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.

Quote of the Week

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LANL’s Central Mission: Los Alamos Lab officials have recently claimed that LANL has moved away from primarily nuclear weapons to “national security”, but what truly remains as the Labs central mission? Here’s the answer from one of its own documents:

LANL’s “Central Mission”- Presented at: RPI Nuclear Data 2011 Symposium for Criticality Safety and Reactor Applications (PDF) 4/27/11

It seems we can’t find what you’re looking for. Perhaps searching can help.

NukeWatch Compilation of the DOE/NNSA FY 2020 Budget Request – VIEW

It seems we can’t find what you’re looking for. Perhaps searching can help.

LANL FY 2020 Budget Request – VIEW

Sandia FY 2020 Budget Request – VIEW

Livermore Lab FY 2020 Budget Chart – Courtesy TriValley CAREs – VIEW

_____________________________________________

Click the image to view and 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.

Nuclear Watch Interactive Map – U.S. Nuclear Weapons Complex

Waste Lands: America’s Forgotten Nuclear Legacy

The Wall St. Journal has compiled a searchable database of contaminated sites across the US. (view)
Related WSJ report: https://www.wsj.com

Recent Posts

Erdogan’s Ambitions Go Beyond Syria. He Says He Wants Nuclear Weapons.

“There are approximately 50 US nuclear weapons, stored on Turkish soil. The United States had never openly acknowledged its existence, until Wednesday, when Trump did exactly that. When asked about the safety of these weapons, stored in a bunker controlled by the Americans at Incirlik Air Base, Mr. Trump said, “We have confidence and we have a large air base there, a very powerful air base.” But not everyone is so confident, because the air base belongs to the Turkish government. If relations with Turkey deteriorate, US access to that base is not guaranteed.”

ARTICLE BY DAVID E. SANGER | nytimes.com

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey addressing legislators from his party this month in Ankara, Turkey. Credit: Burhan Ozbilici/Associated Press

Erdogan is playing before an anti-American domestic audience with his nuclear rhetoric, but he is very unlikely to look for nuclear weapons,,quot; said Jessica C. Varnum, an expert in Turkey at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Middlebury in Monterey, California, “There would be huge economic and reputational costs for Turkey, which would damage the pockets of Erdogan voters.”

Continue reading

A Cheaper Nuclear Sponge

“With today’s technology, land-based [ballistic] missiles are an embarrassment,” the late, great strategist Thomas Schelling wrote in 1987. The weapons, he added, “seem to give the entire deterrent a bad name.”

ARTICLE BY | warontherocks.com

Schelling was right: Intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) are by far the least valuable leg of the so-called nuclear triad, which also consists of submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and air-delivered cruise missiles and gravity bombs.

So long as U.S. adversaries possess nuclear weapons, we believe the United States should maintain a safe, secure, and effective nuclear arsenal to deter nuclear attacks against itself and its allies. But the Trump administration’s approach to sustaining and upgrading the arsenal is unnecessary, unsustainable, and unsafe. Nowhere is this more evident than with respect to its plan to build a new ICBM.

Instead of proceeding with current plans to build an entirely new ICBM system at a cost that is likely to exceed $100 billion, the Pentagon could save scores of billions — without sacrificing U.S. security — by continuing to rely on a smaller number of existing Minuteman III missiles.

Continue reading

Trump administration talking tough about another government shutdown for border wall funding

On Thursday, the Senate failed a veto override on Donald Trump’s emergency declaration, which is being used to purloin funds appropriated for other programs and use them for his border wall. That sets up yet another budget fight that will simmer along between the House, Senate, and White House for the next month. It also sets up another fight over a Trump government shutdown.

ARTICLE BY JOAN MCCARTER | dailykos.com

Before the August recess, all parties agreed to a continuing resolution to fund the government until the week before Thanksgiving, in anticipation that all the individual spending bills for all the departments would be passed and signed by then. What it really set up was another fight with Trump. “Trump is not interested in signing other domestic spending bills until there is agreement on the border wall,” a senior administration official told The Washington Post.

Continue reading

Feds give Navajo uranium contract to firm with sketchy past

A High Country News investigation finds the EPA awarded Tetra Tech a contract despite knowing its subsidiary had likely engaged in data manipulation, false reporting and profiteering.

ARTICLE BY SUSIE NIELSEN | hcn.org

United Nuclear's uranium mine and mill within the Navajo Nation in Church Rock, New Mexico | Wikimedia Commons
United Nuclear’s uranium mine and mill within the Navajo Nation in Church Rock, New Mexico | Wikimedia Commons

In September 2017, the Environmental Protection Agency received a troubling message from the Navy: Tetra Tech EC, the firm tasked with cleaning up the radioactive former naval shipyard Hunters Point in San Francisco, might have manipulated its data.

The past performance of Tetra Tech, even beyond its subsidiary at Hunters Point, has been marked by controversy. The parent company has been at the center of other lawsuits, including a consolidated case regarding its involvement in cleaning up after the North Bay Fires, a series of wildfires that devastated regions north of San Francisco in the fall of 2017.

“The Navajo Nation project is a bull’s-eye radioactive project with dangerous radioactivity. For Tetra Tech to get that project at all — to be even allowed to bid on it — is shocking.” – David Anton, attorney for the Tetra Tech EC whistleblowers

In 2008, the EPA and five other federal agencies, in consultation with Navajo Nation, developed the first comprehensive plan to address the legacy of uranium contamination in and around the Navajo Nation. As of 2014, of the 43 highest-priority Navajo Nation mines as designated by the EPA, only one of them — the Skyline Mine — had been mostly cleaned up.

Continue reading

Energy Secretary Rick Perry To Resign

NPR ALL THINGS CONSIDERED JEFF BRADYnpr.org Updated at 6:30 p.m. ET

Secretary of Energy Rick Perry plans to leave his position at the end of the year, President Trump confirmed to reporters Thursday in Fort Worth, Texas. Trump praised Perry and said he already has a replacement in mind.

“Rick has done a fantastic job,” Trump said. ” But it was time.”

Trump said that Perry’s resignation didn’t come as a surprise and that he has considered leaving for six months because “he’s got some very big plans.”

Perry, 69, is one of Trump’s original Cabinet members and recently has emerged as a central figure in the impeachment inquiry of Trump.

Continue reading

New & Updated

Featured Video Play Icon

INF Treaty Collapse

Today, 2 August 2019, the governments of the US and Russia have missed a troubling deadline: the end of the six-month notice period that began when both countries announced their withdrawal from the INF Treaty earlier this year. During this period, the decision could still be reversed if both parties went back to the negotiating table. Now that the deadline has passed, and both states can produce even more nuclear weapons, this time enabled to hit targets in the range of 500 and 5,500 kilometres. These weapons, optimised to destroy cities and wipe out civilian populations, put the whole world – and Europe in particular – at risk.

Continue reading

Lab Claims of Tremendous Progress Need Second Look

Chromium Plume under LANL
Representation of the Chromium Plume in the regional aquifer under Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).

Comments to the Northern NM Citizens’ Advisory Board

By Scott Kovac, Nuclear Watch NM, July 24, 2019

Tremendous progress requires overall improvement, not just at one spot. A recent Environmental Management Los Alamos (EMLA) press release claimed “tremendous progress” with regards to the chromium (Cr) plume. Media stories then did their job and generalized that everything about the plume was getting better. This is the kind of public relations’ language that does not help to further the discussion on these complex issues.

Continue reading

A nuclear treaty is about to vanish. Its demise should teach a lesson.

On Friday, a pillar of global security will expire.

BY EDITORIAL BOARD | washingtonpost.com

Perhaps no one will notice when the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty of 1987 slips into oblivion; the threat of nuclear attack in just minutes that seemed so unnerving during the late 20th century has now faded into a distant memory, lost to complacency at the Cold War’s end. But the demise of the INF Treaty should teach a lesson.

Arms control, creating verifiable treaties to limit and reduce nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, had its mystique: obtuse concepts, exotic hardware and mind-bending negotiations. But at its core, arms control was about political willpower. In the case of the INF Treaty, President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev summoned enough of it to eliminate an entire class of deployed weapons, the ground-based missiles with a range of between 300 and 3,400 miles, and their launchers. The treaty made the world safer not only by removing a nuclear threat to Europe but also by introducing novel measures such as intrusive verification and on-site inspections.

Continue reading

If New START Dies, These Questions Will Need Answers

There’s little public indication that the Trump administration is thinking about several things that will happen if the last strategic arms agreement is allowed to expire.

BY VINCENT MANZO & MADISON ESTES | defenseone.com

U.S. AIR FORCE / SENIOR AIRMAN CHRISTOPHER QUAIL  AA FONT SIZE + PRINT A U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress bomber takes off from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, for a routine training mission in the vicinity of the South China Sea and Indian Ocean, Sept 23, 2018.
U.S. AIR FORCE / SENIOR AIRMAN CHRISTOPHER QUAIL
A U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress bomber takes off from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, for a routine training mission in the vicinity of the South China Sea and Indian Ocean, Sept 23, 2018.

The Trump administration has articulated an ambitious new vision for nuclear arms control, one that includes China and seeks to limit more types of Russian systems. This vision appears to have little room for the New START agreement, which helped to cap U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals and which is due to expire in 2021. And yet there is little in the public record to indicate how the administration would deal with various problems that would surface if New START is left to die.

Continue reading

460,000 Premature Deaths: The Horror That Was Nuclear Weapons Testing -As we mark the seventy-fourth anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings in a handful of days, we will rightly remember the horrors of nuclear war.

As we mark the seventy-fourth anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings in a handful of days, we will rightly remember the horrors of nuclear war.

BY ZACK BROWN & ALEX SPIRE

For a brief fraction of a second on an early March morning in 1954, the United States summoned a second sun into existence above Bikini Atoll.

As the four-mile wide fireball bathed the Pacific seascape in its angry, white-red light, onlookers recognized something nearly divine—and unquestionably ominous. “It was a religious experience, a personal view of the apocalypse or transfiguration,” said one observer. Another remembered feeling “like you stepped into a blast furnace,” even though he was over thirty miles away.

This was the Castle Bravo thermonuclear test, one of several dozen nuclear detonations the United States carried out in the Marshall Islands during the Cold War. At 15 million tons of TNT—one thousand times more powerful than the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima—it was the largest explosion ever set off by Americans. 

Continue reading

Inside the Secret Campaign to Export U.S. Nuclear Tech to Saudi Arabia

Industry coalition’s push to win over the Trump administration is concerning officials on Capitol Hill who are fearful that it could threaten U.S. national security.

Inside the Secret Campaign to Export U.S. Nuclear Tech to Saudi Arabia - Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Getty

ERIN BANCO | thedailybeast.com

When President Donald Trump took the stage in the East Room of the White House earlier this month to give his first speech on the environment, nuclear energy executives and industry leaders held their breath. They exchanged text messages with fellow colleagues during the speech’s broadcast, wondering aloud to one another if Trump had taken the bait.

Since the fall of 2016, the executives have built an underground coalition along with academics, technology experts and well-connected politicos, including some lobbyists, to get the president and his administration to support—even promote—an American nuclear energy comeback. The industry has declined in recent years due mostly to the closing of critical nuclear infrastructure and plants. Between 2010 and 2018, only one new nuclear power plant came online in the United States.

Continue reading

Thank you to those who submitted comments in the NNSA’s EIS “scoping” for the proposed Plutonium Bomb Plant (PBP) at the Savannah River Site.  The PBP remains unauthorized and unfunded.

“Despite requests by many, NNSA denied extending the comment period.  Though the comment period ended on July 25, there is still time to submit late comments. (See Federal Register notice of June 10.)

Special thanks are due to the experts at Nuclear Watch New Mexico, Tri-Valley CAREs and the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance (OREPA) for submitting extensive comments pertaining to the question of “need” for new pits for new nuclear weapons.

It is of note that we enlisted groups that don’t traditionally work on nuclear weapons or DOE issues to engage the scoping process, including the South Carolina Chapter of the Sierra Club, Conservation Voters of South Carolina and the League of Women Voters of South Carolina.  Plus, there were a flurry of individual comments in the last few days.

Comments included the lack of need for new pits for the W87-1-style warhead, the issue of pit reuse and the need for a “nuclear non-proliferation risk assessment” on the production of new pits for new nuclear weapons.

Continue reading


Sheep Fire Burns on Idaho National Laboratory Land

The Sheep Fire was sparked by a lightning strike around 6:30 p.m. Monday near Idaho Falls, in the southeastern part of the state, and grew quickly, said the Idaho National Laboratory’s (INL) emergency Joint Information Center.

Continue reading

Listen and subscribe to Press the Button, a weekly podcast from Ploughshares Fund dedicated to nuclear policy and national security.

July 22 — This episode features Alex Wellerstein, historian of science at the Stevens Institute of Technology and creator of NUKEMAP – a website that allows you to  simulate the effects of a nuclear weapons anywhere in the world. He talks in depth about the decision to drop the Bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, on the effectiveness of nuclear deterrence, on the debate about the Bomb’s use after Trinity and much more.
Also featuring a guest appearance by WAND’s Caroline Dorminey.

Listen, Subscribe and Share on iTunes · Spotify · SoundCloud · Google Play
Also available on ploughshares.org/pressthebutton

In Budget Deal, White House And Congress Overpay For The Pentagon

The newly proposed two-year budget deal between the White House and Congress has one major flaw.  It vastly overpays for the Pentagon.

WILLIAM HARTUNG. | forbes.com

At $738 billion for Fiscal Year 2020 and $740 billion for Fiscal Year 2021, the agreement sets the table for two of the highest budgets for the Pentagon and related work on nuclear warheads at the Department of Energy since World War II. The proposed figures are higher than spending at the height of the Vietnam and Korean Wars, and substantially more than the high point of the Reagan buildup of the 1980s. And the Fiscal Year 2020 and Fiscal Year 2021 numbers are only slightly less than spending in 2010, when the United States had 180,000 troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, roughly nine times the number currently deployed.

Continue reading

A Path Toward Renewing Arms Control

A path toward renewing arms control
Rocket models are stuck in a bucket during a February protest action in Berlin against the imminent withdrawal of the INF disarmament agreement between Russia and the USA. Photo: Paul Zinken/dpa

LAWRENCE J. KORB | thebulletin.org

At the late June G-20 meeting in Osaka, Japan, US President Trump and Russian President Putin met to discuss a number of issues, including Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Ukraine, and arms control. While all of these are important, none is more urgent at the current time than arms control because we are on the brink of a new arms race that could be an existential threat not only to these two nuclear super powers but to humanity.

Continue reading

Critical Events

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Action Alerts

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Nuclear News

Nobel Peace Prize For International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

“The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2017 to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). The organization is receiving the award for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons. We live in a world where the risk of nuclear weapons being used is greater than it has been for a long time. Some states are modernizing their nuclear arsenals, and there is a real danger that more countries will try to procure nuclear weapons, as exemplified by North Korea. Nuclear weapons pose a constant threat to humanity and all life on earth.”

(ref)

The award was the lead story this morning on Germany’s Deutsche Welle with a video interview with Yanthe Hall of ICAN Germany.

Democracy Now, Oct. 6: Amy Goodman interviews Tim Wright, Asia-Pacific director of ICAN on the Nobel award and the ban treaty. (watch segment).

Hawaii, California Preparing for North Korean Nuclear Attack

A startling headline, but alas, true. Precautionary measures no doubt, in case the angry war of words goes to military violence and a possible nuclear exchange. It’s unlikely Kim would fire a first strike at the US mainland; but in response to a US strike on North Korea, well maybe. Apparently, some people are seeing America’s ‘military option’ becoming more likely.

Hawaii residents told to prepare for nuclear attack as tensions reach new high

“The state will begin testing a siren warning system, a wailing sound, in November. It would give people about 12 to 15 minutes to get to safety, after which they would be required to stay indoors for 48 to 72 hours.”

-North Korea: California’s plans for nuclear attack revealed

“The threat of a nuclear attack on California is real enough that a regional task force circulated a document to help the state prepare for a ‘catastrophic’ strike.”

-From Independent.co.uk

See also October 10, 2017:
-University of Hawaii sent an email to students Monday with tips on how to prepare for a nuclear attack

Controversy After Another Test of the B61-12 Nuclear Smart Bomb

The editor-in-chief of Russia’s National Defense magazine, Igor Korotchenko, warned that the second test of the B61-12 could indicate that the US is speeding up its rearmament program while “both Washington and Brussels are considering the scenario of a limited nuclear war in Europe.” He added that NATO forces have already conducted drills in the Baltic Sea, including mock nuclear strikes on Russia. “During regular exercises, including those in the Baltic Sea, the air forces of NATO countries have repeatedly carried out combat training tasks involving tactical nuclear strikes on targets located in the northwest of our country,” Korotchenko told RIA Novosti (ref).

NNSA press release on the B61-12 tests: (view/download PDF)

There are an estimated 180 B61 nuclear bombs stored at NATO bases in Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Turkey. 

 

Kim Jong Un and H-Bomb fitting nose cone of ICBM, photo released September 2, 2017

North Korea: Sunday’s test was a hydrogen bomb small enough to fit an ICBM

Sunday morning North Korea set off what is thought to have been a 120 kiloton hydrogen bomb, a day after press pictures were released showing Kim Jong Un and staff with what was said to be a miniaturized thermonuclear warhead ready to load in an ICBM nose cone. [Note Sept 14: 38North has revised the estimated yield to 250 kilotons.

“Based on the seismic signature, the yield of this test definitely is an order of magnitude higher than the yields of the previous tests…”

Catherine Dill, James Martin Center

In China, the blast was felt as a strong tremor (USGS: 6.3 mags.) shaking windows. Chinese officials said they were carrying out emergency radiation testing along the border with North Korea.

North Korea’s brief period of “restraint”, what Secretary Tillerson called a possible “pathway” to dialogue, is over, following the launch of a missile over Japan on August 28, and now it’s most powerful nuclear test to date. Pres. Trump had said only last week that his threat to rain “fire and fury” on North Korea was working and that Kim was “starting to respect us”. Well, apparently not. Kim probably feels like he’s on a run, and might just as well go full speed ahead; he may well believe he has outplayed the US and won’t be stopped. Some have suggested that when Kim feels he has an effective enough arsenal to deter the US, he may be ready for a freeze or suspension and negotiations toward a peace treaty. On the other hand, one can imagine that he may see no need of that, and just keeps growing his nuclear forces. (Note that at some point he will also be a threat to China.)

The test was rather irritating for China, as Premier Xi is hosting the BRICS Conference this week, an important element of China’s foreign policy agenda, and he will not like being upstaged by Mr Kim’s latest feat.

Regarding the Hwasong-12 missile launch on August 28:

In “North Korea’s Hwasong-12 Launch: A Disturbing Development” Michael Elleman, 38North.org wrote: “An alternative disturbing hypothesis is that tests of the missile have included a small post-boost vehicle (PBV) to provide extra boost to the payload after the main stage is discarded…” read more…

Recommended: End the 67-year war by Robert Alvarez, at the Bulletin. “It’s time to find a path to end the 67-year-long Korean war. As the threat of military conflict looms, the American public is largely unaware of the sobering facts about America’s longest unresolved war and one of the world’s bloodiest.” read more…

September 13: DPRK launches another missile over Japan, with greatest range yet, enough to hit Guam.

Ban The Bomb

What Will Be Different After September 20, 2017?

“So here is a question for all of us to think about: how will it change the global conversation when a treaty is affirmed by so many countries from all over the world? What will it feel like to know the clock is ticking down to nuclear weapons abolition . . . instead of worrying that the clock is ticking down to nuclear war? What will be different about the way people talk about the behavior of the states that still stubbornly hold on to nuclear weapons (and threaten each other with them)? In what light will it cast the countries that rely on the “nuclear umbrella” of countries like the US?”

-Joe Scarry, “Nuclear Weapons Abolition: What Will Be Different After September 20?”

LANL Cleanup: What you can do

Please consider attending and giving public comments at local public meetings concerning cleanup at Los Alamos. Public comments do make a difference!

Follow NukeWatch and submit public written comments. We frequently comment on environmental impact statements and provide sample comments. Support Us: https://nukewatch.org/get-involved/donate/

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.

New & Updated

Featured Video Play Icon

INF Treaty Collapse

Today, 2 August 2019, the governments of the US and Russia have missed a troubling deadline: the end of the six-month notice period that began when both countries announced their withdrawal from the INF Treaty earlier this year. During this period, the decision could still be reversed if both parties went back to the negotiating table. Now that the deadline has passed, and both states can produce even more nuclear weapons, this time enabled to hit targets in the range of 500 and 5,500 kilometres. These weapons, optimised to destroy cities and wipe out civilian populations, put the whole world – and Europe in particular – at risk.

Continue reading

Lab Claims of Tremendous Progress Need Second Look

Chromium Plume under LANL
Representation of the Chromium Plume in the regional aquifer under Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).

Comments to the Northern NM Citizens’ Advisory Board

By Scott Kovac, Nuclear Watch NM, July 24, 2019

Tremendous progress requires overall improvement, not just at one spot. A recent Environmental Management Los Alamos (EMLA) press release claimed “tremendous progress” with regards to the chromium (Cr) plume. Media stories then did their job and generalized that everything about the plume was getting better. This is the kind of public relations’ language that does not help to further the discussion on these complex issues.

Continue reading

A nuclear treaty is about to vanish. Its demise should teach a lesson.

On Friday, a pillar of global security will expire.

BY EDITORIAL BOARD | washingtonpost.com

Perhaps no one will notice when the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty of 1987 slips into oblivion; the threat of nuclear attack in just minutes that seemed so unnerving during the late 20th century has now faded into a distant memory, lost to complacency at the Cold War’s end. But the demise of the INF Treaty should teach a lesson.

Arms control, creating verifiable treaties to limit and reduce nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, had its mystique: obtuse concepts, exotic hardware and mind-bending negotiations. But at its core, arms control was about political willpower. In the case of the INF Treaty, President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev summoned enough of it to eliminate an entire class of deployed weapons, the ground-based missiles with a range of between 300 and 3,400 miles, and their launchers. The treaty made the world safer not only by removing a nuclear threat to Europe but also by introducing novel measures such as intrusive verification and on-site inspections.

Continue reading

If New START Dies, These Questions Will Need Answers

There’s little public indication that the Trump administration is thinking about several things that will happen if the last strategic arms agreement is allowed to expire.

BY VINCENT MANZO & MADISON ESTES | defenseone.com

U.S. AIR FORCE / SENIOR AIRMAN CHRISTOPHER QUAIL  AA FONT SIZE + PRINT A U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress bomber takes off from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, for a routine training mission in the vicinity of the South China Sea and Indian Ocean, Sept 23, 2018.
U.S. AIR FORCE / SENIOR AIRMAN CHRISTOPHER QUAIL
A U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress bomber takes off from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, for a routine training mission in the vicinity of the South China Sea and Indian Ocean, Sept 23, 2018.

The Trump administration has articulated an ambitious new vision for nuclear arms control, one that includes China and seeks to limit more types of Russian systems. This vision appears to have little room for the New START agreement, which helped to cap U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals and which is due to expire in 2021. And yet there is little in the public record to indicate how the administration would deal with various problems that would surface if New START is left to die.

Continue reading

460,000 Premature Deaths: The Horror That Was Nuclear Weapons Testing -As we mark the seventy-fourth anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings in a handful of days, we will rightly remember the horrors of nuclear war.

As we mark the seventy-fourth anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings in a handful of days, we will rightly remember the horrors of nuclear war.

BY ZACK BROWN & ALEX SPIRE

For a brief fraction of a second on an early March morning in 1954, the United States summoned a second sun into existence above Bikini Atoll.

As the four-mile wide fireball bathed the Pacific seascape in its angry, white-red light, onlookers recognized something nearly divine—and unquestionably ominous. “It was a religious experience, a personal view of the apocalypse or transfiguration,” said one observer. Another remembered feeling “like you stepped into a blast furnace,” even though he was over thirty miles away.

This was the Castle Bravo thermonuclear test, one of several dozen nuclear detonations the United States carried out in the Marshall Islands during the Cold War. At 15 million tons of TNT—one thousand times more powerful than the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima—it was the largest explosion ever set off by Americans. 

Continue reading

Inside the Secret Campaign to Export U.S. Nuclear Tech to Saudi Arabia

Industry coalition’s push to win over the Trump administration is concerning officials on Capitol Hill who are fearful that it could threaten U.S. national security.

Inside the Secret Campaign to Export U.S. Nuclear Tech to Saudi Arabia - Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Getty

ERIN BANCO | thedailybeast.com

When President Donald Trump took the stage in the East Room of the White House earlier this month to give his first speech on the environment, nuclear energy executives and industry leaders held their breath. They exchanged text messages with fellow colleagues during the speech’s broadcast, wondering aloud to one another if Trump had taken the bait.

Since the fall of 2016, the executives have built an underground coalition along with academics, technology experts and well-connected politicos, including some lobbyists, to get the president and his administration to support—even promote—an American nuclear energy comeback. The industry has declined in recent years due mostly to the closing of critical nuclear infrastructure and plants. Between 2010 and 2018, only one new nuclear power plant came online in the United States.

Continue reading

Thank you to those who submitted comments in the NNSA’s EIS “scoping” for the proposed Plutonium Bomb Plant (PBP) at the Savannah River Site.  The PBP remains unauthorized and unfunded.

“Despite requests by many, NNSA denied extending the comment period.  Though the comment period ended on July 25, there is still time to submit late comments. (See Federal Register notice of June 10.)

Special thanks are due to the experts at Nuclear Watch New Mexico, Tri-Valley CAREs and the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance (OREPA) for submitting extensive comments pertaining to the question of “need” for new pits for new nuclear weapons.

It is of note that we enlisted groups that don’t traditionally work on nuclear weapons or DOE issues to engage the scoping process, including the South Carolina Chapter of the Sierra Club, Conservation Voters of South Carolina and the League of Women Voters of South Carolina.  Plus, there were a flurry of individual comments in the last few days.

Comments included the lack of need for new pits for the W87-1-style warhead, the issue of pit reuse and the need for a “nuclear non-proliferation risk assessment” on the production of new pits for new nuclear weapons.

Continue reading


Sheep Fire Burns on Idaho National Laboratory Land

The Sheep Fire was sparked by a lightning strike around 6:30 p.m. Monday near Idaho Falls, in the southeastern part of the state, and grew quickly, said the Idaho National Laboratory’s (INL) emergency Joint Information Center.

Continue reading

Listen and subscribe to Press the Button, a weekly podcast from Ploughshares Fund dedicated to nuclear policy and national security.

July 22 — This episode features Alex Wellerstein, historian of science at the Stevens Institute of Technology and creator of NUKEMAP – a website that allows you to  simulate the effects of a nuclear weapons anywhere in the world. He talks in depth about the decision to drop the Bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, on the effectiveness of nuclear deterrence, on the debate about the Bomb’s use after Trinity and much more.
Also featuring a guest appearance by WAND’s Caroline Dorminey.

Listen, Subscribe and Share on iTunes · Spotify · SoundCloud · Google Play
Also available on ploughshares.org/pressthebutton

In Budget Deal, White House And Congress Overpay For The Pentagon

The newly proposed two-year budget deal between the White House and Congress has one major flaw.  It vastly overpays for the Pentagon.

WILLIAM HARTUNG. | forbes.com

At $738 billion for Fiscal Year 2020 and $740 billion for Fiscal Year 2021, the agreement sets the table for two of the highest budgets for the Pentagon and related work on nuclear warheads at the Department of Energy since World War II. The proposed figures are higher than spending at the height of the Vietnam and Korean Wars, and substantially more than the high point of the Reagan buildup of the 1980s. And the Fiscal Year 2020 and Fiscal Year 2021 numbers are only slightly less than spending in 2010, when the United States had 180,000 troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, roughly nine times the number currently deployed.

Continue reading

A Path Toward Renewing Arms Control

A path toward renewing arms control
Rocket models are stuck in a bucket during a February protest action in Berlin against the imminent withdrawal of the INF disarmament agreement between Russia and the USA. Photo: Paul Zinken/dpa

LAWRENCE J. KORB | thebulletin.org

At the late June G-20 meeting in Osaka, Japan, US President Trump and Russian President Putin met to discuss a number of issues, including Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Ukraine, and arms control. While all of these are important, none is more urgent at the current time than arms control because we are on the brink of a new arms race that could be an existential threat not only to these two nuclear super powers but to humanity.

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What If We Have A Nuclear War?

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Quotes

George Kennan

George Kennan

“We have gone on piling weapon upon weapon, missile upon missile helplessly, almost involuntarily, like the victims of some sort of hypnosis, like men in a dream, like lemmings headed for the sea…”

-George Kennan, 1981 From IN THE NATION; A Collision Course

Martin Amis

The Use of Nuclear Weapons

“What is the only provocation that could bring about the use of nuclear weapons? Nuclear weapons. What is the priority target for nuclear weapons? Nuclear weapons. What is the only established defense against nuclear weapons? Nuclear weapons.

How do we prevent the use of nuclear weapons? By threatening the use of nuclear weapons. And we can’t get rid of nuclear weapons, because of nuclear weapons. The intransigence, it seems, is a function of the weapons themselves.”

– Martin Amis, Einstein’s Monsters

The Unfortunate Truth

“The unfortunate truth of the US nuclear weapon ‘modernization’ is that it clearly demonstrates that the United States plans to build more and ‘better’ nuclear weapons for at least the next 30 to 50 years.”

James Doyle from The Hill