Monday, June 2, 2008

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Issue #131 - June 2008

Over the years, we at The Sunflower have been appreciative of all of the feedback and great responses we have received regarding our articles. Now, we want to give you the chance to have these comments published! Each month we will be selecting comments from our readers to appear in the following month’s newsletter. With a circulation of more than 15,000 subscribers internationally, this is a chance for you to broadcast your thoughts across the world!

Guidelines

1. Submissions should be limited to 100 words or less.

2. Letters should address one of the previous month’s articles.

3. No profanity or inappropriate language.

4. Not all letters will be published.

5. All letters must be submitted by the last Monday of the month.

Please email your letters to rwayman@napf.org.
Perspectives
Nuclear Weapons and Future Justice by David Krieger
Preventing an Arms Race in Outer Space by James Carroll
Simulated Attack Reveals Security Flaws at Livermore by Rachel Hitow
Historical Perspectives
Ten Years of the Bomb by Zia Mian
Ten Years After India's Nuclear Tests: Deeper Into the Morass by M.V. Ramana
Nuclear Proliferation
US and Russia Sign Nuclear Cooperation Agreement
US and Saudi Arabia Plan Nuclear Cooperation
Nuclear Insanity
Uranium Mine in Drinking Water Aquifer Challenged
Nuclear Labs
House Votes Down Amendment to Fund New Nuclear Bombs
Nuclear Energy and Waste
Opposition to Global Nuclear Energy Partnership Increases
International Strides toward Sustainable Energy Start in Berlin
Resources
Rethinking Nuclear Weapons
Trident: What Is It For?
Art Cries Out
American University's Summer 2008 Study Tour in Japan
Foundation Activities
Swackhamer Disarmament Video Contest Closes Soon
Visit Us on Change.org, MySpace and Facebook
Foundation President David Krieger to Receive Alumnus of the Year Award
Senator Feinstein Honored for Nuclear Policy Stance
Foundation Poetry Contest - Enter by July 1
US Leadership Appeal to the Next President
Quotes

Perspectives
Nuclear Weapons and Future Justice
by David Krieger

Future justice requires that the inhabitants of the future be treated justly and equitably. This implies that our current social, economic and political relations, both nationally and internationally, become more just and equitable. It also adds an explicit focus on the longer term consequences of these relations. The decisions taken in the present must be made with a view to their effect upon future generations.

To read more, visit: www.wagingpeace.org/articles/2008/05/15_krieger_future_justice.php.

Preventing an Arms Race in Outer Space
by James Carroll

As World War I broke out, Henry James identified an inexorable current that had been running below international events, leading to the “monstrous scene” of August “as its grand Niagara.” Below the glassy upriver surface, the swift tide had been driven by habits of mind, arms merchant greed, imperial hubris, and a politics that was wholly inadequate. At the deadly cascade, nations tumbled into the most violent century in history. Writer Jonathan Schell cites the Niagara metaphor to define the still running momentum of war.

To read more, visit: www.wagingpeace.org/articles/2008/05/12_carroll_paros.php.

Simulated Attack Reveals Security Flaws at Livermore
by Rachel Hitow

A recent mock terrorist infiltration conducted at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), located near San Francisco, showed that fissile material necessary for building nuclear weapons was not hard to obtain. In Building 332, the faux-invaders found access to approximately 2,000 pounds of weapons-grade uranium and deadly plutonium, a surplus bountiful enough to build at least 300 nuclear weapons. The simulated attack also revealed problems with the lab’s hydraulic system which controls the Gatling gun responsible for protecting the facility.

To read more, visit: www.wagingpeace.org/articles/2008/05/29_hitow_simulated_attack.php.

Historical Perspectives
Ten Years of the Bomb
by Zia Mian

It is 10 years since India and Pakistan went openly nuclear. The dangers of a nuclear South Asia are becoming more and more apparent, yet the governments of the two countries continue to build their arsenals. Both countries continue to produce plutonium for more and more bombs, both countries have been testing new kinds of delivery vehicles and both countries have conducted war games assuming the use of nuclear weapons. The pursuit of nuclear weapons is beginning to take, as elsewhere in the world, a logic of its own. South Asia awaits a strong peace movement that will make the governments of India and Pakistan see reason.

To read more, visit: www.wagingpeace.org/articles/2008/05/16_mian_10_years.php.

Ten Years After India's Nuclear Tests: Deeper Into the Morass
by M.V. Ramana

Since Pokharan, we have been witness to an opportunistic shift in the stance of the government, from an outright condemnation of nuclear deterrence to an unabated enthusiasm for the development of a full-fledged arsenal.

Hand in hand, expenditures on non-nuclear military activities and acquisition of conventional weapons have also increased dramatically...The impact of these expenditures, of course, falls primarily upon the poor and the vulnerable.

To read more, visit: www.wagingpeace.org/articles/2008/05/12_ramana_deeper_morass.php.

Nuclear Proliferation
US and Russia Sign Nuclear Cooperation Agreement

On May 6, the United States and Russia signed a bilateral agreement, similar to the proposed deal between the US and India, to share nuclear technology and materials. Commonly referred to as a 123 agreement (section 123 of the US Atomic Energy Act dictates the framework in which nuclear technology and materials can be shared with other countries), this new US-Russian agreement is drawing opposition from arms control experts and Congress.

According to the State Department, the proposed agreement would allow “US and Russian companies to partner in nuclear joint ventures, and by permitting commercial sales of nuclear materials, reactors, and major reactor components by US industry to Russia.” The program would also facilitate cooperation with the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership. Congressman Edward Markey (D-MA) has already drafted a resolution opposing the deal.

According to Ivan Oelrich of the Federation of American Scientists, “There are other, second-order reasons to object to the agreement, mostly for what it fails to do rather than what it does. This could have been an opportunity to increase openness in the Russian plutonium economy, to more cleanly separate Russian military and civilian plutonium inventories, to expand the number of both Russian and American civilian nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards, and to enhance opportunities for a verifiable Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty. It does none of these things.”

Oelrich goes on to explain that, while the agreement raises concerns, there is little Congress can do to block it. The only way to block the agreement would be for a bill opposing the agreement to pass through both houses of Congress. Since this would be a bill like any other, it would be subject to Presidential veto. If the President vetoed the bill, it would then require a 2/3 vote from Congress to be overridden.

Oelrich, Ivan, “Another Nuclear Trade Deal, This Time with Russia,” FAS Strategic Security Blog, May 20, www.fas.org/blog/ssp/2008/05/another-nuclear-trade-deal-this-time-with-russia.php.

US and Saudi Arabia Plan Nuclear Cooperation

On May 16, the United States and Saudi Arabia released a “Memorandum of Understanding” declaring their intention to develop cooperation on nuclear energy. According to the memorandum, the United States will assist Saudi Arabia in developing nuclear energy for use in “medicine, industry, and power generation.”

For this deal to go forward, the US and Saudi Arabia would have to establish a 123 agreement for nuclear cooperation, and Congress would have to approve it. Under the United States Atomic Energy Act of 1954, such an agreement would have to sit before Congress for 90 days before Congress can approve it. It is unclear whether Congress will be in session for another 90 days in 2008.

During an interview on Democracy Now, Harvey Wasserman, Editor of Nukefee.org, said, “So what the Bush administration is telling us is that this current Saudi government is always going to be in power and it’s perfectly fine for them to have nuclear reactors. We know that India and Pakistan both built nuclear weapons from their commercial atomic power programs, as perhaps did South Africa.”

A recent New York Times editorial commenting on the deal said, “Washington and the other nuclear sellers must find ways to lessen the chances that expanding nuclear energy today will result in more weapons tomorrow.”

“U.S.-Saudi Arabia Memorandum of Understanding on Nuclear Energy Cooperation,” US Department of State Office of the Spokesman, May 16, 2008.

“Nuclear Gold Rush,” New York Times, May 26, 2008.

Nuclear Insanity
Uranium Mine in Drinking Water Aquifer Challenged

Federal judges in Denver say they are surprised the Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued permits to allow a company to leach uranium out of an aquifer that supplies drinking water to thousands of Navajos in New Mexico.

The in-situ process uses chemicals to free uranium from the surrounding ore, allowing it to be pumped out of the ground with water and refined on the surface. Dozens of companies have proposed similar mines around the West.

Citizens groups opposing the mine say the process threatens to pollute ground water. Hydro Resources, Inc. says the process is safe.

Lawyers say it is the first-ever challenge to the NRC’s approval of licenses for an in-situ uranium mining operation.

“Appeals Court Hears Challenge to Uranium Mine,” Associated Press, May 12, 2008.

Nuclear Labs
House Votes Down Amendment to Fund New Nuclear Bombs

On May 22, the House of Representatives defeated an amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill that would restore funding for the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW).

Despite Congress eliminating funding for RRW last year, the Department of Energy asked again for at least $10 million in funding for 2009. While the House Armed Services Committee already said earlier this year that no funding would go to RRW, Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM) offered a floor amendment to restore $10 million for RRW. Of the 144 members of Congress who voted against the amendment, 47 were Republican and 97 were Democrat, signifying bipartisan opposition to the RRW program. Rep. Tom Udall (D-NM) said in a statement that there are “still many unanswered questions about the need for the RRW.”

Also included in the Defense Authorization Bill was funding for nuclear pit manufacturing, life extension programs for the US nuclear arsenal, and a mixed oxide facility.

Coleman, Michael. “Wilson: Pearce Was ‘Stupid’ to Introduce Bill,” Albuquerque Journal, May 25, 2008.

Nuclear Energy and Waste
Opposition to Global Nuclear Energy Partnership Increases

Congressional opposition to the Department of Energy’s Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) program is increasing as new reports continue to emerge calling the program ill-conceived.

On the heels of a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), titled “Global Nuclear Energy Partnership: DOE Should Reassess Its Approach to Designing and Building Spent Nuclear Fuel Recycling Facilities,” the House of Representatives cut $6.9 million for GNEP from the Defense Authorization Bill. The Defense Authorization Bill is responsible only for GNEP money marked for nonproliferation use, which is a small portion of the overall money being requested for the program. The House Armed Services Committee finds the “nonproliferation arguments for GNEP unpersuasive” and is “not convinced that GNEP will achieve its stated nonproliferation objectives.” Additionally, the committee expresses concerns regarding “proliferation risks associated with GNEP.”

GNEP is the Department of Energy’s (DOE) plan to resume reprocessing of nuclear waste in the United States. DOE's immediate plans are to build a facility that would reprocess both US and international nuclear waste. The facility would divide nuclear waste into various waste streams. Among those waste streams would be fissile material that could be used in nuclear reactors.

Non-proliferation experts are concerned about GNEP for a number of reasons. The biggest concern relates to the spread of sensitive nuclear technology. By using reprocessing technology to extract plutonium from nuclear waste, a country can build a nuclear bomb. DOE has claimed that GNEP would create a system where states would supply reprocessing services and other states would receive reprocessed fuel, thus limiting the number of countries with reprocessing technology. However, the program is having the opposite effect. For 30 years the US has not engaged in reprocessing of nuclear waste, essentially sending the message “we don’t do it, so you shouldn’t either.” This reversal of policy sends a message to the international community that nuclear reprocessing technology is necessary. The spread of this type of technology would undermine international nonproliferation efforts. Since GNEP was announced, other countries have already expressed interest in reprocessing technology.

Also, GNEP would double the amount of weapons usable fissile material that is shipped around the world, increasing the likelihood that materials could be diverted for use in a nuclear weapon.

In addition to nonproliferation, the GAO report also detailed a number of fiscal concerns. The most prominent of these was that the current proposal for GNEP would “introduce unnecessary costs and technical challenges while creating waste management challenges.” The report also questioned DOE’s plan to build a recycling facility before conducting research and development on a viable form of recycled fuel to be used in reactors.

In the upcoming months, Congress will decide whether funds should be appropriated for reprocessing nuclear waste in the United States.

“Global Nuclear Energy Partnership: DOE Should Reassess Its Approach to Designing and Building Spent Nuclear Fuel Recycling Facilities,” United States Government Accountability Office, April 2008.

International Strides toward Sustainable Energy Start in Berlin

From April 9-11, government representatives from 60 countries met in Berlin to plan for the launch of the new International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). 170 participants came from around the world to discuss the possible activities, objectives, organization, and finance of an agency they hope will make sustainable energy an achievable global goal.

According to a discussion paper produced for the April conference, IRENA came as a result of the “clear lack of activity aimed at supporting governments in their attempt to regulate the application and promotion of renewable energy.”

The goals of the proposed agency are to “provide concrete policy advice and assistance to its members, strengthen the transfer of technology among countries, offer capacity-building assistance, facilitate the financing of renewable energy, stimulate research, and to enhance public information on the potential and opportunities offered by renewable energy.” IRENA will work with its membership, which includes small, large, developing, and industrialized nations, to accelerate the acceptance of renewable energy sources across the globe.

IRENA will focus on multiple forms of renewable energy, including solar, wind, sustainable biomass, tidal and wave, geothermal, hydropower, and other recently developed forms like osmotic energy. The agency will also work to promote energy efficiency and energy saving activities. For many US experts, the concept of renewable energy includes nuclear energy – an association considered to be negative by many nonproliferation experts, who view nuclear energy as inextricably linked to nuclear weapons. As of now, IRENA has not promoted nuclear power.

Among the sixty nations involved in the preparatory conference were France, India, Pakistan, the United Kingdom, and China, all declared nuclear weapon states. The US and Russia, the other two declared nuclear weapons states, did not attend.

“Preparatory Conference for the Foundation of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)” - http://www.irena.org/

Resources
Rethinking Nuclear Weapons

Rethinking Nuclear Weapons is a project to explore the practical realities of nuclear weapons. Based on 25 years of study, the writings reflect conversations with experts dealing with these issues today. Visit the Rethinking Nuclear Weapons website today at www.rethinkingnuclearweapons.org.

Trident: What Is It For?

The Department of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford has released a new report entitled “Trident: What is it for? Challenging the Relevance of British Nuclear Weapons” as part of its Nuclear-Armed Britain program. It examines the relevance of British nuclear deterrent threats to Britain's long-term security and the idea that nuclear weapons provide a form of “insurance” or a guarantee of protection against nuclear threats from other countries.

The report can be read online at www.brad.ac.uk/acad/bdrc/nuclear/trident/briefing2.html.

Art Cries Out

Art Cries Out is a website for artists who create work against war and suffering. Art Cries Out will also be organizing an “Art Against the Bomb” exhibition with participating museums around the world in July and August.

For more information and to view many of these powerful pieces of art, please visit their website at www.artcriesout.com.

American University's Summer 2008 Study Tour in Japan

This course explores Japanese wartime aggression, the human physical devastation wrought by the atomic bombings, current Japanese and international efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons, and the building of closer ties between the peoples of the United States and Japan. Students live and study with Japanese and other Asian students, professors, peace activists and policy experts. Participants meet with atomic bomb survivors and Asian victims of Japanese atrocities and hear first-hand accounts of their experiences. Students also participate in a broad range of Japanese commemorative events and visit peace museums and relevant cultural and historical sites, such as the Kyoto Museum for World Peace, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum and the Radiation Effects Research Foundation. For more information, contact Dr. Peter Kuznick at Kuznick@american.edu or go to http://www.american.edu/cas/hist/nsi/index.cfm.

Foundation Activities
Swackhamer Disarmament Video Contest Closes Soon

The Swackhamer Disarmament Video Contest seeks short videos from people of all ages addressing the following topic: There are about 26,000 nuclear weapons in the world today. Use your creativity to make a short video about why US leadership is necessary to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons.

We are offering cash prizes of $1,000, $750 and $250 to the top three videos. Visit the contest’s YouTube page at www.youtube.com/group/2008Swackhamer to watch the videos that have been submitted so far.

The contest closes on June 16, so don't delay - submit your video today! For more information on the contest, including a full list of rules, please visit our website at www.wagingpeace.org/menu/programs/awards-&-contests/video-contest/2008/index.html.

Visit Us on Change.org, MySpace and Facebook

The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation has recently launched pages on three major social networking sites: Change.org, MySpace and Facebook.

With millions of people of all ages using these sites, the potential for our message to spread is limitless.

If you are a member of any of these sites, please add us to your network and let others know about the work that we are doing.

Foundation President David Krieger to Receive Alumnus of the Year Award

Nuclear Age Peace Foundation President David Krieger will receive Occidental College’s Alumnus of the Year award on Saturday, June 14. Dr. Krieger is being honored for his work to strengthen international law and achieve a world free of nuclear weapons. He co-founded the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation in 1982 and has served as President of the Foundation for over 25 years.

Senator Feinstein Honored for Nuclear Policy Stance

On May 14, Nick Roth, Washington, DC Director of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, together with members of the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability, met with Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) at her office in Washington, DC.

The groups presented her with an award for introducing the Nuclear Policy and Posture Review Act of 2007 (S. 1914), which requires nuclear policy and posture reviews that consider international nuclear disarmament obligations and that incorporate public input where possible. The bill also eliminates funding for the Bush Administration’s proposed new generation of nuclear weapons, the Reliable Replacement Warhead, until these policy and posture reviews are completed.

Addressing S.1914’s impact on a new generation of nuclear weapons, Senator Feinstein said, “It is clear to me that the Bush Administration is trying to reopen the nuclear door by attempting to speed research into this new warhead. A thorough and detailed analysis of nuclear weapons policy and posture is needed before Congress can decide whether to move forward with this program.”

Nickolas Roth said, “Senator Feinstein has been instrumental in persuading Congress to require a much-needed reexamination of US nuclear policy. This kind of leadership is essential in eliminating the role of nuclear weapons in US foreign policy.”

Foundation Poetry Contest - Enter by July 1

The 2008 Barbara Mandigo Kelly Peace Poetry Contest is accepting original, unpublished, English-language poems from people all over the world. The annual contest presents awards to encourage poets to explore and illuminate positive visions of peace and the human spirit.

This year, cash prizes will be awarded to the top poet in three different age groups: adult ($1,000 prize), youth 13-18 ($200 prize) and youth 12 and under ($200 prize).

Judging will be done by a committee of poets selected by the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. For a complete list of rules and instructions, visit:
www.wagingpeace.org/menu/programs/awards-&-contests/bmk-contest/bmk_2008_flyer.pdf.

US Leadership Appeal to the Next President

People from all over the world continue to enthusiastically support the Foundation's Appeal to the Next US President, calling for US leadership for a nuclear weapons-free world.

We are aiming to get a million signatures on the Appeal before the next President takes office in January 2009.

Please sign the Appeal today at www.wagingpeace.org/appeal, and be sure to let your family and friends know about this opportunity as well.

Quotes

“I speak of peace because of the new face of war. Total war makes no sense in an age when great powers can maintain large and relatively invulnerable nuclear forces and refuse to surrender without resort to those forces. It makes no sense in an age when a single nuclear weapon contains almost ten times the explosive force delivered by all the allied air forces in the Second World War. It makes no sense in an age when the deadly poisons produced by a nuclear exchange would be carried by wind and water and soil and seed to the far corners of the globe and to generations yet unborn.”

-- President John F. Kennedy, Commencement address at American University, June 10, 1963.


“I believe we must also address nuclear testing. As President, I will pledge to continue America’s current moratorium on testing, but also begin a dialogue with our allies, and with the US Senate, to identify ways we can move forward to limit testing in a verifiable manner that does not undermine the security or viability of our nuclear deterrent. This would include taking another look at the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty to see what can be done to overcome the shortcomings that prevented it from entering into force. I opposed that treaty in 1999, but said at the time I would keep an open mind about future developments.”

-- Senator John McCain, University of Denver, May 29, 2008.


“The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty is a critical non-proliferation tool. US ratification is also essential to restoring American leadership in this area, and more broadly. As President, I will work to build the bipartisan support that would be needed to get it approved and ratified. As part of that, I will continue vigorous support for stewardship programs for our existing arsenal to ensure that the arsenal is safe, secure, and reliable.”

-- Senator Hillary Clinton, Response to Seven Key National Security Questions from a Council for a Livable World Survey, August 16, 2007.


“As President, I will make it my priority to build bipartisan consensus behind ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. In the meantime, the least we can do is fully pay our contribution to the CTBTO [Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization].”

-- Senator Barack Obama, Responses to Seven Key National Security Questions from a Council for a Livable World Survey, August 16, 2007.

Editorial Team

Rachel Hitow
David Krieger
Nick Roth
Vicki Stevenson
Rick Wayman


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