News Release

After the “Science Marches,” Highest “Security Priority” Is Nuclear Weapons

StockpilesIRA HELFAND, MD, ihelfand [at] igc.org, @IPPNW
Helfand is past president of Physicians for Social Responsibility and is currently co-president of that group’s global federation, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, recipient of the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize. He said today: “Nuclear policy needs to be based on a scientific understanding of what nuclear weapons will actually do when they are used. Science shows that even a very limited use of these weapons — less than 0.5 percent of the world’s nuclear arsenal — will cause a catastrophic global famine that will likely end modern civilization. The data indicate that nuclear weapons are, in fact, suicide bombs. Banning and eliminating these weapons must be our highest security priority.” Helfand was recently on the Institute for Public Accuracy news release: “Amb. Haley: Moms for Nukes.” See from Future of Life Institute: “Hawking, Higgs and Over 3,000 Other Scientists Support UN Nuclear Ban Negotiations.”

ROBERT ALVAREZ, kitbob [at] erols.com
Alvarez is a former senior policy adviser to the U.S. Secretary of Energy and is now a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies. He also writes a column at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

He said today: “There is quite a bit that has been written about the role of scientists as political activists in the nuclear age. For instance, Leo Szilard, who was the first to conceptualize the nuclear chain reaction, wrote the letter that Albert Einstein sent to Roosevelt that launched the Manhattan Project. He also helped develop the first nuclear reactor, and then worked actively to prevent the dropping of atomic bombs on Japan. Szilard helped create the Federation of American Scientists and Council for a Livable World.  He also was instrumental in helping Marc Raskin and Dick Barnet create the Institute for Policy Studies.

“Scientists such as Linus Pauling and Jacques Cousteau were instrumental in organizing fellow scientists throughout the world to end open air nuclear weapons testing, which was poisoning the planet. They provided an important ‘backstop’ for the ‘Ban the Bomb’ movement, and were key in bringing about the 1963 Limited Test Ban Treaty. In looking back, the LTBT was the first global environmental treaty.

“Then there are scientists who paved the way for saving lives and the environment, through their pioneering research. Alice Stewart’s work, despite the adversity she put up with, ultimately spared many thousands of children from contracting cancer from x-rays. Wilhelm Heuper the first chief of the Environmental Cancer section of the National Cancer Institute, provided a blueprint in the late 1940s for what has become the Clean Air, Clean Water, Safe Drinking Water, and Superfund laws. Heuper helped mentor Rachel Carson. Because he refused to back away from his research into the harm caused by radiation to uranium miners, Heuper was banned from further epidemiological research and from official travel to the western states. His protege, Thomas F. Mancuso, developed the first methodology to identify cancer in workers.”