The INES Global Responsibility Newsletter reports and comments – from a global perspective – on political, technical and societal developments and comprises of regular internal news sections.
May we embrace peace with justice. May we speak for it and stand for it. May we make our voices heard and our presence felt.
May we awaken to the possibilities of our greatness if we stop wasting our resources on war and its preparation.
May we end all war in the new year. Wars always end. May we end them sooner and lessen the toll of death and suffering. May we refrain from initiating new wars.
May we dramatically reduce military spending and reallocate the funds to meeting social needs – the needs of the poor, the hungry, the homeless and those without health care.
May we end the arms trade, and make pariahs of those who profit from it and from war.
May we stop provoking a new nuclear arms race with the Russians by the expansion of NATO and deployment of missile defense installations up to their borders in Europe.
May we recognize the omnicidal threat that nuclear weapons pose to humanity and all life. May we take these weapons off hair-trigger alert, declare and enforce policies of No First Use, and begin negotiations for a new treaty for the phased, verifiable, irreversible and transparent elimination of all nuclear weapons.
May we uphold and strengthen human rights for all people in all places. May we seek justice for the oppressed.
May we stop to appreciate the beauty and abundance of our amazing planet, our most important common heritage. May we make it a healthy planet for all life by restoring the purity of its air and water, the lushness of its forests and the richness of its soil.
May we demonstrate a decent respect for the lessons of history and for all who have preceded us on our unique planet, the only one we know of in the universe that supports life.
May we show by our actions that we take seriously our role as trustees of Earth for our children and their children and all children of the future – that they may enjoy a peaceful and harmonious life on our planetary home.
Open Letter on NATO Missile Defense Plans and Increased Risk of Nuclear War
INES supports the Open Letter to Presidents Obama and Medvedev that addresses missile defense deployments in Europe, a critical point of ongoing contention between the US and Russia that is capable not only of ending the possibility of nuclear disarmament but of restarting a nuclear arms race between the two countries and others. NATO deployment of a missile defense system in Europe is a scenario for nuclear disaster, and it is being provoked by US hubris in pursuing a technology that is unlikely ever to be effective, but which Russian leaders must view in terms of a worst-case scenario.
Article by Stuart Parkinson, SGR, published as part of the debate on 'Capitalism and the University' on the openDemocracy website.
It has surprised few that since coming to power the Cameron government has pursued an agenda which included pressing for much stronger links between university and business. The justification given is a simple one – that, to enhance our economic competitiveness in these difficult times, we need to become better at commercialising scientific and other academic research to help fuel economic growth. This is a perspective that has been gaining increasing support among policy-makers in the UK (and elsewhere) for over 20 years. But there are many flaws in this thesis – with the strongest evidence of problems coming from academic research itself.
By Hersh, Seymour, "Iran and the IAEA," The New Yorker, November 18, 2011.
I've been reporting on Iran and the bomb for The New Yorker for the past decade, with a focus on the repeated inability of the best and the brightest of the Joint Special Operations Command to find definitive evidence of a nuclear-weapons production program in Iran. The goal of the high-risk American covert operations was to find something physical - a "smoking calutron," as a knowledgeable official once told me - to show the world that Iran was working on warheads at an undisclosed site, to make the evidence public, and then to attack and destroy the site.
The new report, therefore, leaves us where we've been since 2002, when George Bush declared Iran to be a member of the Axis of Evil - with lots of belligerent talk but no definitive evidence of a nuclear-weapons program.
Managing Spent Fuel from Nuclear Power Reactors: Experience and Lessons from Around the World.
In October 2011 the International Panel on Fissile Materials (IPFM) has released a new report, Managing Spent Fuel from Nuclear Power Reactors: Experience and Lessons from Around the World. The report provides an overview of the policy and technical challenges faced internationally and learning over the past five decades in efforts at long-term storage and disposal of spent fuel from nuclear power reactors.
European security research – it is time for change
Martina Weitsch of the Quaker Council for European Affairs (QCEA), shows how arms companies – including those from Israel – have obtained public EU research funds, despite military research being specifically excluded from the formal R&D framework.
Delàs Center presents its report The controversial spanish arms trade, a secret business 2001-2010, which shows that the Spanish government has sold weapons to countries in an armed conflict situation. The Spanish State, only in 2010, has sold 1,128 millioneurosin arms,many destined tocountries in armed conflict, in a situation of tensionand whereHuman Rightsare violated. Published by the Centre d'Estudis per a la Pau JM Delàs.
Download the report here:
The Occupy movement is demonstrating its durability and perseverance.
By David Krieger
Like a Daruma doll, each time it is knocked off balance it serenely pops back up. The movement has been seeking justice for the 99 percent, and justice is an essential element of peace.
For decades, the United States has been in permanent preparation for war, spending over half of the total annual discretionary funds that Congress allocates on "defense," our euphemism for war. World military expenditures exceed $1.5 trillion annually, and the US spends more than half of this amount, more than the rest of the world combined. Read on Photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/franciscodaum/with/6361442937/
Occupy Wall St - Demands to End War and Cut Military Spending
By Joana Racine, International Peace Bureau (published 20 Oct. 2011) The Occupy Wall Street movement has defied all those predicting its early demise, exploding from a small protest into a worldwide movement. On October 15th, protests were held from North and South America to Asia, Africa and Europe, with over 1,500 events in 82 countries. A part of these protests was directed against super-sized military budgets (particularly in the US). They called attention to the unfairness of ever-higher military spending while spending on social welfare institutions and programmes is being cut. Download the report here:
On 21 October 2011, the Nuclear Abolition Forum was launched in New York.
The Nuclear Abolition Forum is a joint project of eight key organizations active in the disarmament field. The founding organizations are:
The Forum’s first issue of its periodical focuses on the application of International Humanitarian Law to Nuclear Weapons and its implications. Edited by Dr. John Burroughs of the Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy, the issue offers a variety of perspectives on this important issue through articles from high-level contributors.
3. November 2011
IPB calls on Ban Ki-moon to act urgently in Syria
Council of the International Peace Bureau (IPB) statement.
The IPB Council meeting in Potsdam on 29-30 Oct. 2011, calls on the UN Secretary General to use all the non-violent tools of the UN to protect civilians in Syria, and in other places where people are striving for democracy and decent human conditions. IPB appeals to him to involve international expertise in peace-building and peaceful handling of conflicts, as well as the regional bodies, notably the Arab League and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, in facilitating negotiations between the Syrian Government and those protesting against undemocratic and violent behaviour. IPB urges Ban Ki-moon to exert his influence on member states in order to avoid that the Security Council adopts a militaristic interpretation of the Responsibility to Protect doctrine, as we saw in Libya. Learn more about IPB.
INES is a member of the IPB.
2. November 2011
"Does Unmanned Make Unacceptable?
Exploring the Debate on using Drones and Robots in Warfare".
Drones and robots are an emerging military technology that has a growing impact on today’s warfare. The use of these types of military machinery has brought forward new challenges and discussions which needs to be analyzed and discussed thoroughly due to the nature of these weapons. The use of drones and robots raises military strategic, ethical and legal questions. This report will give an overview of the types of drones and robots which are used, who uses them and where the advantages and disadvantages and ethical and legal questions that came along with the increased use of these machines.
Finland to host 2012 conference on WMD free zone in Middle East
Finland has been designated as the host country for the planned conference in 2012 on a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East. Jaakko Laajava, Under-Secretary of State in the Finnish Foreign Ministry, has been announced as the facilitator for the conference. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and representatives from the United States, Russia, and Britain announced the decision on October 14th in New York. Read on.
22. October 2011
Give Peace a Chance - Troops Out of Afghanistan!
The German peace movement is calling for various actions to protest the war in Afghanistan. These will include a nation-wide demonstration (3.12.), an international conference (4.12.) as well as diverse protests against the inhumane policy of war (5.12.). The theme of the protests: "They talk peace, but wage war - Troops out of Afghanistan!". The goal: to make a powerful statement against the inhumane war in Afghanistan. Read on.
To download the Petersberg-2 Newspaper 22.10.2011 (in German) click here.
17. October 2011
Over one million signatures presented to the UN for a total ban on nuclear weapons
The Japan Council against A and H Bombs (Gensuikyo) sent a 16-member delegation to the United Nations in New York and submitted 1.029.031 signatures for a total ban on nuclear weaponsand to start negotiations on a nuclear weapon convention to Ambassador Jarmo Viinanen of Finland, chair of the First Committee and Mr. Sergio Duarte, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs.
The submitted signatures included those of 766 mayors, 97 assistant mayors, 557 chairpersons and 42 vice-chair persons of municipal councils and 131 chairpersons of local education boards. The number of the mayors who signed, alone, represents 44 percent of the 1,746 Japanese municipalities. Read the call to all UN member states to act for the start of negotiations on a nuclear weapon convention.
Prof. Weizsäcker has deep knowledge about resources. He is co-chair of the International Resources Panel; member of the Club of Rome; was Dean of the Donald Bren School at the University of California; and founded the Wuppertal Institute. His engagement was widely recognized, as he won prizes as the Takeda Award and the German Environmental Prize.
The core ideas of Weizsäcker are published in his bestseller Factor Four of 1997. In the book he shows 50 examples proving how the wealth gained from the resources we use can be increased at least four times. In 2010 he published Factor Five. The book focuses on innovation in industry and technology, as well as policy, of the last 15 years.
Read more and listen to the interview on studentreporter.org.
7. October 2011
International Peace Bureau celebrates a triple Nobel for women peacemakers
The IPB is delighted to add its voice to the congratulations pouring in from around the globe for this year’s Nobel peace laureates: Leymah Gbowee, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Tawakkul Karman.
IPB sees the prize not only as an accolade for these three individuals, but also for the thousands of women who over the years and the decades and in all parts of the world have courageously raised their voices for peace, for human rights and for democratic processes – far too often without being heard by male-dominated powers. Read on.
INES is a member of IPB.
6. October 2011
The Japan Scientists' Association appeals to the Japanese Government for a basic change of energy and nuclear power policy
At the 42nd General Assembly of the Japan Scientist’ Association (JSA) on 29 May, 2011 this appeal was adopted. The JSA is an INES member organisation representing more than 4500 engineers and scientists.
The JSA appeals:
Never approve a new construction of any nuclear power plant, and decommission not only the Hamaoka plant but plants with the risk of great earthquake and decrepit plants;
Conduct a drastic review of safety standards and make thorough inspections of existing plants considering the actually happened earthquake and tsunami;
To break down the collusion between industry, government, and academia, which has promoted the nuclear policy on the basis of the safety myth of nuclear power generation, and to take top priority to security, establish the regulatory organization for nuclear power plants, which should have personnel, system and authority adequate to perform that rule;
Abolish the previous supplementary reader based on the safety myth under the editorship of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and draw up a new supplementary reader that covers mainly whole damages caused by this accident and its lessons.
The Report contains a brief overview of IPB's main programmes during the year:
Disarmament for Development
Making Peace exhibition
Oslo conference: A Climate of Peace
21. September 2011
Mayors for Peace membership has exceeded 5000
By September 20th, 2011 Mayors for Peace, a network campaigning for abolition of nuclear weapons consists of 5003 member cities from 151 countries and regions. To learn more click here.
21. September 2011
Public research should benefit society, not big business
In June 2011 an open letter was sent to the President and Members of the European Commission as well as the European Parliament and the EU Member states to warn that the Commission's draft proposals for the next Research funding framework (2014-2020) fail to address the real challenges faced by European societies and call for a research agenda geared towards the needs of society and the environment rather than those of big business.
By today, 119 organisations (mainly NGOs and a few scientists networks) from across Europe support the initiative. In order to make more impact towards policy makers in Brussels we would like to ask you individually - and especially scientists- to sign the letter. Signing is at: http://sciencescitoyennes.org/open-letter-eu-research/
People's Movement Against the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project
Over 3000 villagers are on the roads, protesting against a nuclear power plant in Koodankulam. Located in Tirunelveli South Tamilnadu, the plant is gearing up to commission its first two reactors. The 1.000 MW VVER type reactors have been announced in the final stages of an ambitious project that has been touted as the answer to the severe power shortage in Tamil Nadu. But villagers in and around the nuclear plant are on an indefinite strike demanding the complete shutdown of the project. About one hundred of them have been fasting since Monday. Women, men and even children say they have seen the haunting images of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. They now fear for their lives and livelihood and are not ready to face a similar disaster. To read on and see CNN video footage click here.
By September 13th 7,000 residents from coastal areas of Idinthakarai and other villages joined the strikers. To read on click here.
The People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy produces a field report on the South Asia Citizens Web. To read the field report click here.
We are having a Dharna (sit-in protest) on 27th September 2011 at 3-5 PM in front of the Colachel Municipality to support the agitation going on against Koodamkulam Nuclear Plant, in Idinthakarai.
40 years of Inspiring Action: Greenpeace celebrates its 40 birthday today
Nuclear power is dirty, dangerous and expensive.
BNP Paribas is the #1 Nuclear Bank in the world - investing more heavily in nuclear projects than any other bank. BNP Paribas currently has plans to finance a dangerously obsolete nuclear reactor in Brazil - the Angra 3.
To read more about the costs of the Angra 3 nuclear reactor and to support the Greenpeace "Stop nuclear inverstment-campaign" click here.
7. September 2011
Dr. Peter Becker of IALANA is honored with the Sean MacBride Peace Prize 2011.
Every year the International Peace Bureau (IPB) awards a special prize to a person or organisation that has done outstanding work for peace, disarmament and/or human rights. This year the award goes to Dr. Peter Becker of the German section of the International Association Of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms (IALANA). INES and IALANA closely cooperating in many issue. Both are e.g. part of the international Coalition "No to War - No to Nato"
Multi-billion Euro project “HELIOS”: Can photovoltaic electricity exports solve the Greek debt crisis?
"George Papaconstantinou, Minister for the Environment, Energy and Climate Change of Greece, is planning to turn German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble’s proposal for a multi-billion Euro solar project into reality. Should the “HELIOS” project drive European countries to expand the European power grid and to establish national feed-in tariffs for the import of clean energy, it would also benefit the realization of DESERTEC. However, we must sound a note of caution and stress that photovoltaic (PV) solar power from Greece cannot provide a viable alternative to clean power from deserts.
PV is a sensible option to meet local needs in Southern European countries where, because of air conditioning use during the summer months, electricity demand peaks at noon. However, it is not the first choice to export large amounts of electricity, as the lack of storage capacity means that PV cannot meet the need for energy as and when it arises. In contrast, concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP) plants offer the opportunity to store thermal energy and generate electricity even when the sun is not shining. But the potential for CSP plants in mainland Greece is limited compared with the opportunities which could be realized in Spain, North Africa or the Middle East.
Nonetheless we welcome the news of the planned developments in Greece. It is encouraging to see that politicians are realizing that international cooperation offers a faster and more viable way to establish renewable energy as an alternative to nuclear and fossil fuels, than national initiatives because renewable energy investments are most beneficial for energy provision and climate protection when realized in the most suitable locations."
The Federation of German Scientists (VDW) a German INES member organisation is part of a working group on Desertec. See article in the latest INES Global Responsibility Newsletter.
Photograph: Estela Silva/EPA
5. September 2011
Windfarms prevent detection of secret nuclear weapon tests, says UK Ministry of Defence
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is blocking plans for hundreds of wind turbines because it says their "seismic noise" will prevent the detection of nuclear explosions around the world.
The MoD claims that vibrations from new windfarms across a large area of north-west England and south-west Scotland will interfere with the operation of its seismological recording station at Eskdalemuir, near Lockerbie.
To read the article by Rob Edwards of Friday 19 August 2011 please click here.
5. September 2011
Amano Confident about Middle East Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone
Yukiya Amano, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said that there appears to be momentum for a meeting as early as November between Israel and Arab nations to discuss a Middle East nuclear weapon-free zone.
Amano said, "A nuclear weapon-free zone in the Middle East will not be achieved tomorrow - everyone knows it - but we can get closer. Increasing confidence is very much needed; even a small step is helpful. I hope that we can host a forum this year."
A nuclear weapon-free, peaceful and just world is the common desire of all who work for peace and against war.
More more than 10.000 peace activists participated in the 2011 World Conference against A & H Bombs in Nagasaki and Hiroshima including 250 delegates in the International Meeting on Aug. 3-5, about 2.000 in the Hiroshima Day Rally on Aug. 6 and 7.800 in the World Conference – Nagasaki on Aug. 7-9, as well as 88 overseas delegates from 25 countries. It was encouraging that many people took part in the Conference from the March 11 earthquake-tsunami-nuclear crisis-afflicted areas.
"What I see on the horizon is a world free of nuclear weapons.
What I see before me are the people who will help make it happen.
Please keep up your good work. Sound the alarm, keep up the pressure.
Ask your leaders what they are doing … personally … to eliminate the nuclear menace. Above all, continue to be the voice of conscience. We will rid the world of nuclear weapons. And when we do, it will be because of people like you.
The world owes you its gratitude.” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the Riverside Church in New York on May 1, 2010.
Towards a green economy - Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication
A Synthesis for Policy Makers
The Green Economy Report is compiled by UNEP’s Green Economy Initiative in collaboration with economists and experts worldwide. It demonstrates that the greening of economies is not generally a drag on growth but rather a new engine of growth; that it is a net generator of decent jobs, and that it is also a vital strategy for the elimination of persistent poverty. The report also seeks to motivate policy makers to create the enabling conditions for increased investments in a transition to a green economy.
To visit the UNEP report website click here.
Download the report here:
A new Proliferation Paper by Pavel Podvig has been published by the Institut Francais des Relations Internationales. Nuclear weapons have traditionally occupied an important place in Russia's national security strategy. As Russia and the United States have been reducing their nuclear arsenals since the end of the Cold War, their relationship has undergone a complex transformation. Russia, however, still considers strategic balance with the United States to be an important element of national security.
After an overview of the current status of the Russian strategic nuclear forces and the strategic modernization program undertaken by Russia, this Proliferation Paper considers the role that missile defense and tactical nuclear weapons could play during the next round of nuclear arms control negotiations. Each of these problems presents a serious challenge. Nevertheless, this analysis suggests that recent progress in nuclear disarmament and the willingness of both countries to engage in a dialogue give the two countries an opportunity to reduce the importance of nuclear weapons in their relationship.
TOKYO — The United States is in talks with NATO to remove US tactical nuclear weapons from Europe, in a push toward a nuclear-weapons-free world and to cut costs, a Japanese newspaper said Friday.
Washington is talking with other NATO member nations about the withdrawal of all shorter-range, tactical nuclear weapons that have been deployed in Europe since the Cold War era, the influential Asahi Shimbun said.
In-depth discussions will take place in coming months and the talks should conclude by the time Chicago hosts a NATO summit next May, the liberal daily said, citing a senior US official tasked with nuclear disarmament policies.
The talks are being held as part of NATO's Defense and Deterrence Posture Review, said the report filed from the paper's Washington bureau.
The move came as US President Barack Obama wants to negotiate with Russia about reducing tactical nuclear weapons and nuclear stockpiles, following the ratification this year of the US-Russia New START disarmament treaty, it said.
If a complete abolition in Europe is agreed, it could give impetus to US-Russia nuclear disarmament talks, the mass-circulation newspaper said.
Activist takes Germany to court over nuclear warheads
Retired pharmacist versus Germany: a Cologne court has begun hearing the case of an activist intent on having Germany remove US nuclear warheads being stored at a military base located in western Germany. 14. July, 2011 Read on
6. August 2011
Remembrance, Reflection and Resistance
By David Krieger
We remember the horrors of the past so that we may learn from them and they will not be repeated in the future. If we ignore or distort the past and fail to learn from it, we are opening the door to repetition of history’s horrors.
In August, we remember the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which took place on August 6 and 9, 1945, respectively. Both were illegal attacks on civilian populations, violating long-standing rules of customary international humanitarian law prohibiting the use of indiscriminate weapons (as between combatants and non-combatants) and weapons that cause unnecessary suffering. Read on
21. July 2011
The present jurisdiction of German courts does not provide adequate protection for whistleblowers.
The International Association Of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms (IALANA) and the Federation of German Scientists (VDW) call for follow-up measures from today’s ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on the case of the whistleblower Brigitte Heinisch.
The German section of the international law association IALANA in collaboration with the VDW interprets the whistleblower judgement of the ECHR on 21st July 2011:
The judgement from the Court of Human Rights, which the geriatric nurse (and the awardee of the Whistleblower Prize in 2007) Brigitte Heinisch (Berlin) received today, revealed:
1. The present jurisdiction of German courts does not provide adequate protection for whistleblowers. Neither the Federal Labour Court nor the Federal Constitutional Court were able to rectify the shocking ruling of the Regional Labour Court of Berlin, which rejected Ms Heinisch’s case for unfair dismissal.
Final statement of the 59th Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs in Berlin, Germany
Conclusion: The Pugwash community draws inspiration from the positive legacy of the city of Berlin and looks to a future where we continue to create peace and security through dialogue and cooperation. If walls can come down here, there is hope for those who struggle elsewhere that it is possible to create common ground and a more secure world for future generations. The Council notes again the important role of young people in these discussions, and congratulates the International Student/Young Pugwash movement for promoting these issues among their peers.
Public Research should benefit Society, not big business
Scientists and NGOs slam Commission's Research funding plans
In an open letter sent today to the President and Members of the European Commission as well as the European Parliament and the EU Member states, 98 civil society and research organisations from across Europe warn that the Commission's draft proposals for the next Research funding framework (2014-2020) fail to address the real challenges faced by European societies and call for a research agenda geared towards the needs of society and the environment rather than those of big business.
President Clinton – and 19 other former heads of government - support Nuclear Weapons Convention
The Inter-Action Council, a group of 20 former heads of government meeting in Québec City (Canada) 29-31 May 2011, have released a statement with key recommendations for the world’s future – with specific attention on the global water crisis, financial stability, the necessity of moving towards renewable energy, unrest in the Middle East and nuclear disarmament.
The Council, following a briefing on nuclear disarmament from Middle Powers Initiative Chair Richard Butler, agreed “The continuing existence of nuclear weapons is an unacceptable and disproportionate threat to every living thing on the planet. The only enduring solution to this threat lies in the verifiable and irreversible elimination of these weapons…” Read on
19. June 2011
IALANA General Assembly issues an urgent call for a world without nuclear weapons and nuclear energy
“Nuclear weapons and nuclear energy are the two sides of a Damoclean sword. We are sharpening the cutting edge to make it even more dangerous through our research and improvement of nuclear weapons. The blunt side of the sword is also being sharpened to a dangerous level through the proliferation and maintenance of nuclear reactors. The fibers of the threat by which the sword is suspended are being cut one by one through the increasing number of nuclear states, the availability on the internet of knowledge regarding nuclear weapons construction, the availability of materials from the waste of nuclear reactors, and the activities of terrorist organizations who would love to acquire a bomb. The sword of Damocles is being made more dangerous every day.” These were the key words of the speech of Judge Christopher Weeramantry, former Vice-President of the International Court of Justice and UNESCO Peace Education Laureate, held on Saturday June 18, 2011 in Szceczin, Poland.
Let us withdraw the remaining US nuclear weapons from Europe
By Tom Sauer
NATO Defense Ministers gather in Brussels on 8-9 June. On the agenda is NATO's Nuclear Policy Review (formally called Defense and Deterrence Review).
On 8 and 9 June, the Defense Ministers gather in Brussels to discuss the NATO Defense and Deterrence Review, a de facto nuclear policy review. Because this issue was such a hot topic in 2010, especially between Germany and France, the NATO Strategic Concept deliberations ended with a lowest common denominator compromise.
The most acrimonious point in the current review is not whether the 200 remaining US nuclear weapons in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, and Turkey should be withdrawn, but when and how. Even the US military agree that their military utility is close to zero. The key question is whether NATO should link the withdrawal to the Russian tactical nuclear weapons, or not. Cold War logic would of course suggest such linkage.
To read on click here.
6. June 2011
National Peace March Calling for Abolition of Nuclear Weapons
The 2011 National Peace March against A and H Bombs has started in its major 11 routes one after another. This year's Peace March is being conducted under difficulties caused by the March 11th East Japan Earthquake of magnitude 9.0, tsunamis and subsequent Fukushima nuclear power plant accident that meltdown of four reactors and radioactive dispersion happened. It is going to call for support to and solidarity with sufferers of the disaster, and transmit inside and outside Japan a message for a nuclear weapon-free, peaceful and just world, human- and nature-friendly global environment, as well as voices for a withdrawal from nuclear energy.
Some scientists are concerned about the ethical and legal dimensions of emerging technologies such as geo-engineering and unmanned aerial vehicles.
3-page article about the recent conference of Scientist for Global Responsibility (SGR), UK in the latest issue of Professional Engineering - see: profeng.com/features/at-what-cost
1. June, 2011
Climate Change, Nuclear Risks and Nuclear Disarmament
From Security Threats to Sustainable Peace
The report examines the convergence of nuclear and climate change threats and its implications for global security. It is based on groundbreaking research by WFC Peace and Disarmament Working Group member and Vice Chair of the INES Executive Committee Prof. Dr. Jürgen Scheffran of the University of Hamburg.
To read the press relase of WFC click here.
To download the 24-pages report click here.
China's Nuclear Arsenal: Status and Evolution
The Chinese government is not trying to reach numerical parity with the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal and does not have the nuclear material to do so, according to a briefing paper released by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). China currently possesses a relatively small nuclear arsenal, with an estimated 155 nuclear warheads ready to be deployed on six types of land-based missiles.
Approximately 50 of its 155 missiles can reach the continental United States. The United States, by comparison, currently has more than 1,700 deployed nuclear warheads that can reach China.
The briefing paper points out that China, unlike the United States, does not deploy its warheads on its missiles. Instead, it stores the warheads separately until missiles are prepared for launch. For this reason, under the counting rules agreed to in the recently ratified New START treaty between the United States and Russia, the total number of Chinese nuclear weapons would be counted as zero.
The continuing war in Libya shows unmistakably the dangers and impacts of a potentially long-lasting, bloody civil war. Military interventions from the air and from land intensify the bellicose actions: they are part of the war and not of a peaceful solution.
The catastrophe of a “second Afghanistan” can still be prevented.
International law should again be the guide to action. Questions remain regarding the compatibility of UN Security Council Resolution 1973 with the Charter of the United Nations. The double standards of NATO’s actions are evident.
Difficulties in realizing a ceasefire and the complexities of the road towards peace for Libya are challenges for the international community, for the United Nations, and for the forces for peace in general. To continue the war and the bombing will worsen the conflict with all its inhuman consequences.
Together with many governments and international organizations, like the African Union, we demand an immediate ceasefire and commencement of negotiations with all conflict parties on a peaceful solution for the future of Libya.
Cease-fire allows and is the pre-condition for humanitarian help, food support and human safety.
INES supports all peaceful and non-violent changes for democracy, freedom and (social) justice, like the national uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Libya, Syria, and others. We are supporting the people’s movement for freedom, independence and democracy. People should decide about their future without foreign intervention or repressions from dictators.
A solar power plant in the Mojave desert.
9. 5. 2011
Renewable energy can power the world, says landmark IPCC study
UN's climate change science body says renewables supply, particularly solar power, can meet global demand.
By Fiona Harvey (The Guardian)
Renewable energy could account for almost 80% of the world's energy supply within four decades - but only if governments pursue the policies needed to promote green power, according to a landmark report published on Monday.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the body of the world's leading climate scientists convened by the United Nations, said that if the full range of renewable technologies were deployed, the world could keep greenhouse gas concentrations to less than 450 parts per million, the level scientists have predicted will be the limit of safety beyond which climate change becomes catastrophic and irreversible.
Visit the website of the Guardian to comment the article.
Read the Summary for Policymakers here:
Nuclear Power is a Science Policy Issue. Stop the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant
By Dr. Dhirendra Sharma
On April 26th as the science community commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986 we tried to re-assess the feasibility and sustainability of nuclear power.
The Fukushima nuclear tragedy in Japan also warned the world against the nuclear path. Many anti-nuclear marches took place around the world. In India thousands marched from the disabled Tarapur Nuclear Plant to the proposed Jaitapur opposing the nuclear power project. But the Minister for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh made a highly irresponsible and irrational statement that “the Jaitapur nuclear project was a fait accompli.” As the Man Mohan Singh government had refused to halt the project. Read on
26. 4. 2011
Quarter century retrospective on the Chernobyl nuclear accident
By Peter Custers
The accident could have served as a wake-up call to the whole of humanity. Twenty-five years ago, on April 26th 1986, disaster struck at the fourth reactor of the Chernobyl nuclear complex, in the Ukrainian state of the former Soviet Union. The accident actually started taking shape in the preceding night, when workers undertook a turbine test that had incompletely been carried out before the nuclear plant became operational. When the test was being carried out, the automatic emergency system was shut down, undermining reactor safety. During the test also, fuel elements burst, setting off a chain of events which in no time resulted in two powerful explosions. Soon the reactor’s meltdown was a fact, and a huge radioactive cloud spread its contaminating effects over a vast area of the Soviet Union and beyond.
I keep thinking that Earth Day should be about something far more profound than recycling. Not that recycling isn’t good. It’s just not good enough. We humans are destroying our earth: using up its topsoil, devouring its precious resources, polluting its air and water, altering its climate. And we are bombing and shelling the earth and each other with our wasteful and destructive military technologies. In short, we are behaving extremely badly and fouling our own nest. And we are doing this not only to ourselves, but to future generations. Read on
To read the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth, click here.
15. 4. 2011
Urgent appeal by the Japan Scientists' Association
More than ten thousand residents in Eastern Japan were killed, wounded or are missing by a gigantic earthquake, the 2011 Tohoku district - off the Pacific Ocean Earthquake, and tsunami hit on March 11th.
The Japan Scientists' Association mourns for the victims, sympathizes with pain of the sufferers, and hopes that the missing will be found and rescued as soon as possible.
Wolfgang Gehrcke, Left party
Christine Hoffmann, Pax Christi
Reiner Braun, INES Program Director
World military expenditure in 2010 is estimated to have been $1630 billion, an increase of 1.3 per cent. The region with the largest increase in military spending was South America, with a 5.8 per cent increase, reaching a total of $63.3 billion, according to new data published today by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Read press release. The comprehensive annual update of the SIPRI Military Expenditure Database is accessible from today at www.sipri.org
Thousands of Japanese took to the streets of Tokyo to protest the country's nuclear-power plants. The rally occured as engineers continue to work on bringing the Fukushima Daiichi plant under control, after it was smashed by last month's earthquake and tsunami.
Around 3,000 people marched through central Tokyo, a large demonstration by Japanese standards. See:
Alliance of Right Livelihood Award Laureates Demands Global Nuclear Phase Out
Joint International Statement of Laureates of the “Alternative Nobel Prize” and Members of the World Future Council on Japanese Nuclear Disaster
“Nuclear power is neither the answer to modern energy problems nor a panacea for climate change challenges. There is no solution of problems by creating more problems,” states the declaration issued by experts, activists, politicians, clergy, entrepreneurs and scientists from 26 countries.
Click here to read the full statement and to see the list of signees.
Statement of the International Coordinating Committee No to War – No to NATO (ICC) condemning the attacks on Libya
The International Coordinating Committee No to War – No to NATO (ICC) strongly condemns the attacks of the USA, France, and Britain on Libya, to implement a so-called “no-fly zone”. The attacks, clearly prepared before the United Nations Security Council authorized the no-fly zone, do not contribute to a solution of the Libyan crisis, but only add further suffering. The ICC also strongly criticizes UN Security Council resolution 1973 from 17 March 2011, which authorizes military action against Libya.
Nuclear Energy and Weapons: Uncontrollable in Time and Space
By Alyn Ware
The earthquake and tsunami in Japan devastated a whole region. Radioactive emissions from the damaged nuclear reactors are very serious, and have already contaminated food and water, prompting a ban on food exports from four prefectures and a government warning not to give Tokyo tap water to babies. The crisis could impact human health and the environment on an even wider scale -- across Japan and around the globe.
Libya: International Peace Bureau condemns military strikes and urges political negotiations to protect the civilian population
A new historical era opened three months ago with the popular uprisings in Tunisia and then Egypt, the first of the ‘Arab spring’ season. These rebellions brought hope to millions and youthful energy to societies suffering decades of repression, injustice, inequality, especially gender inequality, and increasing economic hardship. The Libyan revolt was inspired by these largely nonviolent victories, but, as the world has witnessed with dismay, has rapidly become militarized and is now embroiled in a full-scale civil war.
After the Japanese Tsunami: Industrial society, resilience, and the nuclear question
Stuart Parkinson, Executive Director of Scientists for Global Responsibility (SGR), takes an initial look at the lessons from the Japanese tsunami and the Fukushima nuclear emergency. He argues that if societies are to be more ‘resilient’ to environmental risks, then major socio-economic and technological changes are critical.
The earthquake and tsunami in Japan have demonstrated that even the most industrially advanced nations can be very vulnerable to major environmental hazards. These events show that poor choices about which infrastructure to build can have catastrophic consequences – what some academics refer to as a lack of ‘resilience’. There are lessons here for Japan, the UK and beyond – in terms of how environmental risks can best be managed, including the question of whether nuclear power should continue to be part of the energy mix.
Japan’s unprecedented nuclear disaster refuels long standing controversy in Europe.
Comment by Peter Custers
The nuclear disaster which is unwinding in Japan has quickly refueled debate in Europe over the risks associated with production of nuclear energy. Immediately after the disaster in the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear complex along Japan’s east coast began, Western nuclear experts still tried to pacify public worries. It was for instance argued that the accident involving failures of the cooling systems in several of Fukushima’s nuclear reactors, could in no way be compared with the disaster that took place in Chernobyl in 1986, in the former Soviet Union. The explosion and meltdown of one of Chernobyl’s nuclear reactors admittedly engendered worldwide opposition against civilian nuclear production. But there was no question of a repeat. Instead, the experts argued - the Fukushima-Daiichi accidents could at most be compared with the 1979 accident on Three Mile Island in the US. The latter was a case of a partial meltdown, with largely localized consequences. Yet as events have rapidly unfolded in Japan, the debate over the wisdom of reliance on the nuclear sector has been resumed all over (Western) Europe. Even before high levels of radioactivity were registered outside the Fukushima nuclear complex, above the permitted maximum, - politicians both at the European and at national levels had already started drawing concrete consequences. Read on
A Final Wakeup Call?
By David Krieger
Our hearts go out to the people of Japan who are suffering the devastating effects of one of the most powerful earthquakes in the past one hundred years, followed by a devastating tsunami. Thousands are dead, injured and missing, and hundreds of thousands have been left homeless, many with limited food and water.
The greatest danger to the people of Japan, however, may lie ahead in the unfolding disaster of the damaged nuclear power plants at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station located 130 miles north of Tokyo. Already, substantial radiation has been released from the fires, explosions and partial meltdowns of the radioactive fuel rods in these plants, brought about by loss of coolant in the reactor cores and the spent fuel pools. The containment shells surrounding several of the reactors have been breached, allowing for the release of radiation into the environment.
See fact sheet on "Radiation and Human Health". This plain-language two-pager includes descriptions of some radionuclides of concern, a glossary of radiation units, an explanation of differences between high dose and low dose, and accepted conversions for estimating cancer morbidity and mortality from radiation exposure.
In August 1945, two atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki instantly turned the two cities into ruins and took the lives of about 210 thousand people. Even now, more than 200,000 Hibakusha, or A-bomb survivors, are carrying with them scars. Their tragedy should not be repeated anywhere on earth.
The call for the elimination of nuclear weapons is becoming ever widespread across the world. Citizens are taking actions, and many governments are endeavoring to reach this goal. The surest guarantee against there being another Hiroshima, or Nagasaki, is a total ban and the elimination of nuclear weapons.
In May 2010, the 189 parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), including the Nuclear weapons States, agreed “to achieve the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons”. Now is the time to act to accomplish it. We call on all governments to enter negotiations without delay on a convention banning nuclear weapons.
We all have had hard times when we were deprived of not only the internet service, but also of the mobile phone service. The regime wanted to isolate us from the world, as well as from each other to hinder the revolution. I was obliged to stand before my dwelling to protect my family from gangs flooding all Egypt to put people between the choice of the acceptance of the regime or chaos. I as a citizen joined the demonstrators in Tahrir square several times. It is a white revolution, led by several youth organizations and followed by the people: from all strata, Moslems and Christians. The Egyptian people has united to put an end to the regime. On Friday, 11 Feb. we have had the first victory: Mubarak has stepped down. Ordinary people from all classes, children, women, young girls and boys, youth and old like me celebrated the victory in the streets at the night of 11 Feb. Let us hope for a free democratic Egypt.
Best regards, Hamed El-Mously, member of the INES Executive Committee
Today the International Network of Engineers and Scientists for Global Responsibility (INES) launched a worldwide campaign against military research.
In an international appeal signed by Nobel Laureates, Right Livelihood Laureates and more prominent scientists* (see below) INES asks for the abandonment of all research and teaching for military purposes and urge university authorities and responsible academic bodies everywhere to adopt binding commitments in the university statutes similar to Civil Clauses in some countries.
Research carried out at universities includes military research. What is gathering strength at many German universities is a movement against what is being called “the increasing militarization of higher education”. The current German defence budget in fact does contain the impressive sum of 1.1 billion Euros for “research, development, testing” – the equivalent of more than one tenth of the entire German education budget.
More than 1000 Scientists from Japan already announced their support for the campaign.
For example the U.S. Defence Department has over 76 billion dollars yearly at its disposal for research and development. Every 2nd scientific position in the USA is armament related. In Russia about 40% and in UK 18%.
The signatures collected until June 2011 will be distributed to the world meeting of the International Association of University Presidents (IAUP) with the demand to take responsibility to stand up for peaceful and civilian research and education.
Further actions are planned.
* Signatories include: Daniel Ellsberg, USA; Sir Harold Kroto, Nobel Laureate Chemistry, UK; Jack Steinberger, Nobel Laureate Physics, Switzerland; Lisa Clark, former MEP, Italy; Mairead Corrigan Maguire, Peace Nobel Laureate, GB (Northern Ireland); Paul Crutzen, Nobel Laureate Chemistry, Germany/Netherlands; Tadatoshi Akiba, Mayor of Hiroshima, Japan.