22.1 C
Byron Shire
June 1, 2023

International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

Latest News

Tweed Council to start nappy rebate scheme but defer Cudgen Creek Masterplan

The last Tweed Shire Council meeting saw the Reusable Nappy Rebate Scheme adopted by councillors, the rail trail impacts...

Other News

National Reconciliation Week starts tomorrow

National Reconciliation Week (NRW) is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.

Will NSW Labor pay on-call emergency service volunteers?

The newly elected NSW Labor government have stopped short of committing to paying volunteers who attend emergencies such as fires and floods, but say there is investment and initiatives underway to support those who volunteer as emergency service members.

Vale George Davidson OAM former Tweed Shire Councillor

A funeral will be held today for George Davidson OAM who was once a Tweed Shire Councillor and a passionate advocate for the Tweed.

Bakersfield Mist

Following a successful run in Brisbane, PlayHavoc in association with Ad Astra is thrilled to be bringing Stephen Sachs’...

A fragrant garland of classical Indian raga

Målå is a classical Indian music experience featuring international artist Sangeet Mishra, eighth generation sarangi player from Mumbai. Bangalow...


Don’t rely on any regime to save anything that’s endangered because their mates the miners and developers pay them...

John Hallam

Today is International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

Global Warming will take about 100-150 years to make the planet uninhabitable for humans if we don’t do anything about it. Nuclear weapons can make the world uninhabitable in 45-90 minutes, and do it out of computer error.

The world nearly ended – twice

On September 26, 1983 it very nearly happened. (The world nearly ended TWICE in 1983, the second time because the ‘Able Archer’ exercises, which rehearsed nuclear war were thought by the Soviet Union to be the real thing).

We owe our continued existence on 26th Sept 1983, to an obscure Russian Colonel, Colonel Stanislav Petrov, who happened to be on duty that night because he was filling in for someone else. As sirens wailed and lights flashed, and his computers indicated a series of US launches from North Dakota, he said he had a ‘gut feeling’ that ‘there was a mistake somewhere’. He was dead right – it had been light reflecting off unusual vertical cloud formations directly over US launch sites that looked to Soviet satellite surveillance exactly like a bunch of US missile launches.

Had Colonel Stan reported it as a launch, an unstoppable computerized sequence would have been initiated that would have launched between 10 and 15,000 warheads at the US its NATO allies, Japan and Australia. Civilization would have been destroyed.

September 26 was made into the International day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear weapons by UNGA resolution in 2013. A High Level Meeting on Nuclear Disarmament will take place at UN Headquarters NY on 26th. Governments have been urged to attend at the highest level.

Colonel Stan’s brush with the apocalypse wasn’t the only one – terrifying incidents have also taken place in US nuclear command and control centers, notably one in which US defense secretary Brzezinski was woken at 3am with the news that 2000 Soviet warheads were incoming. It turned out to be a malfunction in a chip in Colorado. The mistake was discovered seconds before Brzezinski would have woken Carter with a request for a launch.

The world also nearly ended because of a Norwegian research rocket that was mistaken for an incoming US first strike on the Kremlin in 1995.

There are upwards of a dozen occasions on which the world has come so close to a massive nuclear launch that …in some parallel universe it is cold and dark and humans aren’t there any more.

Fast forward to now

It’s generally held amongst nuclear weapons ‘wonks’ that we are closer to nuclear weapons use of some kind than we have been since the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1963, when the ‘odds’ of nuclear war were estimated by Kennedy as between one in three and 50/50.

That does NOT mean the world is necessarily going to end tomorrow. We hope and pray that absolutely nothing happens.

It DOES mean we should be very very concerned and should absolutely prioritize doing something about it. There are a whole lot of commonsense measures that can be taken to make an accidental (or not so accidental) apocalypse – out of madness, malice, miscalculation, malfunction or malware – less probable.

Not using nuclear weapons to blackmail others would be one thing; refraining from highly provocative military exercises close to Russian borders (and obtaining a commitment from them to do the same) would be another; better, or resumed, mil-to-mil communication would be another; taking nuclear weapons off high alert; and, mutual (or even unilateral) ‘No-first-use’ commitments.

These are immediate term band-aid fixes that nonetheless might just prevent the accidental end of everything. Australia should be vigorously promoting all of these measures – measures that cost little or nothing, and do not affect our balance of trade.

The ultimate fix is of course, to eliminate nuclear weapons altogether.

This is best done via the TPNW or ‘Ban Treaty’ which far from ‘undermining’ the NPT, strengthens it and fulfills Art VI.

Australia should be signing the TPNW, ratifying it, and urging others to do likewise. We urge Australia and ALL governments including especially the nuclear weapon states themselves to sign, ratify and above all to implement the TPNW.

Our future depends on it.


John Hallam
UN Nuclear Disarmament Campaigner
People for Nuclear Disarmament
Human Survival Project
Co-Convener, Abolition 2000 Working Group on Nuclear Risk Reduction
Australian Coordinator, Parliamentarians for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament (PNND)

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons ?
    Yeah, put me down for that ,…….but ,we all know that won’t happen .
    Nuclear armed countries have dictated the fate of the world ever since the horrific war crimes of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. When two different types of weapons were tested to see the effects on populated areas , since then the World has been avoiding any conflict with those who have proven, so keen to use them and the threat of them.
    But don’t be misled “Global Warming will take about 100-150 years to make the planet uninhabitable for humans ” is just plain wrong, as any of the myriad of tipping points (that may have already been exceeded ) could accomplish total extinction within this decade.
    Cheers for now, G”)

  2. Global warming WILL NOT take 100 plus years to bugger
    up the planet! That’s rubbish. Within this ‘decade’ is more
    like it. As a member of Arts Action For Peace ‘No Nukes,’
    then ICAN… is enough to send anyone around the twist.
    The Australian Gov. didn’t blink when ICAN landed the
    Nobel Peace Prize in 2017 & the media thought it not
    worth covering. How slack is that…

  3. A ‘grown-up’ answer, all my 74 + years of it. No
    nonsensical portrait here just a background of
    being upfront & practical as well as knowing &
    ‘understanding’ the science without blinkers or
    a fist-full of dollars in our Corporate money-jar.
    Think! What one plays around with that’s as
    deadly as density itself will go around to all
    because what’s allowed by fools won’t be
    bothered by age, gender or those who don’t
    or do believe. A hit or miss game. Enough.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

60% of Ballina Council investments in fossil fuel aligned companies

The Ballina Shire Council had more than $60 million invested in fossil fuel aligned companies on behalf of ratepayers as of the end of April 2023.

Flood trauma? Free women’s mindful healing workshops available

It has been a tough run in the Northern Rivers from drought to fire to pandemic to flood – so there is quite a bit to deal with for many of us. 

Grant for innovative Birthing on Country program

Birthing on Country can be very important for many Aboriginal women, but many face the challenge of leaving Country to access medical care when their babies come. 

When western medicine doesn’t work 

Once I finally admitted I needed help with vicarious trauma, I tried a few techniques to ease my troubled mind.