Activists from the Former Soviet Union Visit Santa Fe

Activists from the Former Soviet Union Visit Santa Fe

A team of scientists, whistleblowers and activists from the former Soviet Union and the U. S. will be visiting New Mexico to conduct environmental sampling around Los Alamos National Laboratory, meet with community groups and hold a public forum. This visit is sponsored by the Government Accountability Project (GAP), as a part of their Nuclear Oversight Program.

GAP works closely with whistleblowers across the U.S. They have sponsored numerous international exchanges between Russian and U.S. environmental activists, whistleblowers and lawyers.

Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety (CCNS) is hosting a public meeting at El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe on Thursday, November 16 from 6 to 8 pm. This event is called Mutually Assured Contamination, and activists from both Russia and the U. S. will share their experiences about trying to clean up radioactive pollution in their communities. This event is free and open to the public. Information about nuclear contamination in Russia and the U.S., Bechtel's management style and international nuclear proliferation issues will be presented.

Nuclear weapons production in the former Soviet Union causes environmental contamination there, just as it does here. Much of this contamination has been focused in an area called Chelyabinsk, where a part of the nuclear weapons complex is located. Decades of nuclear weapons production have left the area highly contaminated.

Two of the people who will be visiting Santa Fe, Marco Kaltofen, a civil engineer, and Sergey Pashenko, a physicist and Director of Siberian Scientists, conducted radioactivity tests in October of 2005 in Chelyabinsk. Kaltofen said, "Our tests found that local people are breathing highly radioactive air, drinking radioactive water and burning radioactive wood in their fireplaces. They know not to drink the surface water but have no choice but to use the ground water, and it's that water and the air that are responsible for most of their exposure." Chelyabinsk may now become the world¹s nuclear waste dump. At the recent G-8 Summit, Presidents Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush announced their joint intent to increase nuclear energy use world-wide and import the waste to Chelyabinsk.

Activists on the forefront of the effort to protect the environment in the both the former Soviet Union and the United States will be speaking in Santa Fe at El Museo Cultural. Along with Marco Kaltofen and Sergey Paschenko, Natalia Miranova, President of Movement for Nuclear Safety in Russia, and Tom Carpenter, GAP Nuclear Program Director, will speak. The event is free and open to the public and will be held on Thursday, November 16th from 6 to 8 p.m..

Abby Hagel, of GAP, said, "the Government Accountability Project, alongside colleagues from the former Soviet Union, is making this trip to New Mexico because of the unique opportunity it offers to encourage collaboration and partnership between activists, scientists, and policy planners. The pressing environmental and social issues present at Los Alamos are long-lived and have not been adequately addressed; it is crucial that we listen to those directly influenced by these concerns, uniting across geographical boundaries to confront these issues now."

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