Nice Talk, Now Walk The Walk

On January 3rd of this year, the five nuclear-armed states with the largest nuclear arsenals issued a joint statement declaring that they “consider the avoidance of war between Nuclear-Weapon States and the reduction of strategic risks as our foremost responsibilities.” The statement goes on to “affirm that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”

As the Doomsday Clock of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists stands at 100 seconds to midnight – “the closest it has ever been to civilization-ending apocalypse” – this statement would appear to be good news for the world.

However, all five of the signatories to the statement are currently engaged in maintaining powerful nuclear arsenals.

Continue reading

The Treaty On The Prohibition Of Nuclear Weapons And The Future

Late January of this year will mark the first anniversary of the entry into force of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This momentous international agreement, the result of a lengthy struggle by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) and by many non-nuclear nations, bans developing, testing, producing, acquiring, possessing, stockpiling, and threatening to use nuclear weapons. Adopted by an overwhelming vote of the official representatives of the world’s nations at a UN conference in July 2017, the treaty was subsequently signed by 86 nations. It received the required 50 national ratifications by late October 2020, and, on January 22, 2021, became international law.

Continue reading

Peru Ratifies UN Treaty On The Prohibition Of Nuclear Weapons

Addressing the UN General Assembly this September, the minister of foreign affairs of Peru, Óscar Maúrtua, hailed the TPNW’s entry into force as a “great achievement” and “a legal and moral starting point on a long road to achieve nuclear disarmament”.

Peru is the 14th country in Latin America to ratify the TPNW, following Mexico, Cuba, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Uruguay, El Salvador, Panama, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Honduras, and Chile. An additional four countries in the region have signed but not yet ratified the treaty: Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and Guatemala.

Gisela Luján Andrade, Peruvian member of the Human Security Network for Latin America and the Caribbean (SEHLAC), an ICAN partner organisation, warmly welcomed Peru’s ratification.

Continue reading

Impact Of Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty On Nuclear Weapons Business

A new report released by ICAN and PAX today, has found that the number of banks, pension funds, asset managers and insurance companies investing in the production of nuclear weapons has gone down in 2021, and shows significant drops in the shareholder values of investments in the 25 companies involved in nuclear weapon production around the world. There is also an early but visible impact of the entry into force of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), with many institutions citing the treaty’s entry into force and the risk of a negative public perception as reasons for the change in their investment policies.

Continue reading

The Time To Prohibit Nuclear Weapons Is Now

Dr. Helen Caldicott, who has spent decades working for a nuclear weapons-free world, recently wrote a blunt op-ed with an unforgettable headline: “With All Its Wisdom, the Human Race Is Killing Itself.”

Decrying the arms industry and the nine countries that now own nuclear weapons, Caldicott points to the one trillion dollars per year that the U.S. spends on “national defense,” and states that if we can’t learn to live in peace, we are doomed.

At least 56 nations (“state parties”) have come to the same conclusion and have now signed the new UN Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), which came into force in January 2021. Even though the Trudeau government claims it is committed to disarmament, it refuses to sign the treaty, citing its NATO membership (NATO opposes the treaty).

Continue reading

Support For Nuclear Ban Treaty Is Rising

Nuclear tensions and nuclear spending are on the rise, but the elevated danger of nuclear weapons is overshadowed as other urgent global threats from the COVID pandemic, climate and environmental emergencies, and other urgent crises dominate news headlines. The United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), which entered into force in January, receives scant media attention, even as the United Nations prepares to mark September 26 as the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

Unlike other nuclear treaties and agreements, the TPNW, or nuclear ban treaty as it is also known, prohibits all activity including development, testing, production, acquisition, possession, stockpiling, and the use or threat to use nuclear weapons.

Continue reading

How We Got The Bikini And Learned To Hate The Bomb

On March 1, 1954, the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission and the Department of Defense exploded a huge thermonuclear bomb on Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands, where they had been testing bombs since 1946. Between 1946 and 1958, the United States detonated 67 nuclear bombs in the Marshall Islands — vaporizing entire islands and exiling hundreds of people from their homes.

One peculiar legacy of the U.S. nuclear testing was the introduction of the “bikini” swimsuit, named after the first two nuclear tests on Bikini atoll. French fashion designer Louis Reard hoped his new swimsuit sensation would cause the same reaction as when people first saw the mushroom clouds of atomic bombs. Other legacies of this nuclear destruction are not so pleasant to look at. 

Continue reading

Why We Can’t Give Up On A World Free From Nuclear Weapons

Nine countries of the 193 member states of the United Nations possess nuclear weapons. Two of them—the United States of America and Russia—have more than 90% of all the 13,410 warheads. Four countries—the US, Russia, the UK and France—have at least 1,800 warheads on high alert, which means that they can be fired at very short notice.

To compare the warheads currently deployed with the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima is enough to make the heart stop: the yield from the “Little Boy” used on Hiroshima is estimated at 15 kilotons, whereas the yield from one W88 warhead that is deployed on a Trident II submarine is estimated at 475 kilotons.

Continue reading

US-Russia Nuclear Treaty Only First Step In Ensuring ‘Future Existence’ Of Humanity

The total number of nuclear weapons both Russia and the US could possess was limited by New START, signed between the two countries in 2010. The treaty would have expired on 5 February 2021, had the Biden administration not agreed to extend it for another five years.

Peter Kuznick is a professor of history at American University, where he founded the Nuclear Studies Institute. He has authored and co-authored numerous books, including The Untold History of the United States, Rethinking the Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Japanese and American Perspectives and Nuclear Power and Hiroshima: The Truth Behind the Peaceful Use of Nuclear Power.

Continue reading

As The Doomsday Clock Nears Midnight, We Can Abolish Nuclear Weapons

On January 22, the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons went into effect. This treaty, which is supported by more than two-thirds of the countries in the world but none of the nuclear states, is groundbreaking in many ways and is a significant step toward nuclear disarmament at a time when the threat of nuclear war is the highest it has ever been. I speak with Seth Shelden of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons about the treaty, how it came about, what it will do and what people in the United States can do to press our government to ratify it.

Continue reading

Protesters Call On Hopkins To Drop Nuclear Weapons Research

Members of Prevent Nuclear War Maryland, a Baltimore-based anti-war, anti-nuclear weapons organization, protested the University’s involvement in nuclear weapons research with the U.S. government on Friday, Jan. 22.

The group also celebrated the ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) — a legally binding international treaty prohibiting the development, ownership and deployment of nuclear weapons by nations. 

A United Nations working group was formed in 2016 with a mandate to devise legal provisions to create a nuclear-free world. While it was supported by 123 countries, the U.S., the U.K., France and Russia voted against the group alongside Israel, a country that is widely believed to be a nuclear power. China, India and Pakistan abstained.

Continue reading

How The Nuclear Ban Treaty Impacts The United States

On January 20, Joseph Biden [became] the U.S. President. Two days later, on January 22nd, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) [has] become binding international law. The Biden administration should seize the opportunity to sign this landmark treaty and work toward its ratification, while productively engaging with the new legal regime created by the treaty.

With the TPNW, nuclear weapons will be subject to a global ban treaty for the first time, at last aligning nuclear weapons with other weapons of mass destruction, all already the subject of treaty-based prohibitions. The TPNW provides a framework to verifiably eliminate nuclear weapons and requires its States Parties, i.e., states that have ratified or acceded to the treaty, to assist victims and remediate environments affected by nuclear weapons use and testing.

Continue reading

The Treaty To Ban The Bomb Takes Effect

Three and a half years ago, on July 7, 2017, the United Nations General Assembly approved the language of this treaty by a vote of 122 to 1.

The vote was a clear expression of the will of the world’s people and the treaty has now been ratified by 51 nations.

Under international law, nuclear weapons will join chemical weapons, biological weapons, cluster bombs and land mines as illegal weapons of mass destruction.

The Golden Rule anti-nuclear sailboat arrived in Hawaii on July 31, 2019 from San Diego, California. The 34-foot ketch, a project of Veterans For Peace, has now sailed to the islands of Hawaii, Maui, Lanai, Oahu and Kauai to promote the treaty.

Continue reading

Veteran Celebrates Nuclear Ban Treaty

As a veteran concerned about issues of war and peace, I am happy to celebrate the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), the important new international peace initiative.  The “Nuclear Ban Treaty,” as it is also known, was approved 122-1 by the UN General Assembly in July 2017, a clear expression of the will of the world’s people.  On October 24, 2020, Honduras became the 50th nation to ratify the TPNW, triggering a 90-day period before it goes into force, on January 22.

The International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) was awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for its leadership in promoting this vital treaty, which prohibits the financing, development, possession, or transporting of nuclear weapons, as well as the use or threat to use nuclear weapons.

Continue reading

Billboards Inform That The Nuclear Ban Treaty Takes Effect

Beginning January 18th, four billboards around Puget Sound will display the following paid public service announcement (PSA): NUCLEAR WEAPONS BANNED BY NEW U.N. TREATY; Get them out of Puget Sound! Included in the advertisement is a U.S. Navy photo of the Trident submarine USS Henry M. Jackson returning to port following a routine strategic deterrent patrol.

The ad seeks to inform citizens in the Puget Sound region of the pending entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), and also asks citizens to accept their role and responsibility – as taxpayers, as members of a democratic society, and as neighbors to the Trident nuclear submarine base in Hood Canal – to work to prevent the use of nuclear weapons.

Continue reading