President Vladimir Putin’s state of the nation address in which he described new emerging nuclear capabilities for use as delivery systems could represent an erosion of international nonproliferation mechanisms and a new destabilizing arms race. This comes on the heels of other recent warnings about Russian intentions to increase reliance on nuclear weapons in deterrence and warfighting and its withdrawal from a bilateral treaty with the U.S. on plutonium stockpiles.
The Hill 3rd March 2018 read more »
Seventy-five years ago, in March 1943, a mysterious construction project began at a remote location in eastern Washington state. Over the next two years some 50,000 workers built an industrial site occupying half the area of Rhode Island, costing over US$230 million – equivalent to $3.1 billion today. Few of those workers, and virtually no one in the surrounding community, knew the facility’s purpose. The site was called Hanford, named for a small town whose residents were displaced to make way for the project. Its mission became clear at the end of World War II. Hanford had produced plutonium for the first nuclear test in the New Mexico desert in July 1945, and for the bomb that incinerated Nagasaki on Aug. 9. As a researcher in environmental and energy communication, I’ve studied the legacies of nuclear weapons production. From 2000 to 2005, I served with a citizen advisory board that provides input to state and federal officials on a massive environmental cleanup program at Hanford, now one of the most contaminated sites in the world. As U.S. leaders consider producing new nuclear weapons, I believe they should study lessons from Hanford carefully. Hanford provides one of the more dramatic examples of problems that unfolded – and persist today – at nuclear sites where production and secrecy took priority over safety and environmental protection.
The Conversation 5th March 2018 read more »