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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 54, February 2001

Scientists' and Engineers' Anti-WMD Pledge

'Scientists and Engineers' Pledge to Renounce Weapons of Mass Destruction,' initiative launched February 16, 2001.

Notes: the Pledge is being launched as a joint initiative of four anti-nuclear organizations - the Los Alamos Study Group http://www.lasg.org), the Natural Resources Defense Council http://www.nrdc.org/nuclear/, the Tri-Valley CAREs http://www.igc.org/tvc, and the Western States Legal Foundation http://www.wslfweb.org). Initial signers of the Pledge included Dr. Joseph Rotblat, Nobel Peace Laureate, Dr. Charles Schwartz, Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of California, Dr. Andreas Toupadakis, former Staff Research Scientist at the Los Alamos National laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National laboratory, and Dr. Zia Mian, Research Scientist at Princeton University.

The Pledge

"I pledge never to participate in:

  • the design, development, testing, production, maintenance, targeting, or use of nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons or their means of delivery; or in
  • research or engineering that I have reason to believe will be used by others to do so."
Press Release

'Pledge drive asks scientists and engineers to renounce work on nuclear, other weapons of mass destruction,' Joint Press Release from initiating organizations, February 16.

"Leaders of organizations that monitor the US nuclear weapons complex are asking academics, students and technical professionals attending this week's meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to sign a Scientist's and Engineers' Pledge...

'The time has come for scientists to pledge themselves to renounce work on weapons of mass destruction,' declared Dr. Joseph Rotblat, the Nobel Laureate and physicist who left the Manhattan Project for reasons of conscience. ... 'I fully endorse your campaign... At a time when science plays such a powerful role in the life of society, it is incumbent on all scientists to be fully conscious of that role and conduct themselves accordingly. I appeal to my fellow scientists to remember their responsibility to humanity...'

'This is part of a multi-faceted, international campaign to discourage people from working on nuclear weapons,' explained Greg Mello, director of the Los Alamos Study Group... 'The so-called "Stockpile Stewardship" programme at the labs is nuclear weapons work, no matter how it's disguised...'

'Scientists and engineers today need to know that the US nuclear weapons laboratories are busy developing new, destabilising nuclear weapons, including earth-penetrating 'mini-nukes' and re-designed, more accurate long-range warheads.' Said Marylia Kelley, executive director of Tri-Valley CAREs...

'The effect of these labs to recast their work on nuclear weapons as 'nuclear weapons science' does not change the essential fact that these institutions are continuing to develop nuclear weapons,' declared Christopher Paine, senior researcher for NRDC's nuclear programme. ...

Dr. Julian Borrill, an astrophysicist at DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and board member of the Western States Legal Foundation, summed up the moral responsibility of today's technical professionals: 'As scientists and engineers, we are in a unique position to bring about the demise of weapons of mass destruction. These weapons cannot exist without us - we design them, we manufacture them, we test them, we maintain them and we deploy them. We make them possible, and, if we choose, we can make them impossible.' ..."

© 2001 The Acronym Institute.