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On The Responsible Care of Radioactive Materials

c/o Inochi
P.O. Box 2589
Berkeley, CA 94702 USA
Telephone: 510/559-8910
              Fax: 510/559-8916


Nuclear Guardianship is a citizen commitment to present and future generations to keep radioactive materials out of the biosphere. Recognizing the extreme damage these materials inflict on all life-forms and their genetic codes, Nuclear Guardianship requires:

The Nuclear Guardianship Project is a citizen's educational effort aimed at developing the political, technical and moral understandings required for the responsible care of radioactive materials.

The Nuclear Guardianship Forum is a publication providing opportunities for ongoing, in-depth discussion among citizens, specialists, and policy makers on the responsible care of radioactive materials.

Included herein are 39 articles
selected from the three issues of
the Nuclear Guardianship Forum,
published in the Springs of 1992, 1993, and 1994.

Browse HTML articles listed

chronologically by title     or     with linked excerpts

or an ASCII text format listing

Nuclear reactors are made
by fools like me,
but only God
could make a nuclear reactor
that's 93,000,000 miles
from the nearest elementary school.

-- Anne Herbert

  1. U.S. Nuclear Waste Program in Crisis, Interview With Arjun Makhijan
    Issue # 3, Spring 1994, pp. 1, 6.

      The second [critical problem] is primarily an institutional problem and it is central because all of the technical issues around disposal of radioactive waste cannot be resolved until the institutional issues are resolved. The Department of Energy has historically approached the disposal of high level waste for the long term as a matter of political expediency rather than scientific integrity. The whole process which led up to the selection of Yucca Mountain as a permanent geologic disposal site is simply unbelievably weak. It was not a process in which scientific integrity and democracy and public participation were paramount.1

      Unfortunately, the American government has become a machine for the conversion of public assets into private profits, and a big machine for the conversion of private liabilities into public liabilities. The problem of nuclear waste is a very good illustration of the second feature. The government has agreed to take the nuclear waste of private American utilities and convert it into government waste to be handled at public expense.2

      What do you propose as the most responsible approach to waste management today?
      I have been able to identify no good approach to getting rid of the highly radioactive waste which contains long-lived materials.
      We should have on site storage of radioactive waste from 50 to 100 years. We should give ourselves the time to study these issues carefully.
      We should build institutions and staff them with people who are committed to environmental protection, who know what excellence in science means, and who know what democracy and public participation mean. . . . The most important two things that need to be done, which I have not mentioned, are: first, management of medical wastes should be separated from the controversial wastes from production of nuclear power and nuclear weapons. Secondly, we must stop the production of radioactivity from nuclear power plants and nuclear weapons production. We have no need to produce more waste.3

  2. Testimony Encompasses Time:   FOUR-MINUTE JOURNEY THROUGH FAR TIME   and
    Issue # 3, Spring 1994, p. 4.

      So close your eyes the better to be able to visualize. Imagine time as a distance stretching before you. A centimeter corresponds to a year, and 30 centimeters, about a foot, to 30 years or a generation. That's about the period of time in which we're trying to reach a decision about final disposition of radioactive waste. This waste must be kept securely out of the biosphere for ten million years, which corresponds to a stretch of 100 kilometers (about 60 miles).1

      We are here not only on our own behalf, but as delegates of all unborn children, who have no voice yet; as delegates of our peers who do not wish to face the nuclear danger; and even as delegates of our ancestors who left us the whole earth and its treasures.2

  3. The Nuclear Labyrinth, The Trail of Radioactive Contamination
    Issue # 3, Spring 1994, p. 16.


  4. NO FINAL SOLUTION, Testimony at Konrad Mine Radioactive Waste Disposal Hearings
    Issue # 2, Spring 1993, p. 10.

      The German government proposes to bury 95 per cent of its nuclear waste in an abandoned iron mine. The mine, called Konrad is near the town of Salzgitter in Lower Saxony. There in October 1992, before federal and state authorities and with heavy media coverage, a public hearing on this plan was held. . . . three members of the Nuclear Guardianship Network in Germany managed to speak at some length.
      Their presentations of the guardianship concept aroused an unexpectedly enthusiastic response from the large audience. The government officials, after sitting in stunned silence, then said, in effect, that guarded, ground-level storage was out of the question because of the radiation danger to personnel. Their moral judgment seemed to be, as one of the witnesses put it, that the risks of wider, long-term contamination from leaking, inaccessible containers were preferable.1

      As an active opponent of nuclear energy, I am not participating in this and perhaps should not feel guilty about it. From the viewpoint of future generations, however, it will be totally unimportant on which side I have been: on the side of the opponents or of the producers of nuclear energy. The grandchildren of my grandchildren won't be interested in the fact that I live without a connection to public electricity. For them, all of us will be the people of the nuclear age, implicated in and responsible for the radioactive inheritance we left them. The grandchildren of our grandchildren will have only two questions for us. But these questions are crucial for their survival: 1) Where is the radioactive waste? 2) How can we protect ourselves from it? . . . The solution to the problem, moreover, cannot be limited to finding a site for the final disposal that is as safe as possible. There is no site like this on the planet. There is no safe disposal for a one-time deposit of nuclear waste that can afterwards be closed up. Instead of "final disposal" it would be better to speak of "indefinite storage." For the storing of nuclear waste creates a danger that lasts over thousands of years, that cannot be banished even for a moment, and that therefore must always be kept alive in the minds of affected generations.2

  5. How Can We Face The Challenge?   FIFTY YEARS AT A TIME
    Issue # 3, Spring 1994, pp. 1, 10.

      We must learn to act sustainably in all aspects of our collective life, providing at least minimal food, clothing, shelter, and dignity for everyone, or radioactive contamination will be only one of many contributors to the collapse of our habitat. Nuclear guardianship can be a training ground for this transformation of human consciousness. Through guardianship, we learn to sustain the gaze, to keep our attention on the reality before us, overcoming the temptation to deny or escape the responsibility. . . . Because of the vast eons of time involved in the radioactive decay of plutonium, nuclear guardianship keeps us humble. We realize that haste is our greatest enemy, for precipitous decisions made now may prove irrevocably disastrous, even within the next few years. Guardianship trains us to think in terms of the whole: the whole of humanity, the whole of the ecosphere, the whole of time.1

  6. Politics of Nuclear Waste, Interview with Mary Olson of NIRS
    Issue # 3, Spring 1994, p. 11.

      The government is committed by contract to remove high-level waste -- so-called spent fuel rods -- by 1998.
      Yes. These contracts gave the utilities with nuclear power plants the illusion that they were going to be sending used fuel rods off to the government for reprocessing, and it was going to be a true cycle. That was an illusion. It didn't work. So that's where they are, all of them: the nuclear industry, the DOE, all these guys are dealing with the fact that the power plants' cooling pools are getting full of extremely hot fuel assemblies from reactors.1

      I think the utilities want out. Not only because they don't want the liability for radioactive accidents and waste, but also because they know that this stuff is just going to keep costing, costing and costing. And they want out.2

      There is plenty of documentation about this. The simple fact is that when you bury this stuff, it doesn't stay put. We have a dynamic living system of a planet and the radioactive material cycles around. There is less information about how it moves in the desert. But there is no reason to think that it is going to stay put there, either.
      Isn't there some information about what happens in the desert?
      The most eloquent piece of evidence is this: when somebody took samples of the water beneath Ward Valley, California's proposed desert dump site, they found tritium in it. Since the radioactive waste dump is not opened yet, the only way for tritium, with a 12.3 year half-life to be there is from fallout from atmospheric bomb testing or some other surface source. There is just no way tritium would still be radioactive from the formation of the earth. The most likely sources are atmospheric bomb testing. So this shows that radioactivity moves, even beneath the desert.
      There is a lot of evidence to show that with the whole cycle of flooding and rapid rainfall, the water either penetrates very deep and very fast, or evaporates. So in the desert there is the possibility of dispersal of radioactive materials through evaporation as well as through leaching. There is evidence that animals and insects at Hanford have been spreading radioactive materials as vectors. There are plenty of ways radioactive elements can move in a dynamic, biologically active system which is what the whole planet is.3

  7. Medical Waste: Trojan Horse?, "Don't get hooked by medical arguments"
    Issue # 3, Spring 1994, p. 12.

      • In a survey of nine Los Angeles area hospitals each reported storing all radioactive material from patient care on-site for 1 to 2 months, by which time everything had decayed to background level. They had no waste to send to a radioactive waste disposal site. Only the two hospitals which used radionuclides in research as well as patient care produced any radioactive waste requiring shipment. This supported the observation that the majority of hospitals in the U.S. are not directly contributing to the "low-level" radioactive waste being shipped to disposal sites in the U.S.1

      There is a terrible irony in the deceptive argument that current medical uses of radioactive materials justify "low-level" waste burial, because this very practice will threaten the health of generations to come. Rather than allowing this argument to go unchallenged, physicians and research scientists who honor their commitment to the health of present and future generations can become informed and join the debate on the whole problem of radioactive waste.2

  8. Some of the True Costs Of Commercial Nuclear Power: Half-a-trillion Dollars Sunk
    Issue # 3, Spring 1994, p. 16.

      "The cost estimates in Fiscal Fission are very conservative" according to co-author Cora Roelofs. "They take only those costs that could be fully documented and rigorously quantified. . . . Fiscal Fission finds that the $492 billion total represents a minimum figure for resources spent on nuclear power through 1990. Excluded costs, such as health effects of radiation, accidents, adequate insurance, could well total another $375 billion. This figure does not include the almost certain escalation in future waste and decommissioning costs.1

  9. Bioremediation of Radioactive Waste
    Issue # 3, Spring 1994, p. 4.

      One technology that holds promise for eventually reducing the toxicity and amount of radioactive waste is bioremediation, using live bacteria. This technology makes use of the ability of live cells or enzymes to clean and reduce the volume of waste.1

  10. SCIENCE AND ETHICS INITIATIVE -- Needed: New Vision for Science
    Issue # 3, Spring 1994, p. 4.

      Most universities lack any form of decision-making body to discuss or consider important strategic and ethical issues (for example: military funded research, work upon genetically modified organisms, the human genome project, intellectual property rights, freedom of information) and thus to develop an enlightened consensus on proper directions for scientific research. Current work is almost totally directed by grants. A national body to advise on ethics of scientific research is also needed.1

  11. Safe Energy is Available Now!
    Issue # 3, Spring 1994, p. 4.

      Wind power in the Great Plains, for example, can at present supply electricity for less than five cents per kilowatt/hour (kwh), dropping one to two cents by the year 2000. For comparison, new coal-fired electricity costs over ten cents per kwh and new nuclear power costs around 13 cents per kwh. The Department of Energy has made its own study showing that wind power alone could in principle supply more than the entire U.S. energy demand.
      Another little known fact is that the Department of Energy has estimated the total renewable energy resource base in the United States to be enormous, nearly one thousand times the current energy consumption in the country.1

  12. Nuclear Power & Poverty
    Issue # 2, Spring 1993, p. 7.

      Opposition to [the proposed nuclear facility at] Rokkasho was quieted by the distribution of large amounts of money. In return for local acceptance of the project, the Japanese government offered $120 million in subsidies to the village -- equivalent to about $10,000 for each resident.1

  13. "Atomic Priesthood" is Not Nuclear Guardianship,
    A Critique of Thomas Sebeok's Vision of the Future
    Issue # 3, Spring 1994, p. 15.

      To the credit of the Department of Energy under Secretary Hazel O'Leary, the public is finally learning how, for decades, unsuspecting populations were exposed to radioactivity in the name of highly classified medical research and weapons testing. Implicit in the Secretary's decision to declassify state secrets and reveal governmental deceit and harmful acts there is a confidence in human nature to respond appropriately. This confidence can help us come to terms with the nuclear mess that has been created. To reveal violations of the nation's most cherished principles while also committing to a transformative vision might seem too daring, even naive, to some. But in fact the energy released by this very faith in human capabilities may actually allow to happen what would not be dreamed possible otherwise.1

      Culminating with this peculiarly amoral notion, "Pandora's Box in Aftertimes" can perhaps be read as a morality tale on the failure of secrecy and denial. It demonstrates that the very premise of "out of sight, out of mind" deep geological burial of radioactive materials leads inevitably to procedures in the social, political and spiritual life of the people that are not any less destructive because they are absurd.2

  14. The Story of a Chernobyl Downwinder, An interview with Wendy Oser of the Nuclear Guardianship Forum
    Issue # 2, Spring 1993, pp. 8-9.

      I had a profound direct experience of the interdependence of the body, the mind and the spirit. I emerged with a new level of respect for trusting one's own system as the ultimate source of information about one's self.
      In a similar way I have increasingly understood myself -- each of us -- to be part of the larger whole, our Earth, our universe. Damage takes place to the whole system. Some of us, like canaries in the mine, show early evidence of the poison and perhaps hints of how to survive. My doctor put it this way: "The same openness that allows the radiation to enter you, is the openness that lets your radiance shine out."
      How has this spiritual experience affected you politically?
      I felt the connection between the political and the personal. My direct experience with radiation poisoning lead me to make a commitment to protect our descendants from such harm. Acting on this commitment has affected my life not only by what I do, but also by allowing me to feel in community with all life across time.1

    Issue # 2, Spring 1993, p. 5.

      The stories told by the indigenous delegates constituted an appalling indictment of nuclear colonialism. For it is their homelands, their bodies, and their ancient cultures that are most immediately victimized by nuclear power and nuclear weapons.1

  16. The Nuclear Cycle Requires The Practice Of Human Sacrifice
    Issue # 3, Spring 1994, p. 16.

      The continuation of the nuclear cycle depends, on effect, on the practice of human sacrifice. It depends on affluent whites deciding to risk the health and lives of people who are not affluent or white. This is what "acceptable risk" often means in practice.

  17. Dr. John Gofman, A Nuclear Researcher Who Refuses To Lie About Radiation Dangers
    Issue # 3, Spring 1994, p. 8.

      John William Gofman, MD. PhD., is professor emeritus of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California at Berkeley, and lecturer in the Department of Medicine, U.C. San Francisco. While getting his Ph.D. in physics at Berkeley in the 1940s, Gofman proved the slow and fast neutron fissionability of Uranium-233. At the request of J. Robert Oppenheimer, Gofman helped produce plutonium (not even a quarter of a milligram existed at that time) for the Manhattan Project. He got his M.D. from UCSF in 1946 (winning the Gold-headed Cane Award, presented to the senior who most fully personifies a "true physician") and began research on coronary heart disease.
      Since then his research work has included the fields of radiochemistry, cancer and chromosomes, and radiation hazards. He has taught for many years in the fields of radio isotopes and radiobiology. He has written several books on the health consequences of exposure to ionizing radiation.

    How To Protect Yourself Nutritionally From Low-Level Radiation
    Issue # 2, Spring 1993, p. 8.

      Examines the low-level radiation exposure in our times, and offers a rational course of action that any individual can follow. Nutritionist Sara Shannon has gathered medical and scientific data that show that certain food and food supplements have properties that can protect us from this threat. She presents the theories as to how and why these foods and supplements stave off the effects of radiation.

  19. Japan's Plutonium: The New Nuclear Threat
    Issue # 2, Spring 1993, p. 7.

      A number of environmental and nuclear watchdog organizations, including Greenpeace International, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Nuclear Control Institute, are actively opposing Japan's plutonium program. In Berkeley and Tokyo, an organization calling itself Plutonium Free Future has been working since February of 1992 to publicize and mobilize opposition to Japan's plutonium policy. Formed by concerned Japanese and American citizens residing in the San Francisco Bay Area, the group's stated mission is to "raise international awareness of the dangers of civilian plutonium use through political action and public education, and to promote renewable energy development as the foundation of a sustainable future for our children."1

  20. How "Safe" Has Changed Over Time
    Issue # 2, Spring 1993, p. 4.

      In the first five decades of the Nuclear Age, the international recommendations for acceptable levels of worker exposure to radiation have been revised downward from 30 Centisieverts/year Whole Body to 2.

  21. The Long Death, a poem by Marge Piercy
    Issue # 3, Spring 1994, p. 13.

  22. So That Posterity May Know,
    Warnings to the Far Future: Nuclear Waste As Communication Problem
    Issue # 3, Spring 1994, p. 3.

      • Democratically legitimized long-term institutions must be established to take responsibility for maintaining information about nuclear waste over the millennia. This may require radical transformation of the procedures of communication. . .
      • Access to full information will counteract tendencies to under-play or over-state the real risks.1

      A Legislative Body for Our Descendants
      Posner concludes that we are collectively required to become aware of future generations. Relevant information for them must be systematically collected for transmission. This task goes beyond all perspectives of recent environmental politics. Such provisions for the future, he contends, must be handled by a comprehensive new democratic institution.2

  23. Storage-for-Decay, proposal by NIRS
    Issue # 3, Spring 1994, p. 12.

      The general rule is that 10 to 20 half-lives is the hazardous life of radioactive materials, because in that time the material decays to about a thousandth to a millionth of the original amount [of radioactivity]. In some cases, depending upon the original amount of radioactivity in the material, 20 or more half-lives may be required for the material to reach levels that are indistinguishable from original background. 1

  24. Hazard-based Classification, A Wiser Arrangement
    Issue # 3, Spring 1994, p. 13.

      . . . the Department of Energy (DOE) puts all waste generated by nuclear weapons production into the "low-level" category except for reprocessing wastes and transuranic wastes. Again the result is that substantial quantities of intensely radioactive and long-lived wastes end up dumped into the ground near the surface.
      These highly active and extremely long-lived wastes should be excluded from the "low-level" waste category. Countries such as Sweden mandate their exclusion, but not the U.S. because the NRC and DOE regulate more for the convenience of the nuclear industry than for public health and environmental safety.1

  25. Nuclear waste, buried now in haste, will still be deadly in 12,001 A.D.
    Issue # 3, Spring 1994, p. 3.

      So reads the cover of The New York Times Magazine, March 6 1994. Inside is a ten page article "Out of Sight, Out of Our Minds" which painstakingly analyzes various forces and follies that have influenced government policy-making on the disposal of radioactive materials. Author Kai Erikson, sociologist and professor of American Studies at Yale University   [9/96: now is "DIRECTOR OF GRADUATE STUDIES" --ratitor],   is unequivocal. "Rushing to bury nuclear waste," he says, "doesn't take the problem off future Americans' hands so much as it takes the solution out of their hands."

      "Human beings have gotten pretty good at looking into deep space," says a thoughtful consultant to the Department of Energy, "but we are really no good at looking into deep time."

                -- The New York Times, March 6, 1994

  26. Decommissioning: HOW SAFE IS SAFE: the Public Speaks to the NRC
    Issue # 2, Spring 1993, p. 11.

      Richard Fasnacht of the Midwest Energy Services Center of the NUS Corporation, a nuclear clean-up contractor in Illinois, stated that entombment technology is far less costly and safer than trying to remove all radioactivity from a site. He projected a savings to the utilities and their rate payers of $100-150 billion per site. In the case of entombment, buildings, soil, and equipment that have become radioachve at power plants are encased in cement and chemical grout and monitored.1

      Representatives of citizens' organizations were concerned that those living near a nuclear facility have an adequate role in the decommissioning process and on-going monitoring. Joanna Macy for NGP stated that "it is good that representadves of citizens' organizations are meeting here with representatives of industry and government. For it is neither fair nor wise to leave such far-reaching decisions to persons whose jobs put them under pressures of bureaucratic, political, or economic expediency. All elements of the public should be involved, especially local citizens whose families now live, and whose descendants will live, with the radioactive contamination our generation has produced. Wider participation in the deliberative process and a site-by-site approach will allow them to exercise the moral responsibility they feel."2

    An Interview With Dr. Rustum Roy on How To Package Nuclear Waste
    Issue # 2, Spring 1993, p. 12.

      Do you support the government's emphasis on glassification?
      Certainly not. We know from experience that it is a very expensive, unnecessarily high-tech, technologically dangerous solution that is not appropriate to some host storage environments the government has in mind. . . . When I was a member of a team visiting Savannah River we evaluated several scenarios for waste storage -- technologically and economically. The DOE-proposed method of transforming sludge from storage tanks at extremely high temperatures into glass blocks for transport to disposal sites in the West was thirty times more expensive than the option of storing materials on site.1

      My main recommendation is that we store nuclear waste in cement packaging on the ground at military research and production sites where it was produced. Likewise, on-site storage of civilian fuel rods is the way to go for at least the next fifty years. In this way, waste can easily be repackaged or reprocessed in the future if the need develops. Remember that time is on our side, and haste is the biggest enemy. Nuclear waste is the opposite of tea: the longer you leave it the weaker it gets.
      We need a $50 million annual national program of genuine research on radioactive waste management to study alternative strategies and produce fully engineered approaches. This could reduce by at least a factor of ten the possible cost of $250-300 billion that DOE projects for its thirty-year so-called clean-up program. In the meantime, we need to educate the public. Nothing will be accomplished unless we have a thorough program of public education, with totally open discussions, without pre-conceived notions. The Nuclear Guardianship Project has an important job to do in meeting this challenge.2

  28. TWILIGHT'S LAST GLEAMING, A dramatic exhibit of our nuclear inventory
    Issue # 1, Spring 1992, p. 5.

  29. Honoring a Courageous Scientist:   ALICE STEWART, a poem by Susan Griffin
    Issue # 1, Spring 1992, p. 6.

  30. A successfull 10-point Action Plan For Radioactive Waste
    Issue # 1, Spring 1992, p. 4.

  31. Consider the Rights of Future Generations,
    Nuclear Contamination and the Cousteau Society's proposed Bill of Rights
    Issue # 1, Spring 1992, p. 2.

      Consider for a moment the public outcry which would arise if radioactive wastes were known to be dumped in school yards.1
      The general public is woefully uninformed about the biomedical effects of radioactive materials, whether and how they can be safely stored, transported, and used, and where current mining, production, processing, storage, and dump sites are located. . . . information has been hidden by governments in the name of "national security". Therefore, it is difficult to create and pass legislation for limiting production and transportation and for safeguarding already produced radioactive materials. Education, research, and legislation all need to be addressed immediately.2
      Governments respond to citizens, so individuals and organizations must educate themselves, and propose appropriate actions on local, state, and federal levels. All this will only occur in a context of a radical shift in our collective consciousness, away from materialism and greed toward reverence for all life.3

  32. The Hot Legacy Of The Cold War,
    On-going nuclear contamination from USA & ex-USSR weapons and sites
    Issue # 1, Spring 1992, pp. 1, 6.

      Both governments have a fifty-year record of recklessly releasing radioactive materials into the air, the soil and the water systems. The nuclear contamination has made large territories uninhabitable and endangered residents of surrounding regions. During years of hot war and cold war these governments have kept the public ignorant of facts and dangers to their health and have seriously exposed employees of military weapons complexes.
      Now that the Cold War is over there is no more excuse for sacrificing human and other life forms for so called "national security." Citizens must now pressure their governments and join with each other to contain for centuries the nuclear contamination at weapons complexes--the legacy of the Cold War.1

  33. On Guilt, Grief, Responsibility, and Mythology,
    A Psychoanalyst's View of the Nuclear Guardianship Project
    Issue # 1, Spring 1992, p. 3.

      By not attempting the "final solution" of burying life- threatening waste in a non-retrievable and dangerous location, we would afford future generations a better opportunity to deal with this poisonous material. By storing the waste where we can keep an eye on it, we also keep the danger, and the guilt it generates, from being suppressed. It is much better to stay aware and deal with it as best we can; the real peril lies in ignoring these dangers.1
      Many scientists and technicians believe their work has nothing to do with mythology. They are mistaken: they, especially, live in the delusion that they can control nature. Through the Guardianship concept, this myth can be called into question. We need new myths and new symbols to help us protect our lives and those of future generations. . . . Each one of us is co-responsible for the state of the world we hand our children.2

  34. Buddhist Vows for Guardianship, A modern addition to an ancient tradition
    Issue # 1, Spring 1992, p. 2.

  35. Debate On Nuclear Guardianship, Two letters dialogue about the problem of "solutions"
    Issue # 1, Spring 1992, p. 5.

      Nuclear production will only cease when we as a people, of all nations, perceive its costs. We will only perceive these costs . . . when we open our eyes both to the necessity and the feasibility of long-term guardianship.1

  36. A Citizen's Conversation On the Responsible Care of Radioactive Materials,
    Forum to confront the moral challenges posed by radioactive contamination around the Earth
    Issue # 1, Spring 1992, pp. 1-2.

      Our most enduring legacy to future generations will be the radioactive materials generated over the last fifty years by nuclear power and weapons production, including structures and equipment contaminated at every step of the fuel cycle as well as all categories of waste. The toxicity of these materials, with their proven capacity to cause cancers, immune disease, birth disorders, and genetic mutation, constitutes an unprecedented and monumental assault on organic life. To safeguard ourselves and future generations, all these contaminants must be kept out of the biosphere now and for thousands of years.1
      To facilitate an in-depth conversation on this vital concern Nuclear Guardianship Forum is launched as an occasional publication. It grows out of the Nuclear Guardianship Project, a citizen effort to come to grips with the moral, political, and technical challenge posed by the radioactive materials our generation has produced.2

  37. Techonology and Mindfulness,
    A Call to attention to the radioactive results of nuclear technology
    Issue # 1, Spring 1992, p. 3.

      To pursue the dream of final disposal is to chase after fantasy, for no container humans have contrived can outlast its radioactive contents. As we face that fact, we begin to recognize the almost mythic character of our nuclear legacy: no technology by itself can banish it and when we attempt to hide it (or hide from it), the radioactivity spreads beyond our control. There is a familiar ring to this, for in our personal lives it is also the case that any aspect of ourselves which we disown and seek to hide can contaminate our whole inner landscape, and our relationships with others and the world. We can find an appropriate response, however, when we acknowledge our predicament with a measure of humility.1

  38. Atomic Harvest, by Michael D'Antonio --
    Hanford And The Lethal Toll Of America's Nuclear Arsenal
    Issue # 3, Spring 1994, p. 9.

      Engineers, journalists, farmers, ministers, administrators, these are ordinary men and women, involved with their families, concerned for their jobs, enjoying their friends. And an inspiring number of them, thanks to their courage and decency and perseverance, play extraordinary roles. So this book, while horrifying in what it reveals about the mess created by our military industrial complex, is morally exhilarating.1

  39. Values Are Everything   and   It's a Value Judgement
    Issue # 1, Spring 1992, p. 4.   and   Issue # 2, Spring 1993, p. 15

      Never think you're not expert enough to deal with a technically complex decision.1

Every dose of [ionizing radiation]
is an overdose.

-- Dr. George Wald
Harvard Biologist, Nobel Laureat

HTML format copy:
Spring 1992: Spring 1993: Spring 1994:


We won't solve the problem of containing
radiation until its danger is universally known,
like knowing that fire is hot and you ought not
to put your finger in the flame
or you will be burned.

-- Margaret Carde
Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety

ASCII format copy:
Spring 1992: Spring 1993: Spring 1994:

Consensus Builds

Present policy to bury radioactive wastes is opposed as profoundly misguided on both scientific and ethical grounds.

Conventional fixes (technological, judicial, knowledge) overlook the most important fix of all: a participatory democracy.

These views are developed respectively in the following recently published books.

Burying Uncertainty: Risk and the Case Against Geological Disposal of Nuclear Waste by Kirstin S. Shrader-Frechette (Distinguished Research Professor of Philosophy, University of South Florida), Berkeley CA: University of California Press, 1993/360p/$15pb.

Public Reactions to Nuclear Waste: Citizens' Views of Repository Siting edited by Riley E. Dunlap (Professor of Sociology, Washington State University), Michael E. Draft (Prof of Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay), and Eugene A. Rosa (Professor of Sociology, Washington State University). Durham NC: Duke University Press, 1993/332p/$24 pb.


The ancient Egyptians left their pyramids. We will
leave our decommissioned nuclear power plant hulks
and our mountains of lethal radioactive waste.
For much longer than recorded history, for longer
than humankind has walked upright upon earth,
future generations will pay the price
for our generation's selfish shortsightedness.

-- Mary Jane Williams
New England Environmental
Network News


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