Deadly water Elders recall forced removal to contaminated land

Please read article, cited after the quote. Articles open in a new window.

Katherine Peshlakai, Faye Willie and Elsie Tohannie have a lot in common, besides their years.Following the Long Walk in the 1860s and the imprisonment of Navajos at Bosque Redondo, their families settled in an area later known as Wupatki National Monument. Recognition of Navajo occupancy was not included in enabling legislation that created the park, and in the early 1960s, the families were kicked out.

Driven from their winter sheep camps at Wupatki and across the Little Colorado River to make way for the national monument near Flagstaff, they settled in Black Falls, an area contaminated in the 1950s by radioactive fallout from above-ground atomic testing at Nevada Test Site.

They located their homes near abandoned uranium mines where ore was dug and used to fuel the Cold War. They drank from springs and wells contaminated with uranium and arsenic and dug water holes in the river to water their livestock. Now, after more than 40 years, some of the “Forgotten People,” as they are known, finally have safe drinking water.


North Korea Test May Trigger China Action, Gates Says

Please read article, cited after the quote. Articles open in a new window.

May 29 (Bloomberg) — U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said North Korea’s nuclear test may present an opening for China to back a tougher response from the international community.

“Just based on what the Chinese government has said publicly, they’re clearly pretty unhappy,” Gates told reporters traveling with him today to Singapore for an annual Asian security conference known as the Shangri-La Dialogue. “It is important for the Chinese to be part of any effort to try and deal with these issues.”

China’s foreign ministry has said the country “resolutely opposes” North Korea’s nuclear test. China on May 25 agreed with the U.S., Japan and Russia to work toward a United Nations Security Council resolution censuring North Korea. The U.S. and Japan want the statement to call for cutting the communist country’s global financial ties and to forbid the regime from selling weapons to raise money, UN diplomats said.

Native Title Tribunal stops mining lease

Please read article, cited after the quote. Articles open in a new window.

An Aboriginal land corporation has had a historic win in the National Native Title Tribunal by blocking a company’s application for a mining lease.

In the first case where a company has failed to win a mining application on land granted under the Native Title Act, Reward Minerals Ltd subsidiary Holocene Pty Ltd was denied a lease over Lake Disappointment in Western Australia.

The Western Deserts Lands Aboriginal Corporation (WDLAC), which holds the native title area on trust for the Martu people, hailed the decision as “a historic and special day”

Texas contractor found guilty of defrauding Pantex

Please read article, cited after the quote. Articles open in a new window.

AMARILLO, Texas — An Amarillo man has been found guilty on 29 charges of defrauding the federal government’s Pantex Nuclear Facility by billing for hours he and his employees didn’t work.

Federal prosecutors said Thursday that 57-year-old Roy David Williams was convicted of wire fraud, theft of public money, 16 counts of fraudulent claims and 11 other counts. Williams is alleged to have defrauded Pantex of more than $169,000 in public money.

Authorities say Williams owned WAATTS Inc. in Amarillo and used bogus addresses in Tennessee as part of his scheme.

US senator calls for 100 new nuclear plants in the US by 2029

Please read article, cited after the quote. Articles open in a new window.

The US should build 100 new nuclear plants in 20 years "while we figure
out renewable electricity," Senator Lamar Alexander, a Tennessee Republican,
said in a speech Wednesday at the Tennessee Valley Corridor Summit in Oak
Ridge, Tennessee.

     Alexander said "it is an aggressive goal, but with presidential
leadership it could happen." It will be 30 to 50 years before renewable
sources of electricity "are cheap enough and reliable enough to supply most of
the power to our electric grid," he said. 

     Alexander is a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works
Committee, which oversees the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and a member
of the Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development of the Appropriations
Committee, which controls the funding for the US Department of Energy.

State of Nevada Op-Ed Response to N.Y. Times Editorial

Please read article, cited after the quote. Articles open in a new window.

If we “Follow the Science on Yucca”, as your May 20 editorial recommends, we would abandon the Department of Energy’s project out of hand. It would not meet federal radiation safety rules. In an unprecedented May 11 decision, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Licensing Boards admitted 299 safety and environmental issues for litigation. It did so in the face of total opposition from DOE for the litigation of even a single issue. The State believes the site to be unsuitable for permanent storage of the nation’s high level waste and spent nuclear fuel.
The Times claims the $196.8 million dollars recommended by the President is insufficient for the Department of Energy to participate adequately in the licensing process. “There is great danger that the department will lack the expertise needed to answer tough technical questions that emerge during the regulatory commission’s reviews.” However, at a meeting this week in Las Vegas, DOE’s representative Dave Zabransky of the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management told a meeting of affected units of local government that their outside law firm is funded to appropriately support licensing. The Department of Energy has spent close to $8 billion already on a project that is projected by DOE to cost $96 billion, making it the most expensive engineering project in world history.
The state of Nevada has seen its funding to participate in the licensing process cut even more drastically than DOE’s. For 25 years, this has been a one-sided presentation. DOE has presented it’s “science” and facts in its 8,500+ page application. The licensing application is finally an opportunity for Nevada and other parties to show through its scientists, experts and attorneys that the proposed boondoggle is fatally flawed. Remember, DOE’s scientists are on their payroll. These are not independent scientists performing investigations in which they have no stake in the outcome. Their work is more accurately described as litigation support for DOE’s lawyers who seek a facility license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Nevada’s scientists are very critical of DOE’s work. Until the NRC reviews the technical issues, and Nevada has the opportunity to subject DOE’s expert witnesses to cross examination, the DOE’s technical conclusions are nothing more than the initial claims of a license applicant.

NKorea test-fires missile, slams Security Council

Please read article, cited after the quote. Articles open in a new window.

YEONPYEONG, South Korea (AP) — North Korea defiantly test-fired another short-range missile Friday and warned it would act in “self-defense” if provoked by the U.N. Security Council, which is considering tough sanctions against the communist regime for conducting a nuclear test.

The North fired the missile from its Musudan-ni launch site on the east coast, a South Korean government official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the matter. It is the sixth short-range missile North Korea has test-fired since Monday’s nuclear test.

The official did not provide further details. But the Yonhap news agency cited an unidentified South Korean government official as saying the missile is a new type of ground-to-air missile estimated to have a range of up to 160 miles (260 kilometers).