DOE Earns Failing Grades

DOE Earns Failing Grades

Leaders of groups representing communities downstream and downwind from United States nuclear weapons facilities recently issued a Radioactive Report Card assigning low grades to Department of Energy (DOE) bomb production and cleanup programs.

The Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA) report card gave DOE a C- for waste cleanup noting "inadequate funding and poor project management." DOE earned an F for budget priorities due to "$6.5 billion [Fiscal Year] '08 nuclear weapons budget request, [which is] larger than Cold War averages" and a D for environmental compliance. Each grade came with a recommendation for ways DOE could improve, such as for cleanup, DOE must "follow all state and [Environmental Protection Agency] regulations [and] provide adequate resources to meet deadlines."

Beatrice Brailsford, program director of Idaho's Snake River Alliance, said, "DOE's desire to do cleanup on the cheap jeopardizes binding clean-up agreements and threatens crucial water supplies such as the Columbia [in Washington state], Savannah [in South Carolina], and Ohio rivers and the Snake River Aquifer [in Idaho]. Politics, not science, has driven decisions to keep untreated highly radioactive wastes in leaking storage tanks."

Each year ANA issues awards recognizing leaders in the effort to stop unnecessary nuclear weapons production and radioactive contamination. This year¹s honorees are U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, Russian activist Andrey Talevlin, Rocky Flats organizer Adrienne Anderson, Savannah River Site organizer Bobbie Paul and New Mexico whistleblower Robert Gilkeson.

Senator Bingaman was given a Certificate of Honor for "helping foster a national debate about the need for new nuclear weapons, ensuring independent review of plutonium pit lifetime studies, and raising questions about expanded production of nuclear weapons."

Russian activist Andrey Talevlin was given his Certificate of Honor "for working to protect communities and the environment from nuclear contamination and providing groundbreaking legal analysis and democratic principles to support the rule of law in Russia."

Adrienne Anderson received the Grassroots Advocacy Award for "more than two decades of exceptional service to her community and for her leadership in fighting and winning battles to protect Colorado from radioactive contamination."

Robert Gilkeson received the ANA Whistleblower Award for "protecting the public by exposing systemic problems with groundwater characterization wells at Los Alamos and Sandia Laboratories and blowing the whistle on the attempt to hide contamination in New Mexico¹s regional aquifers."

The ANA report card was issued as representatives of grassroots organizations gathered in Washington D.C. for three days of meetings with members of Congress, their staffs and Administration officials. During these visits activists were joined by a group of Russian activists, who came to discuss international nonproliferation issues and share their experiences with the devastating environmental impacts of nuclear weapons production in the former Soviet Union.

ANA is a network of 35 local, regional, and national organizations representing the concerns of communities downwind and downstream from U.S. nuclear weapons production and radioactive waste disposal sites. This year the network celebrated its twentieth anniversary.

At the anniversary celebration Susan Gordon, Director of ANA, said, ANA is only as strong as its member groups. So tonight we honor all our member organizations and renew our commitment to keep working to reduce the nuclear threat."

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