* U. S. Policy allows nuclear attack on Iraq.

* Nuclear waste rail safety study request denied by U. S. Dept. of Transportation.

* Plutonium waste passes through Panama Canal with protesters aboard.

* India will go nuclear, if Hindu Nationalists win election.

* A top-secret directive, signed by President Clinton last November, has quietly changed U.S. Nuclear policy to permit the U. S. to attack Iraq with tactical atomic warheads, said a recent article in the Irish Times. The directive is part of a U. S. contingency plan to consider using atomic bombs on Iraqui weapon sites if President Saddam Hussein initiates a major biological attack. Administration officials said the policy shift was made as part of the most extensive update of U. S. nuclear weapons policy since the Reagan administration. Clinton approved the new policy, a part of Presidential Policy Directive 60, after consultation with the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Until November, first use of nuclear weapons on Iraq would have violated U. S. pledges never to make such an attack on a signer of the nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty, which includes Iraq. U.S. officials now maintain that Iraq's efforts to develop nuclear weapons would forfeit treaty protection.

Administration officials fear Saddam Hussein might use Scud rockets to spread powdered anthrax spores over Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Israel, killing thousands and making parts of Riyadh, Kuwait City and Tel Aviv uninhabitable for decades. Intelligence officials fear these biological weapons may be buried in 11-foot cement bunkers, which, during the Persian Gulf war, were attacked using 2,000 lb. Bombs, with only limited success. Since then, the U.S. has developed a 5,000 lb. bomb with a conventional warhead, the GBU28, which can be dropped by FISE Fighter-bombers, or the B-1 subsonic strategic bomber now poised in Bahrain.

If the U.S. does choose to employ nuclear weapons against the bunkers, the most likely choice is the B61-7 series of tactical warheads. These so-called "mini-nukes" are 300-500 times more powerful than the largest non-nuclear weapon. They have an explosive force of less than 1 kiloton; the bomb dropped on Hiroshima had an estimated 13 kilotons of explosive power. So far, the U.S. is the only nation to have used atomic weapons in war.

* The Department of Transportation has denied a request from Bay Area Reps. George Miller and Ellen Tauscher for a safety study of the rail routes proposed for shipment of nuclear fuel rods from Concord Naval Weapons Station in California to Idaho. Some safety measures for the shipments were offered by officials, however, including priority status, railroad inspectors and armed guards for the dangerous loads. The Department of Energy (DOE) plans 5 separate shipments of 38 casks of hig-level nuclear waste over the next 13 years. Each cask contains as much radioactivity as 200 Hiroshima bombs, and unshielded, will kill a man standing three feet away. The casks will arrive by ship from nuclear reactor facitlities in Asia, passing under the Golden Gate and five other bridges, through a narrow channel surrounded by petrochemical refineries, to arrive at Concord, which is situated near a major earthquake fault. From there, rail shipments will cross above California's Feather River Canyon, where 28 trains have derailed in 16 years. The DOE's plan has met wide-spread opposition in California, and arguments will begin March 6 in the lawsuit that Contra Costa County and the city of Concord have filed against the DOE to prevent these shipments.

* And in Central America, the British ship Pacific Swan entered the Panama Canal on February 6 flying a Greenpeace banner reading "STOP PLUTONIUM,"with three Greenpeace activists clinging to the mast. The activists had crept on board as the ship slowed to enter the canal. The ship is carrying thirty million curies of radioactivity from France to Japan, in what Greenpeace claims is a complete absence of any environmental impact information from either the French, British and Japanese shippers, or the Panama Canal Commission. Security forces removed the activists and banner after the plutonium-bearing ship entered the first lock. On its way to the Pacific, the ship passed through Gatun lake, which provides the drinking water for over 1 million people.

* In India, the manifesto of the Hindu Nationalist party, which is expected to win in the upcoming elections, announced that India would "exercise the option to induct nuclear weapons" into the armed forces, if it comes to power. Lal Krishna Advani, leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), told a news conference that India's security was "a matter of prime importance," and a nuclear-free world was "a distant dream."

Elections in India will be held between February 16 and March 7.

* Los Alamos National Laboratories (LANL) will hold an Environmental Safety and Health meeting at Sweeney Center, on Marcy St. in Santa Fe, on Tuesday evening, February 24.

* A meeting of the Santa Fe City Council regarding the WIPP bypass will be held on Wednesday evening, February 25. For more information about these meetings, and their exact times, please contact CCNS at 986-1973.

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