1. All states owning or hosting nuclear weapons shall immediately de-alert them and commit to no-first-use

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Rapporteur: Barbara Birkett

Where We Are: “Two Minutes to Midnight”! –see The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (The Bulletin of The Atomic Scientists Doomsday Clock, 2019.)

According to the Federation of American Scientists(1), the world has 14,485 nuclear weapons, about 9335 of them in military stockpiles, ready for use, the rest awaiting dismantlement. Some 93% are owned by the US and Russia, with each having about 4,000 warheads in their stockpiles. Many of these are thirty or fifty or more times as lethal as the weapons that fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki!

About 3,750 are with operational forces; 1,940 US, Russian, British, and French warheads are on high alert.

No-First-Use (NFU) has been declared as a policy by China and India; in 1993 the latter country stated that it would respond massively to any size of nuclear attack and changed the wording to “no first use against non-nuclear armed weapons states” in 2010.

France, Pakistan, Russia, the UK, and the USA say they will use nuclear weapons against nuclear or non-nuclear states only in the case of invasion or other attack against their territories or against one of their allies. In 2017 the UK stated it would use nuclear weapons in a pre-emptive strike “in the most extreme circumstances.”

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We need some updates on status of disarmament agreements

When the Minuteman Missiles Disappeared

This is an alarming article by Dr. Bruce G. Blair – one of the co-founders of Global Zero.

“It is tempting for the United States to exploit its superiority in cyberwarfare to hobble the nuclear forces of North Korea or other opponents. As a new form of missile defense, cyberwarfare seems to offer the possibility of preventing nuclear strikes without the firing of a single nuclear warhead.

But as with many things involving nuclear weaponry, escalation of this strategy has a downside: United States forces are also vulnerable to such attacks.

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Does Turkey want nuclear weapons? This is from Newsweek.

TURKEY HAS U.S. NUCLEAR WEAPONS, NOW IT SAYS IT SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO HAVE SOME OF ITS OWN


BY TOM O’CONNOR ON 9/4/19 AT 6:13 PM EDT

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has argued that his country should be allowed to develop nuclear weapons as other major powers have.

Addressing the Central Anatolian Economic Forum in the central province of Sivas, Erdogan lauded the expansion of the Turkish defense industry, especially recent conversations with the United States and Russia, while hinting at future talks with China. He then recalled how “some countries have missiles with nuclear warheads” and “not just one or two.”

“But I cannot possess missiles with nuclear warheads? I do not accept that,” Erdogan said. “Right now, nearly all the countries in the developed world have nuclear missiles.”

The U.S. currently has an estimated 50 of its nuclear weapons deployed to Turkey as part of the NATO Western military alliance’s nuclear sharing policy, according to an accidentally-released NATO report published in July by Belgian newspaper De Morgen. The weapons, located at Incirlik Base, are under U.S. control, but some have raised concerns as to their safety there amid regional instability and political differences.

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I read online that for a while – in the late 1990s and early 2000s – old radioactive materials from the former USSR countries (Georgia, etc.) were being sent to a site in Turkey for decommissioning. These included items like old RTGs, etc. Is there a risk of the fissile materials in these products being used to construct a “dirty bomb” or other improvised nuclear / radioactive explosive device?

Hi Jeremy – Additionally following up on this – do you know when Turkey received the current batch of missiles as part of the NATO Agreement(s)? I thought the presence of “Jupiter’ missiles in Italy and Turkey was a significant negotiating factor in the Cuban Missile Crisis – with these eventually being removed. Have there been missiles continuously in this region since the 1960s?

While of course we don’t want Erdogan to get nuclear weapons, he has as much right to them as anyone else, doesn’t he? The nuclear weapons states keep claiming they have a right and nobody else does. No they don’t!

The Flying Crowbar

An alarming summary of Project Pluto – a Cold War Era program that would use a ramjet engine to create a nuclear-reactor powered nuclear missile. It had the nuclear payload of 15+ hydrogen bombs.

“…a locomotive-size missile that would travel at near-treetop level at three times the speed of sound, tossing out hydrogen bombs as it roared overhead. Pluto’s designers calculated that its shock wave alone might kill people on the ground. Then there was the problem of fallout. In addition to gamma and neutron radiation from the unshielded reactor, Pluto’s nuclear ramjet would spew fission fragments out in its exhaust as it flew by. (One enterprising weaponeer had a plan to turn an obvious peace-time liability into a wartime asset: he suggested flying the radioactive rocket back and forth over the Soviet Union after it had dropped its bombs.)

This crazy bastard had so many ways to kill you, it was like a death buffet: should I die in the nuclear blasts of the bombs themselves, or just let the shockwave of the overpassing missile kill me? Maybe I’ll just wait for the radiation sickness as this thing circles endlessly overhead, like a colossal demonic robot vulture. It’s so hard to choose!”

“From an engineering standpoint, Project Pluto was certainly impressive, and pushed the absolute limits of the technology of the time.

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They’ve Forgotten How to Make Fogbank

Re the “modernization” of nuclear weapons, several states which own nuclear weapons have indicated desires to upgrade the technology both around and in nuclear missiles, such as intermediate explosives, launch protocols, and yield calculations. A few years ago, several articles were published in relation to “fogbank” – a critical aerosol component within certain models of nuclear warheads. The production of this aerosol component of warheads was extremely classified and thus repair and/or re-manufacturing of it has been difficult, as many of those who worked on it in the Cold War era have passed away or are in retirement. The fogbank manufacturing facilities in Tennessee were additionally dismantled several years ago. Additional research by a weapons physicist at Lawrence-Livermore Laboratories in the USA have indicated that some of the original explosive yield calculations were off by as much as 30% – as initial test data was processed by hand and at very quick rates in the 1950s through 1970s. Quite alarming!

More information about the yield calculations being a inaccurate can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-QVPXBcxLU

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China: We Won’t Use Nuclear Weapons First in a War


by David Axe . July 24, 2019
China has reaffirmed its policy of never being the first in a conflict to use nuclear weapons. Experts refer to this policy as “no first use,” or NFU.

The NFU policy reaffirmation, contained in Beijing’s July 2019 strategic white paper, surprised some observers who expected a more expansive and aggressive nuclear posture from the rising power.

Notably, the United States does not have a no-first-use policy. “Retaining a degree of ambiguity and refraining from a no first use policy creates uncertainty in the mind of potential adversaries and reinforces deterrence of aggression by ensuring adversaries cannot predict what specific actions will lead to a U.S. nuclear response,” the Pentagon stated….
https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/china-we-wont-use-nuclear-weapons-first-war-69007

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The government also suggested that “in view of the increasing tensions and imminent arms race, identify opportunities together with allies to achieve the withdrawal of all Russian and American sub-strategic nuclear weapons from all over Europe – from the Atlantic to the Urals.”
https://natowatch.org/default/2019/dutch-government-sets-qualified-timeline-end-nuclear-task

Dutch government sets a (qualified) timeline to end the nuclear task

Susi Snyder, project lead for the PAX No Nukes project, The Netherlands

16 July 2019

This article was first published on the PAX website on 8 July 2019 and is reproduced with the kind permission of the author.

The Dutch government published its response to a report by the Advisory Council on International Affairs (AIV) (31 January 2019), called “Nuclear weapons in a new geopolitical reality.” In the response, the government suggested that when the F-16 is definitely replaced by the F-35 it could be possible to end the nuclear task. The government points out that ending the nuclear task (currently an assignment of a squadron of fighter pilots, allegedly hosting about 20 nuclear bombs, and the related guns, gates and guards to keep them isolated), would not require changes in NATO membership, but would need to be well prepared.

The government also suggested that “in view of the increasing tensions and imminent arms race, identify opportunities together with allies to achieve the withdrawal of all Russian and American sub-strategic nuclear weapons from all over Europe – from the Atlantic to the Urals.”. Of course, the Dutch government is not eager to act unilaterally, and any withdrawal of the US nuclear weapons would require bilateral negotiations between the US and the Netherlands, and, as with previous withdrawals of forward deployed weapons, an appropriate sharing of information with NATO allies. The government went on to suggest that the “moment of modernization of the nuclear weapons located in Europe would be a logical starting point to take steps in that direction”.

By providing a timeline for ending the nuclear task, the government has its work cut out for it. According to Lockheed Martin, 8 of the 37 planes ordered will be in hand this year, and as production challenges are better worked out, the rest should arrive before the end of 2023. In addition, the B61 bombs currently stored in the Netherlands are meant to be replaced by 2024, so this timeline provides a chance for the government to send those bombs back to the US one – way.

On 7 February 2019, the chamber held discussions about the NATO defence ministerial in the context of the Dutch national plan to structurally invest in priority capacities that fit NATO collective objectives. Nuclear weapon capabilities are NOT a priority capacity building objective and should not be misconstrued as such. Several NATO members have national policies and legislation that prevents things like nuclear sharing, or nuclear armed ships docking at their ports. Some have argued that changing basing arrangements must be made in full consultation with all allies, but historically (e.g. in Greece, Canada and the UK) basing decisions have been made bilaterally and then communicated afterwards to the alliance. Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey all have the opportunity and obligation to protect their citizens by engaging in bilateral discussion with the US to remove forward deployed nuclear weapons from their territories.

Activities needed to meet this deadline are likely to also support efforts to fulfil the 2010 nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty agreement to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in security strategies. As it will be necessary for the Netherlands to with allies to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in NATO security strategies and doctrines. As long as nuclear weapons are considered necessary for security, efforts to eliminate them will fail. Previous coalitions worked diligently with allies to re-frame the discussion on burden sharing, to readjust the alliance towards security threats and the arsenals needed to defend against them.

The Dutch government has given itself a timetable that elected officials can hold them accountable to. As the US weapons will need to leave European territory in order to be refitted with the new guided tail kit, among other new capabilities, there is no reason to bring them back. The government can, working with the US, use the plans already designed to safely remove the weapons to the US, and then invite external officials (from IAEA or other governments) to inspect the bunkers in which they were formerly stored, verifying their removal. Overall, this is a confidence building measure and risk reduction effort as well as a demonstration of effective transparency in nuclear weapons matters.

A focus on defence of critical infrastructure, security of energy supply and attention to the low-cost high reward information warfare currently undermining democracies across the alliance would strengthen security without risking the mass murder of civilians. Agreeing to participate in a new nuclear arms race by rationalising the claim that new nuclear weapons are needed to counter the development of new weapons by others is a false equivalency that increases global risks of nuclear use even to the point of nuclear war.

Who will be the owner of all those new fighter planes——the Netherlands? The 20 nuclear bombs presumably are officially owned by th US, right? The Dutch are just “hosting “ them and can send them home if they want to. But why do they want so many fighter planes?


A replica of the “Gadget” and tower in New Mexico.

Did you hear during the initial Trinity test set up Los Alamos had a scientist climb up to the top of this tower (the original, that is) and “guard” the bomb while measurement equipment was installed, etc. Unfortunately, there was subsequently a lightning storm over the desert. It is very likely the bomb would have exploded prematurely if the tower was struck.

Apparently the scientist was still on the tower during the lightning storm. Terrifying!

Yes! The House of Commons wants this government to ”to take a leadership role within NATO in beginning the work necessary for achieving the NATO goal of creating the conditions for a world free of nuclear weapons.” Why isn’t it happening? (And isn’t it a nice room? Not always so nice during Question period when the members get rowdy, but pretty while they are absent.)

How often are nuclear weapons mentioned in the House of Commons (Canada). It would be interesting to see an analysis of this over the years – as well as comparison between the municipal, provincial, and federal level of government. The only municipal example that I can think of re: Toronto would be the commitment to being a nuclear weapons free city. How does Canada’s House of Commons compare to other countries – such as the United Kingdom, United States, etc. – in regards to the topics of nuclear weapons coming up in discussions?

How often are nuclear weapons mentioned in the House of Commons (Canada)? (Correction: this should be a question, not a statement)