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Spend money on people, not low-yield nukes

I want to respectfully disagree with your lead editorial on Dec. 29. Your headline was: “Two NM labs’ work on low-yield nukes means a safer world.” I want to say just the opposite. More nuclear weapons mean danger in many ways.

To name a few: first, the contamination of both miners and the land where they mine.

Haven’t we learned of this danger to our people from the fact that after 50 years, Navajos are still suffering from radiation poisoning and their land is still contaminated with hundreds of abandoned radioactive mine sites? Consider Laguna Pueblo: For a time, it had the world’s largest uranium mine; now 2 square miles of radioactive land are no longer fit for people or animals.

Second, mine tailings contaminate the area where they are stored and are very expensive to move or bury.

Third, no one wants to store spent radioactive material. Think of what the military did when they used depleted uranium for bullets in Iraq, causing radioactive poisoning not only to Iraqis but also to American soldiers.

You mention that low-yield nuclear weapons are as small as a 0.3 kiloton bomb. This is 50 times smaller than the 15-kiloton nuclear weapon that devastated Hiroshima. But think of what you are saying: the atomic bomb at Hiroshima with 15 kilotons directly killed 80,000 people and by the end of the year 60,000 more. If a 0.3 kiloton bomb killed at the same rate as the 15 kiloton bomb, that still would mean 1,600 people would be instantly obliterated – with 1,200 more killed by the end of the year.

Vatican News recently reported Pope Francis saying, “the use of atomic energy for purposes of war is today, more than ever, a crime not only against the dignity of human beings but against any possible future for our common home. The use of atomic energy for purposes of war is immoral, just as the possession of atomic weapons is immoral.”

“We will be judged on this,” he added.

Our spending even more money on such weapons continues to promote nuclear build up in other nations. Furthermore, we already have a stockpile of large non-nuclear bombs.

When the government has considered spending $1 trillion over 10 years to modify and “upgrade” our nuclear weapons, I consider that this money is wasted on unusable, immoral weaponry.

It is almost like burying the money.

The scientists at Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories have many other areas of research and development. Taxpayer money should be spent on more productive use within the country.

Don’t we know of so many places where this money should be spent?

For example: replacing municipal water systems which are aged and wasteful; replacing aging bridges; adding or upgrading public health facilities; building half-way houses to take care of the mentally ill, who are now being thrown into jails and county prisons; retraining and rehiring those whose jobs have been replaced by robotic systems or shipped overseas. Finally, as this pandemic continues, we need to assist those whose incomes have declined or disappeared.

Spending money on “low-yield” nuclear weapons, instead of on projects helpful to the people, does not promote a safer world.

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