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Indiana Daily Student

Former senator to discuss 25th anniversary of nuclear weapons reduction program

<p>Former Senator Richard Lugar speaks about nuclear weapons in 2013&nbsp;in Ballantine Hall.&nbsp;Lugar will speak at 3 p.m. Friday in GISB auditorium on the topic of nuclear weapons reduction.</p>

Former Senator Richard Lugar speaks about nuclear weapons in 2013 in Ballantine Hall. Lugar will speak at 3 p.m. Friday in GISB auditorium on the topic of nuclear weapons reduction.

In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, former Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Indiana, and two of his successors will be discussing Friday work toward reducing amounts of nuclear and chemical weapons around the world.

The program began in December 1991 at the end of the Cold War when the Soviet Threat Reduction Act was enacted.

Lugar and former Sen. Sam Nunn, D-Georgia, worked together to establish the act, which would help former Soviet states disassemble their weapons of mass destruction.

“It’s not a matter of Republican and Democrat. It’s a matter of safe or not, and that’s what they did,” director of communications and marketing Chuck Carney said.

Lugar and his successors, Sen. Joe Donnelly, R-Indiana, and Senator-elect Todd Young, R-Indiana, will be interacting with students at a panel at 3:30 p.m. Friday in the Global and International Studies Building auditorium.

The talk is sponsored by the School of Global and International Studies and the School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

Provost Lauren Robel will introduce the panelists, and Lee Feinstein, dean of the SGIS, will moderate.

A few selected IU students will be able to speak with the panelists, and there will be a reception after the discussion.

Both Nunn and Lugar recognized the Cold War had created huge arsenals in the United States and former Soviet Union.

Steve Hinnefeld, an IU news and media specialist who has been researching and blogging about the topic, said either side was ready to destroy the other. This came to be known as mutually assured destruction.

If either side were to launch a nuclear attack, the other would launch theirs as well, Hinnefeld said.

“It’s not like there’s no threat now, but threat of an accident happening was lessened,” Hinnefeld said.

More than 7,600 nuclear warheads have been deactivated in the last 25 years.

Thanks to the program, chemical weapons have been neutralized and former facilities for weapons have been repurposed for peaceful use. Former scientists and engineers have also redirected efforts away from nuclear development.

More than 40 countries have been involved in controlling and reducing the amount of these weapons of mass destruction.

Carney, who has been working to make this program possible, said Donnelly’s office had been key in bringing these three men together for the panel discussion.

The 25th anniversary of this program and the program are a big attraction, Carney said.

“It’s a significant milestone,” Carney said.

Carney invited students, faculty and staff to come and hear the discussion.

He said listening to these three men talk together is not an everyday occurrence. Lugar has the record for longest-serving member of Congress in Indiana history.

He served from 1977-2013. He is a professor of practice at the School of Global and International Studies.

Lugar has traveled to regions where nuclear weapon issues were prevalent following the Cold War and still continue to be important to maintain today, Carney said.

“Lugar is just simply a treasure,” Carney said. “He’s a treasure for Indiana, a national treasure, and in this case, an international treasure.”

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