I read with great interest the May 24 Maine Voices opinion column written by my longtime friend Dr. Peter D. Wilk. I was astonished to learn that Maine U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King both approve a “nuclear weapons spending spree” proposed by President Obama.

I have long known that wherever the president travels, his security team brings with them the “nuclear football,” officially known as the president’s emergency satchel, that puts at the president’s fingertips the codes and commands for launching nearly 1,000 nuclear weapons with enough power to end human civilization.

Even if President Obama is sincere when he speaks of his vision for a peaceful world without nuclear weapons, his words are useless unless followed up with concrete steps. Below are five actions, offered to us by Joe Cirincione of the Ploughshares Fund, that must be urgently addressed:

 End the obsolete Cold War requirement that our nuclear weapons be ready to launch within minutes.

 Take off alert at least 50 intercontinental ballistic missiles – weapons scheduled for deactivation under the New START treaty. He could take them off alert now and ask the Russians to make a reciprocal step, starting a process that could pull us back from the nuclear brink.

 Cancel the $30 billion new nuclear cruise missile.

 The U.N. Security Council can seek new resolutions against all nuclear tests.

 Before they spend $1 trillion on thousands of new weapons, all members of Congress should visit Hiroshima so they can experience what just one small nuclear bomb can do.

The monstrosity of nuclear weapons has been created by human minds. Human minds must now take the responsible steps to end this life-threatening scourge.

Sally Breen