Global Nuclear Disarmament Fund


 

Frequently Asked Questions:

■ What exactly does the GNDF dismantle?

The GNDF actively facilitates public participation in the dismantlement of nuclear weapons including warheads, missiles, and other transportation systems / vehicles such as nuclear submarines. All of the above nuclear weapons systems are considered to be a substantial threat to humanity, and are all part of the scope of work included in the mission of the GNDF.

■ Where does the money go?

Money generated by the GNDF is paid directly to the nuclear agency or official entity designated by each government in charge of the dismantlement process.

■ Who actually dismantles the nuclear weapons?

Each country has their own nuclear weapons facilities dedicated to maintaining, refurbishing, and dismantling stockpiled nuclear weapons. The dismantling of specific weapons paid for by the GNDF also takes place in these same secured facilities. These facilities are normally operated under the umbrella of the defense ministries of each country, working together with the nuclear agency in charge of nuclear weapons dismantlement and disposal or nuclear waste.

■ Were the weapons being dismantled by the GNDF already scheduled for dismantlement?

In some cases, YES. More than 10,000 nuclear weapons have been waiting more than a decade to be dismantled. Because there has never before been any form of accountability or direct participation by the public, people in general are not aware of the fact that there are STILL so many nuclear weapons not being dismantled as promised by the Non-Proliferation Treaty signed more than 40 years ago.

The weapons dismantled by the GNDF include “Operational” and “Non-Operational” nuclear warheads, missiles, delivery systems, and nuclear submarines

The “Operational” weapons are currently active, and in most cases pointed at a major city somewhere in the world, waiting for launch codes. The “Non-Operational” weapons are mostly retired (but still deployable) weapons from a wide range of potential use. These include everything from large ICBM’s, to smaller “Tactical Nukes,” to submarine launched missiles.

The Nuclear Submarines are primarily retired submarines with nuclear reactors still intact. The nuclear material still inside these submarines are at high risk of theft, and also pose the highest risk of a catastrophic environmental crisis.

■ What are the risks of stockpiled nuclear weapons?

Some of the catastrophic risks presented by stockpiled nuclear weapons include: Theft–nuclear weapons are at risk of being stolen, and in fact there are already cases of some that have not been accounted for. Terrorist organizations have already acquired nuclear weapons and weapons-grade highly-enriched uranium and plutonium with the intention of detonating nuclear devices in highly populated cities.

■ What happens to the weapons grade highly enriched plutonium and uranium?

The GNDF Treaty exclusively indicates that all uranium and plutonium extracted from warheads dismantled using publicly raised funds are to be used in “down-blend” programs such as The Megatons to Megawatts Program.

The Megatons to Megawatts Program is a unique, commercially financed government-industry partnership in which bomb-grade uranium from dismantled Russian nuclear warheads is being recycled into low enriched uranium (LEU) used to produce fuel for American nuclear power plants. The conversion and dilution of HEU takes place in Russia. The resulting LEU is then shipped to United States Enrichment Corporation (USEC) facilities in Paducah, Kentucky.

The GNDF is encouraging this program to be expanded beyond the current agreement, which only allows for the United States to benefit from this resource. Other countries should be allowed to access LEU that has been taken not only from Russian nuclear weapons, but also from America nuclear weapons as well.


Facts about Megatons to Megawatts

Program Status:
352 metric tons of bomb-grade HEU have been recycled into 10,213 metric tons of LEU, equivalent to 14,090 nuclear warheads eliminated. (12/31/08)

Overview:
Through a multi-step process in Russia, the bomb-grade uranium material is converted into a different chemical form and then diluted into LEU suitable for use in fabricating commercial nuclear power reactor fuel. USEC then purchases the LEU to market to its utility customers.

Since 1994, the Megatons to Megawatts program has significantly enhanced world security by steadily consuming stockpiles of nuclear bomb-grade materials, while creating a clean, valuable resource—uranium for use in nuclear fuel.

Virtually the entire U.S. nuclear reactor fleet has participated in this program by using fuel fabricated with LEU from the Megatons to Megawatts program.

On average, one in 10 American homes, businesses, schools and hospitals receive electricity generated by fuel fabricated using LEU from the Megatons to Megawatts program—and this ratio is much higher in certain areas of the country.

By 2013, when the program is completed, 500 metric tons (MT) of Russian highly enriched uranium (HEU), the equivalent of 20,000 warheads will have been recycled into LEU—enough material to produce fuel to power the entire United States for about two years.

■ Are there still nuclear weapons on “immediate” or “automatic response” launch status”?

Yes! There are currently approximately 4000 nuclear weapons fuels, targeted and on “hair-trigger” immediate response status, pointed at almost every major city in the world.

■ What happens to the non-radioactive metal?

Non-radioactive metal from rockets, missiles, submarines and other transportation systems dismantled by the GNDF is separated for processing and melted down into ingots.

This metal is then sold or given to strategic manufacturing partners who then make consumer products using this exclusive metal. A portion of the gross proceeds generated by consumer sales is donated back to the GNDF to help destroy more weapons, providing consumers a direct way to contribute and participate.

■ How do we know the real cost of dismantlement?

GNDF founding members include some of the world’s foremost nuclear weapons experts. Based on cost analysis generated from both within the GNDF and confirmed by participating government agencies and their contractors, the cost of each nuclear weapon dismantled by the GNDF is openly verified by both parties.

There are various factors in the total cost of destroying nuclear weapons. These include:

  • Transportation of the weapon to dismantlement facilities.
  • Security
  • Extraction & disposal of rocket fuel (both solid and liquid fuel).
  • Extraction of the “PIT” (Plutonium Ignition Trigger).
  • Extraction of the weapon HEU.
  • Breaking down the rocket / delivery system.
  • Processing the metal.

The average cost per “missile” is about USD $100,000.00. This does not include however, the disposal costs of the solid and / or liquid fuel used in the rockets, or the integration of the HEU into the down-blend process.

■ How do we know the money given to governments for dismantlement is really used for this purpose?

The GNDF monitors and verifies the dismantlement process of each weapon / submarine that is destroyed under the treaty agreement in accordance with the treaty protocol.

■ Does the GNDF verify dismantlement?

The GNDF monitors and verifies the dismantlement process of each weapon / submarine that is destroyed under the treaty agreement in accordance with the treaty protocol.

■ If the cost of dismantling nuclear weapons is so substantially less than people assumed, why doesn't the governments dismantle these weapons themselves?

There are many political and economic motives for keeping this process out of sight, and until now, completely detached from public scrutiny.

Trillions of dollars have flown through the military industrial complex of both the U.S. and Russia in the past decades just to maintain and store tens of thousands of nuclear weapons, of which if only 100 were used, could render the planet uninhabitable.

Yearly defense budgets and proposed spending for “New Nuclear Weapons” leverage the continued threat of large numbers of nuclear weapons stockpiled as an excuse to justify more spending. Now that the public is becoming aware of the real cost of dismantlement, and the fact that these stockpiled weapons can be used to provide fuel for civilian nuclear power plants, the absurdity of maintaining such enormous stockpiles has become clear. However, only public participation and transparent accountability will generate the political will to change this out-dated system.

■ Is the GNDF an “Abolitionist” group?

No. The GNDF has no official policy in support of, or against, the complete abolition of nuclear weapons. The mission of the GNDF is to simply facilitate public participation and transparent accountability in the process of dismantlement.

Allowing the public to have access to this process is the first step to insuring public influence on the decision of whether or not to continue this process through to complete illumination of all nuclear weapons.

■ Will ratification of the GNDF treaty by participating nuclear weapons states cause a shift in the military power-balance?

No. Although there are now nine countries with nuclear weapons, including North Korea, 96% of the world’s nuclear weapons arsenal is still maintained by only two countries: Russia and the United States.

Mathematically, both countries will have to destroy hundreds of weapons before other treaty members would be required to destroy a single weapon. However the challenge and public scrutiny together with clear line-of-sight and accountability facilitated by the GNDF worldwide will result in a reversal of the current nuclear weapons proliferation in other nuclear weapons countries.

■ How about North Korea?

GNDF Members have been to the DPRK long before the UN / IAEA recognized their nuclear weapons capability. The fact that North Korea has now become the ninth nuclear weapons state and has trade relations with countries viewed by the West as “extremist” or not in line with their own political views has resulted in the current public perception of an escalated threat from North Korea.

It is the current opinion of GNDF members that based on the projected amount of HEU processed by North Korea, the actual threat presented by the one or two nuclear weapons that it may or may not have is dwarfed by its ability to now provide this technology (and / or material) to other countries or terrorist organizations seeking to obtain nuclear weapons.

The success of current efforts by ongoing political negotiations to reverse the nuclear weapons program of the DPRK, yet allow or provide them assistance in upgrading the civilian nuclear power program for energy consumption is critical to stability and security in the region. As the North Korean perceived threat of primitive military aggression by the United States against the DPRK cools down, chances for a positive solution through diplomatic negotiations can be expected.

The enormous financial burden of maintaining a nuclear weapons program is not in the best economic interests of the DPRK or any other country.

The GNDF will continue to strengthen our relationship with the DPRK and encourage its participation in the GNDF treaty.

■ Is the GNDF “For” or “Against” nuclear energy?

The Global Nuclear Disarmament Fund does not advocate for, or against, the use of nuclear power. As responsible scientists, and global citizens, we do support realistic and viable ideas that will transition the world beyond nuclear power in favor of safer, cleaner, alternatives.

Realizing that logistically this transition will take time to achieve, we advocate as the first step in that direction an immediate stop of uranium mining, replaced by the systematic down-blend and depletion of highly enriched fissile material available in nuclear weapons stockpiles. The cost savings should facilitate an immediate increase in R&D to accelerate the completion of viable alternative power infrastructure that can transition the world beyond nuclear power while eliminating nuclear weapons at the same time, and reducing radioactive waist.

■Environmental Statement

Ironically, stockpiled nuclear weapons are the only source of immediately available uranium and plutonium that can be quickly down-blended for use in commercial power plants. The United States and all countries agree that the biggest tangible impact we can make on global warming is eliminating the burning of coal as our main source of energy.

While alternative energy solutions are given limited budgets for research, we continue to spend billions of dollars each year on maintaining and refurbishing obsolete nuclear weapons made to insure “mutual destruction” of the entire planet. While we have been busy developing a system of “assured mutual destruction” over the past 65 years, the result of our abusive attitude toward the well-being of our planet has resulted in a bigger threat to humanity than we were able to create ourselves.

Ironically, the answer to the current crisis is to use the weapons we developed to destroy ourselves, to save our planet. The GNDF demands an immediate increase and acceleration in the pace of dismantling nuclear weapons and converting the HEU into LEU that can provide fuel for nuclear power plants around the world. The LEU that could come from 30,000 nuclear weapons could provide the entire world with 15 years of clear nuclear energy.

During that time, the billions of dollars that would have been spent maintaining these weapons must be diverted to emergency research funds to accelerate the development of realistic alternative energy solutions.

With such a tangible increase in research funding, technologies that would otherwise take another 100 years if developed at the current pace, could be developed to the point of being able to replace nuclear power within 40 ~ 50 years. Before damaging the environment by mining more uranium, it only makes sense to use the uranium stored in the 30,000 nuclear weapons that we already have.

■ How do we know they won't use GNDF money to build more nuclear weapons?

We don’t. –The only thing that will prevent governments from developing more nuclear weapons is direct accountability to the public, and the ability for the public to influence such decisions by having unprecedented access to information and direct line-of-sight provided by the GNDF.

■ What do governments think about the GNDF?

The GNDF has received unprecedented cooperation and support from the United States, the Russian Federation, Japan, and several other governments. The GNDF is a non-governmental / non-profit organization with no political ties to any government body.

The unique balance of business professionals and scientists that comprise the executive body of the GNDF, together with support from the global entertainment community has resulted in a very positive relationship between the GNDF and government bodies.

The GNDF policies of political neutrality, non-interference in the global military power balance, and mass public participation generated by our members / supporters from the global entertainment community has resulted in open and friendly relations.

■ Does the GNDF have any political affiliations or political agenda?

No.

■ What percentage of your donation actually goes toward dismantling nuclear weapons?

It is the policy of the GNDF as stated in the bylaws of the organization that no less than 80% of all donations should go directly to dismantlement, with a maximum cap of 20% to be used for administration costs. As the fund develops, this amount should increase to 85% / 15%.

When compared to other “well-known” global organizations that use more than 90% of donations received for their own administration costs, we hope to see aggressive participation by young people and corporations in GNDF programs.

■ Do GNDF leaders get paid?

Although most are volunteers, a maximum of 40% of GNDF leaders (as stated in the bylaws of the organization) may be compensated for their time and work in an amount not to exceed USD $80,000 per year. Unlike other “well-known” global organizations, even the President and Executive Director of the GNDF may not receive more than $80,000 in annual salary.

■ How can I volunteer?

Just send us an e-mail stating your name, contact information and any specific areas that you would like to help. We’ll certainly be in touch with you!
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