Atomic forum to address ongoing global nuke threat

Forum: 70 years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Iowa City’s Ashton House — Sunday, Aug. 9 at 9:30 a.m.

Talking about nuclear assault on a Sunday morning might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but lest we forget, an atomic massacre took place 70 years ago today. The Japanese city of Hiroshima received the first deadly payload, followed by a second bomb dropped on Nagasaki three days later. In recognition of these tragic events, and as a way to move forward with nuclear disarmament, Global Zero, an international group dedicated to abolishing the bomb, and Iowa Physicians for Social Responsibility will present talks about the continued global threat of nuclear weapons.

On Aug. 9, the anniversary of the second atomic bomb drop, a forum on nuclear disarmament will feature visiting experts talking about the ongoing global threat of nuclear weapons, a short film festival, a group discussion and a seven-mile bike ride symbolizing the blast radius of a small atomic bomb like those dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

Atomic cloud over Nagasaki from Koyagi-jima -- Photo by by Hiromichi Matsuda
Atomic cloud over Nagasaki from Koyagi-jima — photo by Hiromichi Matsuda

Paul K. Chappell, who works for the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and is a former US Army captain, will present a talk titled, “Why World Peace Is Possible: Exploring the Anatomy of Violence and War.”

Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) Senior Scientist Steven Starr will talk about Russian nukes, in his presentation, “Converging on the Russian Border.” Starr is the Director of the Clinical Laboratory Science Program at the University of Missouri and an expert on the ecological effects of a nuclear weapons.

Following the talks, film screening, discussions and program, bicyclists can join a “Bike around the Bomb,” road trip and encircle an imaginary area destroyed by a Hiroshima or Nagasaki-era U.S. bomb. The seven-mile ride will begin and end at the Ashton House, 820 Park Road in Iowa City.

Event co-organizer Dr. Maureen McCue who works with Iowa’s PSR chapter, said the frightening and frustrating paradox of using trillions of taxpayer dollars to build and maintain a nuke stockpile in the U.S. is that nobody wants to see them put into use.

Dr. McCue said the event was a chance to “address current risks and opportunities and finally get out from under this cloud of doom.”

“After 70 years of living under the threat of a nuclear exchange it’s time to say ‘enough,’ time to seriously begin nuclear disarmament,” she said.

Today, nine nations are armed with nuclear weapons and a recent agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, will allow Iran to continue using nuclear power while limiting their nuclear weapons capabilities.