Campaign Nonviolence National Conference - Panel Discussion: Nuclear Weapons, Los Alamos and Nonviolence
Jay Coughlan, NukeWatch New Mexico, lays out the startling facts on the current state of the United States nuclear arsenal and current modernization plans which are leading to what some people are calling the “Second Nuclear Age”. Bud Ryan, filmmaker of The Forgotten Bomb, relates the personal story of traveling to Hiroshima with his Japanese-American wife, and the galvanizing effect the trip had on him. Marian Naranjo, founder and director of Honor Our Pueblo Existence (HOPE), and a potter and organizer from Santa Clara Pueblo, opened with a prayer and asked everyone to remember whose homelands the conference was taking place on. Marian also asked all participants to take action with the pueblo, including writing letters to tribal officials. Beata Tsosie-Peña from Santa Clara Pueblo offered remarks and a beautiful, evocative, and eye-opening poem. The panel concluded with Rev James Lawson’s clear eloquence on his personal experience of the atomic bomb as a high schooler in 1945. Rev. Lawson went on to discuss the connections of nuclear weapons to many forms of injustice and domination perpetrated by the United States.
Jay Coghlan is the Executive Director of Nuclear Watch New Mexico. He has worked on Department of Energy nuclear weapons and environmental issues for 26 years. Early on, he helped initiate campaigns that stopped radioactive incineration and an advanced plutonium facility at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). He has been central to efforts that successfully obtained national public review of the nuclear weapons complex, aninjunction against construction of an advanced nuclear weapons design facility, and a federal court ruling that LANL had been out of compliance with the Clean Air Act for over six years. He initiated litigation that resulted in a $6.25 million settlement fund that supported citizen and tribal studies of DOEcleanup issues. He successfully asked Senator Jeff Bingaman to legislatively mandate independent expert review of the reliable lifetimes of plutonium pits, the radioactive cores of nuclear weapons.
The subsequent conclusion that plutonium pits last a century or more seriously undermined aggressive proposals for new nuclear weapons designs and expanded pit production. Coghlan has fought against major new plutonium facilities for nuclear weapons at Los Alamos and elsewhere for 26 years, so far successfully. He lives in Santa Fe.