March 1, 1954 – In the Pacific Ocean’s Marshall Islands, the U.S. military conducted the BRAVO nuclear weapons test, one of thousands conducted by Nuclear Club Members, in the atmosphere, on the ground, and underground, during the Cold War and Post-Cold War period. The yield, of approximately 15 megatons from the solid fuel lithium deuteride fusion warhead, was 2-3 times what was expected and unusual prevailing winds carried the radioactive fallout to unexpected places including a Japanese fishing trawler, Lucky Dragon sailing outside the exclusion zone. All 23 Japanese crewmen were later hospitalized and one of the unfortunate men died as a result of radioactive exposure from an immense blast that produced a fireball four miles wide and a mushroom cloud 60 miles wide. (Source: Chuck Hansen. “The Swords of Armageddon.” Chuklea Publications: Sunnyvale, CA, 2007.)
March 4, 1969 – MIT and 30 other universities called for a national research stoppage to alert the public to how the “misuse of science and technology knowledge presents a major threat to the existence of mankind.” Concerns not only about nuclear weapons, radioactive and chemical toxic leaks from U.S. military and civilian nuclear production and bombmaking sites but also about Agent Orange, and biological/chemical WMDs led scientists and academics to sign on to this pledge. (Source: Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick. “The Untold History of the United States.” New York: Gallery Books, 2012.)
March 11, 2011 – After a historically large earthquake and tsunami struck northeast Japan, three of the six nuclear reactors at Tokyo Electrical Power Company’s Fukushima Dai-chi facility suffered partial meltdowns resulting in the evacuation of tens of thousands of nearby residents. The accident was the worst nuclear meltdown since the April 1986 Chernobyl Incident. Nearly three years later, large volumes of radioactive-contaminated water continue to spill into the Pacific Ocean from the plant site as a long-term solution to the crisis has yet to be reached. (Source: Various news media reports including Democracy Now, 2011-2014).
March 22, 1963 – At a broadcast press conference, President John F. Kennedy speaks about the possibility that by the 1970s “…of the U.S. having to face a world in which 15 or 20 or 25 nations may have these [nuclear] weapons…I regard that as the greatest possible danger and hazard.” While those fears were not quite realized, it is nevertheless true that nuclear proliferation in Iran, North Korea, and elsewhere remains a deadly serious problem in the 21st century. Some experts believe that only by phasing out nuclear power in the next few decades, can the world head off the actualization of our 35th President’s worst fears.
(Source: Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick. “The Untold History of the United States.” New York: Gallery Books, 2012.)
March 23, 1983 – In a nationally televised speech, President Ronald Reagan expressed the desire to “make nuclear weapons impotent and obsolete” by committing the U.S. to develop a national missile defense system based on the ground and in outer space. Media critics derisively referred to the plan as “Star Wars” and hundreds of billions of dollars were spent on attempts to deploy modest theater and national missile defenses in the coming decades. In 2001, President George W. Bush withdrew from the 1972 ABM Treaty with Moscow signaling a new destabilizing, uncertain strategic defensive arms race that continues today. (Source: Bradley Graham. “Hit to Kill: The New Battle Over Shielding America From Missile Attack.” New York: Public Affairs, 2001.)