12| A Bizarre Recycling Program—the Arrogance of Power (excerpt)

The same malevolent mentality that permitted horrendous radiation experiments to be performed on poor people, the mentally retarded, pregnant women, soldiers, and prisoners without their knowledge and consent—has now created the new victims of depleted uranium.

Alice Slater

The world is awash in radioactive waste. We simply haven't a clue where to put it. The latest harebrained scheme in the U.S. is to ship the lethal carcinogenic garbage from nuclear weapons and civilian nuclear power plants, by rail and by truck, from the four corners of the continent, and bury it in a hole in the ground in Nevada at Yucca Mountain.

Citizens groups, like the proverbial boy with his finger in the dike, have been holding off the onslaught of this devastating disposal solution, preventing the legislation from passing in the Congress. Deadly plutonium remains toxic for 250,000 years and there is no way of guaranteeing that the Yucca site could prevent radioactive seepage into the ground water over this unimaginable period of time. Remember that all of recorded history is only 5,000 years old!

Meanwhile we are importing foreign fuel waste and scheduling it for "reprocessing" and "enrichment" for eventual resale to feed the reckless nuclear power industry. Stymied in this country where they are unable to build hazardous new reactors, companies like Westinghouse have redoubled their efforts to peddle their poisonous products abroad, spreading not only more lethal nuclear waste, but creating nuclear bomb factories in ever more countries who want to play with the big boys by developing their own source of bomb material with each new siting of a civilian power reactor.

The most difficult part of building a nuclear weapon is obtaining the plutonium. The mechanical technology is widely known today. All nuclear power plants produce weapons material. Some reactors, such as the light water reactors proposed for North Korea, make the process of developing bomb-grade plutonium more complicated than others. But eventually they can all deliver the lethal goods.

Enchanted by the "density" of depleted uranium and the "hardness" of its alloys, some evil genius in the pay of the Pentagon thought to make bullets from it that can penetrate tank armor in a bizarre recycling program that enabled the government to make a dent in the five hundred thousand tons of depleted uranium waste amassed since the Manhattan Project. Don't be misled by the term "depleted uranium." Like "spent fuel" from civilian reactors, depleted uranium is highly toxic and carcinogenic and has a half life of some 4.4 billion years.


The full text of this chapter is available in the book, Metal of Dishonor. Link here for order information.




Share this page with a friend

International Action Center
39 West 14th Street, Room 206
New York, NY 10011

email: mailto:iacenter@action-mail.org
En Espanol: iac-cai@action-mail.org
Web: http://www.iacenter.org
Support Mumia Abu-Jamal:
phone: 212 633-6646
fax: 212 633-2889

a donation to the IAC and its projects


The International Action Center
Home     ActionAlerts    Press