nuclear weapons


Nuclear Weapons, Frontline Communities, and the COVID Stimulus. What You Need to Know.

Lilly Adams, , UCS

On March 1, 1954 the US tested a nuclear weapon 1,000 times more powerful than the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima. The blast from the Castle Bravo test over the Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands rained down over a 7,000 square mile area. U.S. Department of Energy

The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing us to confront the vast inequities in our society that have made this virus more deadly in some communities than others. This is also true in the world of nuclear weapons policy: US nuclear weapons activities have, and continue to, hurt communities through harmful and sometimes deadly radiation exposure. Now, the survivors of this radiation exposure are also at greater risk from COVID-19. Effective COVID-19 response requires that those who need care can receive it. It also means recognizing who is at greatest risk, and addressing their needs. As we gear up for another stimulus package, UCS and more than 100 other organizations across the country are calling for Congress to include funding for health care access for communities directly harmed by US nuclear activities.  Read more >

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US Should Extend the New START Nuclear Weapons Treaty To Make Us All Safer

, co-director and senior scientist

Obama and Medvedev signing the New START treaty (Source: White House photo)

According to an AP News story, last Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov discussed the fate of the 2010 New START agreement, as well as potential future agreements to limit nuclear weapons.

Lavrov reiterated Moscow’s desire to extend New START from February 2021 until 2026 and clarified that two of Russia’s new weapon systems would be covered under the treaty. This alone should be reason for the United States to extend New START. But Russia has also said it is open to negotiating a new treaty that would limit other Russian weapons systems now under development.

This is a no-brainer. It is foolhardy for the United States to throw out something good because it wants something better, leaving it with nothing.

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Fitting Hypersonic Weapons into the Nuclear Arms Control Regime

Former President Barack Obama signed the instrument of ratification of the New START Treaty in the Oval Office on Feb. 2, 2011. The only active treaty limiting the deployment of US and Russian nuclear weapons, New START does not explicitly restrict hypersonic missiles.

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Nuclear Weapons and the 2020 Presidential Race: High Demand, Little Debate, Little Knowledge

, manager of strategic campaigns

Last year, I spent a couple of hours at a park in Cambridge, Mass asking passers-by who they thought was involved and had the authority to launch US nuclear weapons. Not surprisingly, most people incorrectly assumed that “Congress,” the “military,” the “Joint Chiefs of Staff” or “the experts” had some say.  And when they learned that under current policy, the US president has sole decision-making authority over nuclear weapons their responses included “spooky,” “worried” and “not good.”  Not good, indeed.
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Iran, the United States, and Nuclear Weapons: Questions and Answers

, analyst

Just a few days into the new year, 2020 began with high tensions between the United States and Iran. Kicked off by a US airstrike that killed a leading Iranian general and followed by Iranian missile strikes on bases in Iraq housing US troops, many feared that military conflict could be imminent. One question that raised particular alarm was the prospect that nuclear weapons might be involved. The situation has, fortunately, calmed down, but confusion about the relationship between Iran’s nuclear power program and its ability to build a nuclear weapon, as well as US options for using nuclear weapons against Iran, remains.

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