Real Scary Stuff -- Official: Nuclear tests needed
hunterbadbear at earthlink.net
Thu Aug 15 15:36:02 MDT 2002
Note by Hunterbear:
In addition to all of the other massively negative things renewed
nuclear testing would engender -- treaty violations, arms races into hideous
levels of insanity, and environmental disasters generally -- there is the
blunt fact that many, many thousands of people have died within the United
States [as elsewhere] as a direct result of nuclear test and related fallout
and the associated matter of uranium mining/milling/refining/waste-spilloff.
If anything in the whole contemporary global panorama of madness -- on-going
or proposed -- epitomizes the concept of "crackpot realism" coined and used
by the late radical sociologist C. Wright Mills, this whole nuclear testing
thing is certainly it.
As a young person in Northern Arizona in the '50s, I saw the dark,
early morning sky light up again and again via nuclear tests -- away off to
the northwest in Nevada.These continued for many, many years. In the
general Flagstaff region, we were protected by both the very high San
Francisco Mountains just to our north -- and by the wind currents in the
further-to-the-north Grand Canyon. But the fallout from the nuclear testing
at Desert Rock, Nevada created -- as the lethal years passed and the deadly
accumulations mounted -- a trail of death across much of Nevada, a good part
of Northern Arizona, much of Utah, Southern Idaho and well beyond. Effects
have been noted in North Dakota.
In the small Mormon town of Fredonia, Arizona -- close to Utah --
leukemia rates climbed to almost 20 times the national average by about
1980. I lost two friends very directly from this Nevada testing. One, from
Flagstaff, worked for the Nevada Highway Department in a setting where he
was consistently hit by fallout -- and he died young of massive brain
cancer. The other, a friend from childhood onward, who was serving as a
U.S. Army veterinary officer in the late '50s, found himself in charge of
tethering livestock in the immediate test area and then directly studying
them in the field for various gradations of always lethal "nuclear damage."
When we got together for a visit in Salt Lake in the summer of '59, he was
planning to leave the Army just as soon as possible. In 1975, I saw him at
Flagstaff and, my age, he looked -- with his pale and incredibly wrinkled
face and sparse white hair -- like a man in his late '70s [if not older.]
He died soon thereafter of multiple cancers.
The deadly effects of the uranium situation -- much of this within and
around the vast Navajo reservation [Northeastern Arizona, Northwestern New
Mexico, a slice of Southeastern Utah and a bit of Southwestern Colorado] and
the Laguna Reservation in Northwest/Central New Mexico -- have been
extraordinarily heavy on people, livestock, and land. [We have discussions
of this in various parts of our large website: e.g.,
Nuclear testing? Fight this Evil. Fight it to its death! And fight
it to Hell.
ATTACK ON US: WEAPONS ARSENAL AGING: Official: Nuclear tests needed
WEAPONS ARSENAL AGING: Official: Nuclear tests needed
Test site activation talk draws strong reaction
By KEITH ROGERS REVIEW-JOURNAL
A Defense Department adviser on nuclear weapons programs said
United States will need to resume full-scale nuclear tests in Nevada
coming years to check results of materiel experiments on how the
"I believe over time we will need to verify some of the calculations
been done," Dale Klein said during a visit to Nellis Air Force Base.
Klein, assistant to the secretary of defense for nuclear and chemical
biological defense programs, said corrosion issues have turned up in
experiments on materials used in nuclear warheads.
"We are finding aging characteristics," he said.
"It could be five years, it could be 10 years," he said, referring to
United States would need to resume its full-scale, nuclear weapons
Returning to testing will be difficult politically, he said, noting
anti-nuclear activists and some politicians "will make the debate very
Klein's assertion sent ripples through the anti-nuclear community.
groups said his reasons for wanting to break a moratorium soon to
10th year amount to a smokescreen for developing new nuclear weapons
modifying others. These would include so-called bunker-busting,
earth-penetrating warheads for tactical warfare.
Resuming nuclear testing would also send the world spiraling into a
race, they said.
"It will be an international disaster," said Jacqueline Cabasso,
director of Western States Legal Foundation, a nuclear disarmament
group based in Oakland, Calif.
"It will represent the final shedding of any semblance of any
constraints on U.S. military power projection," said Cabasso.
"It will be a slap in the face to most of the other countries in the
have stuck with their obligation under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation
to acquire nuclear weapons," she said. "If the United States resumes
testing, other nuclear weapons states are going to resume full-scale
testing and possibly new countries."
Former Department of Energy defense chief Troy Wade shrugged off the
anti-nuclear grumblings, saying he was encouraged by the comments.
Klein was a
nuclear programs professor at the University of Texas before his
appointment by President Bush last year.
"I've been saying, as the enduring stockpile gets older and things
reliability and safety could be an issue and we might have to test to
that," said Wade, now chairman of the Nevada Alliance for Defense,
Wade said some U.S. nuclear weapons are 20 years old "and in some
been 15 years or more since some of the systems in the enduring
been tested. That continues to worry me."
Full-scale U.S. tests were put on hold indefinitely after the last
Divider, on Sept. 23, 1992.
In 1997, Department of Energy scientists launched the first series of
subcritical nuclear experiments, in which small amounts of plutonium
detonated in underground caverns at the Nevada Test Site to gather
data on how
the stockpile ages.
The experiments are designed not to erupt into nuclear chain
data, plugged into an array of computers along with information from
high-tech physics tools, are supposed to give answers the scientists
certify the stockpile.
Bryan Wilkes, a spokesman for the National Nuclear Security
Energy Department agency responsible for the stockpile, said the
Stewardship Program is designed to ensure U.S. warheads are safe and
in the absence of full-scale tests.
"However, there are no guarantees," Wilkes said. "And it is only
continue to hedge the possibility that we may in the future uncover a
reliability problem ... critical to the U.S. nuclear deterrent that
be fixed without nuclear testing."
Klein, executive director of the Nuclear Weapons Council -- an elite
group of defense and energy officials on nuclear weapons matters --
scientists don't know how large the detonations would need to be to
the thousands of U.S. nuclear weapons are reliable.
Klein is scheduled today to tour the test site, 65 miles northwest of
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a Chicago-based magazine of
security news and analysis, estimates there are 7,600 operational U.S.
weapons and 382 spares.
The magazine's publisher, Stephen Schwartz, said that although the
administration has been exploring what it would take to reduce the
preparing the test site for resuming full-scale tests, he was not
anyone in the administration speculating on the number of years when
tests would be needed.
"Either he's misinformed or he's choosing not to convey the full set
The reality is nuclear weapons testing is not necessary to verify a
weapon will work," Schwartz said, referring to Klein.
"Clearly if you're going to develop new types of weapons, new
whatever, that would clearly require testing," Schwartz said.
Such a move "would open the floodgates for nuclear testing worldwide,"
noting later, "If we decide to resume nuclear weapons testing, other
are going to take notice of that. While we don't have anything to fear
India or Pakistan, both of those countries fear each other."
But Klein said, "At the moment there is not a plan to develop new
From 1945 through 1992, the United States conducted 1,054 nuclear
primarily at the test site and in the South Pacific. The figure
the two bombs that the United States dropped on Hiroshima and
57 years ago this month. The detonations, however, include some in
multiple devices were exploded simultaneously.
Since 1997, there have been 17 U.S. subcritical experiments. The last
conducted at the test site's underground complex on June 7 by
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.
Peggy Maze Johnson, executive director of Citizen Alert, a statewide
environmental group, said resuming nuclear testing would be "insanity.
have a treaty. We're not supposed to be doing that. What is the rest
world going to say?"
Long-time anti-nuclear activist Kalynda Tilges said government
have to face throngs of protesters who will remind them of
still lingers if they try to resume nuclear tests.
"I don't think we're going to trust them any more this time than we
time," Tilges said. "Rest assured, there will be no more full-scale
the state of Nevada. The people won't let it happen."
Hunter Gray [Hunterbear]
www.hunterbear.org (strawberry socialism)
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