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In brief

N-waste dumped in Leningrad.

(September 14, 1990) Soviet newspapers have reported that radioactive waste has been dumped In the Leningrad area, even in city parks. According to the newspaper "Komsomolskaja Pravda", there are at least 1,500 places in Leningrad where levels of radiation exceed allowed levels. About 150,000 cubic meters of soil are known to be contaminated. The newspaper also reported that radioactivity has seeped down into ground water and out into the Bay Of Finland. In one case a medical research institute burned up contaminated materials and spread the ashes out on the sidewalks In the area. In another case, radioactive waste buried underground came up to the surface again when houses were built on the dump site. Dagens Nyheter (Sweden), 16 Aug. 1990; Taz (FRG), 18 Aug. 1990.

 

Enrichment in Iraq? Two West German companies are reported to have sold a special type of steel used in the uranium enrichment gaseous diffusion process to Iraq. The companies are Saar-Staal and Düsseldorfer Export-Union GmbH. Later, a shipment of the same type of steel on its way to Iraq was stopped by customs at the Frankfurt airport. This was reported by Swiss authorities on 21 August. The material was being sent by a company called Schmiedemeccanica SA based in Biasca, Switzerland. Dagens Nyheter, 12 and 22 Aug. 1990.

 

Negotiations on Dounreay reprocessing contract for Dutch reactor. The owner of the HFR-research reactor in Petten (Holland), the European Commission, is negotiating with UK AEA Technology on a contract for the re-processing of the spent highly enriched fuel at Dounreay. This was stated on 14 August 1990 by the Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs, Andriessen, in answer to questions by Dutch Members of Parliament. If a reprocessing contract is concluded, the nuclear waste must be returned to the Netherlands. The Minister gave no account on what will happen with other reprocessing products such as plutonium and uranium. Therefore it is not clear if these products, too, must be returned or will stay at Dounreay. If reprocessing doesn't take place within a set time, the spent fuel would leave the UK, said the Minister. He refused to give any technical details on the number of spent fuel elements now stored at the HFR, on the capacity of the spent fuel-basin or on the amount of spent fuel sent to the US until 1988 (when the US Department of energy refused to take back spent fuel from research reactors because of the requirements of environmental assessments under the US National Environmental Policy Act). Technical details cannot be given, he says, for reasons of non-proliferation and commercial interests. Contact: Herman Damveld, Kloosterstraat 45, 9717 LC Groningen. Herman Damveld (NL), 4 Sept. 1990

 

Decision on Kalkar next year. The fast breeder reactor in Kalkar (FRG) will get no operating license for the time being. First several technical problems must be solved. The West German federal government and the companies and utilities involved have agreed to strike a balance next year, after which they will decide what further steps are to be taken, declared the West German State Secretary for Research and Technology, A. Probst. Also a new evacuation plan will be designed. The costs of constructing the fast breeder have already amounted to 7 billion Dutch guilders (approximately US $13 billion). For the working expenses of this year, 120 million guilders (US $220 million) have been put aside, but this will be spent by January 1991. Atomwirtschaft (FRG), July 1990.

 

Hinkley "approved". UK Energy Secretary John Wakeham has approved the building of Britain's second PWR on the Somerset coast at Hinkley Point, but has postponed a decision on funding for four years. His approval, which endorses the recommendation of inquiry inspector Michael Barnes on Nuclear Electric's application to build a UK 1,700 million pound nuclear reactor, came during a Commons answer to the UK Parliament. The Parliament, which had been recalled to face the Gulf Crisis, had been in session just two days when Wakeham, in what Andrew Moncur of the UK daily "The Guardian" described as a bit of "Fancy Footwork", took the chance to announce the go-ahead tor the plant. By doing it in the form of a written answer to a parliamentary question, he was able to put it on the record with no possibility of a debate...His decision on funding for the station will depend on the outcome of the UK government's review of its nuclear program, due in 1994. The Guardian (UK), 7 Sept. 1990, pp.1 and 3.

 

US panel calls for full compensation of N-accident victims. The US Presidential Commission on Catastrophic Nuclear Accidents acknowledged that limitations on liability under the Price-Anderson Act have nothing to do with the notion of complete protection of the public and recommended that victims of catastrophic nuclear accidents be fully compensated. However, the Commission failed to suggest how the compensation was to be financed. The inadequacy of the Price-Anderson liability act - which allows for coverage of up to only US $7.3 billion - can be understood in the context of the catastrophe at Chernobyl. According to a recent report in the Wall Street Journal, the Chernobyl disaster will cost the Soviet Union between $280 and $358 billion by the year 2000. The Nuclear Monitor (US), 27 Aug. 1990

 

Radiation ruled cause of ex-Sellafield worker's death. David Dunn, late of Whitehaven, UK, died of leukemia at the age of 31, after being exposed to radiation at the Sellafield facility for four years, an inquest heard on 26 June. The jury returned a verdict that death was due to an industrial disease. "Full compensation" wouldn't be of much use to him, anyway... Shut Down Sizewell Campaign, July 1990

 

Indefinite delay of Kiggavik U-mine hearings. Urangesellschaft Canada has asked the Federal Environmental Review Office (FEARO) to "indefinitely delay" hearings on its proposed Cdn $150-$175 million development of Kiggavik uranium mine near Baker Lake in the North-west Territories "to respond thoroughly" to FEARO's request for more information. Nuclear Fuel (US), 6 August 1990

 

"Safe Energy & Environment", a quarterly journal from India. The journal is a direct outcome of the concern felt by participants at the convention on "nuclear power and its acceptability", held in Calcutta on 30 April 1989, about the lack of pertinent information on nuclear power. "Fascination with big projects, the glamour of giantism," says the journal's first editorial, "is really a big problem. In our country scientists and bureaucrats function from the ivory towers and our governmental concern for environment is a politically orchestrated spring shower. There exists at least 200 central and state enactments bearing on environment protections....Admittedly in countries like ours the problem is too complex. We have to cope with ecological problems and pressure of development simultaneously. We do need energy, we do need development and to-day development has its own bad impact on environment and society. So ultimately the question arises - what type of development, what kind of society we do like to have....This journal is a continuous process to search for the right answers to these problems....Our aim is to raise and activate the consciousness of the readers. We feel the individual must develop an environmental consciousness. The fate of the earth is really up to us." The journal is in desperate need of money to carry out this project, but would rather like to gain foreign subscribers than accepting donations from a- broad. A good journal, and worth the support. Contact them at: Safe Energy & Environment, 28 Nazrul Park, P0 Aswininagar, Calcutta-700 059 India. Subscription rates: Foreign (Airmail) Annual: US $12 for individuals and $25 for institutions; Solidarity (Annual) $30 individual and $60 institutional; Life: $200 individual and $500 institutional

 

EcoNet Israel: the Ecological Network, formerly the Israel Agency for Nuclear Information (IANI). IANI was created in the summer of 1986 as a non-profit, non-political citizens' action group. One purpose was to collect and disseminate accurate information concerning nuclear energy for the purpose of deterring proposals for the introduction of nuclear energy as a power source for generating electricity in Israel. The second was to support alternative sources and conservation of energy. Over the past four years IANI has reached over 20,000 people with its fact sheets, lectures in schools, kibbutzim, development towns, universities and with press and TV coverage. A book is in progress in Hebrew on the history and prognosis for the production of electricity by nuclear power in Israel and abroad. In February 1990 IANI changed its name to EcoNet Israel, The Ecological Network because of expanding involvement in broader environ-mental issues which effect the health of the Israeli population and the land of Israel The volunteer staff of EcoNet invites you to join them and to contribute to their work with your time, expertise, and donations. Contact: EcoNet Israel, P0 Box 581, 37105 Karkur, Israel, tel: 06-379538.

 

"Tin and radiation", A Minewatch Special Report published in August 1990. Four years ago, public alarm was generated in Britain at the discovery of an apparently quite abnormal (and abnormally high) incidence of rare childhood leukemia in north Humberside (northeast of England). Several studies, including research carried out and published in the form of the "Baxter Report" for the Scottish Universities Research and Reactor Centre (SURRC) in early 1990 concluded that, because of lack of evidence, the scientists could not indict the Capper Pass operations, but they did raise alarming questions about the effectiveness of radiation monitoring in and around the installation.
Above all, they criticized the radiation exposure standards set by the British National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB). One of their main conclusions was that:

"...in some circumstances, ore workers can be significantly exposed to radiation by working with ores which are about two orders of magnitude less radioactive than the limiting concentrations on which statutory in-house procedures at Capper Pass are based ... advances in knowledge during the past three decades must be regarded as having rendered obsolete the existing legislation on the handling and safety of ores containing natural series radioactivity."

The Report demanded a full and urgent discussion on revising public/legal standards of acceptable levels of radiation emitted from ore processing/smelting/refinement/recycling. This Minewatch Special Report includes a copy of the NRPB response to the Baxter Report, the counter-critique by the SURRC, the report's sponsors, and comments by Mine-watch. Contact: Minewatch, 218 Liverpool Road, London NI 1LE, UK, tel: 071-609 1852.

 

"Food irradiation", a 137-page report published in April 1990 by The Norwegian Society For The Conservation Of Nature. Only available in the Norwegian language. The press release announcing the report reads, "The study concludes that food irradiation as a preservative is not in the consumers' interest. The study presents information on how irradiated food is of unsatisfactory quality, and also about the environmental threat that radioactive sources represent, as well as connections between the food irradiation and nuclear weapons industries." Available from The Norwegian Society For The Conservation Of Nature, Box 2113, D505 Oslo, Norway, tel: 47-2-71 55 20, fax: 47-2- 71 56 40.

 

November 16-17: The 1st Baltic Environmental Forum of NGOs, Gdansk, Poland. A meeting to build a European Anti-nuclear Solidarity Network sponsored by the Gdansk Environmental Forum (including the Franciscan Ecological Movement, League of Protection of Nature, Polish Ecological Club, Polish-Cassubjan Pomeranian Association and the Polish Turist Society). Topics include: Meeting energy demands of the Baltic Countries without developing nuclear energy the effects of the Chernobyl Disaster for the Baltic Countries; Baltic Sea contamination; organizing a secretariat as a Forum for interchanging data between individual countries and environmental organizations as well as establishing the principles of mutual help. Applications should be sent no later than 25 September. For more information contact: Jerzy Jaskowski, 80-217 Gdansk, Poland, Suwalska 6, Poland, tel: 47-94-90; Wiadyslaw Dobrowol- ski, Ul Kotobrazeska 42 A5, 80-394 Gdansk, Poland, tel: 56 45 43; or Bengt Goran Jonson, c/o FMKK, Box 17 246, S-104 62 Stockholm, Sweden, tel: 46-8-42 33 36, fax: 46-8-642 28 29.