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09/27/2007

Science Advocacy Group President at Winthrop to Critique U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy

Quick Facts

 Kevin Knobloch, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists, will speak Oct. 2.
 The lecture is free and open to the public.

ROCK HILL, S.C. - Kevin Knobloch, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists, will deliver a lecture on the future of U.S. nuclear weapons policy at Winthrop University on Oct. 2. The 8 p.m. lecture in the new Owens Hall is open to the public.

Knobloch will talk about the 2008 elections, how to prevent more countries or terrorists from getting nuclear weapons and the important role South Carolina’s political leaders play in this critical issue. U.S. Rep. John Spratt (D-SC) is senior member of the House Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, which oversees policy and funding authorization for the nation’s nuclear weapons programs. U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) also works on nuclear weapons policy as a member of the Senate’s Strategic Forces Subcommittee.

A bipartisan consensus is emerging among experts on nuclear policy, including former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and George Shultz, who say U.S. leadership is necessary to keep nuclear weapons from spreading to even more nations and to terrorist groups. Kissinger and Shultz have written that the United States should embrace a “vision of a world free of nuclear weapons.” But instead, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, the current administration wants to develop a new generation of nuclear weapons – dubbed the Reliable Replacement Warhead program – despite the fact that current U.S. nuclear stockpiles are already safe, secure and reliable and will be for at least another 50 years.

The Union of Concerned Scientists believes that building new warheads would send a dangerous signal to other nations, prompting them to develop their own nuclear weapons capability. Rep. Spratt’s committee has shown cautious leadership by reducing funding for the warhead program, but research funding for the warheads still remains in the defense budget.

Knobloch, who has been president of the Union of Concerned Scientists since January 2004, urges the presidential candidates and members of Congress to embrace a responsible nuclear weapons policy aimed at arms reduction and preventing the spread of nuclear weapons.

He has been traveling around the country to meet with scientists, engineers, citizens and policymakers to discuss a range of environmental and security issues. The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading science-based nonprofit organization working for a healthy environment and a safer world. Founded in 1969, it is headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., and has offices in Berkeley, Calif., and Washington, D.C.

For information on the Oct. 2 lecture, contact Winthrop's Office of University Relations at 803/323-2236.


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