What's new in INES (No. 2), 8. March 2013
New German INES bank account:
Lucas Wirl wegen INES
Account Number: 1062441881
US Nuclear Weapons Policy. U.S. 30 Years After WarGames, Director John Badham Recalls Nuclear Blockbuster. North Korea Tests Third Nuclear Weapon. Germany’s Homemade Nuclear Waste Disaster.Russian Fireball Largest Ever Detected by CTBTO’s Infrasound Sensors.U.S. Working Group for Peace & Demilitarization in Asia and the Pacific.
Water is a public good, not a commodity. We invite the European Commission to propose legislation implementing the human right to water and sanitation as recognised by the United Nations, and promoting the provision of water and sanitation as essential public services for all.
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Warhead Numbers Declin; Secrecy Continues. At a summit on nuclear deterrence in February 2013, Dr. Donald Cook, the National Nuclear Security Administration's administrator for defense programs, claimed that the U.S. has reduced its nuclear stockpile by 87 percent since its peak of 31,255 warheads in 1967. Dr. Cook later modified his estimate to 85 percent. This means that the U.S. still has approximately 4,688 active nuclear warheads (either deployed or in reserve). The figure does not include the estimated 3,000 nuclear weapons awaiting dismantlement.
The Obama administration has emphasized the importance of transparency to support non-proliferation and arms control efforts. However, all nuclear stockpile numbers after September 2009 continue to be a secret. This forces administration officials to speak in vague terms instead of real numbers, which inhibits further progress on global nuclear reductions.
Kristensen, Hans, "(Still) Secret U.S. Nuclear Weapons Stockpile Reduced,"Federation of American Scientists, February 26, 2013.
30 Years After WarGames, Director John Badham Recalls Nuclear Blockbuster.The 1983 nuclear action-adventure movie WarGames presented the story of David Lightman (Matthew Broderick), a high school student, computer prodigy and hacker who uses a dial-up modem to play what he thinks is a computer game – only to reach a top-secret system at the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). The intrusion is accidental but triggers a domino effect that accelerates toward world war, as government computer experts and generals find themselves helpless to halt the "game" that NORAD's overzealous computer has initiated on Lightman's suggestion.
To mark the 30th-anniversary year of WarGames, NAPF talked to John Badham, the film's director. Badham’s decision to mix the right amounts of humor, action and teen romance into the film is now credited with making it a smash hit – without sacrificing a serious moral about the futility of war and a nightmarish quality of dread that persists throughout.
To read the full interview, follow the link:
On February 12, North Korea conducted its third test of a nuclear weapon since 2006. Full details of the blast are not yet known, including whether it involved plutonium or highly enriched uranium. Initial reports indicate that the blast was bigger than North Korea's previous two tests, in 2006 and 2009.
The U.S. Senate approved a bill condemning North Korea for its test and calling for tougher sanctions against the country. The United Nations Security Council also condemned the test, though no decision has been made on implementing additional economic sanctions.
"Senate Approves Bill Condemning North Korea Nuclear Test, Pressing for Tougher Action," Associated Press, February 25, 2013.
Some 126,000 barrels of nuclear waste have been dumped in the Asse II salt mine over the last 50 years. German politicians are pushing for a law promising their removal. But the safety, technical and financial hurdles are enormous, and experts warn that removal is more dangerous than leaving them put. It's hot and sticky 750 meters (2,500 feet) underground, and the air smells salty. Five men are standing in front of an oversized drill. They have donned orange overalls and are wearing bulky special shoes, yellow hard hats and safety glasses. They turn on the machine, and the rod assembly slowly eats its way into a gray wall. For over seven months now, the team has been trying to drill a hole with a diameter of eight centimeters (three inches). They are attempting to reach one of the former excavation chambers of Asse II, an old salt and potash mine near the northern German town of Remlingen, in the northwestern German state of Lower Saxony. Behind a barrier 20 meters thick, thousands of drums filled with nuclear waste have been rotting away for over three decades.
It's dangerous work. Over the years, experts warn, explosive gases may have collected in underground cavities -- and one spark could trigger a disaster. Consequently, the drill head is only allowed to turn extremely slowly. After the machine has barely advanced another 10 centimeters, the men pull the drill pipe out of the hole and insert a probe. They thus manage to inch their way forward about 20 centimeters per shift.
The drilling ultimately aims to provide a glimpse of the first of 13 chambers filled with barrels of waste, and to provide information on the condition of these containers -- and on what measures need to be taken to remove them from the 100-year-old maze of tunnels.
It took two years to prepare this journey into the contaminated salt. Engineers had to redevelop measuring devices, design new machines and write computer programs. The men on the drilling team have volunteered for the job. They are working in a hermetically sealed space. To prevent any radioactive dust particles from reaching the rest of the mine, a constant vacuum is maintained here. There is special vinyl flooring that can be decontaminated, and the walls are lined with custom-made tiles.
German Environment Minister Peter Altmaier was on hand for the launch of the exploratory drilling on June 1, 2012. Since none of the available garb would fit him, two seamstresses had quickly sewn a white miner's outfit for the stout politician from Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU). Then Altmaier pressed a red button in a neighboring tunnel to symbolically start the drill.
At that moment, Germany cast itself into one of the most technically ambitious, and thus most costly, ventures of its industrial history -- a bold, perhaps foolhardy, project that will consume at least €4 billion ($5.3 billion), but more likely somewhere between €5 billion and €10 billion. It's a decontamination project that will take 30 years, or longer. And no one can say with certainty whether it will ever be completed.
The initial stage has already revealed that the intended retrieval of the drums is an expedition into the unknown. The team has driven the drill pipe 35 meters into the salt, yet after a good seven months of work, they still haven't found the chamber with the stored radioactive waste. Geologists now believe that it has been missed by roughly 2.5 meters because the mountain has a life of its own and changes shape as the salt shifts from south to north.
Fröhlingsdorf, Udo; Weinzierl, Alfred, ," Abyss of Uncertainty: Germany’s Homemade Nuclear Waste Disaster " Spiegel Online, February 21, 2013.
Infrasonic waves from the meteor that broke up over Russia’s Ural mountains last week were the largest ever recorded by the CTBTO’s International Monitoring System. Infrasound is low frequency sound with a range of less than 10 Hz. The blast was detected by 17 infrasound stations in the CTBTO’s network, which tracks atomic blasts across the planet. The furthest station to record the sub-audible sound was 15,000km away in Antarctica.
" Russian Fireball Largest Ever Detected by CTBTO’s Infrasound Sensors " CTBTO – Press Release, February 18, 2013.
2. We oppose the development, possession of, and threats to use nuclear weapons by any nation. We are committed to creating a world free of nuclear weapons. We have deep concerns that North Korea’s third nuclear weapons test contributes to an increasingly dangerous region-wide nuclear arms race. We understand the North Korean test was part of a cycle of threat and response to previous U.S. nuclear threats, and to continued military provocations. We cannot ignore the double standards and hypocrisies of the members of the “nuclear club” who refuse to fulfill their Article VI disarmament commitments of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty commitments by “modernizing” their omnicidal arsenals while insisting that other nations refrain from becoming nuclear powers. While North Korea has conducted three explosive nuclear tests, compared to the United States’ 1,054.
3. We note that beginning with the Korean War, the United States has prepared and threatened to attack North Korea with nuclear weapons at least nine times, that it maintains the so-called U.S. “nuclear umbrella” over Northeast Asia, and that its current contingency plans for war with North Korea include a possible first-strike nuclear attack.
4. The Obama administration’s first-term policy of “strategic patience” with the DPRK, reinforced by crippling sanctions that contribute to widespread malnutrition, connected to the stunting of growth in children and starvation, has proven to be a grave failure. The policy has foreclosed crucial opportunities to explore diplomacy and engagement. “Strategic patience”, combined with North and South Korea’s increasingly advanced missile programs, aggressive annual U.S.-South Korean military exercises - including preparations for the military overthrow of the DPRK government - and the Obama Administration’s militarized Asia-Pacific “pivot,” contributed to the DPRK’s decision to conduct a third nuclear “test.”
5. Added to these factors was the January 22, 2013 UN Security Council resolutions condemning North Korea’s December rocket launch and the tightening of the existing punitive sanctions program against North Korea. The double standard that permits all of North Korea’s neighbors and the United States to test and possess missiles, space launch, and military space technologies and to threaten the use of their missiles is extraordinary. It thus came as little surprise that the DPRK responded by announcing plans for new nuclear tests that provocatively"target" the United States. Numerous analysts interpreted the announcement of a possible test as a means to break through the Obama Administration’s failed policy of “strategic patience” in order to bring the U.S. to the table for direct U.S.-DPRK negotiations.
6. 2013 marks the sixtieth year since the signing of the 1953 Armistice Agreement, which established a ceasefire but did not end the Korean War. We join Koreans around the world who call for Year One of Peace on the Korean Peninsula, as well as our partners across Asia and the Pacific who have designated 2013 as the Year of Asia-Pacific Peace and Demilitarization. Peaceful relations between the United States and North Korea (DPRK) are possible and they are more urgent than ever. Given that unending war remains the basis of U.S.-DPRK relations, which have destabilized the lives of ordinary Korean people and been used to help justify the obscenely large Pentagon budget (equal to the spending of the next 13 largest military spenders – combined!) at the expense of U.S. citizens, we believe it is in the interests of the U.S. and North Korean peoples for our governments to begin negotiations to end the Korean War and leading to the eventual demilitarization and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Peace is possible. We recall that, as recently as 2000, the Clinton Administration came within a hair’s breadth of completing a comprehensive agreement with North Korea, which was derailed by U.S. domestic political crisis over the outcome of the presidential election.
7. In this moment of escalation, we call for proactive measures by the U.S. government as an active party to this crisis. In order to stanch the dangerous nuclear, high-tech, and conventional arms races in Asia and the Pacific, we urge the following:
a. Direct U.S.-DPRK negotiations
b. Suspension of aggressive military exercises by all parties involved in tensions related to the Korea
c. An end to the UN-led punitive sanctions regime against the DPRK, which hurts/devastates? the lives of the North Korean people.
d. An end to the Korean War by replacing the 1953 Armistice Agreement with a peace treaty
e. Negotiations leading to the creation of a Northeast Asia Nuclear Weapons Free Zone
f. An end to the U.S. first-strike nuclear weapons doctrine and a reversal of U.S. plans to spend an additional $185 billion over the next decade to “modernize” the U.S. nuclear arsenal and nuclear weapons delivery systems (missiles, bombers, etc.)
g. Commence negotiations on a nuclear weapons abolition convention that requires the phased elimination of all nuclear weapons within a time bound framework, with provisions for effective verification and enforcement.
Working Group for Peace and Demilitarization in Asia and the Pacific*
Christine Ahn , Gretchen Alther, Rev. Levi Bautista, Jackie Cabasso, Herbert Docena, John Feffer, Bruce Gagnon, Gerson, Subrata Goshoroy, Mark Harrison, Christine Hong, Kyle Kajihiro, Aura Kanegis, Peter Kuznick, Hyun Lee, Ramsay Liem, Andrew Lichterman, John Lindsay-Poland, Ngo Vinh Long, Stephen McNeil, Nguyet Nguyen, Satoko Norimatsu, Koohan Paik, Mike Prokosh, Juyeon JC Rhee, Arnie Saiki, Tim Shorock, Alice Slater, David Vine, Sofia Wolman
The Working Group for Peace and Demilitarization in Asia and the Pacific is comprised of individuals and organizations concerned about and working for peace and demilitarization in Asia and the Pacific on a comprehensive basis. For more information see:www.asiapacificinitiative.org
• 2.-3. March, 2013: ICAN Civil Society Forum - Oslo, Norway
• 26.-30. March 2013: World Social Forum, Tunis, Tunisia
• 15. April 2013: Global Day of Action on Military Spending (GDAMS)
• 22 April - 3 May 2013: NPT Prep Com (Preparatory Committee for the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), Geneva, Switzerland