Population of Ukraine Continues to Suffer
From Chernobyl Nuclear Catastrophe
Ionizing Radiation Increases Risk of
Virginia Power Nuclear Utility Withdraws
from Plutonium Fuel Deal
In New Mexico the DOE plans to Hold Public
Meetings on the Proposed Modifications to the WIPP Hazardous
week the United States Senate voted to uphold a presidential
veto of a bill which would have launched the largest nuclear waste
transportation program in history to the Yucca Mountain site in
Nevada. If the Yucca Mountain site opens, tens of thousands of
trucks and train casks would be traveling through 43 states, within
a half-mile of homes of over 50 million Americans to the site
by 2007. If built, the Yucca Mountain repository would serve as
a final storage site for wastes from commercial nuclear reactors
throughout the nation.
Congress voted to establish the nuclear waste repository in 1982,
the project has encountered vehement opposition from a wide circle
of politicians and citizen groups. Critics of the project point
to the risks of a nuclear accident associated with frequent transports
of high-level radioactive spent fuel rods on highways and railroads
to Nevada. They also cite safety concerns with the proposed storage
site at Yucca Mountain, which is located on a seismic fault line.
Because the Senators voted no to override the President's veto,
the "Mobile Chernobyl" bill was tabled.
*A statement was issued last week at the Non-Proliferation Treaty
meeting (or NPT) in New York by the five key nuclear powers (the
United States, Russia, China, Britain and France) where they vowed
their "unequivocal commitment" to the goal of nuclear disarmament.
Their statement received immediate criticism from nuclear disarmament
groups and nuclear weapons free countries. The critics point out
that the statement is inadequate, vague and contradictory. The
nuclear weapons states are merely reiterating their legally binding
obligations under the NPT to eliminate their nuclear arsenals,
but they do not propose any concrete measures to actually achieve
NPT, which took effect in 1970, bars countries that do not possess
nuclear weapons from acquiring them in return for a pledge from
nuclear-weapons states to pursue nuclear disarmament. Nuclear
weapons free countries now complain that the nuclear powers have
failed to conduct serious negotiations towards a nuclear-weapons
free world, and that the latest commitment does not present new
ideas or a concrete time frame.
Johnson, editor of the arms journal Disarmament Monthly believes
that the five nuclear weapons powers are "using buzzwords of 'unequivocal
commitment' in the hopes that no one notices that they're not
committed to the elimination of nuclear weapons any time soon."
*Responding to the U.S. administration's plans to deploy a multi-billion
dollar national missile defense system, European leaders said
they were concerned about the potentially damaging effects that
such a system could have on Europe's security ties with the U.S.
Clinton administration is currently trying to re-negotiate the
1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (or ABM) with Russia. The Treaty,
called the cornerstone of the arms control agreements, prohibits
the deployment of a missile defense system. Scientists warn that
irritating Russia by forcing changes in the ABM Treaty could jeopardize
efforts to secure Russia's nuclear stockpile and prevent an accidental
Russian missile launch. Documents that were presented to the Russians
by U.S. negotiators and later obtained by The New York Times reveal
that the U.S. negotiations are based on the expectation that "both
the United States of America and the Russian Federation now possess
and, as before, will possess under the terms of any possible future
arms reduction agreements, large, diversified, viable arsenals
of strategic offensive weapons..."
array of critics fear that the deployment of a national missile
defense system could mark the beginning of a new arms race.
locally in New Mexico, the Department of Energy will hold
public meetings in Carlsbad and Santa Fe on their proposed modifications
to the WIPP Hazardous Waste Permit issued by the New Mexico Environment
Department last fall. The Carlsbad public meeting will be held
at the Skeen-Whitlock Building on May 16. The Santa Fe public
meeting will be held at the Santa Fe Hilton on May 18. For more
details, please call CCNS at 986-1973.
Back to News Index