Critics Call Nuke Waste Transmutation Project a "Shell Game
Rocky Flats "Cleanup" Continues to Put Workers At Risk
Canadian Professor Speaks Out Against "Star Wars"
Republican Senator Domenici of New Mexico secured $34 million to fund a
new program called Advanced Accelerator Applications at Los Alamos National
Laboratory to study the possibility of developing technology that could
transform radioactive nuclear waste into less lethal forms. Critics call
the plan a "shell game," saying it will cost more and generate more new
waste than it's worth.
Pete Lyons, Domenici's science adviser, said the program is an
experiment and may prove too expensive and too environmentally harmful to
work, but they still plan to begin the program.
Some scientists and environmentalists feel this plan is not the
answer. Hisham Zerriffi, a consulting senior scientist for the Institute of
Energy and Environmental Research in Takoma Park, Maryland, said the
technology doesn't actually "reduce" nuclear waste at all. "It's a
loophole," Zerriffi said, leaving uranium that can then be buried in less
secure landfills although it will still be as radioactive as some of the
waste buried at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. "This is going to create
more dangers than it's proposed to solve. There's not a clear argument for
transmutation," he said.
Kaiser-Hill, the contractor hired by the Department of Energy
(or DOE) to "cleanup" the Rocky Flats nuclear plant near Denver,
Colorado received an unusually severe letter from DOE about their
safety deficiencies for a recent string of safety and criticality
a January 5 letter obtained by The Energy Daily, DOE wrote that
the continuing safety deficiencies "raise the potential that Kaiser-Hill
may not be fully complying with certain sections of the contract."
Last year, fines imposed on Kaiser-Hill for safety violations
Rocky Flats Manager Barbara Mazurowski said the last straw occurred
when workers in one of Rocky Flats' buildings violated criticality
safety limits twice last month by packing waste in drums over
the criticality safety limits for the containers. Mazurowski said
there was a steady increase of similar incidents over the last
year. She told Kaiser-Hill President, Robert Card, "[DOE] is concerned
that Kaiser-Hill workers, especially those engaged in critical
activities involving the handling of materials, do not understand
their roles and responsibilities. This applies to both supervisors
response, Jennifer Thompson, a spokesperson for Kaiser-Hill said
the company agreed that the frequency of safety and criticality
incidents had increased, but their safety record had improved
over the number of incidents in 1999.
John Valleau, professor emeritus at the
University of Toronto in Canada and the executive director of
Science for Peace wrote in a recent commentary that, "[I]t is
urgent that the Canadian government speak out now" in opposing
the United States missile defense project. His concerns are based
on a little-known five-year-old U.S. document he uncovered that
explains the U.S. plan to dominate and colonize outer space. The
United States Space Command's document called, "Vision for 2020,"
describes its role as "dominating the space dimension of military
operations to protect U.S. interests and investment [and] integrating
Space Forces into war-fighting capabilities across the full spectrum
Valleau wrote, "[t]he U.S. states the purpose of the Missile Defense
Project is to intercept, in space, a small number of missiles
launched against the United States, [but] the controversial plan
may be more sinister than we could imagine, and Canada must make
every effort to stop it." Valleau points out that "This is a clear
plan to militarize space with U.S. weapons, and to seek the ability
to deny others the use of space."
while the U.S. signed the Outer Space Treaty, which is aimed at
preventing the weaponization of outer space, according to this
U.S. Space Command document, it appears obvious that the U.S.
does not plan to honor yet another treaty.
said, "at first, it is hard to believe that this horrifying plan
is really U.S. policy, but there has been no repudiation of the
published intentions by the U.S. administration, and the Space
Command continues to be handsomely financed."
Professor points out that to "put the Space Command plans in place,
the U.S. will have to ignore the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty
and probably the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as well, while
violating at least the spirit of the Outer Space Treaty and the
Environmental Modification Techniques protocol."
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