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Nuclear Weapons Blog

  • Banquet of Stones
    Posted by John Rachow, MD on August 27, 2010

    The banquet at end of a very long first day of the 19th Annual IPPNW World Congress and was held in the hall of the Safran Zunft (Saffron Guild) the 13th century Guild of Apothecaries in Basel. The evening was time for good food, fellowship, and introspection. A series of toasts were given, none more poignant that of Ulrich Gottstein, WW II German veteran and long time IPPNW activist. While he was frail, his message was strong. Read more »

  • Old friends, new partners for peace, and much work to do back in the USA
    Posted by Andrew S. Kanter, MD, MPH, FACMI on August 27, 2010

    Some initial thoughts upon arriving at the first official day of the 19th IPPNW World Congress in Basel, Switzerland… Due to poor time planning, I arrived later than usual and I unfortunately was unable to participate in the International Council meeting and the Student Congress. It was nice to hear from Ira, Ashish and Peter, though! It is a rainy morning here in Basel, and it would normally be the wee hours of the morning back in New York, so I am functioning on the adrenalin of seeing so many old friends. It is truly wonderful to see everyone here. You realize that this is a big family all working for our planet. Read more »

  • Student PSR Leader "part of a larger movement"
    Posted by Craig Levoy on August 26, 2010

    The morning starts early with a Plenary entitled “Uranium and Environment.” The first presenter discusses nuclear medicine. Primarily, he focuses on the fact that traditionally nuclear medicine has used the same type of Uranium that is necessary for building a nuclear weapon (the so-called Highly Enriched Uranium, or HEU). However, he explains that recently, thanks to pressure from groups like PSR/IPPNW, most medical facilities around the world have switched to the non-weapons grade Uranium (LEU), without any deficit in patient care. Read more »

  • Peter Wilk, MD 19th IPPNW World Congress & the Challenges at Home
    Posted by Peter Wilk, MD on August 26, 2010

    I am just arriving in Switzerland, a stunningly beautiful country, travelling from the Zurich airport through well manicured countryside to the site of the 19th World Congress of International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) in Basel. The Swiss rail system is well organized; the train ride is smooth and fast. I am confident the Congress, the first plenary session of which begins tomorrow, will be equally well organized. All indications are for the largest attendance in many years. It will be wonderful to gather there with colleagues from around the world. Read more »
    2 comment(s)

  • On the Ground in Basel: Initial Reflections
    Posted by Ashish Sinha on August 25, 2010

    The first day of the World Congress in Basel begins with a palpable energy in the room. The first two days are devoted to the students and workshops oriented around building their capacity to be leaders when they return to their home countries. Some had been at the last World Congress in Delhi and greet fellow student activists that they had not seen in two years. Many, new to this conference, start meeting students around the room to begin their first introduction to the international nuclear disarmament community. Over 700 people registered for this week's conference; one of the largest in recent history. The organizers ask everyone to find their seat. The 19th IPPNW World Congress is about to begin. Read more »

  • IPPNW World Congress off to an energetic start
    Posted by Ira Helfand, MD on August 24, 2010

    The 19th IPPNW World Congress got off to an energetic start this afternoon with the arrival here in Basel of the BAN (Biking Against Nukes) student bike tour. More than 30 medical students from every continent except Antarctica arrived in the Marktplatz in front of the Basel City Hall at exactly 5:30 pm--this is Switzerland--after a 700 kilometer trip that started in Dusseldorf 10 days ago. Read more »

  • The Spoilers
    Posted by John Rachow, MD on July 16, 2010

    Senator Robert Byrd died June 28, 2010. He was remarkable and surprising in many ways and probably the last of a kind. One bit of trivia emerged that jogged my memory. Senator Byrd was a dedicated fan of the TV show “Gunsmoke,” and he advanced a resolution in the Senate protesting the end of the long running series in 1975. Read more »
    1 comment(s)

  • Age of Horrorism
    Posted by John Rachow, MD on June 1, 2010

    The Japanese called the atomic bomb "Original Child Bomb." The makers of the bomb called it "Little Boy." The way early twentieth century physics was unfolding, perhaps it was inevitable that the drive to understand how the world works would have eventually led to development of nuclear weapons. Or perhaps not. Perhaps the perceived desperation of impending World War turned human endeavor in this direction. Perhaps the need to demonstrate the power of this weapon to U.S. enemies and allies alike led to the first use of a nuclear weapon. Read more »
    1 comment(s)

  • Major Films Reinforce PSR's Core Message
    Posted by Peter Wilk, MD on May 13, 2010

    On Tuesday evening, I had the opportunity to join a distinguished group of current and former administration officials, members of Congress, senior reporters and colleagues from throughout the arms control community, in a private showing of Nuclear Tipping Point. Read more »
    1 comment(s)

  • Key Updates from the Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference at the UN
    Posted by Ira Helfand, MD on May 6, 2010

    Two issues with special relevance to PSR are emerging here at the NPT review in New York: Austria, Switzerland, China and the 80 odd nations of the Non Aligned Movement (NAM) have explicitly endorsed a Nuclear Weapons Convention (NWC), and recommended that a call to initiate negotiations for a NWC be included in the final document of the Review Conference. The call reflects a widely held view among participants that nuclear disarmament is as important as non proliferation and can not be put off indefinitely as it has in the past. Read more »
    2 comment(s)

  • The 2010 NPT Review Conference: May 5th
    Posted by Tova Fuller, PhD on May 5, 2010

    For those students who have never attended the NPT review conference, I would like to first give a snapshot of what the experience–or at least the first couple of days–is like. First, you queue…for hours. We waited outside in a line with visitors and other NGO representatives. Unfortunately there were only two people working at the registration on day 1, and this inside line inside was even worse – perhaps spending five minutes on each person, and well, with, say, 75 people in front of you…and you can do the math. Read more »

  • The oil spill reminds us that "Fail-safe systems" do, in fact, fail with horrific consequences
    Posted by Ira Helfand, MD on May 5, 2010

    The Non Proliferation Treaty review conference begins this week in New York against the back drop of one of the worst environmental disasters in decades, and the ongoing oil leak in the Gulf should give the nuclear negotiators at the UN much to think about. Read more »
    3 comment(s)

  • Taking Full Advantage of Our Nuclear Spring
    Posted by David Hart on April 20, 2010

    I write this in the midst of what some are calling our Nuclear Spring – our imperfect moment of opportunity. After years of little progress on moving the world toward a future free from the horrors of nuclear weapons, we now see a potential thaw. Read more »

  • New START treaty represents an important achievement in arms control
    Posted by Steven Starr, MT (ASCP) on April 9, 2010

    Despite much criticism, the new START treaty represents an important achievement in arms control, because it restores verifiable and enforced nuclear arms reductions between the United States and Russia. It replaces the meaningless Strategic Offensive Reduction Treaty (SORT) negotiated by the Bush administration, which was jokingly described as "SORT of a nuclear arms control treaty", because it contained no verification measures and only came into force the day it expired. Read more »
    1 comment(s)

  • Count on PSR to be a leader in a growing coalition of YES
    Posted by John Rachow, MD on March 26, 2010

    I've been thinking a lot about anniversaries lately. This week I passed the iconic milestone of 65 and received my all-time favorite talking birthday card. On the front, Kirk is addressing his first officer: "Analysis, Spock: If all of the candles on that cake were to be lit simultaneously...?" On opening the card and I heard Spock's raspy voice answer: "Annihilation, Jim...total, complete, absolute annihilation." Read more »
    1 comment(s)

  • Health Professional's Role in Reducing Nuclear Dangers
    Posted by Ira Helfand, MD on March 18, 2010

    As the Senate considers the CTBT and the new START treaties this year, it is important to realize the powerful role that PSR and health professionals can play in moving the public to support steps to reduce the nuclear danger. Read more »

  • The Climatic Consequences of Nuclear War
    Posted by Steven Starr, MT (ASCP) on March 15, 2010

    Although the ongoing Nuclear Posture Review is supposed to include all aspects of the strategy and doctrine that govern the use of U.S. nuclear weapons, it once again will not consider one crucial question: What would be the long-term consequences to Earth's environment if the U.S. nuclear arsenal were detonated during a conflict? Read more »

  • A Good “START” to a World Free of Nuclear Weapons
    Posted by Peter Wilk, MD on February 18, 2010

    Having had the opportunity today to join the audience hearing Vice President Joe Biden’s speech outlining the Administration’s approach to managing the U.S. nuclear arsenal, strengthening nonproliferation and reducing nuclear risks, I am struck again by their strong rhetorical commitment to “take concrete steps toward a world without nuclear weapons”. Read more »
    13 comment(s)

  • It is time to confront “the greatest danger to the American people"
    Posted by Jaya Tiwari on January 28, 2010

    In his first State of the Union address, President Barack Obama eloquently described the threat of nuclear weapons as the “greatest danger to the American people.” Invoking the arms control legacy of President John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan, the President also repeated his earlier promise to pursue a strategy that reverses the spread of nuclear weapons and seeks a world without them. Read more »

  • A minute safer but still too close to doomsday
    Posted by Peter Wilk, MD on January 14, 2010

    The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists moved the Clock back 1 minute signaling an increased environment of international cooperation on nuclear disarmament but with considerable hurdles left before real action is taken. Read more »

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