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July 25, 2023

Nuclear Weapons Abolition

Oppenheimer: Because of his work, their lives will never be the same.

The Legacy of Oppenheimer You Won't See in Theaters

Warning: This post contains light spoilers for the film Oppenheimer.

On Friday, July 21st, Oppenheimer, Christopher Nolan's latest blockbuster about the dawn of the nuclear age, finally hit theaters in the U.S. The film is based on American Prometheus, the biography of J. Robert Oppenheimer who is considered the "father of the atomic bomb." While the audience will bear witness to the moral dilemmas Oppenheimer battled in relation to the novel new technology that he helped build and how it could be used to carry out mass genocide across the world — what they won't see are the countless communities that have been harmed by the legacy of Oppenheimer and the Manhattan Project.

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Lanterns on Green Lake in SeattlePhoto: Martha Brice

Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Once again this year, community activists across the country are planning a wide variety of events to remember the atomic attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 78 years ago on August 6 and 9. Intrepid PSR Nuclear Weapons Abolition Program intern Orlando Bell has been compiling PSR's all-inclusive calendar of Hiroshima and Nagasaki commemoration events (in-person and virtual) across 16 states.

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rockeye bomblets in KuwaitPhoto: Johnny Saunderson | CC BY-SA 4.0

PSR to President Biden: Stop sending banned munitions to Ukraine

Regrettably, both Russia and Ukraine have employed “cluster munitions” in their ongoing war.  These are weapons that subdivide into “submunitions” (bomblets) that typically cover a wide area. Historically, many bomblets have failed to explode on impact, littering the area with unexploded ordinance that may be lethal for decades. On July 7, President Biden announced that the United States intended to ship cluster munitions to Ukraine. PSR has asked Biden to reverse that decision, including through a full-page ad in the Wilmington, Delaware News-Journal. These indiscriminate weapons have been banned under international law through the 2010 Convention on Cluster Munitions, which has so far been signed by 123 nations. Read the PSR Statement on the Transfer of U.S. Cluster Munitions to Ukraine.

   Read the Statement  
Trinity Test

Activists and Downwinders Mark Anniversary of Trinity Test

July 16th marked the anniversary of the Trinity Test. 78 years ago, at 5:29 am at the Los Alamos testing site, 'Gadget' was successfully detonated and the nuclear age was born.

This year's anniversary was particularly poignant with the release of Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer on July 21st. The film centers on the race to build the bomb and the Trinity Test but entirely excludes the victims of nuclear testing from the narrative.

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Wed Aug 23 1-2:30 pm ET: Invisible Devastation: The Global Legacy of Uranium. Speakers: Dr. Shampa Biswas, Alicia Inez Guzman, Arieann Harrison, Makoma Lekelakala, Mitche Takeuchi. Register Today!

Register for PSR's Upcoming Webinar Highlighting Communities Harmed by Nuclear Weapons

On Wednesday, August 23rd 1:00-2:30 PM ET / 10:00-11:30 AM PT, PSR will be hosting a webinar titled "Invisible Devastation: The Global Legacy of Uranium on Marginalized Communities." Featuring nuclear experts and impacted individuals, this webinar seeks to discuss neocolonialism, narrative setting, and racial inequity in the nuclear enterprise. Register today and spread the word!

Beyond Oppenheimer

Building a Safer Future from Our Nuclear Past

Whether or not you have seen Christopher Nolan's new movie Oppenheimer, we can learn a lot about our shared nuclear history and how we can build a safer future. On August 3rd at 7:00 pm ET, join Hiroshima Survivor and ICAN Campaigner Setsuko Thurlow for an important conversation about the pressing issue of nuclear weapons. Facilitated by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and The Elders, this conversation will look at our past and how we can work together to build a future free from the threat of nuclear annihilation.

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists cover reading 'Oppenheimer: The man. The movie. The legacy.'

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Release Special Issue on Oppenheimer

Our friends at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists put together a special issue all about J. Robert Oppenheimer. The special issue includes interviews with Downwinders, filmmaker Christopher Nolan, a Manhattan Project scientist, and American Prometheus co-author Kai Bird; essays about Oppenheimer's psychology and political lessons for today; and some newly republished pieces by Oppenheimer and his peers. Take a deep dive into Oppenheimer's complex legacy as "father of the atomic bomb" turned advocate for arms control and world-famous scientist turned political pariah. The lessons from Oppenheimer's change in position are critical to moving back the Doomsday Clock, currently at 90 Seconds to Midnight, as close as it has ever been.

   Read the Issue Here  

Environment & Health

Hot weather in Phoenix, Arizona

Planet Suffers Highest Average Temperatures on Record

In the past few weeks, the world has seen the highest global average temperatures ever recorded. Outdoor employees and those without access to proper cooling and ventilation are at highest risk. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is working on heat safety rules, but they are not yet finalized. This leaves the decisions about access to shade, water or rest breaks to state or local governments and even sometimes the employer. In a 25-year period, more than 70,000 laborers suffered heat stress. Not only is the human cost of extreme heat dangerous, but the healthcare costs of its related illnesses will be staggering. A study from Center for American Progress revealed that healthcare costs will equate to $1 billion each summer as a result of heat-related illness. While this aspect of climate change is in the news, it is the perfect time to submit a letter to the editor (LTE) to your local newspaper. Find tips for writing an LTE here.

Air Pollution

Standing Together for Clean Air

PSR added our voice to those of more than 50 allies asking Congress to oppose rolling back efforts to address dangerous interstate ozone pollution. At stake is the U.S. EPA’s “Good Neighbor Plan,” which protects residents in downwind states from harmful air pollution from power plants and industrial facilities often hundreds of miles away. EPA projects that by 2026, the rule will prevent up to 1,300 premature deaths every year, reduce hospital and emergency room visits for thousands of people, help keep hundreds of thousands of children and adults from missing school and work, and decrease asthma symptoms for millions of Americans. Reducing smog pollution through this rule will also provide up to $15 billion in yearly benefits by 2026, far outweighing any costs. Read this excellent letter to Congress here.

   Read the Letter  
Electric car charging

Washington PSR Scores Two Legal Wins for the Environment

Washington (State) PSR, with key climate partners and their attorneys at EarthJustice, helped secure two climate-critical legal wins. In one, a federal judge denied a request from the natural gas industry to reverse state building code requirements that call for the installation of heat pumps in new residential and commercial buildings. National PSR funds the Washington chapter's work on heat pumps and Building Electrification. In the other case, a lawsuit challenging Washington’s  clean car emissions standards was voluntarily dismissed, protecting crucial policies that will reduce transportation sector emissions, Washington's largest contributor to greenhouse gas pollution. Congratulations, Washington PSR!

Hydrogen Molecules - click to watch webinar

Fighting Hydrogen Blending: An Uphill Climb

PSR opposes proposals to blend hydrogen with methane gas to burn in gas stoves, furnaces, and other gas-fired appliances. Why? It perpetuates our use of methane, a potent greenhouse gas; the hydrogen itself is likely to be produced from methane, meaning more greenhouse gases; gas stoves create indoor air pollution, and hydrogen is leak-prone, explosive, and ill-suited to our home appliances. To learn more, watch this recent webinar we presented with Washington PSR. And to get a sense of the uphill climb we have in preventing hydrogen blending, check out the Q&A. Most questions ranged from skeptical to hostile.

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Screencap from video - click to watch

PSR Launches PSA on Health Harms of Gas Stoves

PSR is proud to announce the launch of a PSA campaign about the health harms of gas stoves. Through 5 short-form animated videos, PSR will educate the public about the dangers to health posed by gas stoves in our homes, the importance of Environmental Justice in the Building Electrification movement, the decarbonization policy wins happening across the country, and the solutions available to protect your and your family's health from gas stove pollution. Watch the first video in the series below and please share far and wide to spread awareness of indoor fossil fuel pollution.

   Watch the First Video Here  

Study Finds Leaks Make Methane Gas as Bad as Coal

The New York Times reported recently that a new study from NASA, Rocky Mountain Institute, and Brown, Harvard, and Duke Universities adds to the already substantial body of evidence against methane gas. The study shows that while combusting methane gas for power may produce less CO2 than burning coal, leaks from the methane gas system push the fuel’s greenhouse gas emissions through the roof. Methane is a more potent greenhouse gas than CO2, trapping 80x more heat than CO2 in the short term. When the entire lifecycle of methane gas is taken into account, from extraction to transport to processing to end-use, the system is leaking in much larger quantities than previously thought. To learn more about the methane gas system's enormous leaks and the need to transition to 100% clean, renewable energy, click here.


Take action on carbon emissions from power plants!

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a rule to cut carbon emissions from coal- and gas-fired power plants. The proposal could be critical to curbing climate change and protecting our health, but first it needs to be strengthened substantially. Learn more about the proposal, our suggestions for how to improve it, and submit your comment to the EPA to let them know you care because this rule is so important for the climate. They need to hear from you. The comment period is open now and closes on Tuesday, August 8.

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Upcoming Events

Commercial Induction Cooking Workshop – CHECK Program
Thu. Aug. 3, 10:00 am - 1:00 pm EDT
Chatham University Eden Hall Campus, 6035 Ridge Rd, Gibsonia, PA
Are you interested in decarbonizing your building by converting your commercial kitchen to induction cooking equipment? Join PSR Pennsylvania for this in-person workshop! Register

Building a Safer Future from Our Nuclear Past
Sun. Aug. 3, 7:00 pm EDT
Join Hiroshima survivor and ICAN Campaigner Setsuko Thurlow for an important conversation about our shared nuclear history and how we can build a safer future. Hosted by Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Register

A Prescription for Good Health: Taxes
Thu. Aug. 3, 7:00 pm PDT

Join Washington PSR to learn how Washington state's regressive tax system harms health and equity. Register

Dismantle the Doomsday Machine: Abolish Nuclear Weapons at the Livermore Lab & Globally!
Fri. Aug. 4, 9:00 - 10:00 am PDT
West Gate, Livermore Lab, Livermore, CA

At this year's Hiroshima-Nagasaki action at the Livermore Nuclear Weapons Lab, co-sponsored by SF Bay PSR, the life of friend and advocate Daniel Ellsberg will be honored.

A Commemoration of the Hiroshima Bombing
Sun. Aug. 6, 4:00 - 6:00 pm EDT
The Former Vance Memorial, Pack Square Park, 80 Court Plaza, Asheville, NC
Western North Carolina co-hosts a vigil held in commemoration of those killed by the Hiroshima bombing. Literature and peace plants will be handed out at the event.

From Hiroshima to Hope 2023
Sun. Aug. 6, 6:00 pm PDT
Green Lake, Seattle, WA
Seattle's annual lantern-floating peace ceremony, co-sponsored by Washington PSR.

Lanterns for Peace 2023
Sun. Aug. 6, 6:30 - 8:00 pm CDT
Tenney Park, 1414 E Johnson St, Madison, WI
Join PSR Wisconsin for this family friendly event to commemorate the lives lost in the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki Remembrance
Sun. Aug. 6, 6:30 pm CDT
Loose Park Pond, 5200 Wornall Rd, Kansas City, MO
PSR Kansas City and Peaceworks KC invite you to honor past and present victims of American imperialist bombing in WWII.

Candles on the Water
Sun. Aug. 6, 6:45 pm EDT
Market Square Presbyterian Church, 20 S 2nd St, Harrisburg, PA
This event to honor the victims of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings will include music, prayer, and a keynote address by Dr. John Reuwer, followed by floating of lantern boats at sunset.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki Memorial
Wed. Aug. 9, 6:00 - 7:00 pm PDT
Japanese American Historical Plaza, NW Naito Pkwy and Couch St, Portland, OR
Oregon PSR co-sponsors this commemoration of the 78th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. RSVP

WNCPSR August Monthly Meeting
Fri. Aug 18, Noon - 2:00 pm EDT
First Congregational United Church of Christ, 20 Oak St, Asheville, NC
Western North Carolina PSR's monthly chapter meeting.

Invisible Devastation: The Global Legacy of Uranium
Wed. Aug. 23, 1:00 - 2:30 pm EDT
Featuring nuclear experts and impacted individuals, this PSR webinar seeks to discuss neocolonialism, narrative setting, and racial inequity in the nuclear enterprise. Register

Golden Rule in Sheboygan, WI
Sat. Aug. 26, 1:00 - 4:00 pm CDT
Rotary Riverfront Park, 517 Riverfront Dr, Sheboygan, WI
The restored Golden Rule ship is coming to Sheboygan; for this event, we come together to remember the past and to envision a peaceful, just and nuclear-weapon-free future. Join PSR Wisconsin to decorate lanterns, enjoy some brats, learn more about the programs, and see the Golden Rule!

WPSR 2023 Health Justice Gala
Fri. Sep. 22, 5:30 pm PDT
Mercer Island Community Center, 8237 SE 24th St, Mercer Island, WA
Join Washington PSR for a night of delicious food and drink, friends and community, awards and auction, and celebrating and supporting WPSR health advocated who are working to bring peace, justice, and health to Washington. Tickets

San Francisco Bay PSR 2023 Virtual Gala
Wed. Sep. 27, 6:00 pm PDT

Save the date for San Francisco Bay PSR's annual virtual gala, featuring keynote speaker Dr. Cheryl Holder.

Full list of Hiroshima/Nagasaki Events from partner organizations


More events

PSR Actions

Tell Your Members of Congress: Expand Recognition and Compensation for Nuclear Weapons Victims


Take action on carbon emissions from power plants!

In the news

Eliminate Nuclear Weapons, 'Before Our Luck Runs Out'
Ira Helfand, MD, PSR Past President, The New York Times - Jul 5


50 Groups Petition to End California's Dirty Biomass Loophole
Center for Biological Diversity - Jun 20
Quotes Goli Sahba, MD of Sacramento PSR


Why professional wet cleaning could be a green dry-cleaning solution
Spectrum News - Jun 27
Quotes Martha Dina Argüello, executive director of PSR-Los Angeles


South Portland passes resolution against nuclear weapons and war
Portland Press Herald - Jun 28
Mentions PSR Maine


Ellsberg's legacy should include nuclear warnings
Gwen L. DuBois, MD, MPH, Chesapeake PSR President, The Baltimore Sun - Jun 29


Save Ohio Parks' allies rally to fight against fracking
Times Leaders - Jul 5
Quotes PSR member Joe Blanda, MD


More trains, not more planes or lanes
The Olympian - Jul 5
LTE mentioning Washington PSR


Who is Blocking Climate Action in Pennsylvania?
DeSmog Blog - Jul 6
Quotes Edward Ketyer, MD


Report: Oil and Gas Air Pollution Effects Health of Pennsylvanians
Berks Community Television - Jul 11
Quotes Dr. Edward Ketyer


Nuclear war—it's time to face up to the risks
British Medical Journal - Jul 12
Opinion article mentioning PSR


U.S. Hypocrisy Over Cluster Munitions Undermines Its Long-Term Interests
Orlando Bell, PSR Nuclear Weapons Abolition Intern, Inkstick Media - Jul 13


New Mexico oil panel to hold hearing next year on PFAS
The Santa Fe New Mexican - Jul 13
Cites PSR's fracking chemicals in New Mexico report


Environmental, Justice & Health Groups Urge Denver Mayor and Council to Act Boldly on Climate, Environmental Justice, and Clean Air
Natural Resources Defense Council - Jul 13
Quotes PSR Colorado's Lauren Swain


Climate and Health Groups Call Out California’s Faith in Carbon Capture
Food and Water Watch - Jul 14
Quotes PSR Board Member Marjaneh Moini, MD


Xcel Energy wants to mix hydrogen into the natural gas system. It's starting with this neighborhood.
Colorado Public Radio - Jul 18
Quotes PSR's Andee Krasner, MPH


Federal Court Denies Gas Industry Request to Block Washington State's Climate-Friendly Building Codes
Earthjustice - Jul 18
Mentions Washington PSR


Prominent Public Interest Groups Support Consumer Watchdog Petition To CA Supreme Court To Require State Agencies To Enforce Strict Rule On Radioactive Debris Disposal From Santa Susana Site
Consumer Watchdog - Jul 18
Mentions PSR-Los Angeles


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