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TN group takes up nuclear weapons prohibition at UN meeting

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Wednesday, October 4, 2023   

A Knoxville group of concerned citizens will head next month to an international meeting at United Nations headquarters in New York. Their focus is the total elimination of nuclear weapons.

Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was passed in 2021. It makes all facets of nuclear weaponry illegal under international law, from development and testing, to stockpiling weapons.

Tanvi Kardile, coordinator of the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, said 69 countries have ratified the treaty. An additional 28 countries have signed, but not ratified it.

"The U.S. has not signed on to this treaty," Kardile pointed out. "The treaty does require that every year, the states' parties, they meet once a year to discuss the treaty next steps, kind of like put more flesh on the bones, actually make plans on how they're going to move forward with this."

The meeting is Nov. 27 to Dec. 1. Kardile noted it coincides with her group's goal to stop construction at the Uranium Processing Facility, part of the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Proponents of the weapons plant point to the jobs and economic impact it has for the local area.

Kardile said they are taking a group of students to the meeting. While in New York, they will attend a movie screening and meet with representatives who have supported the treaty.

"There's not a lot of young people involved in nuclear weapons issues, even though it directly ties to climate change and other things that young people are passionate about," Kardile acknowledged. "They're the ones who are going to be showing up to the polls and going to be voting. We're taking groups of students from Tennessee, Portland and Pennsylvania."

Kardile added it is important for Tennesseans to stay informed on this issue, as they are directly affected by it, with the Y-12 weapons complex in Oak Ridge.

Disclosure: The Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance contributes to our fund for reporting on Environment, Nuclear Waste, Peace, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

References:  
Air data EPA 12/06/2022

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