Friday, August 6, 2010

Hiroshima Commemorative

For the first time, today, on the 65th anniversary of the catastrophe at Hiroshima, representatives of the United States government attended commemorative ceremonies being held at Peace Park, in Hiroshima. John Roos, current U. S. ambassador to Japan, deposited a wreath "in memory of all of the victims of WW II." His presence in Hiroshima may have reflected the support that U. S. President Barack Obama has shown for world-wide nuclear disarmament; i. e., Roos said that it would be "for the good of future generations if we continued working together to create a world free of nuclear weapons." Also, for the first time, England and France sent representatives to these well-known annual ceremonies. [As reported today by much of the international press.]

Both the Hiroshima bomb (Little-Boy) and the bomb dropped three days later on Nagasaki (Fat-Man) were designed, during a hectic two-year period, at the top-secret military R&D facility set up at Los Alamos, NM, in early 1943. This facility, known today as Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) has grown and operated continuously for the last 67 years. For more than half a century, technical staff at LANL have designed, and conducted R&D on processes important to the design of, a large number of nuclear and thermonuclear Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). Today several of these designs account for approximately half of the thousands of WMD still being deployed (for immediate action) and stored (for future use) by the USA.
As a related matter, the New York Times noted on Aug. 3, 2010 that: Ratification of the New Start Treaty, signed at Prague on April 8, 2010 by United States President Barack Obama and President of the Russian Federation Dimitri Medvedev, is stalling in the U. S. Senate. At Republican request, further consideration of the Treaty has been delayed by Senate Armed Services Committee Chair, Sen. John Kerry, until Sept. 15 or 16. Later still, a vote of the full Senate will require at least 8 Republican yes votes to reach the 2/3 vote needed for Treaty approval. Meanwhile, advocates for more and better nuclear weapons, combined with fewer constraints on U. S. nuclear weapons policy, work to promote a no vote; viz., Sen. Jon Kyl (Repub., Ariz.), Sen. Larry Inhofe (Repub., Okla.), and Sen. Jim DeMint (Repub., S. Car.) Evidently, any attempt by the Obama Administration to bring the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty to a vote in the Senate will now be delayed until after the November election.
On Monday, Aug. 9, 2010, at 9:00 AM, the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) begins a public hearing at the Santa Fe Community College, in Santa Fe, NM. The hearing will explore issues related to the proposed granting, by NMED, of a new Hazardous Waste Permit for continuing operations of the Department of Energy's (DOE) Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in Carlsbad, NM. NMED first granted a Permit to WIPP in 1999 so that this new Permit, if granted, will be in the nature of a renewal, with modifications. WIPP has been charged by the United States Congress to store permanently, in an underground repository, so-called TRansUranic (TRU) waste. This is a part of the waste accumulated, over the last 67 years, from the U. S. nuclear weapons program. Such waste is largely still stored at the DOE's nuclear weapons laboratories and production facilities, located all around the continental United States.

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