There’s no question that the US government killed and sickened many of its own people through explosive nuclear testing: estimates of the death toll in the United States from nuclear testing vary widely, from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands. But the harm doesn’t stop there. Other nuclear weapons activities, like uranium mining, production, and waste storage and cleanup, have also caused unknown deaths and illnesses. As is so often the case, the people who have borne the heaviest burden of these activities are often people of color, Indigenous communities, women and children, and those living in poor, rural communities. These people are the largely ignored, often forgotten casualties of the Cold War and the US nuclear weapons program.
January 26, 2021 10:56 AM EDT
November 11, 2020 9:00 AM EDT
I was an Army specialist fourth class in 1957 when I was bused to the Nevada Test Site with other servicemen for an operation we were told nothing about. We soon witnessed a series of nuclear bomb blasts that created such intense flashes of light that I could see the blood vessels and bones in my hands as I covered my closed eyes. Years later, I am still haunted by those excruciatingly bright bursts.
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November 7, 2020 12:09 PM EDT
As President-elect Biden prepares for the enormous responsibility of becoming president of the United States, there is one question I want to ask him: Sir, are you a fan of a nuclear arms race? Because you are being handed one, a burgeoning nuclear and technology arms race waged by Russia, China, and the United States.
The Trump administration has embraced this race, with the president’s chief arms control negotiator declaring that the United States knows “how to win these races and we know how to spend the adversary into oblivion.” (Oblivion? Seriously?) And yet, perhaps surprisingly, it was President Barack Obama who started the wheels churning on all this; his administration lay plans to build new versions of every piece of the oversized US nuclear force structure—new long-range bombers, new land-based missiles, new nuclear-armed submarines, new nuclear-armed cruise missiles, and new versions of the nuclear warheads they carry. Since coming to office, President Trump added to the list a new, lower-yield nuclear warhead, a new submarine-launched cruise missile, and one more new nuclear warhead for submarine-based missiles.