nearly 4,500 warheads are considered operational, of which nearly 2,000 U.S. and Russian warheads are on high alert, ready for use on short notice
Take Action: Stop Thursday's Nuclear Missile Test
UPDATE 2/29/12: More than 7,000 NAPF Action Alert Network members like you sent messages to President Obama demanding the cancellation of tomorrow's nuclear missile test on the 58th anniversary of the largest-ever US atmospheric nuclear test, Castle Bravo. The Air Force has now announced that the missile test will not occur tomorrow!
As you might suspect, the military is not crediting activist pressure for the cancellation of the launch; rather, they cite technical reasons.
This is the second time in less than six months that the Air Force has canceled a nuclear missile test after pressure from NAPF Action Alert Network members. The first time was on September 21, 2011, when they had scheduled a test on the International Day of Peace.
This is certainly a small victory, but there remains much more to be done. The United States keeps 450 Minuteman III missiles, which carry nuclear warheads, on high-alert status, ready to be fired within moments of an order. These are first-strike weapons and should be removed from the US arsenal immediately.
We will not rest until the world achieves a Nuclear Weapons Convention for the phased, verifiable, irreversible and transparent elimination of all nuclear weapons. We hope that you will continue to support the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation in pursuing this essential goal.
Castle Bravo was the largest atmospheric nuclear test ever performed by the United States, with an explosive yield of 15 megatons – 1,000 times larger than the atomic bomb that devastated the city of Hiroshima. The Castle Bravo test is remembered for causing widespread contamination to many atolls in the Marshall Islands, the effects of which continue today. Fallout from this test also poisoned the Japanese fishing ship The Lucky Dragon, killing one crew member and sickening the others.
To conduct this test of a thermonuclear weapon delivery vehicle on the anniversary of the most devastating US thermonuclear weapon test is even more insulting to the people of the Marshall Islands than our other tests that target their lands. It is unconscionable that, six decades later, the US continues to use the Marshall Islands as its nuclear weapon testing grounds.
The United States keeps 450 Minuteman III missiles, which carry nuclear warheads, on high-alert status, ready to be fired within moments of an order. Since their development in the late 1960s, the US has test-fired this type of nuclear missile over 200 times.
Thursday’s test of a Minuteman III will be the second test in less than a week; the Air Force also fired a Minuteman missile from Vandenberg on Saturday, February 25. Please take a moment to write to President Obama today and ask him to cancel Thursday’s test on the anniversary of Castle Bravo and to take nuclear weapons off high-alert status in order to lower the possibilities of accidental or unauthorized missile launches.
Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation initiates and supports worldwide efforts to abolish nuclear weapons, to strengthen international law and institutions, and to inspire and empower a new generation of peace leaders. Founded in 1982, the Foundation is comprised of individuals and organizations worldwide who realize the imperative for peace in the Nuclear Age. The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation is a non-profit, non-partisan international education and advocacy organization. It has consultative status to the United Nations Economic and Social Council and is recognized by the UN as a Peace Messenger Organization.
second only to Russia's Tsar Bomba (see whats up: Every Nuclear Explosion Since 1945 | Downwinders | Nuclear Law)
There is a dark history associated with the Bikini Atoll Test Site. Motivated by the cold war arms race and their need to find a secluded test location, the US descended upon the island and forced the inhabitants to relocate. During the Castle Bravo test a Japanese fishing boat was caught in the middle of the Nuclear Fallout, upon returning to Japan with signs of radiation sickness and the entire crew were diagnosed with acute radiation syndrome. One of the crew died shortly after from excessive radiation exposure, before passing away he was quoted as saying “I pray tha t I am the last victim of an atomic or hydrogen bomb.” The fisherman’s death spawned a huge anti-nuclear weapons movement in the country and is said to even inspire the movie “Godzilla”.
The detonation took place at 06:45 on March 1, 1954 local time (18:45 on February 28 GMT).
When Bravo was detonated, it formed a fireball almost four and a half miles (roughly 7 km) across within a second. This fireball was visible on Kwajalein atoll over 250 miles (450 km) away. The explosion left a crater 6,500 feet (2,000 m) in diameter and 250 feet (75 m) in depth. The mushroom cloud reached a height of 47,000 feet (14 km) and a diameter of 7 miles (11 km) in about a minute; it then reached a height of 130,000 feet (40 km) and 62 miles (100 km) in diameter in less than 10 minutes and was expanding at more than 100 m/s (360 km/h, 224 mph). As a result of the blast, the cloud contaminated more than seven thousand square miles of the surrounding Pacific Ocean including some of the surrounding small islands like Rongerik, Rongelap and Utirik.
The Bravo fallout plume spread dangerous levels of radiation over an area over 100 miles (160 km) long, including inhabited islands.
The fission reactions of the natural uranium tamper were quite dirty, producing a large amount of fallout. That, combined with the much-larger-than-expected yield and a major wind shift, produced a number of very serious consequences. In the de-classified film "Operation Castle", task force commander General Clarkson points to a diagram indicating that the wind shift was still in the range of "acceptable fallout", although just barely.
The decision to fire the Bravo bomb under the prevailing winds was made by Dr. Alvin C. Graves (1909–1966), the Scientific Director of Operation Castle. Dr. Graves had total authority over firing the weapon, above that of the military Commander of Operation Castle. Dr. Graves had himself received an exposure of 400 röntgens in the 1946 Los Alamos accident in which his personal friend, Dr. Louis Slotin, died from radiation exposure. Dr. Graves appears in the widely available film of the earlier 1952 test "Ivy Mike", which examines the last-minute fallout decisions. The narrator, Western actor Reed Hadley, is filmed aboard the control ship in that film, showing the final conference. Hadley points out that 20,000 people live in the potential area of the fallout. He asks the control panel scientist if the test can be aborted and is told "yes", but it would ruin all their preparations in setting up timed measuring instruments in the race against the Russians. In Mike the fallout correctly landed north of the inhabited area but, in the 1954 Bravo test, there was a lot of wind shear, and the wind that was blowing north the day before the test steadily veered towards the east.
Radioactive fallout was spread eastward onto the inhabited Rongelap and Rongerik atolls, which were tardily evacuated. Subsequently many Marshall Islands natives suffered from birth defects and received compensation from the U.S. Federal government. A medical study, named Project 4.1, studied the effects of the fallout on the islanders.
Although the atmospheric fallout plume drifted eastward, once fallout landed in the water it was carried in several directions by ocean currents, including northwest and southwest.
A Japanese fishing boat, Daigo Fukuryu Maru, came in direct contact with the fallout, which caused many of the crew to grow ill; one eventually died. This resulted in an international uproar and reignited Japanese concerns about radiation, especially in regard that Japanese citizens were once more adversely affected by U.S. nuclear weapons. The official U.S. line had been that the growth in the strength of atomic bombs was not accompanied by an equivalent growth in radiation released. Japanese scientists who had collected data from the fishing vessel disagreed with this. Sir Joseph Rotblat, working at St Bartholomew's Hospital, London, demonstrated that the contamination caused by the fallout from the test was far greater than that stated officially....
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Status of World Nuclear Forces
Federation of American Scientists -
More than a decade and a half after the Cold War ended, the world's combined stockpile of nuclear warheads remain at a very high level: more than 22,000 - - of these, nearly 4,500 warheads are considered operational, of which nearly 2,000 U.S. and Russian warheads are on high alert, ready for use on short notice.
"Now, I am become Death,
the destroyer of worlds"
Julius Robert Oppenheimer (April 22, 1904 – February 18, 1967) was an American theoretical physicist and professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley. Along with Enrico Fermi, he is often called the "father of the atomic bomb" for his role in the Manhattan Project, the World War II project that developed the first nuclear weapons. The first atomic bomb was detonated on July 16, 1945 in the Trinity test in New Mexico; Oppenheimer remarked later that it brought to mind words from the Bhagavad Gita: "Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds." - J. Robert Oppenheimer - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia