The Nuclear Resister – by Marion Pack
Hello, the Nuclear Resister is a new addition to the PI newsletter. It will appear bi-monthly, and will also be reprinted in Resist and Persist, on a space available basis. The issue of the nuclear threat and many other important issues were put aside so all our collective energy could be focused on resisting Donald Trump. With Trump out of office, we can now refocus again on other critical issues. For me, I am returning to the issue that originally caused me to become an activist, nuclear weapons and it’s off –shoot nuclear power.
In the late seventies, shortly after the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island, I became aware that my electric utility company was building a nuclear power plant seven miles from my home. I had a friend who worked there as a welder. He told me horror stories about the plant’s construction. He said all the welds had to be photographed, and documented to be turned in to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. He said they were always on deadline and often, when welds were found with flaws, they doctored the photos rather than fixing the welds! I said to my friend,” aren’t you worried? You live as close to the plant as I me. His answer was, I am making more money than ever before. This motivated me to study more about nuclear power. One of the first books was “Nuclear Madness, by Dr. Helen Caldecott. That was all it took. I change from a very apolitical working mom, to a full fledge anti-nuclear activist.
In 1989, with the fall of the Soviet Union, people’s concern about the threat of nuclear war disappeared. I did a lot of public speaking on all things nuclear, One question I often asked my audience was, “ Raise your hand if you think a nuclear war is possible in the next twenty-four hours? “ Every hand went up. I ask the same question in the late 90’s to a group of high school students. They all looked at me like I had just grown a second head. How quickly we forget.
Yes, the nuclear arms race has ended, but are we really safer? Instead of five nations possessing nuclear weapons, we now have nine nations with nuclear weapons capabilities. Though the number of nuclear weapons has been significantly reduced, there are still enough to obliterate all life on Earth. The new goal is now focused on modernization and accuracy of refurbished and new nukes under development.. There is even crazy ideas of battlefield nuclear weapons. These nukes would be small enough to carry in a backpack. When they are detonated, they won’t do as much damage and have less radiation!! Wow, I feel better. How about you!
The next article of the Nuclear Resistor will be about the UN Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons which just went into force on January 22, 2021. I will be getting most of my information from the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, the Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS), and Tri-Valley Cares. That organization is the watchdog for the Laurence Livermore Lab where much of the research on the modernization on nuclear weapons takes place. The Alliance for Survival, the organization which I was director for many years worked with all three organizations in past campaigns.
There will also be timely action items which will require your phone calls and emails. Now is the time with a new administration to push the envelope to demand a world free of nuclear weapons.
There will be no winners in a nuclear war!