Atomic Histories

Mini-nuke blast off - Bulletin

Mini-nukes: Still a horrible and dangerous idea

Mini-nukes: Still a horrible and dangerous idea
By John Mecklin, September 19, 2018

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Perhaps the most dangerous weapons program the US government has recently pursued involves a low-yield nuclear warhead for submarine-launched nuclear missiles. The arguments against development of such “small nukes” are legion and overwhelmingly compelling. In fact, almost exactly one year ago, I laid out some of those arguments in an article headlined, “Mini-nukes: The attempted resurrection of a terrible idea.” And, I said then, don’t just take my word for it; read the analysis of Jim Doyle, a former longtime technical staffer at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Simply put, the availability of “small” nuclear warheads increases the likelihood that nuclear weapons will be used, and any use of nuclear weapons easily could (some experts might say “inevitably would”) lead to general nuclear war and the end of civilization.

In the last year, however, the Trump administration released a Nuclear Posture Review calling for development of a low-yield warhead for submarine-launched ballistic missiles. Congress subsequently passed a defense authorization act that includes money for the program, and another bill allocates millions in the Energy Department budget specifically for pursuit of the new warhead.

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whistleblowers salute

A Salute to Whistleblowers

Mark your calendar! Tuesday Sept. 25 at 7pm at CCA

A Salute to Whistleblowers
Ever wonder what the news media are NOT telling you, and the impact this has on society when half-truths, omissions and distortions become the norm?
Here’s a chance to get the inside scoop.
Join Valerie Plame, and Los Alamos whistleblowers
Chuck Montano and Jim Doyle
for an evening exploring brave acts of whistleblowing that made a difference.
We will begin the event with a reception and book signing at 7pm. We will wrap up with a panel discussion.
Hear these courageous whistleblowers and support your local non-profit that helps them get their valuable stories out to the world.
A Salute to Whistleblowers
Date: Tuesday, September 25th
Time: 7-9 pm
Location: CCA Cinematheque
(1050 Old Pecos Trail, Santa Fe 87505)
Donation: No one will be turned away, but we encourage a suggested donation of $25 for a single admission. Please help support the critical work we do watchdogging the Los Alamos Lab.
And please feel free to make the donation before the event using our donate page
SF Opera Dr Atomic Downwinders

The West’s atomic past, in opera halls

The West’s atomic past, in opera halls
On stage and in Congress, Trinity test downwinders fight for recognition.
Elena Saavedra Buckley, High Country News, Aug. 30, 2018

Outside the Santa Fe Opera, a 62-year-old venue nestled in juniper-covered hills, retirees reclined by cloth-covered tables in the parking lot. As the August heat reflected off the asphalt, they tailgated with flutes of champagne. Soon, they would file in to see Doctor Atomic, an opera about physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer and the 24 hours before the first atomic bomb, which he helped create, detonated over New Mexico’s Tularosa Basin in the Trinity test.

Doctor Atomic has been performed in New York and San Francisco, but never before in New Mexico, where Manhattan Project scientists from Los Alamos Laboratory created the bomb. John Adams composed the opera in 2005, and Peter Sellars’s libretto uses declassified Los Alamos documents, focusing on the scientists’ perspective. This was the first time that downwinders — people whose families lived in the Tularosa Basin, in the path of the bomb’s radiation — appeared on stage during a performance. This summer, 73 years after Trinity, New Mexico’s downwinders are finally receiving some attention — onstage and in Congress.

The Trinity test occurred at 5:30 a.m. on July 16, 1945, about 150 miles south of Santa Fe and the laboratory and only weeks before the bombings in Japan. It bathed the basin in light, creating a half-mile-wide crater. The Tularosa Basin Downwinders believe that blast’s radiation gave their families cancer, either from the air or through milk and produce, and that the diseases are being passed down genetically.

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Trinity site cancer study expected to finish in 2019

  • Updated

ALBUQUERQUE — A long-anticipated study into the cancer risks of New Mexico residents living near the site of the world’s first atomic bomb test likely will be published in 2019, the National Cancer Institute announced.

Institute spokesman Michael Levin told the Associated Press that researchers are examining data on diet and radiation exposure on residents who lived near the World War II-era Trinity test site, and scientists expect to finish the study by early next year.

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Doom Towns

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...

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1983 by Taylor Downing

1983: Reagan, Andropov, and a World on the Brink

Taylor Downing, Da Capo Press, 4/24/18 Recently, a declassified report lifted the veil on the events of a week in November 1983, the year KAL007 was shot down and America watched “The Day After”, when we had in fact, a very close brush with World Death. The Able Archer...

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Behind the Fog by Martino-Taylor

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...

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Atomic Homefront by Deborah Cammissa

Atomic Homefront

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...

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Resources

History Archives and Resources

Nuclear Files
Nuclear Age Peace Foundation

Nuclear Vault
Nat’l Security Archive, George Washington University, Nuclear Documentation Project

Atomic Heritage Foundation
Extensive historical documentation

Restricted Data
A blog about nuclear secrecy, past and present, run by Alex Wellerstein, a historian of science at the Stevens Institute of Technology.

Archive of Nuclear Data
From the NRDC Nuclear Program

Wilson Center Digital Archive International History Declassified: Nuclear History
See the featured collections

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: Digitized archives

Atomic Archive
Atomic Archive Photo Collection

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.

Michael Light, 100 Suns Photo Gallery

Quotes

“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” -Albert Einstein...

“The release of atomic power has changed everything except our way of thinking … the solution to this problem lies in the heart of mankind. If only I had known, I should have become a watchmaker.” -Albert Einstein...

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