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Nuclear Weapons, Environmental Impact of Building

Between 1945 and 2010, over 125,000 nuclear weapons were constructed, the vast majority by the United States and the former Soviet Union. For most of that time, little, if any, thought was given to the environmental and public health consequences of building such weapons. Instead, national security concerns trumped calls for public information and restraint. As a result, according to Arjun Makhijani and colleagues (2000), “nuclear weapons have profoundly damaged the very people and lands they were supposed to protect” (p. 1). Indeed, decades after the Manhattan Project and the creation of the first nuclear weapons, the environmental costs of the global nuclear weapons complex are still being discovered. In the United States alone, the Department of Energy has identified 4,500 contaminated sites in need ...

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