The Ecologist


WMD: 1/25 of 62
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The derelict B30 pond at Sellafield, used for the storage of intensely radioactive waste, in 2006. Photo: unknown / Public Domain.

Sellafield exposed: the nonsense of nuclear fuel reprocessing

Ian Fairlie

6th September 2016

Last night's BBC Panorama programme did a good job at lifting the lid on Britain's ongoing nuclear disaster that is Sellafield, writes Ian Fairlie. But it failed to expose the full scandal of the UK's 'reprocessing' of spent fuel into 140 tonnes of plutonium, enough to build 20,000 nuclear bombs - while leaving £100s of billions of maintenance and cleanup costs to future generations. more...
How the US saw the Japanese people in 1942. Photo: James Vaughan via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Why Japan? The racism of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings

Linda Pentz Gunter

17th August 2016

As we remember the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki this month 71 years ago, we have largely forgotten the racist propaganda that made it possible, writes LINDA PENZ GUNTER. We have likewise sanitised history to exclude the voices of African Americans who loudly protested the use of nuclear weapons, connecting them to American colonialism abroad and racism at home. more...
The RT-23 was a Soviet ICBM produced until 1991. It is cold launched, and comes in silo and railway car based variants. It is a three stage missile that uses solid fuel and thrust vectoring for the first stage, with 10 MIRV warheads, each with 550 kT yiel

US must stop playing with nuclear hellfire

Conn Hallinan

26th July 2016

Thanks to an increasingly aggressive US foreign policy pursued over decades, NATO nuclear missiles and armed forces are poised on Russia's border, writes Conn Hallinan - forcing it to abandon its 'no first use of nuclear weapons' pledge in view of the massively asymmetrical threat it faces. The world must step back from the brink of nuclear annihilation. more...
North Korean nuclear reactor construction under way on 24th April 2008. Photo: Wapster / Google Maps via Flickr (CC BY).

What Theresa May forgot: North Korea used British technology to build its nuclear bombs

David Lowry

26th July 2016

When Theresa May proclaims in Parliament that we need the £200 billion Trident nuclear missile system to see off the North Korean nuclear threat, writes David Lowry, just bear this in mind. It is a threat that the UK, global nuclear proliferator in chief, created in the first place, providing both the reactor technology and vital centrifuge materials to make North Korea's nuclear dream come true. more...
Muckaty Traditional Owner Kylie Sambo is an objector to what she considers radioactive blackmail: education in return for accepting nuclear waste. 'As Australians we should be already entitled to that.'

Radioactive waste and the nuclear war on Australia's Aboriginal people

Jim Green

1st July 2016

Australia's nuclear industry has a shameful history of 'radioactive racism' that dates from the British bomb tests in the 1950s, writes Jim Green. The same attitudes persist today with plans to dump over half a million tonnes of high and intermediate level nuclear waste on Aboriginal land, and open new uranium mines. But now Aboriginal peoples and traditional land owners are fighting back! more...
President Barack Obama and other world leaders at the Nulcear Security Summit in Washington DC, 1st April 2016. His visit to Hiroshima this wekk will show whether he's really taking it seriously. Photo: Presidencia de la República Mexicana via Flickr (CC

Obama in Hiroshima: time to say 'sorry', and Ban the Bomb!

Linda Pentz Gunter

24th May 2016

President Obama should overcome political constraints in Hiroshima this week to say 'sorry' for the nuclear bombs, writes Linda Pentz Gunter. Even more important, he must change his stance on nuclear weapons - abandoning the US's $1 trillion WMD modernization program and lifting the threat of world-destroying nuclear conflict. more...
Explosion cloud from the UK's Operation Hurricane atomic bomb test on Australia's Montebello Islands, 3rd October 1952. Photo: Wikimedia Commons (Public domain).

Chernobyl, genetic damage, and the UK nuclear bomb tests - justice at last?

Chris Busby

6th May 2016

Britain's nuclear bomb test veterans suffered severe genetic damage from radiation, writes Chris Busby, and their case for compensation is being heard in the High Court today. Key to their case is evidence of similar damage inflicted on in utero babies exposed to radiation from the Chernobyl disaster, and how the dreadful health impacts of radiation cascade down to future generations. more...
The Dounreay nuclear plant, now undergoing decommissioning, as seen from Sandside Bay in March 2008. Photo: Paul Wordingham via Flickr (CC BY).

UK-US air transports of high enriched uranium: global security at risk for commercial gain

Ernie Galsworthy / NFLA

3rd May 2016

Planned air transports of high-enriched uranium from Dounreay in Scotland to the US state of Tennessee would risk of accident or a terrorist seizure of weapon-usable nuclear material, writes Ernie Galsworthy. The motive for the transport appears to be purely commercial - and would thus put the public at needless risk for the sake of a cut-price nuclear waste / fuel deal between US and UK authorities. more...
The dead have no voice: doll at Pripyat, near Chernobyl. Photo: Ben Fairless via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Radiation harm deniers? Pro-nuclear environmentalists and the Chernobyl death toll

Dr Jim Green

7th April 2016

Just as climate change deniers leap from scientific uncertainty over the precise impacts of greenhouse gas emissions to certainty of little or no impact at all, so 'pro-nuclear environmentalists' conflate uncertainty of the mortality arising from Chernobyl and other nuclear disasters to certainty of few if any deaths, writes Jim Green. Their position is equally indefensible. more...
US soldiers perform a platoon mounted and dismounted live-fire exercise at Grafenwoehr Training Area in Germany Oct. 6, 2010. Photo: Gertrud Zach / The U.S. Army via Fliclr (CC BY).

Thought for Earth Day: whether it's badgers or Trident missiles, shooting solves nothing

Linda Pentz Gunter

20th April 2016

Why do we humans resort to shooting, whenever a challenging problem confronts us? Whether it's culling badgers to protect hedgehogs, or renewing the Trident missile threat with expensive upgrades, our species seems determined to upset the balance of nature and harmony on Earth by shooting first - and never asking the questions at all. more...
Tihange nuclear power plant, where a number of workers had their security clearances revoked. Photo: Michielverbeek via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA)

'Dirty bomb' security risk at Belgian nuclear power plants

Robert J Downes & Daniel Salisbury

4th April 2016

Nuclear power sites in Belgium have been targetted by Daesh radicals seeking radioactive materials to use in terrorist attacks, write Robert J Downes & Daniel Salisbury. One top nuclear researcher has come under hostile surveillance, while 'insider threats' have led to 11 workers being excluded from nuclear sites. But despite increased security, the threat has not gone away. more...
A US nuclear weapon is detonated at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands in 1946. (Image has been colorized.) Photo: US Government via International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons on Flickr (Public Domain).

Marshall Islands accuses nuclear bomb nations at International Court of Justice

Jen Maman & Rick Wayman

29th March 2016

The tiny Pacific state of the Marshall Islands has given oral evidence to the International Court of Justice against all nuclear armed states for failing to pursue disarmament. The UK, India and Pakistan were present to deny the charges, but the US, Russia, France, China, Israel and North Korea have denied the ICJ's compulsory jurisdiction. more...

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The Pacific Egret, with its small naval cannon visible, left and right, on its rear deck. Left, its companioin vessel, the Pacific Heron. Photo: Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment via Facebook.

Too much of a bad thing? World awash with waste plutonium

Paul Brown

24th January 2016

As worldwide stocks of plutonium increase, lightly-armed British ships are about to carry an initial 330kg of the nuclear bomb metal for 'safekeeping' in the US, writes Paul Brown. But it's only the tip of a global 'plutonium mountain' of hundreds of tonnes nuclear power's most hazardous waste product. more...
The Trident missile bearing nuclear submarine HMS Vanguard 'vents off' as she leaves HMNB Clyde in Scotland. Photo: Defence Images via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Trident, nuclear submarines and the UK's nuclear power imperative

Andy Stirling & Phil Johnstone

15th January 2016

The UK's nuclear power programme is driven by military demands, write Andy Stirling & Phil Johnstone - but not in the way you might think. The most essential need is not for plutonium or tritium, but for a nuclear industrial sector to design, build and maintain the reactors that power nuclear submarines. Without them, the Trident missile system would have no military credibility. more...
A US Air Force Fairchild UC-123B Provider C-123 Ranch Hand aircraft sprays defoliant over the target area of Operation Pink Rose in January 1967. Photo: US Air Force via Wikimedia (Public Domain).

'Crimes against the environment' should be punishable by the International Criminal Court

Steven Freeland, Western Sydney University

17th February 2016

There is nothing new in the environmental damage brought by war, writes Steven Freeland. Nor is there anything new about deliberate environmental damage as a instrument of warfare. But what is new is the scale of damage that can be inflicted by modern weapons of mass destruction. It's time for an international law against intentional environmental destruction. more...
Jeremy Corbyn addresses the crowd at the 'Vote Out Trident' CND protest outside the Ministry of Defence,  London, 13 April 2015. Photo: RonF / The Weekly Bull via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Jeremy Corbyn is right to reject Trident

Commander Robert Green, Royal Navy (Ret'd)

9th November 2015

Jeremy Corbyn came under attack yesterday for his refusal to countenance the use of nuclear weapons, writes Commander Robert Green. But his stance is honourable and both legally and strategically correct - especially with his opposition to renewing the Trident nuclear missile system. more...
Will China blow up the UK's nuclear bubble? The Sizewell nuclear site (A left, B right) where state owned Chinese companies are lined up a build another nuclear power plant. Photo: Mark Seton via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

The UK-China nuclear deal is an existential threat to our nation's future

Dr David Lowry & Oliver Tickell

20th October 2015

The UK is embarking on a reckless endeavour in its attempted nuclear union with China, write David Lowry & Oliver Tickell. China's investments will come at a high price, one that transcends mere money and the undoubted security risk inherent in its control of key elements of our energy infrastructure. At risk is the UK's very future as a sovereign, independent nation. more...
The UK nuclear-armed submarine HMS Vigilant returns to port. Photo: Defence Images (CC BY-NC).

Making sense of the UK's muddled energy policy - is it all about nuclear weapons?

Philip Johnstone & Andy Stirling

14th October 2015

On the face of it, the UK's policy to pursue nuclear power at all costs, while destroying the renewable energy sector, is totally illogical, write Philip Johnstone & Andy Stirling. But then it may make perfect sense - if only you accept that it's really all about maintaining the country's role as a nuclear weapons state for generations to come. And the 'deep state' has a way of getting its way. more...
Engineers for Sandia National Laboratories carry out tests on the B61-12 nuclear bomb at New Mexico Tech in Socorro, NM, USA. Photo: Sandia Labs via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Nuclear madness - NATO's WMD 'sharing' must end

Xanthe Hall

9th October 2015

The US's development of its new 'smart' nuclear bomb, the B61-12, is an outright violation of the Non Proliferation Treaty, writes Xanthe Hall. Yet five other 'non-nuclear' NATO nations - Germany, Holland, Belgium, Italy and Turkey - are set to accept it onto their territories, so their own aircraft can use it in nuclear attacks. more...
David Cameron answering his first question from the new Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn on 16th September 2015. Photo: BBC / Parliament video still.

Jeremy Corbyn's chance to strike a blow for nuclear sanity

David Lowry

13th October 2015

The Conservatives' commitment to owning, renewing and using the UK's nuclear weapons was cheered to the rafters at their party conference, writes David Lowry. But it has left them vulnerable to Corbyn at tomorrow's Prime Minister's Questions - should he decide to expose their nuclear hypocrisy. more...
Watch out - your enemies are behind you! Jeremy Corbyn at his first Prime Minister's Questions, 16th September 2015, with Angela Eagle. Photo: David Holt (CC BY-SA).

Nuclear attack? We must support Corbyn's refusal to murder millions

Oliver Tickell

1st October 2015

This week's Labour conference sent the party and its new leader, Jeremy Corbyn, soaring in popularity. So better get the knife in quick, writes Oliver Tickell. His refusal to commit mass murder in a nuclear attack gave his enemies just the cue they needed - including those who should be his loyal allies. We must not let them succeed. more...
Professor 'Jim' al'Khalili presenting BBC4's 'Inside Sellafield' from beside one of the facility's infamous open storage pond.

'Inside Sellafield' and military plutonium - the BBC's nuclear lies of omission

Dr David Lowry

12th August 2015

Professor 'Jim' Al'Khalili's 'Inside Sellafield' programme was a tour de force of pro-nuclear propaganda, writes David Lowry - understating the severity of accidents, concealing the role of the UK's nuclear power stations in breeding military plutonium, and giving false reassurance over the unsolved problems of high level nuclear waste. more...
A rainy night in Hiroshima, March 2012. After the US's nuclear strike on 6th August 1945, 'back rain' carried out uranium nanoparticles that caused cancer among those ingesting them. Photo: Freedom II Andres via Flickr (CC BY).

Radiation in court: landmark success for Australia's nuclear veterans

Chris Busby

24th June 2015

A legal judgment in Australia has fatally damaged the 'official' ICRP model of health damage by nuclear radiation, writes Chris Busby - reflecting the fact that cancer originates through the mutation of individual cells, not whole organs or organisms. The ruling is good news for Britain's bomb test veterans whose day in court is coming up; and for all who suffer radiation induced cancers. more...
Trawsfynydd Nuclear Power Station. Photo: Stuart Herbert via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Trawsfynydd and cancer: nuclear power kills

Chris Busby

9th June 2015

A study of cancer incidence downwind of the Trawsfynydd nuclear plant in Wales shows a doubling of risk, writes Chris Busby, mainly from breast cancer. People eating fish caught in Trawsfynydd Lake are also at elevated risk. It's yet more proof that the nuclear industry's favourite risk model is wrong, understating the actual dangers of internal radiation - ingested or inhaled - by a factor of 1,000 to 10,000. more...
HMS Victorious, one of the Royal Navy's four strategic missile submarines, departs her home port at HM Naval Base Clyde at Faslane. Photo: Thomas McDonald via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

UK nuclear weapons: a source of national insecurity?

Paul Ingram

26th May 2015

The serious failings revealed by William McNeilly on the UK's nuclear-armed submarines are indicators of a deeper malaise, writes Paul Ingram. With no realistic threat requiring a nuclear response, the whole exercise lacks meaning and purpose, so no wonder standards slip. But as they do so, they endanger us all. more...


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