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AUGUST 9, 2022
NEWS, ACTIONS, READINGS & RESOURCES
Dear PSR Friends and Family,
As we solemnly commemorate the 77th Anniversary of the dreadful bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we are bearing witness to our world spinning out of control regarding the confluence of our climate and nuclear crises coming on top of the COVID pandemic. The brutal Russian invasion of Ukraine has provoked a humanitarian crisis in Europe and severe food shortages across the globe, coupled with an alarming acceleration of nuclear dangers. This is exemplified by the very scary threats emanating from Putin, and the ongoing fighting and missile-firing near Ukrainian nuclear plants that could lead to deadly release of radioactive materials, including a catastrophic meltdown evocative of Chernobyl.
Our own leaders have alarmingly fueled the fire, passing massive increases to our military budget, including modernizing our dangerous nuclear arsenal. This greatly compromises our fiscal capability to re-tool our society to deal with our climate emergency, while undermining the basis for poor and working people to share fully in the “just transition” we need to equitably re-build the basis for human survival. In this regard, we express our strong disapproval of Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s recent needlessly provocative trip to Taiwan that at the moment threatens to unravel the Pacific into becoming another region of possible nuclear conflagration.
Members of our PSR and International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) family have stood out by their strong participation in recent meetings in Vienna in support of the groundbreaking United Nation’s Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), and now at the United Nations, trying once again to push the Nuclear Weapons States to adhere to their clear obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to expeditiously eliminate their nuclear arsenals. Please check out the extraordinary statement of IPPNW/PSR’s Dr. Ira Helfand, “If we are to survive…we must change course,” spoken at the United Nations on August 5, 2022, which eloquently summarizes our rising dangers, and the steps we need to take for global survival.
In this special newsletter, we also want to share with our members fresh perspectives and insights regarding our global movements against nuclear weapons. In this regard, we welcome Professor Stephen Roddy’s article exploring the work of the Japanese peace and anti-nuclear movement based on his recent time in Japan. We are similarly gratified by the excellent contribution by Dr. Howard Kornfeld tying together his early work with SF Bay PSR with his recent experience attending the uplifting Nuclear Ban Forum organized by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) in pursuit of an effective global embrace of the TPNW. Also below, you will find a list of more readings and resources by members of our nuclear disarmament community.
We trust you will enjoy these contributions, that remind us of our global community of dedicated activists, and our own strengthened commitments to rebuild our world in a way that permits our common survival.
In Peace and Solidarity,
Dr. Robert M. Gould
Board President, SF Bay PSR
My Year in Kyoto, Japan: An Antinuclear Activist’s Perspective
By Stephen Roddy, PhD, SF Bay PSR member and professor at the University of San Francisco
In Japan, where two cities, Nagasaki and Hiroshima, were incinerated by atomic bombs dropped by U.S. forces during World War II, the nuclear weapons abolition movement is far more robust and mainstream than here in the U.S. This is what one might expect given the suffering of the Japanese people. During my recent stay in Japan, I was surprised and encouraged by the signs of creativity and renewed determination in multiple organizations working for nuclear disarmament.
In 2021-2022, I spent almost a year at a research institute nestled in bamboo- and pine-covered hills adjacent to the magnificent Katsura Imperial Villa located on the west side of Kyoto, Japan. Since the pandemic limited in-person contact and most travel, I had to follow developments in antiwar and antinuclear (weapons) activism mostly through the media. During a brief lull between waves of infection, I did attend one live event, a presentation by the ICAN partner organization Peace Boat, which also has a New York-based affiliate.
It should come as no surprise that antinuclear activism is far better covered by Japanese mainstream media than it is here in the U.S. From the death of the hibakusha elder, Tsuboi Sunao (1925-2021), to campaigns by both established and fledgling NGOs, nuclear weapons—past and present—occupy a secure place on the media’s agenda. READ MORE…
Becoming an Antinuclear Activist: From the Three Mile Island Nuclear Accident, 1979, to the ICAN Nuclear Ban Forum, 2022
By Howard Kornfeld, MD, SF Bay PSR member and clinical professor at University of California, San Francisco
This account tracks my experience of awakening as an anti-nuclear activist in 1979 to a reawakening this year and my attendance at the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) Nuclear Ban Forum, in Vienna, June 18-19, 2022, an outstanding experience of the highest order.
In California, while driving to the hospital for a shift in the emergency room on March 28, 1979, the day of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Reactor accident, and listening to KPFA radio, I heard Ralph Nader recommend an evacuation of the entire population from the 50-mile radius of the reactor. The Governor of Pennsylvania, however, ordered only children and pregnant women to evacuate and only within a 5-mile radius.
I respected Mr. Nader, as I had seen in emergency rooms the results of his efforts advocating for seat belt use, the contrast between the devastating head and neck injuries in the unrestrained victims of motor vehicle accidents to the comparatively much less significant injuries in those restrained by seat belts.
Soon thereafter, I watched the movie The China Syndrome (1979, starring Jane Fonda, Michael Douglas, and Jack Lemmon) depicting a nuclear plant meltdown and coverup. The dots were then connected, the die was cast, and I knew I had to get involved.
I called my friend, Dr. Marty Rossman, and he suggested I join Dr. Peter Joseph, who was about to chair the second meeting of the San Francisco chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR).
READ MORE . . .
Nuclear Weapons Abolition Committee
Thursday, August 11, 7pm, online
To join the committee please email firstname.lastname@example.org
NWAC is composed of health professionals and others working locally to influence public awareness, civic engagement, and national policy to build a nuclear-weapons-free world. Toward the latter, we frame our work through our Back from the Brink campaign and its policy platforms. READ MORE.
ACTIONS & EVENTS
Making the Unthinkable Impossible
A Virtual Rally and Action for Nuclear Disarmament
Commemorate those who died in the WWII nuclear bombings of Japan.
Saturday, August 6, 9:00am PT – Including Daniel Ellsberg and Dr. Tova Fuller of SF Bay and National PSR
Tuesday, August 9, 9:00am PT
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No Nuclear War over Ukraine
Supported by International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, SF Bay PSR, PSR National, and others
Signed by more than a million people from across the globe!
As healthcare professionals, we call for NATO and the Russian Federation to renounce the use of nuclear weapons in this conflict and for an immediate cease fire and the withdrawal of all Russian military forces. We are extremely concerned about the heightened risks of nuclear harms, including from the use of nuclear weapons and from potential damage to the 15 nuclear power plants in the region. We must protect Ukraine’s people and sovereignty. Our own government must work for immediate and long-term diplomatic solutions that will provide for true security, both at home and abroad. And we must follow Ukraine’s lead in their negotiations for peace.
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Tell Governor Newsom: Shut Down Diablo Canyon’s Aging Nuclear Power Plant
In 2016, California reached an agreement with PG&E, environmental and labor groups to shut down the two Diablo Canyon nuclear reactors in 2024 and 2025. Now, California’s Governor Gavin Newsom (who, as Lieutenant Governor in 2016, was instrumental in crafting the shutdown agreement) is pushing to keep Diablo Canyon running.
Extending the lifetime of Diablo Canyon would mean extending the risk to Californians of a nuclear meltdown, resulting in a devastating radioactive release. This is not a remote possibility, given the numerous significant earthquake faults that surround the plant (see Dr. Dan Hirsch’s 2014 testimony before Congress, and these maps, for more on seismic risks), the potential for a terrorist attack, or equipment malfunction.
Extending Diablo’s operation would also produce hundreds more tons of long-lived, highly radioactive waste for which there is still no disposal method. Keeping Diablo running would also undermine California’s climate change goals by hindering our renewable energy development.
PLEASE tell Governor Newsom that he cannot risk the health of Californians and he must not break his promise to shut down Diablo Canyon.
CALL the Governor’s office: 916-445-2841
Use the Subject: Energy or Environment
Comment: You can use the text above for your comment.
READINGS & RESOURCES
Our community of nuclear disarmament activists has been busy writing and giving talks!
United Nations speech: “If we are to survive…we must change course,” spoken at the UN on August 5, 2022, by IPPNW/PSR’s Dr. Ira Helfand
Democracy Now: Warnings Grow over Nuclear Annihilation as Tensions Escalate Between U.S., Russia & China with Dr. Ira Helfand
Common Dreams: Hiroshima and Ukraine—an Existential Teachable Moment, by Dr. Bob Dodge of PSR-LA
Responsible Statecraft: House Military Spending Vote Signals Epic Failure of Leadership, by Martin Fleck of PSR National
San Francisco Chronicle: How a nuclear disaster in Ukraine could bring the war to our doorstep in a moment’s notice, by Dr. Tova Fuller and Dr. Michael Martin of SF Bay PSR and PSR National
International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War: The Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger a Nuclear Disaster
Syracuse: Nuclear War is a Present Danger to Humanity, by Diane Swords, PhD, regional leader in the national Back from the Brink Campaign, and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis of the Poor People’s Campaign
IPS: War Is a Climate Killer by Dr. Angelika Claußen, co-chair of the German section of IPPNW (International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War / Physicians in Social Responsibility) and president of IPPNW Europe
World Beyond War: National Security Has Nothing to Do With Nuclear Weapons, presentations by Dr. Yurii Sheliazhenko, executive secretary of Ukrainian Pacifist Movement, at the International Peace and Planet Network conference in New York and at the 2022 World Conference against A and H Bombs in Hiroshima
SF Bay PSR has been advocating for health-based solutions to our world’s crises for more than 40 years!