Guest Commentary

UCS

Leading experts from a variety of fields bring their insights to The Equation, providing guest commentary on a broad range of issues that connect to our work.

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The Human Side of Nuclear Weapons Issues in the FY20 Defense Bill

Lilly Adams

Editors Note: January 27, 2020 is the “National Day of Remembrance for Downwinders”—a day to acknowledge the extreme harm caused to those exposed to radiation and fallout from atmospheric nuclear weapons tests conducted in the United States. UCS stands with these communities in their fight for compensation, through the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA), for the health consequences and deaths resulting from this testing. Join us in calling on members of Congress to support legislation to expand and extend RECA, which is currently set to expire in 2022. You can read more about recent developments and current legislation on RECA below.

Tonight, President Trump is expected to sign the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)  at Joint Base Andrews, a defense budget bill totaling a stunning $738 billion. Much attention has been given to the many ways that Democrats lost out on progressive priorities in this bill. The nuclear arms control and disarmament community lost hard-fought battles over issues like the low-yield warhead, and overall spending levels on nuclear weapons systems.

UCS’s President Ken Kimmel put out an important statement on these issues, urging members of Congress to vote “no” on this dangerous bill. But many nuclear weapons-related issues have been flying under the radar, especially those relating to the communities directly impacted by nuclear weapons production and testing. Here’s a run-down of the issues nuclear policy wonks might have missed in their analysis of the NDAA.

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NRC Cherry-Picking in the Post-Fukushima Era: A Case Study

Mark Leyse

In the late 1960s, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), the forerunner of the NRC, paid the very companies that designed nuclear reactors—Westinghouse and General Electric (GE)—to test the efficacy of their own emergency cooling systems. Read More

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Hawaii’s False Missile Alert

Michael Jones

I was using my home computer a few minutes after 8 AM on January 13 when the phone rang. My daughter called to tell me that she had received an alert message on her smart phone that a missile was headed toward Hawaii. Read more >

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Integrating Nuclear Science and Policy for a New Generation

Meghan B. McGarry

Last November, the biennial Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs met in Nagasaki, Japan in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II. Pugwash was established in 1957 by a cadre of scientists who recognized their duty to address the moral implications of their technical work. Like UCS, the organization focuses on the intersection of science and policy, with the ultimate goal of abolishing nuclear weapons worldwide. The Pugwash meetings bring together senior governmental policy makers and nuclear experts from a variety of disciplines, spanning physics and engineering, international relations, and ethics, to provide guidance and a technically sound voice in international governance. Read more >

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