77 years ago, this week (1945), the United States detonated two atomic bombs over Japan, executing unthinkable devastation on the people of Hiroshima (August 6) and Nagasaki (August 9). Each bomb held the rough equivalent of 20 kilotons of TNT. It’s estimated more than 120,000 people were killed immediately, followed by the slower deaths of tens of thousands from radiation exposure. Nuclear proliferation in the years following Hiroshima and Nagasaki generated great anxiety and high levels of anti-nuclear activism internationally.

While some of us may have relaxed at the end of the Cold War with Russia, even more powerful nuclear weapons continued to be designed and produced with close to 2,500 nuclear detonations occurring around the world since 1945. These include the B83 (1.2 megatons — a one megaton blast can destroy 80 square miles) designed by scientists here at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The B83 is roughly 80 times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb. Other nuclear weapons are even larger … sometimes much larger. Imagine the devastation, both human and environmental.

These days, nuclear weapons are back on the public radar. Russia’s war on Ukraine has the potential to draw the U.S., its NATO allies and Russia into direct conflict, and Russia has repeatedly threatened to use nukes. Despite the heightened danger, there is still hope for a nuclear-free future.

Livermore’s Tri-Valley Communities Against a Radioactive Environment (CARE’s) is a partner group in the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, or ICAN. And, while we celebrate with ICAN and peace advocates everywhere, the growing momentum of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and the first meeting in Vienna last month of states parties to the treaty, we know it will take continued action by all of us to make nuclear abolition a universal reality!

In this spirit, join CARE’s 2022 virtual rally, “Making the Unthinkable Impossible: Abolish Nuclear Weapons!” to be broadcast Saturday, August 6 and Tuesday, August 9 from 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. PDT.  https://trivalleycares.org/2022/virtual-rally-to-commemorate-hiroshima-focus-on-nuclear-abolition  Let’s mark these dates as occasions to rededicate ourselves and mobilize for the world-wide abolition of all such weapons.

Mary Perner,


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