No. 26/1999

Dateline: 1 July 1999

WNII is an electronic information service of INES,
the International Network of Engineers and Scientists for Global Responsibility

Editor: Tobias Damjanov, e-mail: < >
INES homepage: http://inesglobal.org
INES International Office < >
INES Chair Prof. Armin Tenner < >

INES Congress 2000

''Challenges for Science and Engineering in the 21st Century''

Stockholm, 14-18 June 2000


 INES 2000 Conference Secretariat: mailto:

CONTENTS of WNII No. 26/1999



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USA: Alice Slater informs about "ProgressivePubs"

Here is an information bit provided by Alice Slater, President of the US-based INES member organisation "Global Resource Action Center for the Environment (GRACE)", on a new online resource for political progressives called www.ProgressivePubs.com.    This is:


New Zealand: June 1999 Newsletter of Engineers for Social Responsibility

The latest ESR Newsletter contains, among other things, the following contributions:

If you wish to receive the ESR Newsletter, contact the editor Neil Mander:  mailto:


Abolition 2000 homepage: http://www.abolition2000.org

For the latest nuclear weapons abolition grassroots news, visit: http://www.napf.org/abolition2000/news/

USA and Russia To Attempt New Nuclear Talks
[Source: NATO Nuclear Flash 99-30 (June 23, 1999)]

Russia and the United States agreed to two-track discussions later this summer to settle ABM and START II issues. "Strategic stability" remains the central vision.

No First Use Is "Out of the Question" and Nuclear Bombs Stay in Europe, NATO Officials Tell IPPNW
[Source: NATO Nuclear Flash 99-30 (June 23, 1999)]

An IPPNW delegation met with NATO officials and discussed nuclear weapons and policy issues. This informal report outlines the conclusions and observations from the meeting.  ftp://ftp.nautilus.org/nnnnet/references/ippnw060999.txt

Shortage of scientists threatens H-bomb unit (extracts)
(Roger Highfield, Science Editor, "The Daily Telegraph", 21 June 1999)

The Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston fears a shortage of potential H-bomb designers and is trying to persuade scientists that its work is still relevant and interesting, despite the end of the Cold War.  Senior staff at the research centre in Berkshire are concerned that British expertise in thermonuclear weapons design could decline unless the current generation of bomb-makers and testers, nearing the end of their working lives, is replaced.

The AWE is hoping to persuade talented young scientists that H-bomb making is not necessarily all megadeath and destruction. It hopes to forge closer links with universities, create a more open and inviting atmosphere for applicants, and emphasise the breadth and quality of its civil research. (...)

Robin Bradley, chief executive of the AWE, said Aldermaston's poor public image "does not make it easy to recruit". Life has also become much harder for the weapons scientists because of Britain's adherence to international bans on nuclear testing. (...)

Britain relies on one type of nuclear weapon, the warhead carried on Trident, but according to the Strategic Defence Review, must maintain the capability to design and produce a new weapon. The youngest designer to have seen his own warhead detonated, known only as Hugh, is in his 40s, while the overall number of scientists with actual test experience is down to "tens or dozens," said Ken Johnson, the AWE's chief scientist.

Now, all weapons testing must be done by non-nuclear laboratory tests, backed by historical bomb test data, "virtual" weapons tests, and complex mathematical modeling in supercomputers. This places a new premium on finding people who can develop the theoretical understanding of the vast temperatures, pressures and surges of radiation that are generated within a bomb over vanishingly small timescales. (...)

Now that the isolation and secrecy of the Cold War has ended, the AWE is forging new links with Britain's universities. It has set up an Academic Council of eminent scientists and industrialists. AWE has also launched special fellowships to attract young talent.

Mr. Bradley said: "We have to find some new, exciting things to challenge people here - keep their interest alive. The science of nuclear weapons has never been fully understood in scientific terms by any of the nations involved."

Aside from bomb maintenance, test and design, the AWE's work stretches from how to verify when nuclear weapons have been dismantled and spot clandestine tests to spin-offs, such as the design of chemicals to scrub mercury from fish guts or techniques to the production of plastic models of broken bones that help doctors plan complex surgery.


Court Rejects Vanunu's Petitions (abridged)

On June 21 the Israeli High Court of Justice rejected two petitions that were brought by imprisoned nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu, in an attempt to rectify human rights violations that were committed against him by the government of Israel. In the first petition, Vanunu asked the court to order his return to Italy, from where he was kidnapped by Israeli agents in 1986. In the second petition, Vanunu demanded that the Court permit the publication of the protocol of his original trial, which was held in camera. To this day, 13 years later, the entire protocol is an official secret. Both petitions were rejected by Chief Justices Mishael Heshin, Tova Strassburg-Cohen and Menachem Elan. The State Attorney announced however, that parts of the trial protocol, which did not endanger State security, would be released. The hearing was held in camera. Vanunu was permitted to address the Court and he said, among other things: "I have no secrets and I do not intend to publicize any secrets."

Appeals for Vanunu's release from prison should be sent to Israel's newly elected Prime Minister, Ehud Barak: mailto:    or  mailto:

23 Jun 1999
Rayna Moss <   >
The Israeli Committee for Mordechai Vanunu


"Harmonization Alert" - new online publication


The Public Citizen Foundation has launched this new free monthly publication, which will serve as a resource for public interest groups, policy-makers, trade attorneys, educators and others. It is the only U.S. publication currently tracking international standardization activities across a range of issues, including public health, food and auto safety, economic justice, consumer and worker safety, the environment and more. Recent trade agreements, particularly the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which established the World Trade Organization (WTO), require or encourage national governments to harmonize standards, or accept different, foreign standards as "equivalent," on a vast array of issues.

To receive "Harmonization Alert" free of charge, please mailto:   or  mailto:

NGO access at the UN


On Thursday, June 17, 1999, Global Policy Forum released a 28-page report on NGO access at the UN. The report frankly discusses the many problems NGOs face, including tightened security, accreditation headaches, strained relations with the Secretariat, and hostile proposals from delegations. The report concludes with a number of proposals for positive change. (see URL indicated above.)

Those who would like to receive the text by email or in a printed copy, please contact Global Policy Forum at mailto:

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