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George Bush leads the US toward a policy of unilateral, pre-emptive counterproliferation warfighting strategy.

Abolish nuclear weapons

The Cold War may be over, but this does not mean nuclear weapons have disappeared. Far from it: There are over 30,000 nuclear weapons in the world, with more than a thousand of them ready to launch at a moment's notice, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Over 400 reactors in warships and nuclear submarines are still circlingthe globe. Some are rotting away on the bottom of the ocean or in adistant port somewhere in Russia. Accidents such as the Russiansubmarine, the Kursk, tragically sinking in the Barents Sea can happenevery day, anywhere.

Over 2,000 nuclear weapons tests have left a legacy of global andregional contamination. People living near the test sites have sufferedfrom cancers, stillbirths, miscarriages and other health effects -- and are still suffering today. Manyhad to leave their hometown or island as it became too contaminated tolive there.

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The nuclear threat has quite literally scaled down in the last twodecades. While the prospect of an all out exchange of arsenals betweenRussia and the US has receded, the 15 kilotons of destructionthat obliterated Hiroshima could today be accomplished with a lunch-boxsized bomb. George Bush talks openly of developing new "more useable"nuclear weapons. Even more alarmingly, the administration continues toseek approval for a programme geared toward designing more robust, more'usable' nuclear weapons.

The prospects of a nuclear weapon actuallybeing used are perhaps greater today than during the cold war.

Today, the number of countries involved in active weapons programsis increasing. A growing number of countries are lining up to join thenuclear club, increasing the chance that a nuclear catastrophe willhappen somewhere on the planet. 

George Bush's war on Weapons of Mass Descruction had its firstconcrete result when the number of countries in the world with declarednuclear weapons increased to 8 from 7, when North Korea announced thatit had built "enough nuclear weapons to deter a US attack."

Nuclear brinkmanship is inevitable in a climate of nuclearhypocrisy. Only when all countries pursue nuclear disarmament in goodfaith can we begin putting the nuclear genie back in the bottle bybanning the use and manufacture of the nuclear materials at the heart of the bomb.

The only thing that will stop the threat is the voice of the second superpower: world opinion.

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Evacuation of Rongelap Islanders

Image | 5 January, 1985 at 16:03

Pacific 1985. Suffering from the effects of US nuclear testing in the 1950s, 320 people board the Warrior to begin a new life on uncomtaminated soil at Mejato Island.

Fernando Pereira and his daughter

Image | 12 December, 1984 at 1:00

Fernando Pereira and his daughter, Marelle. Fernando was killed when French agents sank the Rainbow Warrior in New Zealand in 1985.

Lone survivor

Image | 5 December, 1984 at 1:00

Lone survivor. This elderly woman was badly injured when exposed to the poisonous gas, but survived. Everyone else in her family died.

Mass cremations were held alongside the communal

Image | 4 December, 1984 at 1:00

Mass cremations were held alongside the communal graves. "The bodies were strewn all over and the stench of death was overpowering," recalls 76-year old Amar Chand Ajmera, a social worker. "I remember, we cremated more than 2,000 bodies in a day."

Burial of young Leela

Image | 4 December, 1984 at 1:00

Burial of young Leela. Had her body not been recognised and claimed, she would have joined thousands of others on the mass cremation pyres.

Burial of an unknown child

Image | 4 December, 1984 at 1:00

Burial of an unknown child. This unknown child has become the icon of the world's worst industrial disaster, caused by the US multinational chemical company, Union Carbide.

Children awaiting cremation

Image | 3 December, 1984 at 1:00

Children awaiting cremation. A crowd watches as a man pastes identification labels onto dead children's foreheads. So many thousands had died so suddenly that these sorts of drastic measures were necessary to identify and document as many bodies...

Man carries the body of his wife past the

Image | 3 December, 1984 at 1:00

Man carries the body of his wife past the deserted Union Carbide factory, the source of the toxic gas that killed her the night before.

The morning after

Image | 3 December, 1984 at 1:00

The morning after. Survivors of the disaster stand in front of the Union Carbide factory one day after the lethal gas leak. Their eyes and lungs have been badly damaged by exposure to the gas.

Radioactive Waste Action

Image | 15 June, 1982 at 15:52

Action against dumping barrels nuclear waste by the dumpship RIJNBORG in the North Atlantic, 1982. As a result of Greenpeace's repeated actions against ocean dumping, this is the first year since the end of the second world war where officially...

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