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NYTimes: The chatter began weeks ago as armchair engineers brainstormed for ways to stop the torrent of oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico: What about nuking the well?
While we all are relieved that the U.S. has put a stop to speculation that it will use a nuclear weapon to seal the well in the Gulf, it is disturbing that the number and sources of this nightmarish suggestion have gained enough currency to warrant an official response.
This is proof of what all proponents of true disarmament fear: as long as nuclear weapons exist there are those who will want to use them.
"...while nuclear weapons exist, we are living on the brink of an unprecedented catastrophe.
Thus, if we are wise, we should draw back from the brink and address the problem posed by nuclear weapons. If the U.S. government and others are serious about building a nuclear weapons-free world, they should begin negotiations on a nuclear abolition treaty. And, if they are not serious about nuclear abolition, the public should raise enough of a ruckus so that they have no alternative to becoming serious.
If we can't live with the Bomb, we should begin planning to get rid it."
Non-Proliferation Review Conference ends with a fizzle and one striking positive note- the call for a 2012 Conference on a nuclear-free Middle East and the goal of appointing a facilitator.
"The road ahead is not easy," said Ambassador Maged Abdelaziz of Egypt, speaking on behalf of the 118-nation Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), "but it's the only way forward."
Four weeks of intense deliberation, a 28 page document, and three plans of action for the most contested subjects: nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation, and the "right to nuclear energy," left conference participants unsatisfied. "This is an action plan for treading water," said Jackie Cabasso, executive director of the Western States Legal Foundation, which monitors U.S. nuclear weapons programmes and policies.
High hopes ended in sighs of frustration, as once again, the road to true disarmament proves to be mostly uphill.
Who profits from the unceasing corporate commitment to war? We are sacrificing our countries well being, our loved ones, and all we hold dear by not protesting more strongly. People say it is only the left that fears the strength of war fed corporations. Shall we remember, this Memorial Day, the words of Dwight Eisenhower in 1961:
"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes."
Associated Press reports diplomats haggling to the bitter end of the NPT Conference. This conference, and the earlier START Treaty, have been good first steps in what looks to be a slow, painful, crawl towards disarmament.
The five weapons states have not agreed to any specific time table, but they have agreed to ""accelerate concrete progress" toward reducing their atomic weaponry, and to report on progress in 2014 in preparation for the 2015 NPT review session," according to AP.
Israel has been in the news, and on everybody's mind as things bogged down over the proposed Nuclear-Free Middle East zone. This makes what happens at the at the 2012 Middle East Conference even more important. But, that leaves important details still to be hammered out. Most importantly, if this 2012 Conference will be the start of negotiating a treaty.
Desmond Tutu feels that :
"Sceptics may say a nuclear-free world is an impossible dream, but they said that about slavery and apartheid too."
Britain's nuclear submarines are aging, becoming seen- even by their supporters, as dangerous, expensive, dinosaurs. For the peace camp protestors still hanging in there, they hope, at last, to see the end of nuclear subs forever.
"I don't care if it costs a fiver. It's immoral," says protester Barbara Dowling. "How can you value a weapon when once it is used its purpose has failed?" adds Jane Tallents... Tallents says she arrived here in 1984 and lived at the "peace camp", a colourful collection of caravans by the side of the base, for six years. Now the mother of two children, she has settled in nearby Helensburgh. "When I first got pregnant, I thought, 'Is it responsible to live next to a nuclear weapons base?' Then I thought there is nowhere in the world that is safe. The safest thing I could do for my children was to stay here and campaign to get rid of it." She pauses, dryly. "It's taken longer than I expected."
The Guardian/Ed Pilkington:
A month-long conference in New York to shore up the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and prevent the global spread of atomic weapons is faced with possible collapse owing to wrangling over the goal of a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East.
A relatively new weapon has entered the armory of the US arsenal. Anti-tank shells made of 10 pounds of solid uranium-238 -- commonly called depleted uranium (DU) are very effective weapons to use against tank armaments because they slice through the steel armor like a hot knife through butter. Despite the apparent effectiveness of DU, there are grave dangers.
Uranium-238 is pyrophoric, bursting into flame on impact, and when it burns 70% of the shell aerosolizes into particles less than 5 microns in diameter, which are respirable in size. Uranium-238 is an alpha radioactive emitter which is both chemically toxic and mutagenic.
When Iran announced on monday that it would ship some of its nuclear fuel to Turkey in a perceived effort to allay western anxiety about its intentions, the news was met with cautious skepticism. The Brazilian/Turkish negotiated deal would call for Turkey to take about 2640 pounds of low-enriched uranium for a year, after which Iran would get back 265 pounds of uranium enriched to 20 percent from France and Russia.
This is very similar to a deal that Iran backed out of last year, and the Obama administration has expressed doubts raised by the rise in Iran's stockpile. What once represented two thirds, may now be closer to just half of its current stockpile.
Robert Gibbs, the White House Press Secretary said:
“Given Iran’s repeated failure to live up to its own commitments, and the need to address fundamental issues related to Iran’s nuclear program, the United States and international community continue to have serious concerns.”