problem concerning the effort to abolish nuclear weapons is
that it does not go far enough. The only true way to end the
threat of nuclear weapons spreading throughout this world is
to also put a stop to nuclear power.
Yes, but consider the even more radical alternative: a world
in which scores of nations can construct nuclear weaponry because
they possess nuclear power technology.
are major parts of the earth - Africa, South America, the South
Pacific, and others - that have now been designated nuclear-free
that if we are really to have a world free of the horrific threat
of nuclear weapons and their use, our long-term goal need be
the designation of this entire planet as a nuclear-free zone
- no nuclear weapons, no nuclear power (the other side of the
Yes, but consider the alternative - trying to keep using carrots
and sticks, juggling on the road to inevitable nuclear disaster.
may or may not occur this decade or next but sooner or later,
as nuclear power continues to spread, it will.
world is the only way, I believe, that humanity will be free
of the dark specter of nuclear warfare.
will say putting the atomic genie back into the bottle is impossible.
I say anything people have done, other people can undo. Especially
if the reason is good. And the prospect of massive loss of life
from nuclear destruction is the best of reasons.
nuclear fission technologies both use and produce fissionable
materials that are or can be concentrated," Amory and Hunter
Lovins wrote in their seminal book, Energy/War: Breaking the
latent in those technologies, therefore, is a potential for
nuclear violence and coercion which may be exploited by governments,
factions"-and this they wrote in 1980 decades before 9/11-or
strategic material is needed to make a weapon of mass destruction,"
they went on. "A Nagasaki-yield bomb can be made from a
few kilograms of plutonium, a piece the size of a tennis ball."
large power reactor," they noted, "annually produces,
and an experimental critical assembly may contain, hundreds
of kilograms of plutonium; a large fast breeder reactor would
contain thousands of kilograms; a large reprocessing plant may
separate tens of thousands."
nuclear power technology, they stated, provides the way to make
nuclear weapons - furnishing the materiel and trained personnel.
that's how India got The Bomb in 1974. Canada supplied a reactor
for "peaceful purposes" and the U.S. Atomic Energy
Commission trained Indian engineers.
and behold, India had nuclear weapons.
of plutonium from spent fuel preceded and facilitated the British,
French and Indian decisions to build bombs," write Amory
and Hunter Lovins.
power," they noted, "provided the essential expeditor,
and in many cases the necessary cover."
of the "Peaceful Atom" is just that.
to any dream of creating a nuclear-free world is the elimination
of the International Atomic Energy Agency - the global nuclear-pusher.
was formed as a result of U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower's
1953 "Atoms for Peace" speech before the UN General
proposed the creation of an international agency to promote
civilian applications of atomic energy and, somehow at the same
time, control the use of fissionable material - a dual role
paralleling that of the then U.S. Atomic Energy Commission.
the AEC was abolished after the U.S. Congress concluded that,
in theory and practice, it was in conflict of interest.
was so involved with promoting nuclear energy that it was no
monitor, Congress decided.
IAEA - in the AEC's image - remains with us.
mandate: "To accelerate and enlarge the contribution of
atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity throughout the
world" and, somehow at the same time, "establish and
administer safeguards against the diversion of military purposes
of nuclear materials intended for use in civil nuclear programs;
and to establish or adopt health and safety standards."
its outset, the IAEA has been run by atomic zealots.
director general was Sterling Cole who as a U.S. congressman
was an original member and then chairman of the Joint Committee
on Atomic Energy, as extreme in its promotion of nuclear technology
as the AEC-and also ultimately eliminated by Congress.
Hans Blix became IAEA director general - after, his official
IAEA biography stresses, he led the move against the effort
to close nuclear power plants in his native Sweden.
was outspoken in insisting nuclear technology be spread throughout
the world - calling for "resolute response by government,
acting individually or together as in the [IAE] Agency."
long-time second-in command: Morris Rosen - formerly of the
AEC and before that the nuclear division of General Electric.
the Chernobyl nuclear plant disaster, Rosen rendered this sage
advice: "There is very little doubt that nuclear power
is a rather benign industrial enterprise and we may have to
expect catastrophic accidents from time to time."
is currently the IAEA's coordinator for environmental matters.
the current IAEA director general, Mohamed ElBaradei, he too,
is a great nuclear booster. "There is clearly a sense of
rising expectations for nuclear power," he told a gathering
in Paris last month organized by the IAEA and entitled "International
Conference on Nuclear Power for the 2lst Century."
IAEA has been doing everything it can to fuel those expectations
- scandalously downplaying the public health consequences of
nuclear accidents including the Chernobyl tragedy, promoting
all sorts of technology atomic and, with its nearly $300 million
budget, encouraging the spread of nuclear power machinery around
Brackman's War & Peace Foundation has wisely proposed that
the IAEA be replaced with a World Sustainable Energy Agency.
governments and the UN can - and must - implement the wide use
of non-lethal, renewable, safe energy technologies available
now as an alternative to deadly, unnecessary nuclear power.
real nuclear non-proliferation, as Amory and Hunter Lovins stated,
requires "civil denuclearization"-as daunting as that
Admiral Hyman Rickover, the "father" of the U.S. nuclear
navy and manager of the construction of the first commercial
nuclear plant in the world, in Shippingport, Pennsylvania, in
the end came to the conclusion that the world must - in his
words - "outlaw nuclear reactors."
in a farewell address told a committee of Congress in 1982:
be philosophical. Until about two billion years ago, it was
impossible to have any life on earth: that is, there was so
much radiation on earth you couldn't have any life - fish or
anything. Gradually, about two billion years ago, the amount
of radiation on this planet and probably in the entire system
reduced and made it possible for some for some form of life
Rickover went on, "when we go back to using nuclear power,
we are creating something which nature tried to destroy to make
Every time you produce radiation, you produce
something that has life, in some cases for billions of years,
and I think there the human race is going to wreck itself, and
it's far more important that we get control of this horrible
force and try to eliminate it."
nuclear weaponry, the "lesson of history," said the
retiring admiral, is that in war nations "will use"
whatever weaponry they have. Nuclear power can give any nation
forward with a commitment and goal of eliminating nuclear weapons
and nuclear power, humanity can be spared the threat of nuclear
war. Anything else would be, unfortunately, incomplete and inadequate
in the long run. The U.S., which uncorked this lethal technology,
should serve as a model and lead in eliminating the twin scourges.
dream? No, considering the probable nightmare otherwise as the
continued spread of nuclear power causes the proliferation of
nuclear weaponry - and its use inevitably by "governments,
factions, terrorist groups."
Grossman is professor of journalism at the State University
of New York/College at Old Westbury and coordinator of the college's
Media & Communications Program. A special concentration
for decades has been nuclear technology. Among the six books
Grossman has authored are: Cover Up: What You Are Not Supposed
To Know About Nuclear Power; The Wrong Stuff: The Space Program's
Nuclear Threat To Our Planet; Power Crazy; and Weapons in Space.
He has given presentations around the world.
also has long been active in television. He narrated and wrote
the award-winning documentaries The Push To Revive Nuclear Power;
Nukes In Space: The Nuclearization and Weaponization of the
Heavens; and Three Mile Island Revisited, all produced by EnviroVideo.
For the past 14 years, he has hosted Enviro Close-Up, an interview
program aired through North America on the DISH satellite network
(Channel 9415), on cable and commercial TV and now video-streamed
on the Internet, too.
and newspaper articles have appeared in numerous publications.
is a charter member of the Commission on Disarmament Education,
Conflict Resolution and Peace of the International Association
of University Presidents and the United Nations. He is a member
of the boards of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service-World
Information Service on Energy and the media watch group Fairness
and Accuracy In Reporting.
Karl Grossman can be reached by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org