You are here


Obama de-funds Yucca Mountain

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 
Michael Marriott

In the first step toward permanently ending the controversial proposed Yucca Mountain, Nevada high-level radioactive waste dump, President Barack Obama’s first budget ends nearly all funding for the project -- fulfilling an Obama campaign promise.

Yes, elections do matter.

The decision to end nearly all funding for Yucca Mountain was announced quietly, tucked away at the very end of Obama’s initial FY 2010 budget statement for the Department of Energy: “The Yucca Mountain program will be scaled back to those costs necessary to answer inquiries from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, while the Administration devises a new strategy toward nuclear waste disposal.”

Full budget documents have not yet been released, so how much those “costs necessary…” will amount to isn’t yet known. But administration officials, including Energy Secretary Steven Chu, have made it clear that the Yucca Mountain project is finished. Under intense questioning from pro-nuclear Senators, Secretary Chu told the Senate Budget Committee March 11 that the Energy Department will set up a high-level panel to review U.S. radioactive waste policy and submit recommendations by the end of the year.

Some of the senators, such as New Hampshire Republican Judd Gregg, were less upset about the end of the Yucca Mountain project than at the signal ending the project says about the future of nuclear power. They were also concerned that in his quasi-State of the Union speech in February, Obama listed several energy technologies his administration will support; nuclear power was not among them.

Chu told the senators that nuclear power is “an essential part of our energy mix” and promised to accelerate the existing $18.5 Billion (14 Billion Euro) loan guarantee program for new reactor construction. But Chu didn’t promise to seek or support more loan guarantees. And it’s unclear how the existing program could be accelerated in practical terms, since no new reactors are even close to obtaining licenses from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Yucca Mountain’s strongest opponent in Congress, introduced a bill on March 12 to establish an independent commission to re-evaluate U.S. radioactive waste policy. Reid’s bill, which at Monitor press time did not yet have a number, would set up a 9-person commission of which four members would be appointed by Democratic leadership, four by Republican leadership, with a chairman appointed jointly by Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). No member of the commission could currently work on the DOE’s high-level waste program, nor be employed by the government at any level —federal, state or local.

The commission would be required to issue a final report within 2 years on feasibility, cost, risks, legal, public health and environmental impacts of alternatives to Yucca Mountain and their impacts on local communities, including:

  • Transferring responsibility for managing nuclear waste to a government corporation
  • Cost sharing options between the Federal government and private industry for developing nuclear fuel management technologies
  • Centralized interim storage facilities in communities willing to host them
  • Research and development for advanced fuel cycle technologies
  • Federal government taking title to nuclear waste
  • Secure on-site storage of nuclear waste
  • Permanent deep geologic storage for civilian and defense wastes
  • Other management and technological approaches as the Commission may see fit

The idea for such a commission first surfaced in the early 1990s, by then-Senator Richard Bryan of Nevada and hundreds of environmental groups, which were already working to stop the Yucca Mountain project and expose its inability to meet waste disposal regulations.

Yucca Mountain was chosen as the only site being examined for a high-level waste dump by Congress in 1987. Even then, it was widely perceived as a political, rather than scientific decision. At the time, three sites were under consideration: Yucca, and sites in Texas and Washington state. But the huge Texas congressional delegation teamed up with the then-Speaker of the House, who was from Washington, and forced Yucca Mountain as the only possible site in what became known as the “screw Nevada” bill.

Twenty-two years and billions of dollars later, it appears as though Nevada may be getting the last laugh.

The largest concern for environmental groups now is who will make up the composition of the DOE panel and the independent commission —should Reid’s legislation be enacted— and what future radioactive waste policy for the U.S. may look like. A focus on reprocessing, for example, would be certain to arouse strong opposition from the environmental community, but it is increasingly common to hear nuclear industry spokespeople support reprocessing as their preferred option.

Source and contact: Michael Mariotte at Nuclear Information & Recourse Service (NIRS)
6930 Carroll Avenue, Suite 340,
Takoma Park, MD 20912. USA


The curse of Three Mile Island

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 
LAKA Foundation

As the nuclear era approaches the 30th anniversary of Three Mile Island’s (TMI) partial-core meltdown, the worst commercial nuclear accident in American history, nuclear energy nowadays even appears to be fashionable in certain European green circles these days. At the same time non-political social organizations and conservative groups oppose nuclear power for purely economical reasons. What have been the consequences of the Harrisburg accident aftermath for the nuclear industry and what are the prospects for nuclear power?

The US – until the accident, beginning on March 28 - was expecting to derive about 14 percent of its generating capacity from nuclear power stations in 1979. The US industry had begun confidently of taking new orders totaling 5,000 – 8,000 MW that year – more than any year since 1974. Instead, after ‘Harrisburg’ president Carter ordered an inquiry into the accident and said he would expedite efforts to expand the number of nuclear inspectors. But mid-April he added that “there is no way for us to abandon nuclear power in the foreseeable future,” reiterating his administration’s intention to introduce fresh legislation to accelerate the licensing of new nuclear plants. Intentions that were embedded in forecasts to build between 200 and 500 more nuclear power stations by the year 2000. The only thing on which Carter had been sure was to quit the fast breeder project, the last experimental one at Clinch River in Tennessee. Because of proliferation concerns, he was a consistent opponent of fast breeders. In a May 4, 1979 speech he called the Clinch River breeder reactor a technological dinosaur. Instead of investing public resources in the breeder demonstration project, he urged attention to improving the safety of existing nuclear technology. Finally, despite the fact that at the time of the TMI-accident, 17 utilities had applied to build 30 new nuclear plants in the United States, not a single nuclear power plant started construction in the US since the accident at Three Mile Island - 30 years ago this month.

When the world leading economy doesn’t build new nuclear power plants anymore, there isn’t any doubt that Harrisburg turned out to be disastrous for the nuclear industry. It is true that before the accident at Three Mile Island the great growth of nuclear plant ordering across the Western World in 1960s and 1970s had already slowed dramatically. In the United Sates the stagnancy started already in 1974. Projects were stopped and the building of new ones had been delayed. This was in fact mainly a correction on the too high expectations on the share of nuclear power on the grid in the future. The impact of Harrisburg on the Western World outside the US is, however, indisputable too. The accident boosted the growth of the anti-nuclear movement in Europe and nuclear power became a serious discussion issue within established political parties, leading to a strong public opinion against the continuing use of nuclear energy. In Sweden it had been clear that Harrisburg disturbed a political agreement to build 12 nuclear power plants. Harrisburg was a watershed in the development of nuclear energy. The then executive director of the International Energy Agency Ulf Lantzke admitted that dwindling public confidence was becoming a serious threat to nuclear growth.

Other modifying factors why all previous estimates on nuclear generating capacity for the year 1985 had been reduced step by step in the western world by the end of the 1970s was due to the much slower growth in energy demand in the slipstream of the 1973-74 oil crisis. This caused climbing construction costs and high interest rates, meaning a poor climate for capital investment. Only France and states with dictatorships built their nuclear power stations fast. From 1979 to 1982 France spent US$3bn a year on nuclear power plants and was put into service every two months (18 to be precise). For comparison: construction started of only 17 reactors after 1982 in France and of those only 5 reactors were ordered after 1982 (including the Flamanville EPR). The building of new plants was delayed in Germany, Scandinavia, and in America. But in Russia, in Iran, in South Korea they sprung up. Despite this continuing use of nuclear energy, the TMI accident was a turning point for the nuclear industry. The infamous accident and its once unthinkable partial meltdown of the reactor core brought new construction of nuclear power plants in the US to a grinding halt. Or not?

New nuclear power plants in the US?

Currently there are 17 applications for 26 nuclear plants under consideration. Recently, Oklahoma House lawmakers passed a nuclear power bill, 26 years after Public Service Company of Oklahoma proposed the Black Fox nuclear power plant in eastern Oklahoma, which was abandoned after nine years of protests. The proposal is supported by Republican House leaders that emphasize alternative forms of energy, among which they include nuclear, as a way to ease the state and nation’s dependence on foreign energy sources. Among other things, the measure establishes a review process for the Oklahoma Corporation Commission to consider nuclear power proposals and creates a task force to consider tax changes that would encourage construction of a plant in Oklahoma.

Opponents said the huge cost of a nuclear power plant, estimated at between US$6 bn and US$10 bn, would mean customer rates would rise significantly to help pay for the plant. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), which publicly opposes the plan, has said consumer rate increases of 20 to 40 per cent are possible, based on an analysis of similar legislation in other states. Officials of the senior advocacy group said Oklahoma's elderly residents are struggling just to pay their medical and prescription drug costs and that raising electric rates during a bad economy is a bad idea. Today there are 104 nuclear power plants in the US in 34 states, but none in Oklahoma.

The question can be raised how much will remain of the current plans to build nuclear power plants. Since the early years of this century there is much talk about the resurrection of the nuclear industry. Up to now, however, there isn’t any sign of it. Even the pro-nuclear NEI Magazine sounds pessimistically. In his article “Will nuclear rebound?” Chris Gadomski, the managing editor of Nuclear, New Energy Finance, voiced the unrest within the US nuclear lobby about Obama’s views on nuclear power with descriptions as “not optimal” or “not a nuclear energy proponent”, and of course his budget cuts for the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste facility.

Necessity to build new coalitions?

The position against nuclear energy of a non-political organization as AARP makes clear that the established groups against nuclear energy can make use of that.

While some leading (European) environmentalists have become pro-nuclear, because they are of the opinion that nuclear energy is a necessary source of energy in the struggle against climate change, there are American conservatives against nuclear energy because of economical reasons. Something that has become clear at a recent panel on nuclear energy in Harrisburg. Two speakers at opposite ends of the political spectrum took the floor at a Commonwealth Foundation panel on nuclear power. Eric Epstein, chairman of Three Mile Island Alert, a group that advocates for alternatives to nuclear power, and Jerry Taylor, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, an authoritative Washington based conservative think-tank, for whom it’s purely a matter of economics. There is, however, not so much difference in the outcome of their different reasoning. Epstein explained - before the meltdown of unit 2 - the extreme over budgeting and delayed completions of the two TMI reactors. The construction of the first TMI unit, started in 1968, concluded two year behind schedule before it was put into service in 1974, while the costs had been risen from US$183m to US400m. The second TMI unit was completed five years behind schedule while the expenses were more than three times the original estimated costs, US$700m instead of US$206m. The reactor operated just three months when the accident happened. Epstein estimated the total cleanup costs at US$805m and noted that the electricity ratepayers mainly pay this bill.

Many would expect that a vast majority of the public identify Epstein’s view on nuclear power skeptically, the view of a ‘labor democrat’. But Jerry Taylor, who is advocating smaller government and freer markets, has taken much the same view, though citing different reasons for a no-nuke stance. “Whenever they have been asked the markets have said ‘no’ to nuclear power,” he said, stating that it serves roughly 20 per cent of America’s energy needs, a statistic he blamed to its strong subsidization. While many policymakers have debated changing of regulations to allow the construction of new power stations, Mr. Taylor said, the real barrier is the cost to build them. Currently one new plant costs between US$6 million and US$9 million to build, he said. Even with large subsidies, investors have been unwilling to take a chance, according to Taylor. He said he personally was neutral on nuclear power, however, as long as it is not economically viable he doesn’t see any reason to go on with this. A regional newspaper quoted: “In Finland, where the first privately funded new nuclear plant in decades is being built, construction is two years behind schedule and 60 per cent over budget. Nuclear plants continue to be built in places like France, China and India because they are dictated by the government, not investors, said Taylor.” (But, he is optimistic about that, too).


In order to stop the new rise of fallacies that nuclear power is a solution to overcome the climate change the remains of the old anti-nuclear movement has to build new coalitions, though the political views of some groups might be totally different, if groups can deal with each other in a pragmatic way as long as their interests coincide in the field of nuclear power there’s nothing wrong to align with them. For instance with conservatives (Cato) or non-political groups as AARP.

If the current economical crisis is deepening, however, the choice for nuclear power might evaporate by oneself. As noted above the dramatic slowdown of nuclear ordering by the end of the 1970s was due to a complex mixture of factors in which the oil crisis played a dominant role. The same was true in the 1980s. Since the late 1980s worldwide capacity has risen much more slowly, from 300 GW in the late 1980s to 366 GW in 2005. This happened again in the slipstream of an economical crisis mixed up with the political results of the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. Though in general you can’t say that the current crisis is the same as the crises before, however for energy use you certainly can. The current economy is shrinking very fast. Moreover, a whole battery of scientists and economist are predicting crises in the short term that are orders of magnitude larger than the current one, of which it is still not yet clear how long it will last.

No time to waste (money)!

For the sake of argument, let’s suppose societies make a clear choice for nuclear power. What if there will be a nuclear accident comparable with Three Mile Island or Chernobyl in let's say 2017? Due to economics (nuclear companies will face huge losses and bankruptcy) and reviving popular resistance all proposed project will be cancelled; half or three quarter of the projects of which construction already started will be abandoned and even countries which rely on nuclear energy (like Italy after Chernobyl) will phase out nuclear.

All the money available (and necessary) in the coming decade to combat climate change has been wasted on nuclear energy, which is not even a solution for climate change in the first place! Remember: every coin can be only spent one time.


  • De Volkskrant (NL), 9 October 1974 / The Economist, 19 March, 1977 / Financial Times, 19 April, 1979 / Financial Times, 4 February 1981 / The Bulletin, March 12, 2009 (Pennsylvania) / Lancaster New Era, 12 March, 2009 (Pennsylvania) / AP, 13 March, 2009 / World Nuclear Industry Handbook / Graphic from Energy Watch Group paper: Uranium-Resources-Nuclear Energy

Three Mile Island Alert 
315 Peffer Street
Harrisburg PA 17102, USA
Tel: +1 717 233 7897

Three Mile Island 1Three Mile Island 2

U.S.: Another spectactular US$50 billion No Nukes Victory

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 
Harvey Wasserman

For the third straight year, against all odds, a national grassroots No Nukes campaign has stripped out of the federal budget a proposed US$50 billion (39 billion Euro) boondoggle for new atomic reactors. The victory gives a giant boost to solar, wind, efficiency, mass transit and other Solartopian technologies that can solve global warming sustain real economic growth and bring us a truly green-powered Earth.

This latest victory came February 11, as a top-level Congressional conference committee ironed out the last details of the Obama stimulus package. The loan guarantee scam was slipped into the Senate version by Republican Bob Bennett in cooperation with Democrat Tom Carper. The loan guarantees would have backed a Department of Energy program supporting new reactor construction, despite a report from the Government Accountability Office warning that such projects would bankrupt more than half the utilities that might undertake them.

A national grassroots campaign involving virtually all major environmental organizations dealing with energy once again underscored the overwhelming green opposition to atomic power. The Nuclear Information & Resource Service, Beyond Nuclear, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Environment America,, Greenpeace, the Natural Resources Defense Council, IEER, Center for American Progress, Taxpayers for Common Sense, Friends of the Earth, Sierra Club, Rainforest Action, Rainforest International and more than 200 national and local environmental and taxpayer organizations joined in opposition to the guarantees.

A similar victory was won in the fall of 2007 when a $50 billion loan guarantee was slipped into the national energy bill by then-Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM). The campaign prompted a song from Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, Graham Nash, Ben Harper and Keb Mo posted at With the help of, it delivered more than 120,000 signatures to Congress in less than three months.

In 2008 the industry was forced to withdraw a blank check loan guarantee program when the banking system collapsed.

The No Nukes victory came within hours of the passing of Guy Chichester, a legendary founder of the Clamshell Alliance and National Green Party. Chichester helped lead the mass demonstrations at the Seabrook (NH) nuclear site that thrust the atomic power issue into the global limelight. In the 1977 'Last Resort' ( Guy became one of the first to speak on film about a green-powered Earth, arguing that the money being squandered on Seabrook should instead go to renewable energy which would create thousands of jobs and save the planet. As a green pioneer, Chichester’s innumerable -often humor-filled- non-violent arrests were matched only by his great heart and loving spirit.

Ironically, this latest push for reactor subsidies coincides with what may be a death blow to the proposed Yucca Mountain radioactive waste dump. Opposed by both Reid and President Obama, the multi-billion-dollar project may be defunded. After a half-century, the US has no high level nuke waste repository, and none planned.

No one expects an end to the industry’s relentless assault on the taxpayer trough. New reactor cost estimates have tripled since 2007 and are likely to at least double again. Michael Mariotte of NIRS says pro-nukers now want atomic energy labeled “green” in a national renewable energy standard. As Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear points out, additional attempts to get money are likely to follow in upcoming debate on an Energy Bill and other legislation.

But as renewables and efficiency and the movement supporting them surge ahead, the Solartopian vision of a truly green planet, free of fossil/nuke power, becomes ever more real.

Source and contact: Harvey Wasserman, The Free Press, 12 February 2009

U.S. Nuclear Industry Seeks Yucca Alternative.
The Nuclear Energy Institute is urging the Obama Administration to approve a nuclear waste commission. The commission would be used to find alternatives to burying radioactive fuel at Nevada's Yucca Mountain. An NEI official presented a proposal to state utility regulators, which would allow the Department of Energy to continue pursuing construction of the Yucca repository, but would make the commission a fallback if the Yucca Mountain project is halted. President Obama and Energy Secretary Steven Chu have already endorsed the idea of a plan B, saying it's necessary to review the safety and efficacy of disposing used nuclear fuel. During the presidential elections both Democrats-candidates Obama and Hillary Clinton opposed the Yucca Mountain repository.

However, Energy Secretary Steven Chu told a group of state officials on February 18, he favors moving toward licensing a nuclear waste repository in Nevada, although whether it would ever be built is another thing altogether.
But… according to the Nuclear Energy Institute blog, several people who were at the 20-minute session said Chu stressed that President Barack Obama doesn't want the Yucca repository, "and I work for the president."

Latest: On February 23, Congress proposed slashing Yucca Mountain's funding by nearly another US$100 million (80 million Euro) for the remainder of fiscal 2009, severely gutting the project and potentially forcing several hundred job layoffs. The House proposes US$288.3 million annualized for the remainder of the fiscal year, down from US$386.4 million approved for the project last fall. Funding already had been cut more than 20 percent over the past two years. Workers at the project's headquarters in Summerlin have been bracing for layoffs. Many of them are already leaving.

KXNT Radio, Texas, US, 17 February 2009 / / Las Vegas Sun, 23 February 2009


'Reference Man' radiation protection stadard fail to protect other groups

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 
Dr Arjun Makhijani

The Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER) states that U.S. radiation protection regulations heavily rely on "reference man," white, male, adult standard. But women and children ofter get higher doses and are a greater cancer risk. The U.S. Environmental; Protection Agency (EPA) says it "does not believe in continued use of Reference Man" but has made no regulatory changes.

A major new study released in January shows that U.S. radiation exposure regulations and compliance assessment guidelines often fail women and children because they are based on “Reference Man,” a hypothetical 20 to 30 year old “Caucasian male”. At least three federal agencies in the United States -- the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and Department of Energy (DOE) -- still use Reference Man in radiation dose regulations and compliance assessment, including the Clean Air Act and some safe drinking water rules, despite evidence that it fails to adequately protect many groups.

“The use of Reference Man standard is pervasive in U.S. radiation protection regulations and compliance guidelines,” said Arjun Makhijani, Ph.D., author of the IEER report. “This is wrong because it often fails to adequately protect groups other than young, adult white males. Children, for instance, frequently get larger, and hence more dangerous, doses of radiation from the same environmental conditions. Moreover they often have a higher risk of cancer per unit of dose. In such cases, they suffer a double whammy – greater dose and greater risk per unit of dose. Reference Man needs to be replaced with a framework that better protects all members of the public.”

Dr Makhijani noted that women are 52 percent more likely to get cancer from the same amount of radiation dose compared to men. Children are at even greater risk than adults. A female infant has about a seven times greater chance of getting cancer than a 30-year old male for the same radiation exposure. Pregnant women and the developing fetus are particularly vulnerable to radiation exposure. Yet, non-cancer reproductive effects are generally not part of the U.S. regulatory framework for radiation protection.

In May 2008, then-Senator Barack Obama and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman sent a letter to the EPA asking about the agency’s use of “Reference Man.” In its response, EPA stated that it “does not believe in the continued use of Reference Man,” but admitted that it is still being used in some guidelines. But it also made the sweeping statement that “current standards and guidance are protective.”

"This is not a hypothetical problem -- it affects real people," said Cynthia Sauer, who lived with her husband and three young daughters near two nuclear power plants in Illinois. "I became aware of and concerned about the use of Reference Man in radiation standards after my daughter was diagnosed with brain cancer." Mrs. Sauer's 7-year old daughter was among other cancer-stricken children in the area. "I started asking questions when I read about the leaks at the Dresden and Braidwood nuclear power plants that released more than six million gallons of radioactive waste into our groundwater," Mrs. Sauer said. "Government agencies could not answer my question as to what levels were safe for a 7-year-old, 40-pound girl. The fact is, current standards are not protecting the most vulnerable members of our society and this must be changed."

The report recommends that compliance with radiation protection always be estimated by calculation doses for those most at risk and calls for a significant reduction in the maximum allowable dose to the general public from 100 millirem per year to 25 millirem per year. It also recommends a revamping of EPA’s guidance documents to reflect doses received by males and females of all ages.

“If the EPA truly ‘does not believe in continued use of Reference Man,’ as it said in its letter, then it should carefully examine the continued use of this model and change the regulations and compliance assessment guidance documents,” said Dr. Makhijani. “We hope that the incoming Obama administration, with its commitment to health and environmental protection, will do so with dispatch. The NRC and DOE also need to make significant changes.”

Other recommendations of the report include tightening of radiation protection for women in radiation workplaces who declare their pregnancies and the development and publication of official federal guidance on in-utero dose estimation methods, including in the early stage of pregnancy.

Source and contact: Arjun Makhijani at the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research. 6935 Laurel Avenue, Suit 201, Takoma Park, MD 20912, USA.
The full report (46 pages) is available at:

Clinton's investment in uranium

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

An article in The New York Times on Jan. 31, 2008 implied that former U.S. President Bill Clinton used political influence in Kazakhstan to allow Canadian mining magnate Frank Giustra to invest in what turned out to be a very profitable uranium venture in return for Giustra's major donations to Clinton's foundation. According to the NYT, Giustra's deal was brokered by ex-president Clinton during a so-called "philanthropic tour" of the Central Asian state in late 2005. A few months later, Clinton's charitable foundation received just over US$30 million from Giustra, followed by a whopping US$ 100 million soon afterwards.

WISE Amsterdam - Frank Giustra, heads a specialist investment bank, Endeavour Financial, which picks opportunities in the minerals sector. Previously he was president and CEO of Yorkton Securities, one of Canada's leading venture capital firms and also a major investor in mining. In late 2004, Mr. Giustra began talking to investors, and put together a company that would eventually be called UrAsia Energy Ltd.

Late on September 6, 2005, a private plane carrying the Canadian mining financier flew to Almaty, Kazakhstan. A fortune awaited: highly coveted deposits of uranium. And Mr. Giustra was in hot pursuit of an exclusive deal to tap them. Unlike more established competitors, Mr. Giustra was a newcomer to uranium mining in Kazakhstan. But what his fledgling company lacked in experience, it made up for in connections. Accompanying Mr. Giustra that day was a former president of the United States, Bill Clinton. Within two days, corporate records show that Mr. Giustra came up a winner when his company signed preliminary agreements giving it the right to buy into three uranium projects controlled by Kazakhstan's state-owned uranium agency, Kazatomprom.

A spokesman for Mr. Clinton said the former president knew that Mr. Giustra had mining interests in Kazakhstan but was unaware of "any particular efforts" and did nothing to help. Mr. Giustra said he was there as an "observer only" and there was "no discussion" of the deal with Mr. Nazarbayev or Mr. Clinton. But Moukhtar Dzhakishev, president of Kazatomprom, said in an interview that Mr. Giustra did discuss it, directly with the Kazakh president, and that his friendship with Mr. Clinton "of course made an impression."

Within 48 hours of Mr. Clinton's departure from Almaty on Sept. 7, 2005, Mr. Giustra got his deal. UrAsia signed two memorandums of understanding that paved the way for the company to become partners with Kazatomprom in three mines. The cost to UrAsia was more than US$450 million. Clinton’s foundation has a right to half of any of Giustra’s future minerals earnings.

Records show that Mr. Giustra donated the US$31.3 million to the Clinton Foundation in the months that followed in 2006, but neither he nor a spokesman for Mr. Clinton would say exactly when. In February 2007, Uranium One agreed to pay US$3.1 billion to acquire UrAsia. Mr. Giustra, would be paid US$7.05 per share for a company that just two years earlier was trading at 10 cents per share.

That same month, Mr. Dzhakishev, the Kazatomprom chief, said he travelled to Chappaqua, N.Y., to meet with Mr. Clinton at his home. Mr. Dzhakishev said Mr. Giustra arranged the three-hour meeting. Mr. Dzhakishev said he wanted to discuss Kazakhstan's intention - not publicly known at the time - to buy a 10 percent stake in Westinghouse, a United States supplier of nuclear technology.

Mr. Dzhakishev said he was worried the proposed Westinghouse investment could face Capitol Hill national security concerns that would kill the deal. Clinton first said he had not been lobbying this issue for Mr. Giustra but a few days later had to admit a meeting at his home did take place,.

Now the whole issue has been raised again as Hillary Clinton is to become Secretary of State in the Obama government. While Clinton has agreed not to take any more money from regimes that have a stake in his wife’s policies, he still can accept money from foreign business executives as long as he names them annually. That ensures, Clinton said, there won’t be “even the appearance of a conflict of interest.”

It doesn’t take a cynic to wonder if Secretary Clinton is in an impossible situation. What happens if Madam Secretary goes soft on Kazakhstan? There’s rarely hard evidence but excuse us for asking.


  • New York Times, 31 January 2008 / Judicial Watch Blog,  31 January 2008 / The Croesus Chronicles, 12 January 2009 /, 15 January 2009 /
  •, 21 January 2009


Nuclear Monitor Issue: 


(March 19, 2007) Late last year, the Bush administration delivered two big gifts to the nuclear power industry, signing deals to help India produce more energy from nuclear reactors and for Westinghouse to build four new reactors in China. Those countries are half a world away from Colorado, but the worldwide resurgence of interest in nuclear power runs risks for the state's public lands, health and safety.

(653.5790) Environmental Working Group - The nuclear industry's efforts to recast itself as a supposedly clean source of energy - a spin echoed by the US administration - has helped spark a uranium boom in the American West. Interior Department records show a sharp increase in mining claims on Western public lands since 2002, driven by a seven-fold increase in the price of uranium.

As recently as 2004, no uranium interests were among the largest mineral claimholders in the West. Now, government data show that uranium interests are among the biggest claimholders across the region - in Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.

According to Interior records, mining interests staked just 300 claims for uranium in Colorado in fiscal year 2004. But in the two years since, uranium interests have staked almost 3,500 claims in the state. The new claims are concentrated near the historic uranium towns of Nucla and Naturita in Montrose County, and in Rio Blanco and Moffat counties in the state's northwestern corner.

The Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety says several older uranium mines in the state could be producing soon.
The Cotter Corp. has four mines near Naturita that were active until about a year ago. The mines closed in part due to rising fuel prices for transporting the ore to Colorado's lone uranium mill in Cañon City.
International Uranium also has about three or four mines in Disappointment Valley in southwestern Colorado. The mines have permits and are being readied for production.

Beyond Colorado, public land snatched up in this new land rush includes 365 claims staked within 5 miles of the Grand Canyon, many for uranium. A company that has staked dozens of these claims, Quaterra Resources of Canada, has already proposed to drill exploratory holes for uranium just north of the canyon. The operation would include a helicopter pad to carry mining supplies and ore in and out.

The idea of helicopter flights of radioactive material near America's greatest natural treasure, already crisscrossed by dozens of tourist flyovers a day, is disconcerting. But there are broader impacts from uranium mining. Colorado and other Western states are littered with radioactive waste sites that are legacies of previous uranium booms during the 1950s and the 1970s, when nuclear power plants sprouted across the nation and the price of uranium soared.

The Department of Energy has begun a decade-long project to clean up 12 million tons of radioactive uranium mine waste near Moab, Utah, that have contaminated land near the Colorado River. The waste is a threat that could pollute drinking water for millions. Cleanup estimates range between US$412 million and US$697 million (between Euro 308-520).

In a recent series, the Los Angeles Times found that abandoned uranium mines on the Navajo reservation in the Four Corners have led to deaths from lung cancer and a degenerative disease that's come to be called Navajo neuropathy. Among other routes of exposure, the Navajo had unknowingly drunk water from abandoned mine pits and had constructed some of their homes from the radioactive mine waste.

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel recently reported that residents of Monticello, Utah, have unusually high rates of cancer they believe were caused by a now-closed uranium mill. Residents recalled replacing their screen doors because the metal mesh would become yellow and corroded. Schools used ground-up uranium waste in kids' sandboxes.

Also complicating the matter is the antiquated federal mining law, written in 1872, that governs much of the new uranium mining. Under the law, filing a claim for as little as US$1 an acre allows companies to mine on federal land - a right the government has rarely challenged despite the fact that metals mining is the nation's leading source of toxic pollution.

Mining interests routinely leave behind multimillion-dollar cleanups, yet - unlike timber, oil and gas and every other extractive industry operating on public land - they pay no royalties to taxpayers. There is no federal fund to clean up abandoned metal mines.

Mining uranium is not the only concern heightened by the nuclear resurgence. We still have no answer to the problems of disposing of the waste from nuclear reactors.
Even if the government's designated national nuclear waste dumpsite at Nevada's Yucca Mountain is opened, storing waste there will mean 50 years of cross-country nuclear waste shipments through major cities. We should ask if spending billions of dollars to subsidize the nuclear industry is a better choice than investing our tax dollars in clean renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Mining is a necessary part of a modern economy. But before permanently scarring some of our most treasured places to feed the nuclear industry, we should first dig deeper into the empty promise of nuclear power.

Source: Denver Post, January 27 2007. (re-printed with permission). See also EWG's "Uranium Fever Fuels Sharp Rise in Mining Claims" at Also see EWG's for "How Close Are You?" to a high-level radioactive waste transport route to Yucca Mountain, Nevada in the continental U.S.
Contact: Dusty Horwitt at the Environmental Working Group, 1436 U St. N.W., Suite 100, Washington, DC 20009, USA. Tel: +1-202-667-6982


Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(May 7, 2004) Despite four years of public participation, expressions of opposition to and concern with the proposals by US agencies to "harmonize" with international transport recommendations, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and Department of Transportation (DOT) adopted new regulations for radioactive transport in January 2004. NIRS and numerous other public interest, environmental and religious groups and individuals across the US are challenging a portion of the rule that reduces public protections by allowing more radioactivity to move on roads, rails, planes and waterways without regulatory control.

(609.5605) NIRS - Among other provisions that weaken public and worker protection from nuclear materials in transit, the regulations exempt various amounts of every radionuclide (radioactive forms of each element) from placarding, manifesting and tracking. A whole new category of exempt quantities "per consignment," which did not exist in previous regulations, is being adopted. In addition, the previously allowed exempt concentration level (70 bequerels per gram or approximately 2 nanoCuries per gram of any one or combination of radionuclides) is being replaced with different levels for each radionuclide. For more than half of the radionuclides, the exempt concentrations will increase, thus increasing the amount of unregulated nuclear material being shipped without any notice or regulatory control.

"At a time of heightened alert and concern about dirty bombs, the federal government is dramatically increasing the amount of nuclear material that can be transported routinely into and through the US without any labeling or controls. This is the exact wrong time for US agencies to let go of nuclear materials and wastes," stated Diane D'Arrigo, Radioactive Waste Project Director at Nuclear Information and Resource Service. "It will make it harder to watch for and detect dirty bombs because there will be more false positives in everyday transport."

"Workers and the public will be exposed to radiation without their knowledge or consent. It is forced radiation exposure," charged David Ritter, Policy Analyst at Public Citizen's Critical Mass Energy and Environment Program.

Transport workers in both the rail and trucking industries and those involved in cleaning up accidents could be routinely exposed to radiation. First responders, customs agents and those who load and unload shipments will also come into contact with unlabeled nuclear materials. Since the materials could go to municipal and industrial landfills, incinerators and scrap recycling centers, workers at those sites could be regularly exposed to more radiation.

"NRC and DOT's generic exemptions will facilitate the deregulation of nuclear waste and use of contaminated materials to make household items and building supplies. That is the real motivation," said Dr. Judith Johnsrud of the Sierra Club, "to make it easier for other federal and even state nuclear agencies to treat nuclear waste as if it is not radioactive."

Neither NRC nor DOT can provide any meaningful justification for the exemptions for relaxing restrictions on nuclear materials. The exempt amounts are the same as those proposed by international nuclear advocacy organizations (IAEA and Euratom) to allow nuclear waste to be deregulated or "cleared." Once "cleared" from nuclear controls, the radioactive material can enter the marketplace as regular trash or be sold to recyclers to make consumer goods like cars and toys and to build civil engineering projects like roads, playgrounds or parking lots.

"It is not a coincidence. It's a deliberate attempt to by the Bush Administration agencies to bypass the American public's opposition to nuclear waste deregulation and get it into US law," said Michael Welch of the Redwood Alliance. "DOT and NRC are teaming up with the global nuclear power and weapons industry to make it cheaper to run and decommission nuclear reactors and support facilities."

The Environmental Protection Agency, Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Department of Energy are all in the various stages of deregulating nuclear wastes over which they have jurisdiction.

"Removing existing requirements for labeling in transit will make it easier for those agencies to let nuclear wastes to get out into commerce. The public will be exposed both during transport and then again from the products and buildings made from contaminated materials," explained Dan Hirsch, President of the Committee to Bridge the Gap.

Since both US agencies share responsibility for radioactive transport in the US, they coordinated adoption of the same exemption regulations. NIRS et al are challenging the rules of both agencies. The DOT is expected to respond to the challenge by May 25, 2004. The case against the NRC is on hold in the 9th Circuit of US Federal Court until the DOT responds.

Source and contact:



Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

North Korea had three nuclear bombs.

(April 16, 2004) The New York Times has reported that A Q Khan, the disgraced father of Pakistan's nuclear weapons programs, has revealed to investigators that he saw three nuclear bombs in North Korea five years ago. Pakistan's government is said to have released details of Khan's visit to an underground weapons facility one hour from Pyongyang 3-4 weeks ago as a warning to states within its missile range. The leaking of such sensitive information in Washington appears linked to US Vice-President Dick Cheney's visit to Beijing where he hopes to persuade China to take a tougher stance on North Korea. The Bush administration had previously been frustrated by Beijing's reluctance to apply more pressure on its former ally. Cheney has presented the Chinese with its 'new evidence' but has insisted that the US is still committed to six-party talks but would soon be seeking "real results". (See also WISE/NIRS Nuclear Monitor 602.5572 "North Korea welcomes US delegation")

There are suggestions that Washington may also be seeking to influence the 15 April parliamentary elections in South Korea that are expected to decide the fate of President Roh Moo-hyun, who is mistrusted by the US for his soft line on Pyongyang. Khan's report will be difficult to verify given that Pakistani authorities have refused to allow questioning by the international community. It is also unclear if Khan, who is not a trained nuclear scientist, has the expertise to recognize an actual nuclear weapon as opposed to a mock-up.
The New York Times, 13 & 14 April 2004; The Guardian, 14 April 2004


NIRS & Public Citizen petition NRC.


(April 16, 2004) NIRS and Public Citizen have jointly petitioned the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to participate in the forthcoming licensing procedure for the proposed uranium enrichment plant in New Mexico. The groups are representing their members living near the site of the proposed facility who are concerned with the inconsistencies, misrepresentations and unlawful aspects of the application, including the lack of a strategy to dispose of hazardous and radioactive wastes. NIRS and Public Citizen also cited problems with the application in its treatment of water resources, national security and nuclear proliferation, the need for the facility and the cost of decommissioning the plant once it ceases operating. This is the third attempt by Louisiana Energy Services (LES) at securing a site for its nuclear plant - earlier attempts were withdrawn following intense public opposition.
Joint NIRS, Public Citizen & Southwest Research Information Center News Release, 6 April 2004


French PM pro new nukes.


(April 16, 2004) Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin confirmed his support for the construction of new nuclear power plants on 5 April. He told parliament that France should build the experimental 1600 MWe European Pressurized Water Reactor (EPR), claiming it was 'our responsibility to ensure the future of the nuclear option' and that he would request a parliamentary debate on the issue 'within the coming weeks'.
WNA News Briefing, 7-13 April 2004


Russian researcher sentenced.


(April 16, 2004) A weapons specialist for the prestigious USA-Canada Institute has been sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for espionage in a closed trial in Moscow. Igor Sutyagin was convicted of supplying an UK firm, allegedly used as a front for the CIA, with information on submarines and missile warning systems. Sutyagin's defense argued that the researcher's work had been based on publicly available sources and that he had had no indication that the company was as intelligence cover. Human rights activists in Russia and around the world have condemned the verdict and there are reports suggesting irregularities during the trial and political motivation for the trial and conviction. The trail judge is said to have given the jury incorrect instruction by asking them to determine whether Sutyagin had passed on information, which he did not deny, rather than whether he had passed on state secrets.
AP, 5 April 2004; BBC News 7 April 2004


Fund for sick nuclear worker not paying out.


(April 16, 2004) Four years after the US Congress passed a law to aid sick nuclear plant workers, the compensation fund has only managed to process the claim of one worker who was sent a check for US$ 15,000 despite the government earmarking US$74 million for the program. The Energy Department, responsible for the program, claimed during a hearing before the Senate Energy Committee that it would require more time and money to do a better job. Approximately 22,000 eligible workers filed for assistance yet only 372 have received feedback on their applications. Robert Card, the department's undersecretary said the agency needed an another US$ 33 million, in addition to the US$ 26 million already spent on the program this year to speed up the programs pace. Card and his assistant Beverly Cook have since resigned from their posts. Some lawmakers have recommended moving the program to the Labor Department, which already runs a program for compensating workers affected by radiation exposure.
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 30 March & 2 April 2004


UK government advisers consider waste disposal options.


(April 16, 2004) Last year the Blair government appointed a committee on radioactive waste management to re-examine all possibilities to find an acceptable solution to the nuclear waste problem. The 14 options considered range from firing nuclear waste into the sun, placing it in Antarctic ice sheets so it sinks by its own heat to the bedrock, putting it under the Earth's crust so it is sucked to the molten core and burying under the seabed. The government estimates that its stockpile of high-level nuclear waste will soon reach 500,000 tons. The committee of Homer Simpson wannabes is apparently still considering all 14 options and has requested an extension of its deadline from end 2005 to mid 2006. We look forward to reading its final report.
The Guardian, 14 April 2004


Nuclear industry looks to Asia for survival.


(April 16, 2004) 18 of the 31 nuclear power units currently under construction worldwide are located in Asia making the continent a haven for predatory European, North American and Russian suppliers. Following accidents at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, the number of new nuclear projects under development in the West was drastically reduced leaving the industry in peril. Now, the vultures are circling around Asia seeking new ground on an energy-poor continent. China is expected to build four 1,000 MW plants at a cost of US$ 6 billion as part of its drive to quadruple its nuclear capacity by 2020. The export of such sensitive technologies is prohibited in most nuclear supply countries but given the lack of business elsewhere, governments are re-evaluating their policies in order to secure lucrative contracts for their supplies. Even the U.S. is expected to ease its controls on China at this year and Germany is already considering selling China its Hanau plant.
AP, 10 April 2004; Reuters, 13 April 2004

USA: dark secrets of nuclear weapons work in 1940/50s

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(October 6, 2000) In a three-day exposé, the American newspaper USA Today published in the beginning of September a 10 month investigative report researched and written by journalist Peter Eisler, which laid out the dark secret of the U.S. government secretly contracting with private facilities across the nation to build America's early nuclear arsenal during the 1940's and 50's.

(535.5208) Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety - The exclusive report uncovers big-name chemical firms, private manufacturing facilities, and mom-and-pop machine shops that were hired by what is now called the Department of Energy (or DOE) to work on different aspects of nuclear weapons production. Some 300 companies undertook the dangerous business of handling tons of uranium, thorium, polonium, and other radioactive and toxic substances, including beryllium. Neither the companies nor the government ever told the thousands of workers that they were exposed to hazardous levels of radiation, frequently hundreds of times higher than the limits considered acceptable in those days. At least one-third of those companies did not protect workers with proper equipment or tell them of the hazards of the materials they were working with.

Not only were the workers exposed to health hazards, but many people in the communities surrounding these facilities were also exposed as the companies dumped toxic waste generated from the weapons work into the air, soil and water. Many of the contamination risks remain covered-up even today. Recently, many documents that were previously classified by the federal government, became declassified because of the passage of time, so were available to the investigative journalists. The investigation into nuclear workers lack of protection now became painfully evident.

"These places just fell off the map," says Dan Guttman, former director of the U.S. President's Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments, set up in 1994 to investigate revelations that government-funded scientists exposed unknowing subjects to dangerous isotopes in secret Cold War studies. "People were put at considerable risk. It appears (the government) knew full well that (safety) standards were being violated, but there's been no effort to maintain contact with these people (and) look at the effects."

The 'need' for private contractors
After World War II, the top-secret program to develop nuclear weapons, the Manhattan Project, continued. The Atomic Energy Commission, predecessor of the present DOE, which was set up in 1946, recognized that the government lacked enough manufacturing facilities and expertise. As a result, contracts were renewed with a small group of companies that had been hired for the Manhattan Project. But with the explosion of the first Soviet atomic bomb, the AEC moved to a far more aggressive weapons production schedule and the number of private companies hired multiplied. Health and safety concerns were less important than building a lot of nuclear weapons in a short time. The AEC began moving away from using private contractors in the early 1950s, building up a network of government-owned facilities. Some subcontractors were still used for certain work, but most work at private sites ended by 1960.
USA TODAY, 5 September 2000

"There's no legitimate reason for this neglect,'' says Guttman, a lawyer and weapons program watchdog who returned to private practice after the committee finished its work in 1995. The Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA), a U.S. organization made up of local groups including CCNS that focus on DOE issues, released the following statement in response to the USA Today article: "Today's revelation that more than 100 'forgotten' nuclear weapons production facilities exposed workers and contaminated the environment demonstrates the nation's ongoing failure to develop a coherent plan to address the Cold War's radioactive legacy."

ANA urged the Clinton Administration and Congress to respond to the USA Today articles without delay. "The message for the U.S. government is really simple," explained ANA Director Susan Gordon. "Tell the truth; redress the harm." ANA called for adoption of "a systematic plan" based on four principles:

  • Full disclosure of all U.S. nuclear weapons production activities -- where they took place, when, who was exposed, and what contamination still exists;
  • Immediate containment of residual radioactive and toxic materials followed by cleanup to protect against further damage;
  • Release of all worker exposure records and government- funded health monitoring of former facility employees and neighbors; and
  • Development of a package including compensation and other remedies to assist those who are sick or whose loved ones have died.

ANA leaders met with DOE Assistant Secretary for Environment, Safety and Health, David Michaels to discuss health-related issues. Activists around the nation, including CCNS, are petitioning DOE for hearings to discuss responses to recent reports of widespread worker and community contamination from nuclear weapons production. ANA will also be working with members of Congress to develop legislation to address these problems.

Source and contact: Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety (CCNS), 107 Cienega, Santa Fe, NM 87501, US Tel: +1-505-986 1973; Fax: +1-505-986 0997


WISE Amsterdam and NIRS announce affiliation

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(September 15, 2000) On 12 September, WISE-Amsterdam and the US based Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) agreed that the two groups will formally affiliate. The affiliation is the result of a year's worth of discussion and negotiation and was approved unanimously by both the boards of WISE-Amsterdam and NIRS.

WISE-Amsterdam, with a dozen relay offices across the globe, and NIRS, with some 6,000 grassroots members, were both founded in 1978 and have followed parallel tracks over the years, often working closely together on selected issues and events.

The affiliation means that WISE-Amsterdam's and NIRS's activities will be coordinated internationally, which we believe will result in a stronger, more cohesive and effective message.

Over the past years, there has been a wave of mergers and consolidations in the nuclear power industry. The nuclear industry, in many ways a symbol of globalization gone amok, no longer answers to any nation or regulator. The future of the nuclear industry is increasingly being determined at the international level, through treaties, agreements and behind-the-scenes pacts.

The affiliation of WISE-Amsterdam/NIRS means that we will be able to effectively challenge the power of the nuclear industry and be more effective on the international level. By being able to concentrate our resources as needed, we will be more helpful to national groups as well. We think that the affiliation will exceed the sum of the parts.

WISE-Amsterdam currently has a dozen relay offices. WISE-Amsterdam/NIRS has made full funding for these offices a major priority. WISE-Paris, which operates separately from the other WISE offices, does consulting, research and other work on energy and plutonium, and will not be part of the affiliation, although it is highly regarded by us.

The first joint project we are working on is the opposition to the proposed inclusion of nuclear energy as a "Clean Development Mechanism" (CDM) in current international negotiations on the Kyoto climate change Protocol. This climate campaign will reach a head in November in The Hague, Netherlands, where WISE-Amsterdam/NIRS will organize activities. WISE-Amsterdam/NIRS will work on the gamut of nuclear-related issues currently plaguing the globe: from the use of MOX fuel to radioactive "recycling" of low-level waste to nuclear transport issues.

We will use a variety of tactics, ranging from research, legal actions, public education, campaigns, to non-violent civil disobedience, to attain our goals.

P.O. Box 59636
1040 LC Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Tel: +31-20-6126368
Fax: +31-20-6892179

1424 16th Street NW, #4
Washington, DC 20036
Tel: +1-202-328-0002
Fax: +1-202-462-2183


Thousands exposed to PU at Paducah enrichment plant

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(August 13, 1999) US Energy Secretary Bill Richardson ordered an immediate investigation into reports that thousands of unsuspecting employees at a Kentucky uranium enrichment plant were exposed on the job to cancer-causing plutonium. The Washington Post revealed on August 9, that reprocessed uranium from military nuclear fuel was contaminated with plutonium.

(515.5056) WISE Amsterdam - Richardson will meet with workers at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant and would request a National Academy of Sciences study to probe the links between worker illnesses and exposure to radioactive materials that occurred over decades at the federally owned plant. His remarks came after The Washington Post reported that workers at the Paducah plant had been unwittingly exposed to plutonium and other radioactive metals that entered the plant over decades in shipments of used uranium from military nuclear reactor fuel. The report was based in part on sealed court documents filed as part of a lawsuit by workers and the environmental group the Natural Resources Defense Council. The suit alleges that government contractors concealed evidence of the exposure for decades while allowing plutonium and other hazards to spread into the environment. According to Thomas Cochran, a nuclear expert with the NRDC who reviewed conditions at the plant, health and safety practices there were the worst "outside the former Soviet Union."

Paducah workers were exposed to plutonium through shipments of contaminated uranium that arrived at the plant from 1953 to 1976, a period when national security priorities often surmounted concerns over risks to workers and the environment. The plutonium shipments stopped, but contaminants remain spattered over hundreds of acres of buildings and grounds. Workers did not learn of the problems until at least 1990, and some contend they were never told. The US Enrichment Corp., a corporation that took over management of the plant this year after privatisation, contends that all significantly contaminated areas have been cleaned up or marked with warning signs.

Although no comprehensive study of worker medical histories has been conducted, current and former workers at the plant have linked past exposures to a string of cancers and other diseases. Besides the health study by the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine, the Energy Department will institute a medical surveillance and screening program for employees. A screening of former Paducah workers is just beginning as part of the Former Worker Program, a congressionally ordered study of past exposures of employees in the US nuclear complex. The department's fiscal 2000 budget request will be reassessed and revised as necessary to include money to probe and rectify environmental and health concerns at the government's uranium enrichment plants.

The Post said the Paducah plants issue was an "unpublished chapter in the still unfolding story of radioactive contamination in the chain of factories in the country that produced America's Cold War nuclear arsenal."
Radioactive contaminants from the 300 hectare plant, built in 1952, spilled in ditches and eventually seeped into creeks. Workers claim that former plant managers allowed contaminated waste to be dumped into a state-owned wildlife area and a landfill not licensed for hazardous waste. They further contend that radioactively contaminated gold and other valuable metals may have been shipped out of the plant without being properly tested.


  • Washington Post, 9 August
  • Reuters, 10 August 1999

Contact: Thomas Cochran, NRDC, 1350 New York Avenue, NW, Suite 300. Washington DC 20005, USA Tel: +1-202-289-68869; Fax: +1-202-289-1060 E-mail:

NIRS to begin grant program to Eastern grass-roots groups

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(March 14, 1997) The Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) is launching a new project to assist grassroots anti-nuclear groups in Eastern Europe and the Newly Independent States.

(468.4662) NIRS -One part of this project is a direct grant program to grassroots groups based in those countries.

Grants will be in the $500-2,000 range, and the first grants are planned to be made in mid-late Spring 1997. To apply for a grant, please send a one-two page proposal including:

  1. name of organization and contact information
  2. brief description of your organization
  3. description of the project you wish funded
  4. statement describing the importance of this project

Only anti-nuclear activities will be funded. Preference will begiven to action-oriented and organizing projects. Only Eastern-based groups will be funded; western groups working in the East are not eligible. Applications must be in English.

The application deadline date is April 15, 1997.

Send your application by E-mail (preferred) to
or by fax: +1-202-462-2183
or by regular mail to Michael Mariotte, NIRS, 1424 16th Street NW, #404, Washington DC 20036 USA.