BLUE RIDGE ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE LEAGUE www.bredl.org
Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League
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BLUE RIDGE ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE LEAGUE

PO Box 88 ~ Glendale Springs, North Carolina 28629 ~ Phone (336) 982-2691 ~ Fax (336) 982-2954 ~ Email: bredl@skybest.com

CITIZENS CENTER FOR NUCLEAR NON-PROLIFERATION

1 Lenin Street Office 41 660049 ~ Krasnoyarsk, Russia ~ Phone 7 3912 653-353 ~ Fax 7 3912 653 353 ~ Email: kras@glasnet.ru

PRESS RELEASE

JULY 22, 2000

CONTACTS:

Louis Zeller 098-054-6619

Vladimir Mikheev 098-054-6619

Tatsuaki Oshiro 090-3401-4858 (mobile)

RUSSIAN AND AMERICAN NGOs BLAST G-8 SECRECY

PLUTONIUM PLANS ARE A DANGER TO ALL NATIONS

Today at a press conference in Okinawa, international representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) charged the G-8 leaders with a cover-up of financial negotiations regarding a $5.7 billion plutonium fuel program. The American NGO filed a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain all US documents supporting the joint Russian-American proposal to use 68 tons of weapons-usable plutonium in commercial nuclear power reactors.

During the last two months, Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, Citizens Center for Nuclear Non-Proliferation, and other NGOs made multiple requests to meet with governmental officials before or during the G-8 Summit; many requests for information about the plutonium fuel project were made by citizens in the United States. On Friday an NGO spokesman in the United States said that he was unable to get anyone from the US Department of Energy to call back to confirm or deny a G-8 agreement on plutonium fuel.

Louis Zeller, Community Organizer for the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, said, "We are deeply disappointed in the total lack of response from world leaders, particularly in the United States. We have made every effort to make our views known; we came to Okinawa, but the G-8 has isolated itself from the people. We have no alternative but to file the Freedom of Information Act request. By law, the US government must reply."

Vladimir Mikheev, Director of the Citizens’ Center for Nuclear Non-Proliferation in Russia said that citizens in Chalyabinsk and Krasnoyarsk oppose new nuclear facilities there. He said, "We have already had too much radioactive contamination in Russia. We oppose the plans to use plutonium to fuel reactors and the reprocessing of nuclear waste." Tasuaki Oshiro, Japanese Representative of the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League agreed, saying, "Other nations should stay out of the plutonium fuel business. Japan should not be involved in financing this US-Russian project."

The groups shared a letter signed by 72 NGOs from six nations which was sent to the governments of the G-8. The letter outlined the problems with plutonium fuel including reduced nuclear reactor safety and increased plutonium proliferation.

The Russian program is estimated to cost over $1.7 billion over twenty years. The U.S. program, which includes immobilization facilities as well as conversion and fuel fabrication facilities, is estimated to cost $4 billion.

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July 3, 2000 - Letter to Heads of State of Nations of the G-8 From Non-governmental Organizations Opposing Plutonium Fuel