How Annie Jacobsen mapped out ‘Nuclear War: A Scenario’

“There are new players, new nuclear armed nations that are far more unpredictable than those who have had nuclear weapons in the past.”


It starts with a sudden attack. North Korea, out of paranoia and fear, launches a nuclear strike on the United States, hitting its targets. The United States retaliates with a salvo of its own nuclear missiles. However, in order to hit North Korea, the missiles must pass over Russia. Attempts to communicate with the Russian president fail and Russia’s nuclear warning system makes him think it’s an attack on his country. So he launches his nuclear bombs, this time at the United States.

It’s a global nuclear war. And it happens in minutes.

That’s the setup at the heart of “Nuclear War: A Scenario,” a new book by investigative journalist Annie Jacobsen. The book, released at the end of March, outlines how one attack from an isolated state can set off a chain reaction of nuclear policy, with poor communication and split-second decisions triggering widespread nuclear war. It’s a fictional scena

America’s Nuclear War Plan in the 1960s Was Utter Madness. It Still Is.

We rarely consider the dangers these days, but our existence depends on it.

“‘Humanity is one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation,’ cautions UN Secretary-General António Guterres. ‘We must reverse course.'”


Nuclear war is madness. Were a nuclear weapon to be launched at the United States, including from a rogue nuclear-armed nation like North Korea, American policy dictates a nuclear counterattack. This response would almost certainly set off a series of events that would quickly spiral out of control. “The world could end in the next couple of hours,” Gen. Robert Kehler, the former commander of US Strategic Command, told me in an interview.

We sit on the razor’s edge. Vladimir Putin has said he is “not bluffing” about the possibility of using weapons of mass destruction should NATO overstep on Ukraine, and North Korea accuses the US of having “a sinister intention to provoke a nuclear war.” For generations, the American public has viewed a nuclear World War III as a remote prospect, but the threat is ever-present. “Humanity is one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation,” cautions UN Secretary-General António Guterres. “We must reverse course.”

So far, we haven’t. The Pentagon’s plans for nuclear war remain firmly in place.

The US government has spent trillions of dollars over the decades preparing to fight a nuclear war, while refining protocols meant to keep the government functioning after hundreds of millions of Americans become casualties of a nuclear holocaust, and the annual budgets continue to grow. The nation’s integrated nuclear war plan in the 1960s was utter madness. It almost certainly remains so today.


An Introduction: It’s Time to Protest Nuclear War Again

By Kathleen Kingsbury, Opinion Editor, New York Times

The threat of nuclear war has dangled over humankind for much too long. We have survived so far through luck and brinkmanship. But the old, limited safeguards that kept the Cold War cold are long gone. Nuclear powers are getting more numerous and less cautious. We’ve condemned another generation to live on a planet that is one grave act of hubris or human error away from destruction without demanding any action from our leaders. That must change.

Keeping Outer Space Nuclear Weapons Free

In the coming weeks, Washington, Beijing, and other capitals need to pressure Putin to abandon any ideas about putting nuclear weapons in orbit. As President Joe Biden noted on Feb. 16, that deployment “hasn’t happened yet, and my hope is it will not.”

By Daryl G. Kimball, Arms Control Association

Fifty-seven years ago, through the Outer Space Treaty, the United States and the Soviet Union agreed to codify a fundamental nuclear taboo: nuclear weapons shall not be stationed in orbit or elsewhere in outer space. But there is growing concern that Russia is working on an orbiting anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons system involving a nuclear explosive device that would, if deployed, violate the treaty, undermine space security, and worsen the technological and nuclear arms race.

The flash created by the Starfish Prime high-altitude nuclear test on July 9,1962 as seen from Honolulu, 900 miles away. (Wikimedia Commons)
The flash created by the Starfish Prime high-altitude nuclear test on July 9,1962 as seen from Honolulu, 900 miles away. (Wikimedia Commons)

The White House confirmed on Feb. 15 that U.S. intelligence uncovered evidence that Russia is developing an ASAT weapon that “would be a violation of the Outer Space Treaty, to which more than 130 countries have signed up to, including Russia.” Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a nondenial denial, claiming on Feb. 20 that Russia remains “categorically against…the placement of nuclear weapons in space.”

An ASAT system involving a nuclear explosive device could produce a massive surge of radiation and a powerful electromagnetic pulse that, depending on the altitude of the explosion and the size of the warhead, could indiscriminately destroy, blind, or disable many of the 9,500 commercial and military space satellites now in orbit.

North Korea’s Kim says military should ‘thoroughly annihilate’ US and South Korea if provoked

“In his New Year’s Day address Monday, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said he will strengthen his military’s preemptive strike, missile defense and retaliatory capabilities in response to the North Korean nuclear threat.”

| January 1, 2024

 SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said his military should “thoroughly annihilate” the United States and South Korea if provoked, state media reported Monday, after he vowed to boost national defense to cope with what he called an unprecedented U.S.-led confrontation.

North Korea has increased its warlike rhetoric in recent months in response to an expansion of U.S.-South Korean military drills. Experts expect Kim will continue to escalate his rhetoric and weapons tests because he likely believes he can use heightened tensions to wrest U.S. concessions if former President Donald Trump wins the U.S. presidential election in November.

Nuclear weapons should be relics of the past – ALJAZEERA

“As the world marks the International Day against Nuclear Tests, we should all join the fight for global disarmament.”

By Karipbek Kuyukov, the Honorary Ambassador of The ATOM Project, ALJAZEERA | September 26, 2023

The Semipalatinsk Test Site in northern Kazakhstan, where hundreds of nuclear bombs were detonated by the Soviet Union until 1989, is now dotted with craters and boreholes [CTBTO Preparatory Commission/Wikimedia Commons]

In the quiet and peaceful steppe of Kazakhstan, a dark and ominous legacy lingers beneath the surface. Over four decades between 1949 and 1989, 456 nuclear bombs were detonated by the Soviet Union at the Semipalatinsk Test Site in northern Kazakhstan.

While the echoes of nuclear explosions have long faded, the scars of nuclear testing run deep. More than 1.5 million people in Kazakhstan were exposed to the toxic fallout from those tests. Countless lives were irreversibly altered, and the environment was forever scarred. I am a living testament to the horrors of nuclear testing, as I was born without arms due to the effects of nuclear radiation.

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: Yes, nuclear weapons are immoral. They’re also, practically speaking, useless.

“…Human beings make the threats, evaluate the threats, and decide how to respond. If human beings are prone to folly—and we are—and if human beings run the deterrence process, then nuclear deterrence is inherently flawed. It will fail. Over the long run it cannot be safe. Eventually, human failure will lead to a catastrophic nuclear war.”

By Ward Hayes Wilson, THE BULLETIN | September 19, 2023

Almost everyone who works actively against nuclear weapons is, at some level, appalled by the immorality of nuclear weapons. This makes sense because the indiscriminate killing of children, grandparents, people with disabilities, and a host of other ordinary folks is appalling.

As a result, the first argument that almost all activists reach for is moral. They bring forward hibakusha to put a human face on the immorality. They talk about the indigenous people who suffered during the mining and production of nuclear weapons. They show graphic pictures of the destruction, the burns, the radiation sickness, and other catastrophic damage done by the bombings. They say, in effect, “Look at the immorality!” They sometimes point to it with a hint of outrage in their voices. How can people not be moved by these horrible, immoral acts?

And yet here we are, 78 years later, in the midst of a second nuclear weapons arms race. Every nation that possesses nuclear weapons is either expanding or upgrading its nuclear arsenal. How can this be?

Return of US nuclear weapons to UK would be an escalation, says Russia

Moscow says it would respond with ‘countermeasures’, after US air force budget item hinted at possible move

 and  THE GUARDIAN | September 5, 2023

The Russian foreign ministry has said Moscow will view any move to return US nuclear weapons to the UK as an escalation and will respond with “countermeasures” for its own security.

The foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova was responding to a report last week about an item in the 2024 US air force budget for building a dormitory at RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk for personnel on a “potential surety mission” – military jargon for nuclear safety and security. It raised the prospect of the return of US nuclear weapons to British soil for the first time in more than 15 years.

“If this step is ever made, we will view it as escalation, as a step toward escalation that would take things to a direction that is quite opposite to addressing the pressing issue of pulling all nuclear weapons out of European countries,” Zakharova said.

GAO: Lab faces four-year delay, cost growth for making nuclear bomb cores

“The agency spending more on pit production than originally envisioned isn’t technically a cost overrun because no funding baseline was ever established…This means there’s no benchmark anyone can point to and say the agency has spent too much, she said, which in turn leaves funding for pits open-ended.”

By Scott Wyland [email protected] THE SANTA FE NEW MEXICAN | August 19, 2023

View/Download: GAO report on NNSA projects

Federal officials estimate Los Alamos National Laboratory won’t produce 30 nuclear bomb cores until 2030 — four years after the legally required deadline.

A plutonium pellet, “illuminated by its own energy,” according to the Department of Energy. DOE

The additional time needed to produce 30 bowling-ball-sized warhead triggers, known as pits, will cost the lab significantly more than originally estimated, a government watchdog said in a newly released report.

The agency in charge of the country’s nuclear arsenal estimates in the Government Accountability Office report it will take until 2030 for the Los Alamos lab’s plutonium facility to be capable of making 30 pits.

Oppenheimer Author Endorses Norton Bill Calling for the US to sign Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

“My book chronicles the birth of the nuclear age. Since the first nuclear testing and bombing in 1945, the man-made nuclear danger has continually increased. Now, today’s 13,000 atomic weapons are unthinkably destructive, indiscriminate, climate-altering devices that can be unleashed by design, by sabotage, or by accident. Therefore, I strongly endorse Congresswoman Norton’s Nuclear Abolition and Conversion Act, H.R. 2775…”

NUCLEAR BAN US | August 17, 2023

New York (August 16, 2023) – Kai Bird, co-author of American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the Pulitzer Prize-winning book on which Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer movie is based, issued the following statement endorsing a bill by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), the  Nuclear Abolition and Conversion Act, H.R. 2775

Downwinders are Finally Close to Getting Justice

“Thanks to the bipartisan efforts of U.S. Sens. Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M., and Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, the Senate recently passed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act making Trinity Downwinders, and communities in three other western states, eligible for recognition and compensation by the federal government. It is now up to congressional leaders to meet in conference and negotiate a final version of the bill.”


Of all the chores I had to do during summer visits to my grandmother Savina’s home in southern New Mexico, hauling water out of the cistern was my least favorite.

As a city kid, I was always puzzled by the fact that she still insisted on using rainwater for cooking and cleaning, even after my family had upgraded her house with indoor plumbing. But I knew better than to question the wisdom of a woman who had managed to lift her family out of rural poverty in the span of a single generation and conceded that maybe the tortillas she cooked on her wood-burning stove did taste better with fresh rainwater. It certainly never occurred to her that the rainwater in that cistern, along with most of the locally harvested food she used to sustain her large family, was likely contaminated as a result of the detonation of the world’s first nuclear weapon, which occurred 72 miles west of Savina’s home on July 16, 1945.
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Wester says New Mexico has to lead on nuclear weapon disarmament

“Counting on luck is not a winning strategy,” – Santa Fe Archbishop John Wester.

| July 16, 2023

040423 jw wester antinuke3.jpg (copy)
Santa Fe Archbishop John Wester stands to denounce nuclear weapons on April 4, 2023, during a community meeting with representatives from Los Alamos National Laboratory at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center. Wester and representatives of other faiths and anti-nuclear groups organized a prayer and remembrance ceremony Sunday afternoon at the Santa María de la Paz Community Hall on the anniversary of the Trinity test north of Alamogordo and a 1979 uranium mill spill near Church Rock. Jim Weber/New Mexican file photo

On July 16, 1945, the world was changed forever by a flash in the New Mexico desert.

The state’s link to that fateful day — from the builders of the first atomic bomb, to its 1945 detonation in a test at Trinity Site, to the victims of contamination decades later — gives New Mexico a special responsibility to lead the way to a peaceful future free of nuclear weapons, Archbishop of Santa Fe John Wester said Sunday afternoon…

…Seventy-eight years after the device was exploded in a test north of Alamogordo, its reverberations are still being felt. Wester has made nuclear disarmament one of his key causes. He and representatives of other faiths and anti-nuclear groups organized a prayer and remembrance ceremony Sunday afternoon at the Santa María de la Paz Community Hall on the anniversary of the Trinity test north of Alamogordo and a 1979 uranium mill spill near Church Rock.

“These are two examples of nuclear colonialism in rural New Mexican communities and what makes today such a politically and emotionally charged day,” said Myrriah Gómez, author of Nuclear Nuevo México, a book that examines the state’s nuclear history in the context of the Spanish and American colonialism that preceded it.

Gómez said the national laboratories that employ so many New Mexicans could be repurposed to discover cures for diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s.

Russian Nuclear Threat Returns With Kyiv’s Warnings Over Plant

Alarm is intensifying in Kyiv over the possibility that a Russian-occupied nuclear reactor in southern Ukraine could become a target of attack.

By and , BLOOMBERG NEWS | July 5, 2023

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy reinforced warnings that Russia may be planning to sabotage the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, which Moscow’s forces have occupied since the start of the war. In response, the Kremlin accused the government in Kyiv of planning its own provocation. Concern has run high since last month’s destruction of the Kakhovka dam triggered catastrophic flooding and drained a reservoir used for the plant’s cooling system. The UN’s atomic watchdog agency, which has said it’s seen no evidence of explosives, is seeking fresh access to rooftops of reactors and other parts of the complex, IAEA chief Rafael Mariano Grossi said.

NEW YORK TIMES: The Terror of Threes in the Heavens and on Earth

The tripolar nuclear age could put human survival at risk. But some experts cite a number of three-body lessons from nature — starting with Newton’s — that illuminate the issue and suggest possible ways forward.

By William J. Broad, THE NEW YORK TIMES | June 26, 2023

NEW YORK TIMES: The Terror of Threes in the Heavens and on EarthPhysicists have long explored how phenomena in groups of three can sow chaos. A new three-body problem, they warn, could lead to not only global races for new armaments but also thermonuclear war. . If achieved, the rise would represent a fivefold increase from the “minimum deterrent” that Beijing possessed for more than a half-century and would make it a nuclear peer of Moscow and Washington.

Dr. Newman calls the tripolar state “much less resilient” than the bipolar standoff. Even so, three-body theorists see a number of ways that the unthinkable might be avoided.

For instance, Dr. Krepinevich, in a Foreign Affairs article last year, argued that Moscow could fade into economic and strategic insignificance, leaving a strong Beijing and Washington to “navigate their way to a new bipolar equilibrium.” The armed revolt over the weekend in Russia drives home not only Moscow’s weakness but the threat of new instability in an atomic superpower.

On a different note, Siegfried S. Hecker , a former director of the Los Alamos weapons laboratory in New Mexico, argued that Washington should aim to deal with the rival superpowers as separate entities.

“I don’t see Russia and China getting together” on atomic strategies, he said. “I see it as two bipolars.” As the Ukraine war rages and Washington has little interaction with Moscow…

Russia mercenary threat revives concern over nuclear arsenal security

“…the safety of these weapons is a persistent worry for Washington. U.S. intelligence agencies said in their 2023 Annual Threat assessment that ‘Russia’s nuclear material security … remains a concern despite improvements to material protection, control, and accounting at Russia’s nuclear sites since the 1990s.'”

JAPAN TIMES | June 25, 2023

The Wagner mercenary group’s march on Moscow has revived an old fear in Washington: What happens to Russia’s nuclear stockpile in the event of domestic upheaval?

An agreement on Saturday by Wagner’s boss, Yevgeny Prigozhin, to order his fighters back to their camps quelled immediate worries of major conflict inside Russia. But the episode signaled that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s grasp on power is weakening.

CNN: Putin warns NATO over being drawn into Ukraine war, says Russia has more nuclear weapons

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned there is a “serious danger” of NATO being drawn further into the Ukraine war if members of the alliance continue to supply military weaponry to Kyiv.

By Zahid Mahmood, CNN | June 17, 2023

…“This is a serious danger of further drawing NATO into this military conflict,” he added.

During his speech to the forum, Putin also suggested Russia’s large number of nuclear weapons would “guarantee” its security – noting that Russia had more such weapons than NATO countries.

Russia has a total stockpile of around 6,250 nuclear warheads as of January 2021, according to the Arms Control Association. The US has more than 5,500 while two other NATO member states, Britain and France, have about 220 and 290 nuclear warheads, respectively.

“Nuclear weapons are created to guarantee our security in the broader sense and the existence of the Russian state,” Putin said.

“But first of all, there is no need and secondly the very fact of talking about it reduces the possibility of the threshold for using these weapons being reduced.”

Wasted: 2022 Global Nuclear Weapons Spending – New Report from the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

In its report “Wasted: 2022 Global Nuclear Weapons Spending” the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons shows in 2022, the year of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, nine nuclear-armed states spent $82.9 billion on their nuclear weapons, more than $157,000 per minute, an overall increase of $2.5 billion from 2021.

By | June 12, 2023

Wasted: 2022 Global Nuclear Weapons Spending - New Report from the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear WeaponsDownload the Executive Summary
Read the Executive Summary in Italian
Download the full report

Nine countries spent $82.9 billion on nuclear weapons, of which the private sector earned at least $29 billion in 2022. The United States spent more than all of the other nuclear armed states combined, $43.7 billion. Russia spent 22% of what the U.S. did, at $9.6 billion, and China spent just over a quarter of the U.S. total, at $11.7 billion.

This is the fourth annual report documenting massive investments in global nuclear weapons spending. Through an ever-changing and challenging security environment, from security threats of climate change to the COVID-19 pandemic to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, nuclear weapons spending has steadily increased, with no resulting measurable improvement on the security environment. If anything, the situation is getting worse.

As companies throw money at lobbyists and researchers to assert the continued relevance and value of nuclear weapons, the record shows the inutility of weapons of mass destruction to address modern security challenges — and the legitimate fear, backed by peer-reviewed scientific evidence, that they can end global civilisation as we know it.

CNN – Lukashenko offers nuclear weapons to nations willing ‘to join the Union State of Russia and Belarus’

“We must do everything to prevent Putin’s plan to deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus…It directly violates our constitutional non-nuclear status and would secure Russia’s control over Belarus for years ahead. And it would further threaten the security of Ukraine and all of Europe,” — exiled opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya.

By  and , CNN | May 28, 2023

Lukashenko offers nuclear weapons to nations willing ‘to join the Union State of Russia and Belarus’(CNN)—Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko has claimed that nations who are willing “to join the Union State of Russia and Belarus” will be given nuclear weapons, days after confirming the transfer of some tactical nuclear weapons from Moscow to Minsk had begun.

Lukashenko, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, made the comments in an on-camera interview released Sunday on the state-run Russia 1 channel.

During the interview, Lukashenko said, “no one minds Kazakhstan and other countries having the same close relations that we have with the Russian Federation.”

“It’s very simple,” he added. “Join the Union State of Belarus and Russia. That’s all: there will be nuclear weapons for everyone.”

Stronger Global Governance is the Only Way to a World Free of Nuclear Weapons

“We can begin uncovering this route to a safer, saner world when we recognize that a great many people and governments cling to nuclear weapons because of their desire for national security. After all, it has been and remains a dangerous world, and for thousands of years nations (and before the existence of nations, rival territories) have protected themselves from aggression by wielding military might….

But what if global governance were strengthened to the extent that it could provide national security? ”

By Lawrence S. Wittner, Professor of History Emeritus at SUNY/Albany and the author of Confronting the Bomb (Stanford University Press) HISTORY NEWS NETWORK | May 21, 2023

Some of the 800 members of Women Strike for Peace who marched at United Nations headquarters in Manhattan to demand UN mediation of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis

It should come as no surprise that the world is currently facing an existential nuclear danger.  In fact, it has been caught up in that danger since 1945, when atomic bombs were used to annihilate the populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Today, however, the danger of a nuclear holocaust is probably greater than in the past.  There are now nine nuclear powers―the United States, Russia, Britain, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea―and they are currently engaged in a new nuclear arms race, building ever more efficient weapons of mass destruction.  The latest entry in their nuclear scramble, the hypersonic missile, travels at more than five times the speed of sound and is adept at evading missile defense systems.

US bombs unlikely to reach underground Iran nuclear site: Report

New Iranian atomic facility near Natanz may be too deep underground to be destroyed by air raids, AP analysis says.

ALJAZEERA | May 22, 2023

Near a peak of the Zagros Mountains in central Iran, workers are building a nuclear facility so deep in the earth that it is likely beyond the range of a last-ditch United States weapon designed to destroy such sites, according to experts and satellite imagery analysed by The Associated Press news agency.

The photos and videos from Planet Labs PBC show Iran has been digging tunnels in the mountain near the Natanz nuclear site, which has come under repeated sabotage attacks amid Tehran’s standoff with the West over its atomic programme.

ICAN: G7 Hiroshima summit fails to deliver progress on nuclear disarmament

ICAN: G7 Hiroshima summit fails to deliver progress on nuclear disarmament

“This is more than a missed opportunity. With the world facing the acute risk that nuclear weapons could be used for the first time since Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed, this is a gross failure of global leadership. Simply pointing fingers at Russia and China is insufficient. We need the G7 countries, which all either possess, host or endorse the use of nuclear weapons, to step up and engage the other nuclear powers in disarmament talks if we are to reach their professed goal of a world without nuclear weapons” — ICAN Executive Director Daniel Hogsta

ICAN | May 19, 2023

Update 20 May 2023: the G7 leaders have just issued the final communique from their summit in Hiroshima. It claims they have “taken concrete steps to strengthen disarmament and non-proliferation efforts, towards the ultimate goal of a world without nuclear weapons with undiminished security for all” but it doesn’t say what these steps are. That’s because it can’t.

What we got from the leaders’ discussion on nuclear weapons yesterday was a rehash of ideas and proposals that have failed to deliver progress over the past three decades. They did not announce anything new or concrete. They couldn’t even bring themselves to follow the G20 and TPNW member states by condemning all nuclear threats. Instead they reserved their condemnation for Russia’s and North Korea’s threats, which, while justified, fails to acknowledge how the G7’s own nuclear doctrines are based on the threat to use nuclear weapons and so contribute to the acute danger these weapons pose to everyone.

The G7’s detailed statement “G7 Leaders’ Hiroshima Vision on Nuclear Disarmament”, issued on May 19, falls far short of providing any meaningful outcomes for nuclear disarmament. After months of preparation and amid high expectations, the leaders are missing the moment to make the world safer from nuclear weapons, instead of confronting nuclear threats with a concrete, credible plan for nuclear disarmament – like the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons- they are barely even paying lip service to the horrors of Hiroshima, the first city attacked by nuclear weapons.

US releases nuclear warhead data in bid to pressure Russia

“Disclosure under New START Treaty follows Russia’s decision to suspend its participation in the nuclear agreement”

ALJAZEERA | May 16, 2023

A military aide walking with the case holding the US nuclear codes. The case is black. The aide is walking right to left in the White House grounds and wearing a white uniform. US releases nuclear warhead data in bid to pressure Russia
A military aide carrying a briefcase containing launch codes for US nuclear weapons [File: Joshua Roberts/Reuters]

The US Department of State said it was releasing the information publicly as part of its commitments under the New START Treaty, appearing to reverse an earlier decision not to share the data.

New Mexico shouldn’t be the nation’s nuclear dump

“A storage facility cannot be “interim” without a final, designated location. Such a site does not exist. And when it comes to anything nuclear, there’s no such thing as interim or temporary.”


The federal government’s longstanding failure to build a repository for nuclear waste should not be left for New Mexico to solve.

Yet a decision last week by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to issue a license to “temporarily” store tons of spent nuclear fuel in New Mexico could mean waste from commercial power plants across the nation will end up buried in the state. It’s bad news for us, of course, but it’s catastrophic for a nation that has never fully come to grips with the reality of nuclear power.

To recap: The commission said it will allow Holtec International to build and operate a nuclear waste storage facility near the Lea and Eddy County line in far southeast New Mexico.

This, despite the clear message from New Mexico’s congressional delegation, governor and statewide elected officials that the state is not interested in being the one-size-fits-all nuclear storage solution for the country. New Mexico already hosts the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. It stores transuranic waste, a byproduct of the country’s nuclear defense program.

Threats by artificial intelligence to human health and human existence

“AI could harm human health via its impacts on the social and upstream determinants of health through: the control and manipulation of people, use of lethal autonomous weapons and the effects on work and employment”

By Frederik Federspiel, Ruth Mitchell, Asha Asokan, Carlos Umana, David McCoy BMJ GLOBAL HEALTH | May 9, 2023

Dr. Ruth Mitchell (IPPNW Board Chair) and Dr. Carlos Umaña (IPPNW Co-President) co-author BMJ Global Health publication, “Threats by artificial intelligence to human health and human existence”. The 5 expert authors state, “AI could harm human health via its impacts on the social and upstream determinants of health through: the control and manipulation of people, use of lethal autonomous weapons and the effects on work and employment”.

U.S. sees a new era of nuclear risk dawning in China-Russia cooperation – Japan Times

“To avert miscalculations, nuclear-weapons states must engage on existing and potential threats, from Iran’s atomic ambitions to the use of artificial intelligence for decision-making during crises,” — Pranay Vaddi, the National Security Council’s senior director for arms control.

JAPAN TIMES | May 6, 2023

An undated image released in July 2021 shows what researchers say are missile silos under construction in the Chinese desert. | 2021 PLANET LABS INC. / VIA AFP-JIJIAn undated image released in July 2021 shows what researchers say are missile silos under construction in the Chinese desert. | 2021 PLANET LABS INC. / VIA AFP-JIJI

The deepening cooperation between China and Russia threatens to overturn decades of international stability in nuclear arms control, according to a top adviser to U.S. President Joe Biden.

“We’re entering a different period,” Vaddi said after talks at the International Atomic Energy Agency. “It requires a little bit of experimentation.”

Assessments that China is expanding its nuclear arsenal, along with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its disavowal of arms-control agreements, are adding to concern about an era fraught with new dangers. Unlike the Cold War, when the U.S. and Soviet Union maintained atomic parity and agreed to limit certain types of arms, more nations are developing the technologies and materials needed for weapons of mass destruction.

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