Reading Room

Eliminate nuclear weapons

August 21, 2020
Tracy Press


On Aug. 6, advocates for peace and justice held their annual rally at the Lawrence Livermore Lab, calling for the elimination of nuclear weapons. This year the event was virtual, and uplifting.

Each year, speakers, including Hibakusha (A-bomb survivors), remind us that nuclear bombs make us suffer, physically, mentally and socially, for the rest of our lives.

It is difficult to accomplish this task when we know that more than 88% of the Livermore Lab’s budget for the coming year is to be spent on nuclear weapons, including the development of new and more deadly warheads.

One of the survivors of the Nagasaki bomb, Rev. Nobuaki Hanaoka, spoke at the virtual rally. His words were filled with sadness as he told the tragic story of that day, Aug. 9, 1945, when he was 8 months old. His only memories of his mother and sister were of them pale and bedridden. When he was still a young boy, they died of illness linked to radiation poisoning.

Gar Alperovitz, a nuclear historian and former special assistant in the U.S. State Department, spoke on the U.S. decision to use the atomic bombs. He said, “Virtually every top military and diplomatic person within the upper rank of the American government knew that the bombing was unnecessary to end the war without an invasion and without a massive loss of life.”

Listening to the event, it’s clear to me that we must bring a system change, nationally and locally within the lab. We must bring new polices and technologies, as well as the political will needed to prevent nuclear use.

We must become partners in the growing global movement to abolish nuclear weapons to prevent the same tragedy that happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki from being repeated.

I call to end this. Are you with me?

Raiza Bettis,


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