While nuclear weapons governments and their bomb-making industries are criminally sleepwalking into what could mean the end of our planet’s life, many others – scientists, high-level military, citizens and whole countries – are countering the weapons holders’ political idiocy with principled intelligence.

by H Patricia Hynes, Portside

January 22 marks the second anniversary of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, a global lifeboat supported by 70% of the world’s countries.  Meanwhile, the US Department of Energy’s 2023 budget request for nuclear weapons’ upgrade is more than $21 billion and close to $8 billion for radioactive and chemical cleanup at nuclear weapon sites across the country.  Stack this up against the same department’s 2023 budget for energy efficiency and renewable energy – $4 billion – and we see the future: weapons trump wind turbines; war worsens climate crisis.

Moreover, the government’s budget has no line items for the massive existential costs of nuclear weapons, three of which are described here:

London, Great Britain. August 2022. Protest against war in Ukraine and Russia's invasion. Ukrainian rally . Refugees and local Ukrainians oppose nuclear war. Ukrainian flag. Stand with Ukraine
  1. The dread that world-ending nuclear bombs provoke in   humans (unless we have become “numb to… that culture of mass death”);
  2.  The “forever” radioactive contamination that eludes cleanup to human and environmental safety standards, the estimated cost of just one site, Hanford, Washington, being $300 billion to $640 billion; and
  3.  The theft and poisoning of indigenous peoples’ lands and culture for mining uranium, generating bomb-grade plutonium, and conducting above ground atomic bomb testing.
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