Don Williams
Photo by Justin Williams

Don Williams is a prize-winning columnist, blogger, fiction writer, sometime TV commentator, and is the founder and editor emeritus of New Millennium Writings, an annual anthology of stories, essays and poems. His awards include a National Endowment for the Humanities Journalism Fellowship at the University of Michigan, a Golden Presscard Award from Sigma Delta Chi Society of Professional Journalists, a best Commentary Award from SDC, Best Feature Writing from the Associated Press Tennessee Managing Editors, the Malcolm Law Journalism Prize from the Associated Press, Best Non-Deadline Reporting from the United Press International, Best Novel Excerpt from the Knoxville Writers Guild, a Peacemaker Award from the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, five Writer of the Month Awards from the Scripps Howard Newspaper chain, and many others. In 2011 he was inducted into the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame. His 2005 book of journalism, Heroes, Sheroes and Zeroes is under revision for a second printing, and he is at work on a novel and a book of journalism. His columns appear at and have been featured at many other well-known websites. To run his column, gratis, at your website, post this link to a dedicated spot: Need a speaker, panelist, tv commentator or teacher for your group or to lead a writing workshop, in your town? Email

Insights navigation:

[ Insights ]

RSS feed

Don Williams comments

Say Yes to a Nuke-Free World
(Copyright by Don Williams, All rights reserved   11/17/2009)

If you love our world, drop everything for ten minutes and visit Leave a comment there telling the US government to get behind a vision embraced by unlikely bedfellows Barack Obama, George Shultz, Sam Nunn, the late Ronald Reagan, Jimmie Carter and others who have envisioned a nuclear-weapons-free future. Specifically, ask our politicos and bureaucrats to drop plans to build a ruinous new weapons complex in Oak Ridge, TN.

Building such a plant could turn out to be the worst decision our country ever made, unleashing a new upward spiral in the arms race on an already dangerous world.

For readers within driving distance of Oak Ridge, I ask you to get out to one of two public meetings and, in your own words, tell them we don't want more nuclear bombs—we have thousands already--especially at a time when we're trying to convince Iran and others not to build them.

In case you missed it—and I've seen little about this in the media--the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) will build a new, $3.5 billion bomb plant in Oak Ridge unless we stop them. NNSA published a Notice of Intent in the Federal Register several years ago to build such a plant, and Congress has budgeted startup funds.

Although the program is being sold as a way of shrinking the nuclear footprint in this country—consolidating and streamlining much of the nuclear weapons stockpile--the plant would create scores of new nuclear weapons per year, ensuring their viability into the 22nd century! by concocting new thermonuclear devices from a variety of materials. Further, it would have the capacity to create new kinds of nukes in keeping with the pea-brained visions of Cheney/Bush.

In order to move forward, the NNSA is required by law to take comments from the public as they prepare their final Evironmental Impact Statement. The first hearing is 6:30 to 9 p.m. tonight (Tuesday, Nov. 17) at the New Hope Center in Oak Ridge, TN, with a repeat performance 10 to 12:30 p.m. Nov. 18.

Other Ways To Comment:

As mentioned above, comments from across the country can also be submitted on-line at, by fax to 865-483-2012, or in writing to: Pam Gorman, Y12 SWEIS Document Manager, 800 Oak Ridge Turnpike, Suite A-500, Oak Ridge, TN, 37830.

To maximize the impact of your comments, send them also to:

President Barack Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW

Washington, DC 20500

or on-line at

or call the contact line at 202-456-1111

Also send your comments to your Senators and Representatives, and send a Letter to the Editor version to and to your local newspaper. Why? Letters to the editor put an issue “on the map,” said Ralph Hutchison, coordinator of the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, a highly respected watchdog group. "If you mention your Senators and Congressperson, their staff will clip it and it will land on their desk."

“The idea that the United States should invest two or three billion dollars to build more bombs when the President has declared a firm commitment to a world free of nuclear weapons is as preposterous as it is perilous," said Hutchison. "Who's making policy in the United States these days? What we need in Oak Ridge is a realistic plan to maintain our nuclear arsenal in a safe and secure manner while the stockpile is reduced to zero. Building a new bomb plant now, under the guise of `modernization,' corrupts the President's vision and negates all our efforts to constrain nuclear proliferation. It will place the US at the forefront of a new global nuclear arms resurgence. That's not modernization, it's throwback—and it's clearly the wrong direction for the country.”

No doubt any final draft of the EIS will mention the effects on birds and other animals, on groundwater, air, native plants and the health of nearby residents. But I wonder if it will contain the phrase, “Could result in the destruction of the planet.”

Please, resist this deal to make us all complicit in future horrors we can't begin to predict. A few corporations will profit, a few politicians will brag about new jobs, but it's a devil's bargain--jobs now, against the possible death of our world, as a new arms race begins in earnest.

Let's not be gullible. If we build new nukes, countries around the world will follow our example—or the example of Iran, which has yet to violate the letter of the NPT, but is expanding its options by building a nuclear infrastructure. Japan, Brazil, Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and others could follow suit, as owning nukes takes on the glamour of status symbol and power of military might. What's amazing is the brazenness with which our government is proceeding to break the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, and how the national press yawns as, once again, we begin walking toward the brink of nuclear annihilation.

The new bomb plant can be stopped by political power—your voice joined with thousands of others. You have a right to a future free of nuclear weapons, and a world without nuclear weapons is possible—but only if people like you and I act now. For information about alternatives to a new nuke factory and other background information, visit:

Please do what you can.

To support continuation of this column with a modest donation, please visit...