Activists seek broader compensation for Americans exposed to radiation after decades in limbo via The Hill

BY ZACK BUDRYK – 10/03/23 6:00 AM ET

Now, a coalition of activists from St. Louis and New Mexico is working with the support of a bipartisan supermajority of senators to broaden the pool of such Americans who are eligible for federal compensation. 

A proposed amendment to the annual Defense funding bill that the Senate approved earlier this year with 61 votes would expand that pool to include people who were exposed as a result of nuclear testing in Idaho, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Guam and the St. Louis area. 

The Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA), passed in 1990, covered then-residents of Utah, Nevada and Arizona. But this excluded a number of Americans who had suffered exposure — including from the first-ever detonation of an atomic bomb, the Trinity test, which was conducted as part of the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos, N.M., in 1945.  


That first test dealt a major blow to many in the vicinity. A 2020 study by the National Cancer Institute estimated at least 1,000 individual cancers had developed or would develop in connection with it. The infant death rate in New Mexico in 1945, the year of the test, was 38 percent higher than 1946 and 57 percent higher than 1947.   

Cordova told The Hill that five generations of her family, who have long lived in the area, have been diagnosed with cancer, most recently including her 23-year-old niece.

“We were basically enlisted into service of our country. And we’ve given everything we have to this. We bury our loved ones on a regular basis and then somebody else is diagnosed, and it’s multigenerational for us,” she said of residents in the area. 

The St. Louis area, where multiple sites were used for the storage of uranium and nuclear waste during World War II, has also suffered significant health impacts. 

Studies conducted there by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services indicated elevated levels of leukemia and breast, colon and kidney cancer relative to the rest of the state in eight ZIP codes along the Missouri River tributary Coldwater Creek from 1996 to 2011.  

Coldwater Creek was the site of extensive dumping by Mallinckrodt Chemical Works, which had an exclusive arrangement with the Department of Energy to produce weapons-grade uranium. 

“They began processing uranium for the Manhattan Project and that uranium came over from the Belgian Congo,” said Dawn Chapman, a leader of the group Just Moms STL, which has lobbied for the RECA expansion. “We were chosen because of our location — we’re right off the Missouri River, we’re in the middle of the country … we’re kind of out of sight.” 

Beyond Coldwater Creek, at least two other sites in the St. Louis area have been linked to exposure to radiation: the West Lake Landfill and the World War II-era Weldon Spring Ordnance Works.   

“Everybody has the same story … our sites are so complex, and they each have their own nuances,” said Kim Visintine, a leader with the community organization Coldwater Creek — Just the Facts Please.  

“The pollution that our government put out there … if you really look at it, you’re thunderstruck,” added Visintine, who describes the damage to the community as “World War II friendly fire.”   

Local activists have called for expansion of compensation for decades, but “our government has never really wanted to know the truth,” Cordova said. “So there’s these spotty studies, but no epidemiological study, no comprehensive epidemiological study of even one community or one state.” 

In Congress, Missouri Sens. Eric Schmitt (R) and Josh Hawley (R) have partnered with Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) in an effort to add the expansion to the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The amendment passed the Senate with a filibuster-proof majority of 61 votes in July.   


Schmitt and Luján have vastly different politics overall. But when they discuss RECA expansion, they sound remarkably similar.   

“Nearly eight decades after the Trinity Test in New Mexico, many New Mexicans are still left out of the original RECA program. This is unacceptable given the number of New Mexicans who have gotten sick and died from radiation exposure,” Luján said after the amendment passed the chamber.  

“The federal government has an obligation to keep Americans safe, and the pure negligence that has harmed St. Louisans has been brushed aside and covered up for far too long,” said Schmitt, who grew up in Bridgeton, the St. Louis suburb that was the site of the West Lake Landfill. “What was wrong back then was to leave out inadvertently the communities that are represented here from that compensation. Because justice is not complete until it is justice for all. That is what we are asking for. Justice for everybody.”  


RECA currently offers payments of $50,000 in compensation to “downwinders” — those downwind of the Nevada National Security Site, the site of at least 1,000 nuclear tests since 1951 — as well as $75,000 to participants in atmospheric nuclear testing and $100,000 to uranium miners and millers. As of January, the federal government has paid out about $2.5 billion to 40,274 people under the law, according to the Justice Department.  

The Senate’s approval of the NDAA amendment marks the 13th attempt at expanding RECA. This year, proponents took advantage of the publicity surrounding Christopher Nolan’s biopic “Oppenheimer,” which depicts the Trinity test in a climactic set piece, to highlight the issue. The amendment passed the Senate July 27, six days after the movie opened.  

The House approved its own version of the NDAA before the Senate. The chambers are set to conference and craft a single final bill, likely toward the end of 2023. 

Efforts to expand eligibility — and even maintain those already in place — face a ticking clock: The original RECA sunsets in 2024. The amendment that passed the Senate would extend the law another 19 years.   

The bipartisan support for the expansion in the Senate has strengthened activists’ conviction that the issue can rise above any partisan fray.   

Activists from both New Mexico and Missouri feel the issue is “not just bipartisan in terms of the political parties but very much feels like a unified front right now,” Chapman said.  

“Radiation is nondiscriminatory, it doesn’t care what color you are, it doesn’t care what your politics are,” Visintine said. “It’s just as deadly to everybody.” It also knows no geographic boundaries, she added — even if an actual contamination site isn’t in a member of Congress’s state or district, interstate travel means a victim of it could easily become part of their constituency.


The St. Louis and New Mexico groups spent years working on the issue separately and lobbying their respective members of Congress, but the Union of Concerned Scientists ultimately connected them. Connecting with their New Mexican counterparts was an emotional, often painful experience, Chapman said, due to the guilt that accompanied St. Louis’s role in producing the uranium that ultimately caused so much suffering in New Mexico. 

“Sitting in a room at the Union of Concerned Scientists building with all these other people, we all sort of cried and hugged each other and mourned what we’ve been through but felt for the first time like we’re one big family,” Chapman said.  

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「日本のメディアは腐っている!」海洋放出の“真の理由”、小出裕章さんが熱弁 via Yahoo!ニュースJapan



今月18日、代々木公園(東京都渋谷区)で開催された、脱原発と温暖化対策を求める「ワタシのミライ イベント&パレード」でのトークセッションで小出さんは、率先として「処理水」という言葉を使う日本のメディアに対し「腐りきっている」と批判。また、そもそも、いわゆる「処理水」―これ以降、地の文では「処理汚染水」と表記する―を海洋放出する必要は無かったことを指摘した。「汚染水を溜めるタンクの置き場所が無く、海洋放出するしかなかったと政府や東電が主張するが、第二原発の広大な敷地があるし、福島第一原発の周辺には国が中間貯蔵施設として確保した広大な土地があるので、新たにタンクを作るなんてことは容易なことで汚染水を海に流さないことは簡単なことだ」(小出さん)











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小学校の裏に「放射性物質を含むガス」排出口 ウラン鉱山の名残はいまなお市街地周辺に…健康影響は?via 東京新聞














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東北大新拠点、浪江を軸に検討 3年後にも設置、エフレイ連携視野via福島民友








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A strategy of concealment via Beyond Nuclear International

By Kolin Kobayashi

Agencies that promote nuclear power are quietly managing its disaster narrative

This year marks the 13th year since the Fukushima accident began, yet the path to a conclusion is by no means clear. The declaration of a state of emergency still cannot be lifted because of the various dangers and difficulties that have arisen. Despite this, Prime Minister Kishida’s government is doing more than ever to promote nuclear power as a basic energy source. This approach is similar to that of the French administration, which is also trying to promote nuclear energy as a dual-use nuclear weapon.

The international nuclear lobby, which represents only a minority, has the influence and money to dominate the world’s population with immense power and has now united the world’s minority nuclear community into one big galaxy. Many of the citizens who have experienced the world’s three most serious civil nuclear accidents have clearly realized that nuclear energy is too dangerous. These citizens are so divided and conflicted that they feel like a helpless minority. 

The current situation with the Fukushima accident

Let’s start with the total amount of radiation that the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant still contains today. The spent fuel at the site contains 85 times more cesium-137 than Chornobyl and 50,000 to 100,000 times more than the Hiroshima bomb. 

The fuel is still stored in pools on the top floor of the reactor buildings (30 metres above ground), with the exception of Unit 3, the removal of which was completed in 2019. 

Now, although 12 years have passed, the precise program for future decommissioning is unclear.  While the approximate overall radiation levels are known, the buildings and reactors themselves, where the decommissioning and dismantling work will take place, are highly radioactive and cannot be easily penetrated by workers. 

The true extent of the accident is not known, nor is the exact state of dispersion of the corium (the molten magma from the nuclear fuel rods in the reactor core). In Unit 1, for example, it is clear from the images taken by a robot that many parts of the circular concrete foundation supporting the pressure vessel have been damaged by the high heat of the corium. There is a significant risk of collapse in the event of a strong earthquake, and if the 440-tonne vessel collapses, it could hit the storage pool next to it. If this pool is damaged, even partially, another major disaster could occur.

Release of contaminated water

The amount of contaminated water is increasing all the time, as water continues to flow to cool the corium. Currently, around 90 tonnes of contaminated water are being added to the tanks every day. There are currently more than 1,000 tanks, and TEPCO says they will be full by February next year. 

TEPCO had promised not to release water without the consent of local communities and fishermen, but this promise was not kept. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) dispatched a team of experts to investigate whether the radioactivity levels of the contaminated water treated by TEPCO met the international safety standards set by the IAEA, and the final report was submitted to the government on July 4. On the basis of this report, the Japanese government decided to release the water and began discharging water into the Pacific Ocean on August 24, releasing 7,800 tons in 17 days. 

However, the IAEA does not have the scientific authority to make reference to the ecological impact of this water discharge, nor has it carried out such a long-term assessment. It is more of a political decision than a scientific one.


Ordinary citizens trust international organizations simply because they hear about them in UN reports. But the IAEA is constantly working to promote nuclear energy. The effects of radiation are trivialized or denied, as if they were not a problem, merely a manageable danger for nuclear power plants. 

The effects of radiation are grossly underestimated. The data base on which the IAEA relies is that of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, collected by the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission. These data are totally incomplete. They do not take into account people who were exposed to radiation more than 2 km from the hypocenters, people who entered the cities after the bombs were dropped, and people who were exposed to radiation from black rain in distant areas. In other words, low-dose radiation exposure is completely ignored.

The French nuclear mullahs are at the heart of this international lobby. In particular, they are engaged in a communication strategy that consists of underestimating, trivializing or denying the effects of radiation, and insisting that it is possible to live with radiation in contaminated areas. In other words, a strategy of concealment. 

The famous Ethos project, which ran in Belarus from 1996 to 2001, ten years after the Chornobyl accident, seemed to be helping the population, but in fact it was consolidating the theory of acceptance of radiation. Jacques Lochard, former director of the CEPN (Centre d’étude sur l’Evaluation de la protection dans le domaine Nucléaire) in France, who carried out this project, quickly showed up in Fukushima in November 2011 and implemented the same strategy in a different form.

Lochard is the perfect example of the constantly revolving door among individuals from organizations that promote nuclear power and those involved in radiation protection. These circumstances are totally unknown to ordinary citizens.

The CEPN is an association with only four members: the CEA (Commissariat à l’énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives), EDF (Électricité de France), Areva/Orano and the IRSN (Institut de radioprotection et de sûreté nucléaire). In other words, it is the embodiment of the French nuclear lobby and manages the French nuclear lobby’s communication on radiation protection. 

The Chornobyl Ethos project and the CORE and SAGE projects that followed it, were organized and carried out by Lochard, now retired but appointed as a visiting professor at the Institute of Atomic Bomb Disease at Nagasaki University, and his right-hand man, Thierry Schneider. They have become respectable points of reference for the European Commission as a means of dealing with a nuclear accident. 

The methods initiated by this minority of promoters will be imposed, with authority and money, on those who are victims of a future serious nuclear accident in Europe. According to this philosophy, there is no need to evacuate. We can live happily with radiation, even in contaminated areas.

In this way, the French nuclear lobby, in cooperation with the International Commission on Radiological Protection, the IAEA-UNSCEAR (United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation) and others, can assure us that we can overcome a serious nuclear accident, by simply adapting to radiation exposure. The phrase “let’s hope people have the strength to bounce back” is repeated. The word “resilience” has become a key word in this milieu.

But in Belarus and Ukraine, 37years after the Chornobyl nuclear disaster, 60% to 80% of children are still ill from the radiation resulting from Chornobyl. In Fukushima too, there are those 300 or more cases of thyroid cancer. The Japanese authorities still insist that in the case of Fukushima, the causal relationship between cancer and radiation is not yet known. This is despite the fact that this was admitted in the case of Chornobyl. It can therefore be said that at Chornobyl, as at Fukushima, the reality of the effects of radiation caused by the accidents is still not officially recognized.

France has clearly stated that nuclear weapons and nuclear power are the two wheels of the car, and President Macron has insisted that a total of 15 nuclear power plants will be built by 2050. Japan has also declared that it will continue to develop nuclear power plants in collaboration with France. 

However, it is clear from the outset that if we continue to develop nuclear power plants, nuclear waste will continue to accumulate. At present, the storage pools at every nuclear power plant site — whether in Japan or France — are approaching the limit of their full capacity. However, no reliable method for the final disposal of high-level nuclear waste has yet been established.

In this way, the lessons of Chornobyl and Fukushima are not being applied at all, but rather, the actual health hazards are being covered up. Any so-called cleanup projects are being carried out for the sake of immediate interests only. In the end, they are forcing the victims to endure radiation exposure and ultimately abandoning them. This is because of the cover-up strategy of the international nuclear lobby in the background.

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応じないと非国民? 岸田政権が旗を振る「国民運動」に違和感 国産水産物の風評被害を招いたのはそもそも via 東京新聞
























◆被害も負担も国民が引き受ける? 識者「東京電力に求償すべき」













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The Discharge of Fukushima’s Radioactive Water could be a Precedent for Similar Actions via Dianuke


By Pinar Demircan

Underlying the disregard for objections from global civil society and transforming the ocean into a nuclear waste dump lies a bigger goal inspired by capitalist practices that arise from its crisis: to achieve another threshold by normalization of cost-cutting measures for the sake of the nuclear industry.

While the climate crisis is rapidly turning forests and habitats of living creatures into coal and ash with a tiny spark of fire in Turkiye, Greece, and Canada, the planet’s seas, already polluted with plastics and waste, are also being recklessly infused with radioactivity, driven by profit and cost-centered policies. On August 24, within the framework of the procedures carried out by the Japanese government and TEPCO, the discharge of 1.34 million tonnes of radioactive water which is accumulated in tanks at the plant site, started.

The installation of a treatment system costing 23 million USD, the discharge of wastewater without an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is being realized by foregoing safer alternatives such as solidification of wastewater into construction materials or long-term storage costing 100 times more that constitutes ecocide. Clearly, this method of release that is expected to be carried out over the next 40 years, indicates a systemic assault on the global ecosystem that is longer and more severe than presently apparent.


A detail that has been overlooked till today is that there is no information regarding the amount of discharge during this 40-year time frame for the disposal of radioactive water into the ocean. This might indicate that the discharged amount may even be equivalent to the period of, for example, 100 years despite the declared duration of 40. In addition, since the present objections have been disregarded, it is worth considering the potential impact of future oppositions at the end of the 40 years.

A threshold to be achieved

Apparently, over the next decade, the radioactive water discharged from Fukushima is anticipated to disseminate into multiple seas worldwide, encompassing the Marmara, Mediterranean, Aegean, and Black Sea, which surrounds Turkiye. A recent scientific study [2] suggests that the evaporation in these seas will escalate industrial radioactivity levels in the ecosystem. Given this backdrop, it is important to ask why TEPCO, the Japanese government, and the IAEA continue to disregard the adverse impacts of the discharge, which also makes them responsible for the potential increases in cancer, DNA damage, increased miscarriages, hormone imbalances, and unhealthy future generations worldwide? Underlying the disregard for objections raised by global civil society, and transforming the ocean into a nuclear waste dump, lies a bigger goal inspired by capitalist practices that arise from its crisis: to achieve another threshold of the normalization of cost-cutting measures for the sake of nuclear industry.

How can we be sure of the exact amount to be released?

It is also possible to consider the above statement with the possibility of adding wastewater from the other nuclear power plants across Japan to the already 1 million 340 thousand tonnes of water accumulated over the past 12 years at Fukushima. While nuclear power plants operate under higher costs and have to cope with four times cheaper renewable energy production costs, the ocean dumping of the radioactive wastewater offers an easy solution for the nuclear industry. Crossing this threshold guarantees the capability to manage climate-induced hazards to nuclear facilities since now, societal consent has been obtained for this plan of action. Imagine how beneficial this course of action will be for the nuclear industry, with the IAEA promising its support for the industry – to the 410 reactors operating worldwide, approximately 50 reactors under construction, and 80 reactors [3] in various stages of maintenance, repair, decommissioning, and dismantling.

Take for example, Rosatom of Russia, the owner of the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant which reached its final stage of construction for the first reactor in Turkiye. It has a long history of concealing the Mayak nuclear power plant accident, well into the 1990s. Furthermore, from 1948 to 2004, Rosatom discharged nuclear waste into the Techa River, thus reinforcing its already questionable track record, and also points to how the legalization of nuclear discharge might be beneficial for the industry. It is also easy to predict the potential impact of this approach in the Mediterranean region by a nation with an underdeveloped democratic system and institutional dynamics dominated [4] by political power. This is especially important since an exemption made for the Akkuyu NPP in the article which allows for the discharge water from the facilities around the Mediterranean temperature of the plant and allows the sea temperature to reach up to 35 Celsius and poses serious ecological challenges indicating that Turkiye violates Barcelona Agreement.


It is noteworthy to mention that the IAEA’s involvement in the nuclear industry stems from a confidential agreement WHA 12-40 [6] with the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1959, stating that “whenever either organization proposes to initiate a programme or activity on a subject in which the other organization has or may have a substantial interest, the first party shall consult the other with a view to adjusting the matter by mutual agreement”. Consequently, the IAEA, established to promote the growth of nuclear power plants worldwide, refrained from disclosing any potential health hazards posed by these plants.

Obviously, it would be misleading to rely on the IAEA’s statements suggesting that radioactive wastewater does not pose any risk to global health. This information strengthens the likelihood that the IAEA did not reveal valid and precise radiation data regarding the Chornobyl accident and Zaporizhia nuclear power plant during the ongoing Ukrainian war either.


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We are all Hibakusha via Beyond Nuclear International

M.V. Ramana

The front page of the Times of India of August 7, 1945, carried the headline World’s deadliest bomb hits Japan: Carries blast power of 20,000 tons of TNT. For millions around the world, headlines of that sort would have been their first intimation of the process of nuclear fission on a large scale.

But, a careful stratigrapher, who studies layers in the soil or rock, might be able to discern that, in fact, nuclear fission had occurred in July 1945. The stratigrapher would just have to look for plutonium at Crawford Lake in Ontario, Canada, the site proposed as the “golden spike” spot to mark the start of the Anthropocene (recognising the problems with its definition as highlighted in Down To Earth’s interview with Amitav Ghosh).

What happened in July 1945 was, of course, Trinity, the world’s first nuclear weapon test, now familiar to many through the film Oppenheimer. A group of researchers recently reconstructed how the plutonium released during that explosion would have been transported by the wind. They calculated that direct radioactive fallout from that test would have reached Crawford Lake within four days of the test, “on July 20, 1945 before peaking on July 22, 1945”.

Since Crawford Lake is nearly 3,000 kilometres from the Trinity test site in New Mexico, it stands to reason that many other places would also have received radioactive fallout from the Trinity test. Now consider the fact that there have been at least 528 nuclear weapon tests around the world that took place above the ground, plus the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki—and you can easily imagine how radioactive fallout must have fallen practically everywhere, whether on land or in the oceans.

Not included in the abovementioned list of 528 is the debated 1979 “Vela incident” that most likely involved an Israeli nuclear weapon test with help from South Africa. It is described as debated only because political elites in the United States, whose Vela satellite 6911 detected a double-flash of light that is characteristic of nuclear explosions, did not want to impose sanctions on Israel.

In 2018, two scientists collected a range of evidence consistent with such a nuclear test, importantly cases of radioactive element iodine-131 that was found in the thyroids of some sheep in 1979—in the south east part of Australia, across the oceans. Again, proof that radioactive fallout from nuclear weapon tests spread out globally.

But it is not just nuclear weapons tests. Accidents at nuclear power plants, too, have produced radioactive fallout that has contaminated the peoples of the world. Radioactive cesium released by the 1986 Chernobyl reactor explosion was found in multiple countries across Western Europe. Yet again, sheep, this time in England, Scotland and Wales, were contaminated, and for a time scientists could not even understand the behaviour of the radioactive cesium that the sheep were ingesting.


Even without nuclear weapons explosions and reactor accidents, people around the world are exposed to radioactive materials—from reprocessing plants. These facilities chemically process the irradiated spent fuel from nuclear power plants, while also producing very large volumes of liquid and gaseous radioactive effluents. These effluents are released into the air; exposure to these constitutes the largest component of the radiation dose to “members of the public from radionuclides released in effluents from the nuclear fuel cycle”.


But underground nuclear weapon tests do, sometimes, vent, releasing radioactive materials into the air. After the Limited Test Ban Treaty of 1963, all US nuclear weapons tests were designed to completely contain the radioactivity underground. Nevertheless, 105 of them vented radioactive materials into the atmosphere. A further 287 tests had “operational releases” whereby radioactivity was released during routine post-test activities. Similarly, several hundred underground nuclear weapons explosions at the Novaya Zemlya test site in the Soviet Union released radioactivity into the atmosphere.

Radioactive materials from these releases spread far and wide. In 1970, radioactive materials vented during the Baneberry test were detected as far as Canada; but Canadian diplomats told US officials that “they had no intention to make a formal protest or to conceive of the event as a violation” of the Limited Test Ban Treaty.


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Didier Anger’s Message against the release of radioactive water from Fukushima via Yosomono-net

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Revisiting the “inalienable right” via Beyond Nuclear International

Austria cautions against nuclear power in the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

The following is a statement delivered by George-Wilhelm Gallhofer, diplomat at the Austrian Mission to the United Nations, on behalf of the Government of Austria, on 8 August 2023, during the First Session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2025 Review Conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty in Vienna, Austria.

Austria fully respects the inalienable right of all Parties to the NPT to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. At the same time, Austria calls on all States to limit “the further development of the applications of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes” to those applications not raising concerns for possible military applications. This is specifically laid out in Art. IV of the NPT, which simultaneously requires conformity with Article I and II.

In this regard, we see the use of nuclear power differing significantly from any other application of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Any expansion of nuclear power necessarily increases the risk of proliferation while applications in health, agriculture, imaging and physical measurement do usually not raise this risk.

For this reason, full scope safeguards and ideally an Additional Protocol must accompany each nuclear program.

Let me also caution against advertising nuclear power as an appropriate source of electricity to combat negative climate effects and answer to the climate crises. The comparatively low CO2 emissions of nuclear power do not compensate for disadvantages inevitably connected to nuclear power. Let me give you three examples:

1) The safe and permanent disposal of spent nuclear fuel is still unresolved. To date, not a single repository for such waste is in operation worldwide. Even if such repositories were to become operational in the foreseeable future, today’s knowledge cannot guarantee the safe enclosure required for hundred thousands of years.

2) We cannot completely exclude severe accidents from nuclear power plants involving large and early releases of radionuclides with significant adverse consequences, including contamination even on the territory of other countries.

3) There is only a limited supply of uranium and thorium available and a nuclear “fuel cycle” does not exist so far. If there would be such a cycle, it would trigger more challenges regarding safety, security and safeguards.

This list is by far not exhaustive but underlines my previous point: Austria does not consider nuclear power to be compatible with the concept of sustainable development. In our view, reliance on nuclear power is neither a viable nor a cost-efficient option to combat climate change. Both the polluter-pays principle and the precautionary principle are grossly violated in nuclear power use.

Let me reiterate that Austria regards technical cooperation as an integral part of its activities. While we retain reservations about nuclear energy generation, we fully support the activities in the wider area of non-power applications of peaceful nuclear science and technology.

In this regard, we would like to highlight our continued support for the ongoing modernization of the IAEA nuclear applications laboratories in Seibersdorf, Austria, under ReNuAL2. We are glad to see the work on this program continuously progressing.

Austria further welcome approaches to establish comprehensive and ambitious international nuclear safety standards and guidance that prioritize nuclear safety. In addition, we urge States to maintain nuclear safety of existing nuclear power plants, for example by adequately addressing physical aging. When deciding to engage in nuclear power production, nuclear safety needs to be the one of the main concerns at all times and continuous investments in its improvement have to be guaranteed.

In this regard, we are particularly grateful for the IAEA’s tireless efforts which culminated in DG Grossi’s presentation to the UN Security Council on establishing five concrete principles on nuclear safety and security at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant based on the Seven Indispensable Pillars. In order to prevent a nuclear accident, Austria underlines the indispensable importance of due priority to nuclear safety and strongly supports these principles and their implementation.

Reports of military equipment and explosives being placed within the plant perimeter at ZNPP and direct shelling are extremely worrying. Nuclear power plants are not designed to withstand armed conflicts. Violating the “five principles” is inconsistent with the IAEA safety standards and nuclear security guidance and create additional psychological pressure on plant staff. 

Let me be clear, the attack on nuclear power plants or other nuclear facilities can have complex humanitarian consequences, rendering these acts illegitimate under international humanitarian law. We urge Russia to withdraw its military equipment and all personnel from the ZNPP, and return its full control to its rightful owner, Ukraine and to refrain from any further acts incompatible with international humanitarian law.

Therefore, Austria stands ready to continue its support for the Agency’s work in and on Ukraine. Nuclear safety and security issues are traditionally important to Austria and the extremely dangerous situation in Ukraine requires our particular attention. 

To this end, Austria has contributed one million euros for the IAEA mission for safety and security in Ukraine in order to effectively implement their mandate and help to enhance the safety and security situation on site.

To conclude, let me re-emphasize that Austria respects the sovereign and free choice of all States regarding their energy production. However, whenever our Austrian environment and people are potentially affected in a harmful manner, we will continue to raise our concerns.


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