A Woman's Experience at Chernobyl
by Natlalia Manzurova and Cathie Sullivan.
Hard Duty is the story of a young Russian radiobiologist, Natalia Manzurova, and the four and a half years she spent as part of the cleanup of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster. Hard Duty introduces the reader to both the causes and history of the accident and provides a first-hand account of a courageous young woman who shared the tragedy of Chernobyl for over 4 years.
Illustrated with Manzurova's photos.
60 pages, paperback (self-published). $6.00 plus $1.00 postage.
Only available through NukeWatch: Use this email contact for more details and to order the book. Proceeds from the sale of Hard Duty go to a Chernobyl Survivors group headed by Natalia.
Nuclear Security: The Problems and the Road Ahead
George P. Shultz, Sidney D. Drell, Henry A. Kissinger, Sam Nunn
Order this book from Hoover Press
Concern about the threat posed by nuclear weapons has preoccupied the United States and presidents of the United States since the beginning of the nuclear era. Nuclear Security draws from papers presented at the 2013 meeting of the American Nuclear Society examining worldwide efforts to control nuclear weapons and ensure the safety of the nuclear enterprise of weapons and reactors against catastrophic accidents. The distinguished contributors, all known for their long-standing interest in getting better control of the threats posed by nuclear weapons and reactors, discuss what we can learn from past successes and failures and attempt to identify the key ingredients for a road ahead that can lead us toward a world free of nuclear weapons.
Thermonuclear Monarchy: Choosing Between Democracy and Doom
Elaine Scarry, Prof. of Aesthetics and General Theory of Value, Harvard University
W.W. Norton, Feb. 2014
The author told Harvard Magazine in a recent interview:
"'It's widely acknowledged that nuclear weapons are incredibly susceptible to accidental use or to seizure by a non-state actor or terrorist. But what has been insufficiently recognized is the biggest danger of all: the belief that there is some 'legitimate' possession of these weapons, that we are safe as long as there's government oversight of them. In fact, they are utterly incompatible with governance.'
"Nuclear weapons are monarchic. Along with other weapons of mass destruction, they are what Scarry calls 'out-of-ratio' weapons: ones that give a very small number of people the power to annihilate very large numbers of people. 'An out-of-ratio weapon makes the presence of the population at the authorization end [of an attack] a structural impossibility,' she writes. 'New weapons inevitably change the nature of warfare,' she says, 'but out-of-ratio weapons have changed the nature of government.'"
"Nuclear weapons undo governments, and undo anything that could be meant by democracy. They put the population completely outside the realm of overseeing our entry into war- or having a say in their own survival or destruction. We have to choose between nuclear weapons and democracy." (ref) Scarry interview, The American Reader "Nuclear Weapons Or Democracy"- Harvard Magazine "The Contradiction of Nuclear Democracy" Boston Review interview 9/26/14
Nuclear Nightmares: Securing The World Before It's too Late Joe Cirincione, Columbia University Press, Oct 2013
Few people think about nuclear weapons. They believe the threats have ended or plans are in place to prevent nuclear catastrophe. They are dead wrong. There are multiple nuclear nightmares still out there.
"In Nuclear Nightmares, Joe Cirincione presents a thorough, honest, and balanced view of the challenges to our security that nuclear weapons and fissile materials present to us today and the dangers that will emerge in the future. He implores us all to become knowledgeable, engage with our national leaders, and participate in the decisions that will so significantly affect our future. If you read only one book on this issue, this is the one."- William J. Perry, Secretary of Defense (ret.)
"Everyone in this world needs to be aware of the dangers posed by nuclear weapons, and also to realize that progress is possible. The record of achievement is there and the path to a better future can be identified. Joe Cirincione has been part of this unfolding story, and this book will help advance the effort on which he and so many of us have worked so hard."- George P. Schultz, Secretary of State (ret.)
(at Amazon) Read a New York Post review of "Nuclear Nightmares".
Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety Eric Schlosser, Penguin Press, Sept 2013
From the New York Times book review: "Famed investigative journalist Eric Schlosser digs deep to uncover secrets about the management of America's nuclear arsenal. A ground-breaking account of accidents, near-misses, extraordinary heroism, and technological breakthroughs, Command and Control explores the dilemma that has existed since the dawn of the nuclear age: how do you deploy weapons of mass destruction without being destroyed by them? That question has never been resolved- and Schlosser reveals how the combination of human fallibility and technological complexity still poses a grave risk to mankind.
"Schlosser's readers... will be struck by how frequently the people he cites attribute the absence of accidental explosions and nuclear war to divine intervention or sheer luck rather than to human wisdom and skill. Whatever was responsible, we will clearly need more of it in the years to come." (NYTimes)
Eric Schlosser at the New America Foundation Sept 19, 2013
From The Guardian: "The stories he came across suggest that nothing but a miracle has prevented an accidental Hiroshima or Nagasaki taking place on US soil."- Guardian
Eric Schlosser in a Rolling Stone Q&A: "There's an enormous amnesia on the part of the American people about nuclear weapons. About half of the American population wasn't born yet or were small children when the Berlin Wall came down and the Soviet Union vanished. One of the reasons I wrote the book was just to remind people that these weapons are out there and how easily they can go wrong."
Listen to an NPR Audiocast Book Review of 'Command And Control'.
The Second Nuclear Age:
Strategy, Danger, and the New Power Politics
by Paul Bracken, Times Books, 2012
Bracken argues that with nuclear weapons appearing in the arsenals of smaller regional powers, (now including India, Pakistan, North Korea, Israel, and- as of his writing in 2012- possibly Iran) that risk and risk analysis in the 'second nuclear age' is far more complicated than during the cold war. Asymmetrical conflict with larger powers as well as traditional conflict with regional rivals must be war-gamed differently if there is a nuclear context. He argues that we focus too much on non-proliferation and stockpile reduction, and not enough on thinking through the ramifications of this second nuclear age and devising new political and conceptual frameworks to "manage" a multi-polar and diverse nuclear arena.
The New York Times reviewer (Bill Keller) notes that while Bracken talks about all the different ways that possessing nuclear weapons can be useful for regional powers, he does not mention the countries that found good reasons to abandon nuclear arms- South Africa, Libya, Brazil, the ex-Soviet republics.
Note that Bracken says (p. 231) "In the United States, the specialized laboratories for nuclear weapons, Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore, now devote far more attention to environmental problems than to nuclear war." That is patently false.
In fact, 85% of Livermore's current budget is devoted to nuclear weapons-related activities (ref), and another 9% to non-proliferation efforts; at Los Alamos the numbers are similar: 65% for weapons-related activities, 10% non-proliferation. (see complete LANL figures). It doesn't reflect well on the author's scholarship that this is the one and only mention of these nuclear laboratories in the book, and that the true figures are known and publicly available.
The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and its Dangerous Legacy
by David E. Hoffman, Doubleday, 2009
Hoffman focusses on the decades of the 80's and 90's. The first saw many of the closest brushes with nuclear Armageddon of the Cold War years, and the worried efforts of US and Soviet leaders to change course or face the likelihood of eventual catastrophe. In the second decade the demise of the Soviet Union led to panicked efforts to secure the far-flung nuclear weapons and materials, and the unpaid nuclear scientists and weapons engineers orphaned by the collapse.
The title? It seems the Soviets did have a "doomsday device" à la Dr. Strangelove, set to launch everything if the top command was killed or cut off. And they never told us.
"Authoritative and chilling. . . . A readable, many-tentacled account of the decades-long military standoff between the United States and the Soviet Union. . . . The Dead Hand is deadly serious, but this story can verge on pitch-black comedy- Dr. Strangelove as updated by the Coen Brothers."
-The New York Times
"In The Dead Hand, David Hoffman has uncovered some of the Cold War's most persistent and consequential secrets-plans and systems designed to wage war with weapons of mass destruction, and even to place the prospective end of civilization on a kind of automatic pilot. The book's revelations are shocking; its narrative is intelligent and gripping. This is a tour de force of investigative history."
-Steve Coll, author of Ghost Wars
David Hoffman is Contributing Editor at the Washington Post. As a White House correspondent, he covered the major U.S.-Soviet summits of the Reagan years, including Geneva and Reykjavik. He was the Post's diplomatic correspondent at the time the Soviet Union collapsed. From 1995 to 2001, he served as Moscow bureau chief.
5 Myths About Nuclear Weapons
By Ward Wilson, Senior Fellow and director of the Rethinking Nuclear Weapons Project.
From the Publisher:
"Richard Rhodes, Pulitzer-prize winning author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb, calls Five Myths, 'Brilliant, original and important.' General B. B. Bell, retired four star U.S. Army general, says, 'No matter what your background or expertise, before you say or do anything else regarding 'nukes', I strongly recommend you read and give serious consideration to the arguments in this terrific work.'"
Watch videos of Ward Wilson speaking on "Six Myths About Nuclear Weapons" and "Nuclear Weapons: Paradigm Shift" at rethinkingnuclearweapons.org.
Newly published: "Fukushima: The Story of a Nuclear Disaster"
by David Lochbaum, Edwin Lyman, Susan Stranahan. UCS/ The New Press, 2014
A book-length account of the unfolding Fukushima catastrophe from the Union of Concerned Scientists.
"Fukushima Daiichi unmasked the weaknesses of nuclear power plant design and the long-standing flaws in operations and regulatory oversight," the authors write. "Although Japan must share the blame, this was not a Japanese nuclear accident; it was a nuclear accident that just happened to have occurred in Japan. The problems that led to the disaster at Fukushima Daiichi exist wherever reactors operate."
A Year Of Disobedience
And A Criticality Of Conscience by Josef Daniel, with afterword by Daniel Ellsberg
From the publisher, Story Arts Media:
"The newly released and updated edition draws on the major protest campaign that helped shut the controversial Rocky Flats plutonium bomb trigger plant near Denver, Colorado to re-focus attention on the global threat from nuclear weapons and the need for increased public pressure to change U.S. policy.
"The striking photo-documentary shot by Joseph Daniel illustrates the demonstrations, civil disobedience, arrests, and trials that took place against plutonium bomb trigger manufacturing at the Rocky Flats Plant three-and-a-half-decades ago. Drawing from original reporting by journalist Keith Pope and insight at the time by Daniel Ellsberg, who was a central figure in the Rocky Flats civil disobedience actions, the book then takes the reader through the facility's history to the present day in a reflective essay, 'Local Hazard, Global Threat', by activist/historian LeRoy Moore.
"This is followed by a 20-page afterword in the form of an interview with Daniel Ellsberg just as the Edward Snowden revelations were breaking. Ellsberg examines the relationship between civil disobedience and patriotic whistleblowing, and connects historic issues to current nuclear, secrecy threats. He cites top-secret revelations he made during the Rocky Flats actions concerning the abdication of authority to lower-level commanders by the President to deploy nuclear weapons, and the level of devastation 600 million deaths the U.S. was willing to accept in a first use scenario. 'This is still the case, and is still top-secret', claims Ellsberg." (see website)
Plutopia Nuclear Families, Atomic Cities, And The Great Soviet And American Plutonium Disasters by Kate Brown, Oxford University Press
From the New Scientist review: "It is the looking-glass links between Hanford and the Mayak nuclear weapons plant at Ozersk, in the Urals, and the communities that host them, that form the central theme of Brown's book. They were two secretive citadels, dedicated to producing as much plutonium as possible to fuel the cold war arsenals of the world's two opposing superpowers. They both conferred wealth and privilege on their elite staff, copying each other to create what Brown styles as a "plutopia".
"But the two vast, creaking, nuclear complexes also deliberately discharged huge amounts of radioactivity into the environment, cut corners and caused countless accidents and leaks."
Interview with Kate Brown on TalkingStickTV
From the publisher's description:
"Brown shows that the plants' segregation of permanent and temporary workers and of nuclear and non-nuclear zones created a bubble of immunity, where dumps and accidents were glossed over and plant managers freely embezzled and polluted. In four decades, the Hanford plant near Richland and the Maiak plant near Ozersk each issued at least 200 million curies of radioactive isotopes into the surrounding environment--equaling four Chernobyls--laying waste to hundreds of square miles and contaminating rivers, fields, forests, and food supplies. Because of the decades of secrecy, downwind and downriver neighbors of the plutonium plants had difficulty proving what they suspected, that the rash of illnesses, cancers, and birth defects in their communities were caused by the plants' radioactive emissions. Plutopia was successful because in its zoned-off isolation it appeared to deliver the promises of the American dream and Soviet communism; in reality, it concealed disasters that remain highly unstable and threatening today." ("Plutopia" at Amazon)
Full Body Burden
On September 11, 1957, a national catastrophe was unfolding, one you likely have never heard about before. At the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons facility near Denver, inside the plutonium processing building, a fire had started in an area designed to be fireproof. Soon it was roaring over, through, and around the carefully constricted plutonium as one Cold-War-era safety feature after another failed . . . Kristen Iversen first revealed the details of this incident in her book "Full Body Burden". Here she is interviewed by Andrew Cohen at the Atlantic. Also: NYT Review. More info on the book and the author, including videos, at KristenIversen.com
Democracy Now interview with Daniel Ellsberg
Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Podcast: Dan Zak's Almighty; and on the impacts of the 1983 movie "The Day After"
Film: Nuclear Requiem Nuclear Requiem is a film meditation that explores the conundrum of humankind's most lethal weapon, investigates the continuing struggle over how to resolve this complex issue, and ponders why nuclear weapons continue to exist. Nuclear Requiem
Nuclear Tipping Point
Written and directed by Ben Goddard and produced by the Nuclear Security Project in an effort to raise awareness about nuclear threats and to help build support for the urgent actions needed to reduce nuclear dangers. (More film info)
Three Friends by Andy Russell / Different Films.
US statesmen George Shultz, William Perry, Sam Nunn answer questions put to them by an audience of senior British politicians and nuclear experts, in this trailer for a new film from TalkWorks on nuclear disarmament.
Joseph Cirincione describes a very close call in 1995- From the movie Countdown to Zero
Dr. Strangelove (1964): The classic, by Kubrik, with Sterling Hayden, George C. Scott, and Peter Sellers in several roles. (film info at IMDB)
Sidney Lumet's adaptation of Burdick and Wheeler's best-selling novel, with Henry Fonda as the President, and Walter Matthau and Larry Hagman, is a cinematic meditation on the horrifying absurdities which marked the perverse logic of the nuclear stand-off with the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
(film info at IMDB) Oct, 2014: See Slate Magazine's interesting take on the 50th anniversary of the movie: "Fail-Safe was a commercial flop, but it's much smarter about nuclear war than Dr. Strangelove..."
The CBS 2 hour TV version of the novel, with certainly the most all-star (and pretty much all-male) cast of any nuclear war film, including, for example, George Clooney and Don Cheadle as the pilots over Moscow, Harvey Keitel as the pilot over New York, Richard Dreyfuss as the President, and Sam Elliott, Brian Dennehy, James Cromwell, and Noah Wyle; even Walter Cronkite makes an appearance. Done in edgy black and white like the earlier film version, and also pretty scary. Click the full screen button on the video above to watch in full screen mode (you can also change settings for higher resolution). (film info at IMDB)
On The Beach (1959)
The earliest major nuclear war film: Stanley Kramer's On the Beach is based on the 1957 novel by Nevil Shute, starring Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire and Tony Perkins. After a global nuclear war, the residents of Australia must come to terms with the fact that all life will end in a matter of months. The full movie is shown on YouTube in 2 parts; click the full screen button on the video above to watch in full screen mode (you can also change settings for higher resolution). (film info at IMDB)
Nukes Of Hazard audio podcast: Goldsboro and the Nuclear News
The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation has launched a brand new podcast- Nukes of Hazard. It's a 15-minute bi-weekly roundup of the most important nuclear news and some lesser known stories on weapons of mass destruction history.
In 1961, a nuclear bomb almost detonated over North Carolina. The first episode, Goldsboro and the Nuclear News, explains how a nuclear catastrophe was barely avoided, and brings you up to date on two key nuclear news stories in North Korea and Iran. (listen audio)
A Brief History of Nuclear Proliferation Feb. 2007. Joseph Cirincione, at the time Senior Vice-President for National Security and International Policy, Center for American Progress, speaks on the history and prospects of nuclear proliferation at MIT, drawn in part from his 2007 book, Bomb Scare: The History and Future of Nuclear Weapons (Columbia University Press); in the second part, he discusses the problem of Iran.
"The whole pyramid of nuclear command is full of places where mistakes can be made. A lot of them are people mistakes- the system is so sophisticated, and the weapons so complicated, much of it covered with secrecy, that a human error can occur almost anywhere in the system."
-Vice Admiral Ralph Weymouth Ret. (BTW, Adm. Weymouth is the father of Tina Weymouth, bassist with the Talking Heads.) (ref)
Our Mission: Through comprehensive research, public education and effective citizen action, Nuclear Watch New Mexico seeks to promote mission diversification away from nuclear weapons programs and consistent U.S. leadership toward a world free of nuclear weapons; we also press for greater safety and accountability, especially including waste cleanup and environmental remediation, in the nation-wide nuclear weapons complex.