Issue #201 – April 2014

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  • Perspectives
    • Ten Reasons Why Nukes Are Nuts by David Krieger
    • Ukraine and the Danger of Nuclear War by John Scales Avery
    • Jonathan Schell (1943-2014) by David Krieger
  • US Nuclear Weapons Policy
    • Nuclear Weapons Budget Rises in Age of Austerity
  • Nuclear Disarmament
    • NATO Using Crimea Crisis to Justify Continued Deployment of Nuclear Weapons
  • Nuclear Insanity
    • ICBM Scandal Intensifies
    • Activists Break Into Nuclear Weapons Base Before Nuclear Security Summit
  • Nuclear Proliferation
    • Japan Defends Decision to Stockpile Tons of Weapons-Usable Plutonium
  • Nuclear Testing
    • Israel Likely to Ratify Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
  • Resources
    • This Month in Nuclear Threat History
    • NPT Action Plan Monitoring Report
    • Join Us at DC Days in May
    • Help Restore the Golden Rule
  • Foundation Activities
    • Check Out the Re-designed
    • Humanity Needs You to Join the Other One Percent
    • Peace Leadership Around the Globe
    • NAPF at the Non-Proliferation Treaty PrepCom
    • NAPF Peace Poetry Contest – Deadline July 1
  • Quotes



Ten Reasons Why Nukes Are Nuts

There are many reasons why nukes are nuts. Here are my top ten:

They are insanely powerful. A single nuclear weapon can destroy a city. A few nuclear weapons can destroy a country. A relatively small regional nuclear war can cause a nuclear famine, taking 2 billion lives globally. An all-out nuclear war could end civilization and cause the extinction of most complex life on the planet.

Nuclear weapons kill indiscriminately. Their effects cannot be contained in time or space. They are an equal-opportunity destroyer, killing and maiming men, women and children. The radioactive materials in nuclear weapons keep killing long after the blast, heat and fire of the explosive force have taken their toll. They are capable of causing genetic mutations and killing or injuring new generations of innocent victims, as was the case with the repeated US atmospheric nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands.

To read more, click here.

Ukraine and the Danger of Nuclear War

The current situation in Ukraine and the Crimean Peninsula is an extremely dangerous one. Unless restraint and a willingness to compromise are shown by all of the the parties involved, the crisis might escalate uncontrollably into a full-scale war, perhaps involving nuclear weapons. What is urgently required is for all the stakeholders to understand each other’s positions and feelings. Public understanding of the points of view of all sides is also very much needed.

We in the West already know the point of view of our own governments from the mainstream media, because they tell us of nothing else. For the sake of balance, it would be good for us to look closely at the way in which the citizens of Russia and the Crimean Peninsula view recent events.

To read more, click here.

Jonathan Schell (1943-2014)

I was saddened to learn of the recent death of Jonathan Schell, a distinguished writer and journalist and a long-time member of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation’s Advisory Council.  Jonathan was one of the most talented, thoughtful and moral writers of our time.  His first book, The Village of Ben Suc, published in 1967, reported on U.S. atrocities in Vietnam.  He went on to write many more important books, including The Fate of the Earth, in which he described in elegant prose the threat posed to humanity by nuclear weapons.  This 1982 book became a classic and in 1999 was selected by a panel of experts convened by New York University as one of the 20th century’s 100 best works of journalism.

To read more, click here.

US Nuclear Weapons Policy

Nuclear Weapons Budget Rises in Age of Austerity


Despite increasing austerity, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) received a 7% increase in the Obama Administration’s FY2015 budget request. The NNSA is the semi-autonomous agency that builds and maintains U.S. nuclear weapons. While a 7% overall increase may not seem like much, consider this: the NNSA’s budget request for non-proliferation programs is down by 21%, and funding to dismantle nuclear weapons that have been taken out of service is down by 45%. Those “savings” — and then some — have been applied to programs to modernize many current U.S. nuclear weapons and facilities.

Last month, companion bills were introduced in the House and Senate that would save $100 billion in the next ten years by reducing the number of nuclear weapons and cutting nuclear weapons spending. In the Senate, Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) introduced the Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures (SANE) Act (S.2070). In the House of Representatives, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) introduced the Reduce Expenditures in the Nuclear Infrastructure Now (REIN-IN) Act (H.R. 4107).

The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation recently issued an action alert encouraging members of Congress to co-sponsor these bills. To take action, click here.

Nuclear Disarmament

NATO Using Crimea Crisis to Justify Continued Deployment of Nuclear Weapons


Anders Fogh Rasmussen, General Secretary of NATO, has said that Russia’s annexation of Crimea may affect NATO tactical nuclear weapon reductions in Europe. NATO currently deploys approximately 180 U.S. nuclear weapons in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey. Russia is thought to possess approximately 2,000 tactical nuclear weapons within its borders.

The U.S. has also announced suspension of bilateral talks with Russia regarding improving understanding and cooperation around missile defense. U.S. and NATO missile defense deployment in Eastern Europe has been viewed by Russia as a serious threat for many years.

Rachel Oswald, “NATO Chief Says Ukraine Events May Affect European Tactical Nuclear Reductions,” Global Security Newswire, March 20, 2014.

Nuclear Insanity

ICBM Scandal Intensifies


The ongoing scandal relating to drug use and cheating by U.S. nuclear missile launch officers continues to get bigger. In late March, nine commanders, representing nearly the entire operational chain of command in the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base, were fired and the wing commander, Col. Robert Stanley, was allowed to resign.

One missile crew member was quoted as telling investigators, “Cheating has been going on for years; however, leadership pretends that cheating is not happening.” Another said, “Our squadron leadership was just another generation of cheaters.”

Robert Burns, “Nuke Test Cheating Linked to Flawed Leadership,” Associated Press, March 28, 2014.

Activists Break Into Nuclear Weapons Base Before Nuclear Security Summit


Just days before the Nuclear Security Summit began in the Netherlands, four activists were arrested after breaking into Volkel Airbase, where U.S. nuclear weapons are kept under the guise of the NATO nuclear sharing agreement.  The activists entered a “secure” part of the base and took a photo of one of the bunkers in which U.S. B61 nuclear bombs are kept.

The activists, part of a group called “Disarm,” explained in a statement that they wanted to raise awareness that the Netherlands continues to store nuclear weapons and that these weapons should have been given back to President Obama when he came to the country for the Nuclear Security Summit.

Susi Snyder, “Four Dutch Activists Arrested at Volkel Airbase, Home to American Nuclear Bombs,” The Nuclear Resister, March 21, 2014.

Nuclear Proliferation

Japan Defends Decision to Stockpile Tons of Weapons-Usable Plutonium


As part of its “gift-basket” pledge at the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit, Japan announced it would send hundreds of pounds of weapons-grade enriched uranium and plutonium back to the United States to be converted into a more proliferation-resistant form. Specifically, roughly 1,210 pounds of bomb-ready uranium and 730 pounds of separated plutonium will be sent to the U.S. While nonproliferation supporters applaud this action, they also note that this quantity of plutonium represents less than one percent of Japan’s worldwide stockpile and just 3.5 percent of the total domestic stockpile.

Japan has long been criticized for its possession of what many have called “a bomb in the basement,” meaning that they could develop nuclear weapons within a matter of months should they decide to do so.

Abe Defends Japan’s Management of Weapons-Grade Plutonium,” Kyodo News International, March 25, 2014.

Nuclear Testing

Israel Likely to Ratify Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty


In 1996, Israel signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which would ban all nuclear test explosions. Of the 183 countries that have signed the treaty, 162 have ratified it already.

There remain eight countries that must ratify before the treaty can enter into force: Israel, Iran, Egypt, China, United States, India, North Korea and Pakistan. Lassina Zerbo, executive secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization, said that all eight of the holdout countries “are concerned about their own national security,” but argued that “the treaty can enhance the national security of all those countries.”

David Horovitz, “Israel ‘Probably’ Next to Ratify Nuke Test Ban Treaty – Top Official,” The Times of Israel, March 19, 2014.


This Month in Nuclear Threat History


History chronicles many instances when humans have been threatened by nuclear weapons. In this article, Jeffrey Mason outlines some of the most serious threats that have taken place in the month of April, including the failed launch of a NASA satellite, which dispersed plutonium into the upper atmosphere (April 21, 1964) and the massive radioactive release at Chernobyl (April 26, 1986).

To read Mason’s full article, click here.

For more information on the history of the Nuclear Age, visit NAPF’s Nuclear Files website.

NPT Action Plan Monitoring Report


Reaching Critical Will recently published the 2014 edition of its NPT Action Plan Monitoring Report. The report provides factual and clear information on the status of implementation of the three pillars of the NPT Action Plan agreed to in 2010. The report covers actions related to nuclear disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation, the Middle East WMD-Free Zone, the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, and more.

To read the report, click here.

Join Us at DC Days in May


The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation will be participating in the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability’s DC Days for four days of training, advocacy and networking. Please join us and activists from all over the U.S. from May 18-21 to meet with members of Congress and the Obama administration and voice your concerns about nuclear weapons, power, and waste. This event offers a unique opportunity to develop advocacy skills and practice political activism.

To learn more about ANA’s DC Days and to register, click here.

Help Restore the Golden Rule


Our friends at Veterans For Peace need your help to restore the Golden Rule, the world’s first anti-nuclear peace boat. In 1958, her brave crew of Quakers and pacifists risked their lives and freedom to nonviolently confront nuclear testing on the high seas. With your help, they will be able to honor their legacy and continue the mission.

Horrified by ongoing open-air nuclear bomb tests and the threat of nuclear war, the four-man crew sailed the Golden Rule from California toward the Marshall Islands. They were arrested by the U.S. Coast Guard and prevented from reaching the nuclear testing area. The publicity surrounding their trial and imprisonment helped ignite public outrage against nuclear weapons testing and alerted the world to the health hazards of nuclear fallout.

To learn more about the Golden Rule and how you can support its restoration, click here.

Foundation Activities

Check Out the Re-designed


The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation is pleased to launch its re-designed website The new site contains the hundreds of articles that we have published over the years, along with engaging content on nuclear weapons and peace. From the text of historic international treaties to a new Peace Store featuring a wide range of merchandise, the new has something for everyone.

We encourage you to check our website often, as new content is added regularly.

Humanity Needs You to Join the Other One Percent


For the third consecutive year, NAPF will sponsor a Summer Peace Leadership training at La Casa de Maria Retreat Center in Santa Barbara from July 20-26, 2014. This year’s theme is: Humanity Needs You to Join the Other 1 Percent!

NAPF Peace Leadership Director Paul K. Chappell explains that less than 1% of the American population was actively involved in the women’s and civil rights movements, and less than 1% of the global population was actively involved in the movement to abolish state-sanctioned slavery.

“It is only a tiny group of people who make positive change happen. This 1% must be well-trained, strategic, and creative. Just as soldiers are given excellent training in waging war, citizens must be given even better training in waging peace.”

Positive change does not happen by itself. “We must make it happen.” Paul emphasizes the need to focus on Peace Leadership, to learn the form of leadership practiced by Gandhi and Marin Luther King Jr.

“This will give us the strategic nonviolent and practical life skills that we need to wage peace in our personal lives, our communities, and throughout the world.”

As a West Point graduate, Iraq war veteran, and former army captain, Paul brings the best of his West Point world-class leadership training and applies it to waging peace.

Click here for more information and to apply for the summer course.

Peace Leadership Around the Globe


In March 2014, NAPF Peace Leadership Director Paul K. Chappell delivered a series of lectures and trainings in the New York City area and in Northern Uganda. Paul met with, among others, high school students in New York City, religious groups, and people from South Sudan and Uganda traumatized by decades of continuous war.

To read a summary of three key Peace Leadership events in March, click here.

NAPF at the Non-Proliferation Treaty PrepCom


The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation will send a number of representatives to New York for the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) from April 28 – May 9 at the United Nations headquarters. Planned activities include a side event at the United Nations for countries and civil society entitled “Holding Nuclear Weapon States Accountable for Article VI of the NPT.” Article VI requires nuclear weapon states to negotiate in good faith for an end to the arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament.

NAPF is also partnering with Soka Gakkai International to bring a group of young people to the PrepCom to meet with delegations and develop advocacy and diplomacy skills.

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for regular updates from inside the United Nations.

Poetry in April and Throughout the Year


April is National Poetry Month in the United States. To mark this occasion, the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation is offering all of its peace poetry books at 20% off during April. This includes our newest book, Summer Grasses: An Anthology of War Poetry, published in March 2014. You can also read all of NAPF’s peace poetry archives on our re-designed website.

The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation’s annual poetry contest is now accepting entries. The Barbara Mandigo Kelly Peace Poetry Awards are an annual series of awards to encourage poets to explore and illuminate positive visions of peace and the human spirit. The Poetry Awards include three age categories: Adult, Youth 13-18, and Youth 12 & Under.

For more information about the contest, including a full list of rules and instructions on how to enter, click here. The deadline for entries is July 1.



“The moral cost of nuclear armament is that it makes of all of us underwriters of the slaughter of hundreds of millions of people and of the cancellation of future generations.”

Jonathan Schell, member of the NAPF Advisory Council, who passed away in March 2014. Schell’s quote is featured in the book Speaking of Peace: Quotations to Inspire Action.


“All I would want on my gravestone would be: ‘Here lies Tony Benn. He encouraged us.'”

Tony Benn, former U.K. Member of Parliament and leader of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, who passed away in March 2014. He always encouraged us at NAPF to keep working for a nuclear weapon-free world.

Editorial Team


Scott Berzon

Neil Fasching

David Krieger

Carol Warner

Rick Wayman