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Recovery Act-funded work at the Hanford Site. U.S. Department of Energy

By William J. Kinsella

Seventy-five years ago, in March 1943, a mysterious construction project began at a remote location in eastern Washington state. Over the next two years some 50,000 workers built an industrial site occupying half the area of Rhode Island, costing more than $230 million—equivalent to $3.1 billion today. Few of those workers, and virtually no one in the surrounding community, knew the facility's purpose.

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Radiation area from Horseshoe Mesa uranium mine tailings at Grand Canyon's South Rim. Al_HikesAZ / Flickr

By Stephanie Malin

Uranium—the raw material for nuclear power and nuclear weapons—is having a moment in the spotlight.

Companies such as Energy Fuels, Inc. have played well-publicized roles in lobbying the Trump administration to reduce federal protection for public lands with uranium deposits. The Defense Department's Nuclear Posture Review calls for new weapons production to expand the U.S. nuclear arsenal, which could spur new domestic uranium mining. And the Interior Department is advocating more domestic uranium production, along with other materials identified as "critical minerals."

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President Trump and French President Macron review troops during the Bastille Day parade last July.

By Elliott Negin

President Trump was so impressed by the military parade he saw in Paris on Bastille Day last July that he ordered the Pentagon to plan a bigger one for Washington, DC.

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Scientists announce the new Doomsday Clock setting at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Scott Stapf / Twitter

The symbolic Doomsday Clock is ever closer to midnight, or the end of the world, scientists announced Thursday at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

The clock is now two minutes to midnight based on the predictions of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a non-profit organization that informs the public about threats to its survival due to nuclear threats, emerging technologies and climate change.

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Pierre J. / Flickr / Creative Commons

By Elliott Negin

More than a million people in Hawaii thought it was time to say their final alohas. A state cellphone alert announced that nuclear missiles were heading their way. "Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii," the Jan. 6 text read. "Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill."

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By John Buell

Last winter when President-elect Trump tweeted: "United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes," the tweet was portrayed as shockingly new and threatening. As president, Trump continues his inflammatory rhetoric. Nonetheless, his nuclear posture is closer to his predecessors than is commonly recognized. It has long been U.S. policy and practice to seek and rely on nuclear superiority. The U.S. led every step in the arms race. That arms race remains the greatest immediate threat to the survival of human civilization and other living beings. That threat has persisted under every president from Truman to Trump.

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Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park. Tom Murphy / National Geographic Creative

By Jake Johnson

Yes, Donald Trump is president. And yes, he has access to the nuclear codes—a fact that has become all too vivid in recent weeks. But many allowed themselves to forget, if only for a brief moment, about the man in the White House on Thursday to hone their attention on what is potentially an even more horrifying development.

As USA Today reported, new research indicates that the supervolcano resting beneath Yellowstone National Park "may blow sooner than thought, an eruption that could wipe out life on the planet."

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Wikipedia

By Julia Conley

Along with nuclear war and climate change, President Donald Trump has made the list of what Nobel Laureates consider to be major risks to the world population.

In a survey of 50 Nobel Prize winners in the sciences, medicine and economics, more than a third of the respondents said damage to the environment brought about by issues like over-population and climate change, was the biggest threat to mankind. Twenty-three percent said nuclear war was their top concern, while six percent said theirs was "the ignorance of political leaders"—with two of the winners naming Trump specifically.

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Nuclear weapon test Bravo on Bikini Atoll. Wikimedia Commons

By Bunny McDiarmid

Looking back, one of the key moments that was to define both my professional and personal path was the moment I stepped onto the small atoll of Rongelap, in the Pacific Ocean.

It was May 17, 1985 and I was 24 years old.

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A cloud rises over Nagasaki, Japan, in the moments after the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Aug. 9, 1945. Wikimedia Commons

By Susan Southard

Wednesday is the 72nd anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. At 11:02 a.m. Aug. 9, 1945, a five-ton plutonium bomb exploded a third of a mile above the city. Its blast winds tore through the city at two and a half times the speed of a Category 5 hurricane.

Two-year-old Masao Tomonaga was asleep in his home while his mother worked in another room. Within seconds of the blast, their house imploded on top of them. Remarkably, both survived. At 1.7 miles from the bomb's hypocenter, they were out of reach of its most intense infrared heat rays, which instantly carbonized human and animal flesh and vaporized the internal organs of those directly beneath the bomb.

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The "original" Greenpeace crew on-board the Phyllis Cormack on their voyage to Amchitka Island. Robert Keziere / Greenpeace

By Yuko Yoneda

It started with just 12 of them. With a bold mission, this group of activists set sail to Amchitka island off Alaska to protest the detonation of an underground U.S. nuclear test. It was September 1971, and though the mission was initially unsuccessful, it was the beginning of what became Greenpeace, and just one of the many issues—the elimination of nuclear weapons—that the environmental organization would campaign endlessly against.

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