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Nuclear Weapons: Who Cares Any More?

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On December 5, Gensuikyo wrote the Government of North Korea, urging it to cancel its planned launch of a satellite rocket.  North Korea conducted the most recent known nuclear test explosion on May 5, 2009. 

   Only Iran Joined With the Japanese in Protest

Iran's foreign ministry also issued a statement of protest against the U.S. test, blaming the U.S. for "inattention to full disarmament which is a deep-seated demand of international public opinion."

The Iranian government also pointed out that one of the country's leaders, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declared in a fatwa in 2005 that nuclear weapons are against the principles of Islam, adding that Iran "will pursue the supreme leader's fatwa regarding the prohibition of production, storage or use of such weapons until it has been fully realized." 

Iranian political scientist Kaveh Afrasiabi pointed out, in a half-hour interview on Iranian Press TV English-language news, that "This could be a cover for computer simulations for advancing new nuclear warheads. We don't know that because the US program is shrouded in high secrecy."   

Iranian Press TV also reported that the mayor of Hiroshima had also condemned the American subcritical explosion test. 

The White House has apparently not yet responded to Iranian comments.  The Obama as ministration is on record favoring restraints on nuclear weapons and has taken leadership in helping to control weapons-grade uranium, plutonium, and other fissile nuclear materials around the world.  The administration has also increased American budgets for nuclear weapons maintenance and delivery systems, as well as overall military spending. 

   Nuclear Weapons Are a Moribund Issue in U.S. 

Last October, NNSA administrator Thomas D'Agostino published a letter in the New York Times defending his agency's work on nuclear weapons against criticism in one of the paper's editorials:    

"Last month we marked 20 years since the United States last conducted an underground nuclear test. The National Ignition Facility is an investment in the future -- one where we never again have to perform explosive testing on nuclear weapons, one where we have a greater scientific understanding of fusion and one where the president has no doubt that our nuclear weapons will work when needed.

"The consistent support the facility has seen from the Obama administration and Congress represents a shared belief in that vision for the future. To abandon it now after only a few years of effort, even while the facility is already paying dividends, would be an irresponsible disservice to national security and scientific discovery."

NNSA has 93 videos posted on YouTube, including a 30 second clip of the Pollux experiment that shows a containment vessel in which a very brief explosion occurs out of sight. 

The agency also maintains a presence on its blog, as well as on Facebook ("NNSA is responsible for the management and security of the nation's nuclear weapons, nuclear nonproliferation, and naval reactor programs. It also responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the United States and abroad." -- 5,657 likes), Twitter ("Pantexans assist in gathering food for families  @PantexPlant "), Tumblr  ("Supercomputer simulations of blast waves on the brain are being compared with clinical studies of veterans suffering from mild traumatic brain injuries""), and  Flickr

According to its website, NNSA has about 3,000 employees and more than 30,000 contractors.  NNSA has asked for a 4.9% budget increase, to a total of $11.5 billion for fiscal year 2013.  Although the agency's mission is primarily military, its expenditures are not counted as part of the defense budget --

" Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; works to reduce global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad."   

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Vermonter living in Woodstock: elected to five terms (served 20 years) as side judge (sitting in Superior, Family, and Small Claims Courts); public radio producer, "The Panther Program" -- nationally distributed, three albums (at CD Baby), some (more...)
 

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