Archive for the ‘Opposition to nuclear’ Category

What do you think the arms trade is, a charity? Actually yes, that’s what it is

November 3, 2022

Michael West Media, by Callum Foote | Oct 7, 2022,

All’s not fair at the warfare Expo, where taxpayer-funded arms merchants hobnob with military types by invitation only. “Aggressive” journalists not allowed. Persona non grata Callum Foote reports on Land Forces 2022, Australia’s biggest War Fair.

Land Forces is the annual exposition for the defence industry, or the most profitable corporate welfare exercise in the country. 

Australia is the fourth largest importer of weapons in the world, behind Saudi Arabia, India and Egypt. It is roughly the 20th largest exporter of weapons. This is a disparity former Defence Minister Christopher Pyne, now a defence industry consultant, set out to rectify in 2018 with the launch of the $3 billion Defence Export Strategy after meeting with Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed al Nahyan. Pyne, who was in attendance at Land Forces 2022, stated at the time the goal of making Australia a top-10 exporter.

Over the next decade, the Australian government will invest $200 billion in the Defence Force with an eye to support the weapons export industry. In line with these goals, Australian military spending has shot through the roof – from $10 billion in 2000 to just under $50 billion in the last budget. The big winners? Largely foreign multinational defence contractors, and plenty of small local ones too; they’re growing along with the public spending.

Land Forces is their gathering, the gathering of the year for those looking to earn a profit from this public investment. The conference brings in interest from international weapons makers such as Boeing and Thales as well as 700-odd smaller Australian manufacturers and service providers hoping to get in on the action.

Alms for arms

The company behind Land Forces, AMDA, formerly the Aerospace Maritime and Defence Foundation of Australia, is part of group of companies registered with Australian Charities and Non-for-profit Commission which operates around the country. 

Yes, that’s right: AMDA is a weapons charity; and despite its income of $10m-plus from defence contractors and governments, it also helped itself to JobKeeper subsidies, despite rising profits during the Pandemic.

t has 24 full-time-equivalent employees and had a total revenue in 2021 of $8.5 million – 13% of which came from government grants.

While revenue in 2021 was down from 2020, where the ‘‘charity’’ pulled in $10.5 million, profit was actually up from $2.1 to $3.5 million. Sales revenue also rose slightly in 2021 from $7.2 million to $7.4 million.

Where this charity’s financials differ from most, not even to begin discussing its purpose, is that as of 2021 AMDA has $32.5 million in assets, up from $28 million the year before, with over $10 million of that being in cash or cash equivalents. Were it not for JobKeeper, its large cash reserves would still be large but not quite so large. 

With all this cash, one would think that AMDA could weather any storm. Not so, according to the board which includes not one but two former chiefs of the Australian Navy, a former chief of Army and Air Force and a former CEO of Lockheed Martin Australia, who decided to take JobKeeper payments.

That’s right, over 2020 and 2021 AMDA took $1.2 million in JobKeeper payments, $870,000 in 2021 and $360,000 in 2020. 

In the same period the total remuneration to the key management personnel of the charity, people such as the CEO and the board members, was $1.5 million and $1.4 million respectively.

Despite the fact that this is public money, AMDA has refused to comment on whether it will be returning the taxpayer subsidies it took to line the coffers of its charity while increasing executive pay.

Embedded with the activists

The activists protesting outside the arms fair are up against a powerful foe, and they know it.

While protesting under the banner of Disrupt Land Forces, a campaign organised under the flag of activist organisation Wage Peace, the activists are reluctant to claim that they are a part of any organisation at all. It’s more of a community, they say.

Most protesters are wary of the media and wish to remain anonymous. There are members of more ‘‘hardcore’’ organisations such as Extinction Rebellion and Blockade Australia, 12 of which were arrested last June during civil action related to climate change.

On Tuesday morning, around 50 or so of the protesters gathered outside the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre entrance where a rally received moderate media attention from SBS and Channels 10 and Seven. 

These media outlets were really only interested in the Greens politicians, led by Senator  David Shoebridge, who briefly talked to the activists before clearing off. The cameras then left with them, leaving the activists to the rest of the weeks activities. 

Depending on who you ask, the goal of the protesters is to either meaningfully decrease the attendance of the conference or increase the cost of putting it on……………………………………………………..

A likely Coalition

Many of the protesters have been involved in activism for decades, such as Margie Pestorius, a spokesperson for Wage Peace who has been protesting since the late 1980s.

“I was part of the Melbourne Rainforest Action Group [MRAG] at its height in 1989. We blockaded ships carrying Malaysian rainforest timber threatening the livelihoods and lives of the Indigenous Penan and the ecosystems they had nurtured and lived with.”

Pestorius has since pivoted to anti-militarism activism, which lacks the same support as environmental causes here in Australia.

Among the protesters are Aunty Sue Haseldine, Indigenous elder from Kokatha country who has had to deal with the fallout of atomic weapons testing in her country. Now she has learnt that Souther Launch, an Australian space company who has “aligning their business goals with defence industry priorities” according to Thales will be testing on her land once again.

Aunty Sue says she will refuse to leave if testing goes ahead “If they’re going to destroy heritage then they’re going to destroy me too. That country out there is our church, our school, our spirituality, our pharmacy. It is shameful to know that these weapons will be tested on our country which will then be used to commit atrocities across the world” she told a crowd outside Thales’ office in Brisbane.

Uncle George Dimara from West Papua also spoke outside Thales, decrying the use of Australian-built Thales Bushmasters being used by Indonesian forces in West Papua.

Others include members from Teachers for Peace, a group of Australian teachers who are pushing back against what they see as the encroachment of defence industry spending in the education sector.

The protests lack the wide-scale support seen in the environmental movement such as the thousands strong marches that have taken place in Australia’s major cities over the past few years, but that doesn’t mean these activists are dismayed.

According to Adrian Heaney, a spokesperson for Wage Peace, “these protests have demonstrated our commitment to resisting the profit-fuelled arms race enabled by institutions like Land Forces. Arms fairs of this kind in Australia have been stopped before by people power—it’s our responsibility to continue this tradition. There is no time left for more murder, more destruction. We need collaboration, not more conflict.”

‘Reject the deadly logic of nuclear deterrence’ -Australian unions, churches, civil society

November 3, 2022

So, who is on board? More than 100 federal MPs and another 150 in state and territory parliaments, the Australian Greens, Labor and most other cross-benchers, including most of the new independents.

Two dozen unions, including the Australian Council of Trade Unions, more than 60 faith-based organizations, including the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, the Australian Medical Association, dozens of civil society organisations and three quarters of the general public.

Fifty five former Australian Ambassadors and High Commissioners signed an open letter urging PM Albanese to fulfill Labor’s commitment.

Gem Romuld, August 21, 2022, Gem Romuld, the Australian Director at International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, Australia, delivered this speech to the Sydney Hiroshima Day rally on August 8.

I want to acknowledge that First Nations people suffer the worst of nuclear technologies, not just nuclear weapons’ testing but all aspects of the nuclear chain, including uranium mining and radioactive waste dumping.

These struggles are ongoing today with threats of uranium mining at Mulga Rock in Western Australia, a radioactive waste dump planned for Barngarla land at Kimba, South Australia and the ongoing un-remedied impacts of 12 major nuclear explosions at Monte Bello in WA, Emu Field and Maralinga in SA, followed by hundreds of radioactive experiments — “the minor trials” —at Maralinga.

Today is a really important marker in time, one that we are keeping alive by gathering here.

What happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki is why the vast majority of sensible people totally abhor nuclear weapons and want to see every last one decommissioned and dismantled.

Five years ago, the treaty banning nuclear weapons was created and last year it entered into force. It is something that experts, governments, diplomats and, even some activists, said could and would not happen.

But with strategy and persistence it did. Now, it has permanently altered the international legal architecture on nuclear weapons: it has raised the bar and all nations are measured against this powerful new standard.

Right now, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons has 86 signatories and 66 states parties, with those numbers going out of date regularly as more nations sign on.

Every new signature and ratification is a rejection of the deadly logic of nuclear deterrence and a bold expression of the alternative — human security without nuclear weapons.

The first meeting of states parties in Vienna in June was a big success that culminated in a Declaration and Action Plan, including 50 Points outlining practical ways members of the TPNW can “facilitate effective and timely implementation” of the Treaty articles and the Vienna Declaration commitments.

The second meeting of states parties will be in November-December 2023 at the United Nations in New York City. It will come around quickly. We need Australia to be at that meeting at least as a signatory, if not a state party.

Why is this treaty important?

It’s the first treaty to make illegal everything to do with nuclear weapons.

It completes the triad of bans on the three weapons of mass destruction: nuclear weapons; biological weapons and chemical weapons.

It is a powerful instrument of international law, as well as humanitarian law: it not only prohibits, but it also compels states’ parties to seek nuclear justice by assisting victims and remediating environments impacted by nuclear weapons.

In force as of January last year it is the ultimate test for all nations, including Australia. You are either against nuclear weapons or complicit with them.

Any nations that profess commitment to nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation but haven’t yet joined this treaty are exposed for their double-speak.

Under the previous federal government, prospects for this treaty were dire.

But Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and the Labor Party have committed to sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons since 2018. Further, three quarters of all Labor MPs have personally pledged their commitment.

We all know that MPs make and break promises. But this is one we won’t let them break, will we?

Our efforts right now are critically important. We cannot for a minute drop the expectation that the government will do what it has promised. We have to be involved and keep up the pressure with MPs, councils, superannuation funds, unions and civil society organisations.

Like most meaningful change, it will take time and be hard won but we are well and truly on the way.

So, who is on board? More than 100 federal MPs and another 150 in state and territory parliaments, the Australian Greens, Labor and most other cross-benchers, including most of the new independents.

Two dozen unions, including the Australian Council of Trade Unions, more than 60 faith-based organizations, including the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, the Australian Medical Association, dozens of civil society organisations and three quarters of the general public.

Fifty five former Australian Ambassadors and High Commissioners signed an open letter urging PM Albanese to fulfill Labor’s commitment.

We have all the right ingredients: the moment is ripe. We can get Australia to join the nuclear weapon ban treaty in this term of government.

Doing that will help other nuclear endorsing states resist the pressure of the nuclear-armed bullies. Slowly, they will be isolated and, eventually, one of them will begin the process of disarming.

Cities should increase role in effort to abolish nuclear weapons

November 3, 2022

Mayors for Peace comprises 8,213 cities from 166 countries and regions, including the United States, Russia and other nuclear weapon states., October 24, 2022 

Foreign representatives to the general conference of Mayors for Peace pose for a photograph in Hiroshima on Oct. 20. (The Asahi Shimbun)

While disarmament by nuclear weapon states progresses only at a snail’s pace, Russia has invaded Ukraine and has repeatedly threatened to use nuclear weapons.

The developments have brought home a reality where nuclear arms could be used again in the manner of what was done to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

In light of the situation, we are left to ask what role could be played by local governments, which are closer to citizens than central governments, in striving for the goal of abolishing nuclear weapons.

Mayors for Peace held its 10th General Conference in Hiroshima on Oct. 19-20.

The international nongovernmental organization was founded 40 years ago in the midst of the Cold War in response to a proposal made by Hiroshima’s mayor at a U.N. meeting.

The Hiroshima Appeal, adopted at the meeting last week, expressed alarm at the risk of nuclear war, which it said has been raised to “the highest level,” and emphasized that “the only absolute viable measure for humanity to take against repeated threats of nuclear weapons is their total elimination.”

The document called on nuclear weapon states to fulfill their disarmament obligations spelled out in the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and to ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), which took effect at the initiative of countries with no nuclear arsenals, in lockstep.

Mayors for Peace comprises 8,213 cities from 166 countries and regions, including the United States, Russia and other nuclear weapon states.

While nuclear weapon states and their allies continue to adhere to the nuclear deterrence theory, the organization has called on local governments to unite across national borders and return to the basic principle that nuclear arms should be abolished. It has played a significant role.

A number of cities, particularly in Europe, have moved to join Mayors for Peace since Russia invaded Ukraine.

In a resolution last year, the U.S. Conference of Mayors called on the U.S. government to welcome the TPNW and take immediate action toward nuclear abolition. Cities that are members of Mayors for Peace played a major part in that process.

Mayors for Peace should expand its activities by capitalizing on the current trend of the growing presence of local governments.

The essential thing is to work hand in hand with civil society in sending out messages.

Mayors for Peace has been supported by pleas from survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that the error should never be repeated.

During the meeting in Hiroshima, cases of efforts being made in Japan and abroad were presented. They include how a group of 26 cities in western Tokyo have been working together to archive people’s accounts of their war experiences and to provide peace education.

We hope more local governments will draw on their networks to share and expand their diverse attempts.

Japan, as the only nation that has suffered atomic bombings in war, has a major role to play.

Of all municipalities in the nation and Tokyo’s wards, more than 99 percent, or 1,737, are members of Mayors for Peace.

At a general meeting of Japanese member cities held on the sidelines of the 10th general conference, a written request was approved calling on the government to participate as an observer in the second meeting of the state parties to the TPNW, which is scheduled for next year, and sign and ratify the treaty.

Hiroshima is expected to host the first meeting of a new international group of eminent persons to discuss nuclear disarmament by year-end and a Group of Seven summit next spring.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who will be presiding over both meetings, should take the appeal of Mayors for Peace seriously and discard his stance of continuing to turn his back on the TPNW as soon as possible.

After the hibakusha: the future of Japan’s anti-nuclear movement

April 30, 2022
Oka Nobuko age 16 in Nagasaki 1945

After the hibakusha: the future of Japan’s anti-nuclear movement

Yoshida Mayu, NHK World Correspondent, 31 Jan 22,   Activists calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons have long relied on the powerful testimonies of atomic bomb survivors, or hibakusha, to grow their movement. But with ever fewer people to offer that testimony, both the hibakusha and activists know those days are running out. NHK World’s Yoshida Mayu speaks to different generations who have a common goal: a world without nuclear weapons.

Hellish memories

Oka Nobuko was in Nagasaki on August 9, 1945, the day the US dropped an atomic bomb on the city. For most of her life, she avoided talking about her experiences as the memories were too painful.

Last year she finally broke her silence to deliver a speech at the annual ceremony commemorating the date of the bombing.

“When I stood up, I was immediately knocked down and I lost consciousness,” she recounted. “When I woke up, I didn’t know where I was. Pieces of shattered glass were lodged in my body.”

Oka was a 16-year-old nursing student at the time and helped treat other victims at a first aid center.

“No treatment was possible in a lot of these cases,” she said. “There was flesh dangling from exposed bone. Some people jumped off buildings to kill themselves because they couldn’t endure the pain any longer.”

She described the scenes as “hellish” and said she suffered severe headaches every time the memories returned. For this reason, she always avoided going to the area where the first aid center was located.

Time to speak

In a letter to a close friend three years ago, Oka wrote of her worries that her memories and those of other hibakusha would soon be gone.

“The hibakusha are getting older and someday all of us will be gone,” she wrote.

Estimates put the number of living hibakusha at around 127,000, with an average age of 83.This sense that time was running out is what motivated Oka to finally share her story last August.

“We, the hibakusha, will continue to share our experiences and call for the abolition of nuclear weapons. We will fight for peace.”

Last November, three months after giving her speech, Oka died at the age of 93.

Inspiring other hibakusha Fukuda Hakaru, a 90-year-old Nagasaki hibakusha, says hearing Oka speak inspired him to share his own story. He wrote her a letter, saying how much her courage had moved him.

Fukuda had gone to the first aid center Oka was working at to get medicine for his father, who was severely injured in the blast.

“I can still hear the screams of the patients,” he says. “Doctors and nurses were running around to help them. It was a painful sight. It is very hard for me to talk about what I saw. The medical workers were the ones who saw up close the inhumanity of the atomic bombs.”

Fukuda was 14 at the time. He did not suffer any serious injuries, but his father, who was working close to ground zero, died a month later.”I’ll never forget how I felt. I had to pick up his remains after the cremation, but I have no idea how I managed. The world needs to know that this is the kind of pain that an atomic bomb causes. It cannot be allowed to happen again.”

Fukuda says he long felt he had a duty to share his story but avoided doing so because he was worried about the anti-hibakusha discrimination he and his family might face.

Many survivors and their families have had to deal with prejudice and discrimination over the years. Initially, little was known about the effects of radiation exposure, and some people incorrectly regarded it as contagious. The social stigma was especially serious when it came to marriage or work.

“The hibakusha continue to suffer today,” says Fukuda. “That’s yet another reason why we need to make sure this never happens again.”

Preserving Oka’s message

In December, a group of university students from Nagasaki hosted a virtual conference about the experiences of the hibakusha, speaking to high school classes about the stories they had heard from survivors.

One of these students was Kaji Misato, who spent a lot of time with Oka during her final days.

“Oka was with her mother and brother at the time of the bombing,” Kaji said at the event. “As she stood up, she realized she was covered in blood.”Kaji spoke to Oka four times last year and recorded five hours of conversation. She said it was an eye-opening experience.

“The atomic bombing always felt like something in the past,” Kaji says. “But after hearing her story, I started to feel a greater sense of attachment. She told us the war had robbed her of her youth and she wanted peace so the same thing didn’t happen with the youth of today.”Every year on August 9, a siren rings out across the city at 11:02 AM, the exact time the atomic bomb exploded. Residents stop what they are doing to observe a minute of silence. But when Kaji visited the city center last year, she was shocked to see how few people were actually paying their respects.

About a month later, Oka was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Kaji met with her shortly after.

“She told me she was worried that once all the hibakusha are gone, their memories would fade as well,” Kaji says.

She took her words to heart and decided to share what she told her with people even younger. The high school students who attended the virtual session said it was an insightful experience.”Her vivid memories made me feel the horror of the atomic bomb,” said one student.

“We cannot take peace for granted,” said another. “We have to take care of the people who are close to us.”

This year promises to be a crucial one for the abolition movement. State parties to the UN nuclear weapons ban treaty are planning to hold their first meeting to try to agree on specific actions. In the meantime, young campaigners like Kaji are ensuring that the stories from those who witnessed the horrors of 1945 are documented and heard.

New film: The ‘Mothers of the Revolution’ Who Stared Down Nuclear Weapons

December 25, 2021

The ‘Mothers of the Revolution’ Who Stared Down Nuclear Weapons,   The doc ‘Mothers of the Revolution’ chronicles the women who spent years protesting the nukes at RAF Greenham Common. One of those brave women, Rebecca Johnson, tells their story.   Daily Beast, Rebecca Johnson Nov. 21, 2021  In September 1981, a ten-day walk from Wales under the banner of Women for Life on Earth arrived at the main gate of RAF Greenham Common, sixty miles west of London. Home to the 501st Tactical Missile Wing of the U.S. Air Force, this nuclear base was designated by NATO to deploy nuclear-armed cruise missiles in Europe. We called for this decision to be publicly debated.

When ignored, Women for Life on Earth grew into the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp. I began living there in 1982 and stayed until the 1987 U.S.-Soviet Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty banned and eliminated all land-based medium-range nuclear weapons from Europe, including Cruise, Pershing and SS20s.

After years of being airbrushed out of histories of the Cold War, Greenham’s actions, struggles and legacy are being spotlighted in a new film, Mothers of the Revolution, from acclaimed New Zealand director Briar March. Showing contemporaneous news footage from the 1980s along with dramatized vignettes and reflections from women who got involved with the Greenham Women’s Peace Camp in the 1980s, the film weaves an illustrative narrative from the experiences of a small cross section of activists—not only from Britain, but Russia, East and West Europe, the United States, and the Pacific.

Though it’s taken a long time for our contribution to the INF Treaty to be publicly recognized, other treaties have been influenced by Greenham’s feminist-humanitarian activism and strategies, most notably the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which entered into international law in January 2021.

While living at Greenham for five years I came to understand what we really need: Not weapons and power over others, but communities that are empowered to love, question and create. We took forward new theories and practices of nonviolence that were feminist and assertive. We didn’t suppress deep human emotions like fear, love and anger, but channelled them into power for change. We needed to be activist and analytical, passionate and diplomatic, stubborn and flexible, courageous and truthful—no matter who tried to silence us.

The cruise missiles arrived in November 1983, which felt like a bitter defeat at first. Yet we refused to give up. …………….

Were we mothers of a revolution? If anything, I think we were part of a long continuum of struggles for women’s rights and safety, following in the footsteps of the women who fought so hard to vote and live free from oppression, slavery, and misogyny. Not mothers but daughters—of all those brave feminist revolutionaries.

I’m so glad Mothers of the Revolution ends with such an inspiring call to action showing the faces and voices of a new generation of fierce Daughters who are campaigning for girls’ education, climate justice, peace, and women’s rights to live free of patriarchal perpetrators and their greedy, oppressive systems of violence. Together we can stop the destroyers and strengthen the naturally diverse, interdependent lives that share and protect our beautiful Mother Earth. That’s our revolution, and we are not finished yet.

How Bodega Head almost ended up with a nuclear power plant – but a resistant commmunity won.

December 25, 2021

How Bodega Head almost ended up with a nuclear power plant, TOM AUSTIN. November 8, 2021   Bodega Bay, and nearby Bodega, have deeper histories than most Sonoma County towns. Being a pristine, protected natural harbor will do that for you. Bodega Bay was nearly the landing spot for Sir Francis Drake, although recent finds have pretty conclusively held that Drake’s Bay in nearby Pt. Reyes is properly named. Bodega Bay was named after Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra, an explorer for the Spanish Navy –except where HE landed was nearby Tomales Bay. And of course both seaside hamlets are famous for being the locale for the classic Hitchcock thriller “The Birds.”

However, the most significant happening in Bodega Bay is of much more modern vintage. In 1958, four full years before Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” ignited the modern environmental movement, PG&E was planning the world’s first commercially viable nuclear power plant. In an absolutely characteristic example of Big Power’s public instincts, they had chosen scenic Bodega Head as the location for this Atomic Age wonder. “What could go wrong?” they chirped. “Nuclear power is clean, safe and limitless!”

Of course, it wasn’t just scenic wonder at stake here. Bodega Head, as most people know, is within spitting distance of the San Andreas Fault (running along the shoreward side of the bay), and even closer to two smaller faults straddling Bodega Head itself.

The full story of the fight over the Bodega Head nuclear plant would be book-length, so please pardon my brevity here. The cast of characters are timeless: on the “pro” side: PG&E itself, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, and nuclear advocates across political spectra (at the time, nuclear was considered by many environmentalists to be less damaging than, for example, hydroelectric power from dams). On the “con” side was the whole spectrum: The Sierra Club (or at least factions within it) was concerned about the loss of a wild and scenic place: the local ranchers and fishermen were concerned about the dangers to their livelihood; the nascent New Left that started gaining steam in the early ‘60s were concerned about the antidemocratic nature of the pro-business, pro-development organizations pushing for the plant.

The fight was long, protracted and dirty. From 1958 to 1962, as opposition was just coalescing, PG&E continued planning and started building, getting a series of approvals and permits from apparently compliant state and local governments. The building for the main reactor, located on the harbor side of the Head, included a 70-foot-deep circular pit. As construction continued, the opponents were educating far and wide about the dangers of nuclear power, the earthquake danger, the thermal effects on local fisheries and more. In 1962, “Silent Spring” was published, and the environmental movement grew ever faster: musicians were performing at benefits and writing anti-nuclear songs. However, it was the earthquake danger that eventually served as the deal-breaker: UC Berkeley Conservation Editor David Pesonen, one of the leaders of the opposition, hired Geologist Pierre Saint-Amand to consult on the suitability of the proposed plant site. Saint-Amand found a “spectacular” earthquake fault slicing directly through the deep pit. His testimony that “a worse foundation condition… would be difficult to envision.” His argument was the tipping point, as political supporters started peeling away from PG&E, who at length threw in the towel and suspended construction in October 1963.

What remains at the site today is a quiet spot favored by songbirds. Rainwater filled the pit and turned it into a pond. The rest, you know: when you spot whales at the Head, or walk the trails nearby. If you venture a little bit north, you find the Kortum trail, named after local environmentalist Bill Kortum (1927-2014), one of many citizen leaders of the fight. The reverberations are still being felt today.

Anti-nuclear resistance in Russia: problems, protests, reprisals

June 17, 2021
Anti-nuclear resistance in Russia: problems protests, reprisals

Standing up to Rosatom      June 21, 2020 by beyondnuclearinternational  

Anti-nuclear resistance in Russia: problems protests, reprisals

The following is a report from the Russian Social Ecological Union (RSEU)/ Friends of the Earth Russia, slightly edited for length. You can read the report in full here. It is a vitally important document exposing the discrimination and fear tactics used against anti-nuclear organizers in Russia and details their courageous acts of defiance in order to bring the truth of Russia’s nuclear sector to light.

Rosatom is a Russian state-owned corporation which builds and operates nuclear power plants in Russia and globally. The state-run nuclear industry in Russia has a long history of nuclear crises, including the Kyshtym disaster in 1957 and Chernobyl in 1986. Yet Rosatom plans to build dozens of nuclear reactors in Russia, to export its deadly nuclear technologies to other countries, and then to import their hazardous nuclear waste.

This report is a collection of events and details about the resistance to Russian state nuclear corporation, Rosatom, and other activities that have led to the pollution of the environment and violation of human rights. Social and environmental conflicts created by Rosatom have been left unresolved for years, while at the same time, environmental defenders who have raised these issues, have consistently experienced reprisals.

Nuclear energy: failures and LiesIn the autumn of 2017, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) discovered a concentration of the technogenic radionuclide ruthenium–106 in the atmosphere of several European countries. A number of experts linked the ruthenium release to the Mayak plant in the Chelyabinsk Region2 3, but Rosatom continues to deny this.

On the 8th of August 2019, an explosion occurred during a test of a liquid rocket launcher at a marine training ground in Nenoksa Village of Arkhangelsk Region. The administration of the city of Severodvinsk, 30 km from the scene, reported an increase in radiation levels, but later denied the claim. The Ministry of Emergency registered an increase of 20 times (to2 μSv/h) around Severodvinsk, while the Ministry of Defense reported the radiation level as normal. Only two days later, Rosatom reported that five employees were killed and three were injured at the test site. According to media reports, two employees of the Ministry of Defense were also killed and three were injured, and medical personnel who helped the victims were not informed about the risk of radiation exposure.

Expired reactorsMore than 70% of Russian nuclear reactors are outdated. They were developed in the 1970s and were designed to operate for only 30 years. The lifetimes of such reactors have been extended by twice the design limit. Rosatom’s strategy also includes a dangerous increase of the reactor’s thermal power. Rostekhnadzor (Federal Environmental, Industrial and Nuclear Supervision Service) grants licenses for lifetime extensions without an environmental impact assessment and without public consultations.

Especially worrying are the lifetime extensions of reactor-types with design flaws. Chernobyl–type (RBMK) reactors in Leningrad, Smolensk and Kursk regions are still in operation after exceeding their lifetimes, as well as VVER–types, such as at the Kola nuclear power plant (NPP) in Murmansk region. Neither type has a sufficient protective shell to contain radioactivity in case of an accident or to protect the reactor from an external impact or influence.

For many years, Murmansk regional environmental groups have opposed the aging Kola NPP reactor’s lifetime extension. They have participated in public hearings, have organised many demonstrations, and appealed to and received support from the prosecutor’s office, but this was all ignored by Rosatom.

Activists also called on the governor to shut down the old NPP, but environmental organisations were shut down instead. One such organisation is Kola Environmental Center (KEC) – listed as a Foreign Agent in 2017 – and subject to two trials and fined 150,000 rubles. KEC was forced to close down as a legal entity in 2018, but has continued its environmental work as a public movement.

Decommissioning problemsMost of the Russian nuclear power plants, despite their lifetime extensions, are approaching inevitable closure. Over the next 15 years, the NPP decommissioning process will take place. Currently, 36 power units are in operation at 11 NPPs in Russia, and 7 units have been shut down. While the fuel was removed from 5 of these units, the NPPs have not yet been decommissioned. This process will lead to enormous amounts of nuclear waste. Moreover, sufficient funds for the decommissioning process have not yet been earmarked.

The public organisation, Green World, has worked for many years in Sosnovy Bor, Leningrad Region, a city dominated by the nuclear industry and closed to outsiders. Since 1988, activists of the organisation have opposed dangerous nuclear projects in the Baltic Sea region and have provided the public with independent information on the environmental situation.

Green World has consistently called for the decommissioning of Leningrad NPP and took an early lead in collecting and preparing information on how decommissioning should take place, studying the experience of other countries. They have paid particular attention to information transparency and to wide participation in decision–making, including, for example, former employees of the nuclear industry.

Rather than be met with cooperation, the organisation and its activists have, since the beginning, experienced pressure from the authorities and the dirty nuclear industry. Activists faced dismissal, lawsuits and even attempts on their lives.In 2015, Green World was listed as a Foreign Agent and forced to close. In its place, another organisation was opened – the Public Council of the South Coast of the Gulf of Finland. Activists have continued their work as before under this new name.

Uranium mining protest

In the Kurgan region, Rosatom’s subsidiary company, Dalur, has been mining uranium and the local communities fear an environmental disaster. In the summer of 2019, the state environmental appraisal revealed a discrepancy between Dalur’s documentation and the Russian legislation requirements, but the company started the deposit’s development anyway at the end of 2019.

  • The ‘Dobrovolnoe’ uranium deposit is located in a floodplain of the Tobol river basin. This means that all the water that flows into the river will pass through the aquifer, flushing out radioactive and toxic compounds into the surrounding environment.
  • Since 2017, Kurgan activists have been protesting against the development of the deposit. They have appealed to the authorities and begun protests. One of their videos, ‘Uranium is Death for Kurgan’, has already reached 50,000 views. Several times, activists have tried to start a referendum and demand an independent environmental review, but so far, have received only refusals from the local officials.
  • In February 2018, Natalia Shulyatieva, the spouse of activist Andrey Shulyatiev and mother of three children, died after falling into a coma. Activists believe this occurred in reaction to learning that Dalur had filed a lawsuit against her husband, accusing him of undermining the company’s reputation. The lawsuit was withdrawn following Shulyatieva’s death.

Rosatom Importing uranium waste

In the fall of 2019, environmentalists revealed that radioactive and toxic waste (uranium hexafluoride, UF6) were being imported from Germany through the port of Amsterdam into Russia. This is the waste from the uranium enrichment process which will be sent to the Urals or Siberia and stored in containers above the ground. Thus, under the auspices of a commercial transaction, the German uranium–enriching enterprise, Urenco, avoids its nuclear waste problem,

while Rosatom profits by taking the hazardous waste into Russia.In response to this transaction, the groups Russian Social–Ecological Union, Ecodefense and Greenpeace Russia called on Russian civil society to protest. More than 30 organisations and movements joined the common statement, and various demonstrations have taken place in Russia, as well as in Germany and the Netherlands.

As a result of protests, the question of importing radioactive waste was taken up by the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg and the transportation of the waste was delayed for three months.

However, in March 2020, when people in Russia were further restricted from protests during the COVID–19 virus quarantine, the import of radioactive waste was resumed through the port of the less populated town of Ust–Luga in Leningrad Region. Additional organisations and residents of the Leningrad region then decided to join the earlier anti–nuclear statement and protest.

Following these protests, a number of activists have faced persecution. Novouralsk is a nuclear industry–dominated and closed city of Sverdlovsk region, and is the end destination of the transported uranium hexafluoride. In response to a series of one–person protests, authorities initiated legal cases against three pensioners at the beginning of December 2019. Charges were later dismissed. 

Another example is Rashid Alimov, an expert from Greenpeace Russia, who protested in the center of Saint Petersburg. Later the same day, two police officers together with six other people without uniform detained Alimov in front of his house. He then faced charges and a substantial fine. Charges were later dropped.

Environmental organisations that had previously opposed the import of uranium waste were listed as Foreign Agents. Ecodefense was the first of such, listed in 2014. In 2019, the pressure continued and the organisation’s leader, Alexandra Korolyova, was targeted. Five criminal cases were initiated against her, which forced her to leave the country.

The Mayak plant: Rosatom’s dirty face

The Mayak plant in the Chelyabinsk region is a nuclear waste reprocessing facility, arguably one of the places most negatively affected by the Russian nuclear industry. Firstly, radioactive waste was dumped into the Techa river from 1949 to 2004, which has been admitted by the company. According to subsequent reports by the local organisation For Nature however, the dumping has since been ongoing. As a result, 35 villages around the river were evacuated and destroyed. Secondly, the explosion at the plant in 1957, known as the Kyshtym tragedy, is among the 20th century’s worst nuclear accidents.

One of the first organisations that raised the problem of radiation pollution in the Ural region was the Movement for Nuclear Safety, formed in 1989. During its work, the Movement was engaged in raising awareness, social protection of the affected population, and publishing dozens of reports. After unprecedented pressure and persecution, the organisation’s leader, Natalia Mironova, was forced to emigrate to the United States in 2013. Since 2000, another non–governmental organisation, Planet of Hope, has held thousands of consultations with affected citizens. Nadezhda Kutepova, a lawyer and head of the organisation, won more than 70 cases in defence of Mayak victims, including two cases in the European Court of Human Rights. However, some important cases have still not been resolved. These include 2nd generation victims, cases involving pregnant women who were affected during liquidation, as well as the many schoolchildren of Tatarskaya Karabolka village who were sent to harvest the contaminated crop after the accident.

The state and Rosatom have reacted against the actions of Nadezhda Kutepova, persecuting both her and Planet of Hope. The organisation survived arbitrary inspections in 2004 and 2009, but was labelled a Foreign Agent in 2015 and closed in 2018. After being accused of ‘industrial espionage’ under the threat of criminal prosecution, Nadezhda was forced to flee the country with her children. She nevertheless continues her struggle to bring justice for the victims of Mayak.

Since 2002, the public foundation For Nature has been disputing nuclear activity in the region. The organisation appealed to the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation on the import of spent nuclear fuel from the Paks nuclear power plant in Hungary. The court declared the Governmental Decree to be invalid, thus preventing the import of 370 tons of Hungarian radioactive waste.

In March 2015, For Nature was also listed as a Foreign Agent and fined. In 2016, the court shut down the organisation. In its place, a social movement of the same name was formed, and continues to help the South Ural communities.

Struggle against a nuclear repositoryIn the city of Krasnoyarsk, Rosatom plans to build a national repository for high–level radioactive waste. A site has been selected on the banks of Siberia’s largest river, the Yenisei, only 40 km from the city. Environmental activists consider this project, if implemented, to be a crime against future generations and violates numerous Russian laws. Activists are also concerned that waste from Ukraine, Hungary, Bulgaria (and in the future from Belarus, Turkey, Bangladesh, and other countries) could be transported there as well.

The community is understandably outraged, as no one wants to live in the world’s nuclear dump. Since 2013, for more than 7 years, the people of Krasnoyarsk have been protesting. To date, more than 146,000 people have signed the petition to the President of the Russian Federation protesting against the construction of this federal nuclear repository.

Most of the producing nuclear power plants are located in the European part of Russia, but the waste is going to be sent for ‘the rest of its lifetime’ to Siberia. Local activists refer to this, with good reason, as Rosatom’s “nuclear colonisation” of Siberia.

In 2016, Fedor Maryasov, an independent journalist and leader of the protest, was accused of inciting hatred against ‘nuclear industry workers’ as a social group. A criminal case was initiated under the article on extremism. The basis for this accusation was 125 publications on social networks and the press about nuclear topics. The activist’s apartment was searched and his computer seized, along with a printed report on Rosatom’s activities in the Krasnoyarsk region.

The federal security service also issued Maryasov an official warning for treason. Only wide publicity in the media and the active support of human rights lawyers has thus far prevented further criminal prosecution of the activist.


Nuclear power is a problem, not a solution.

Despite the nightmare described above, Rosatom is trying to convince us of the nuclear industry’s purity and purported carbon neutrality. In addition, Rosatom is building nuclear plants abroad using money from the Russian Federation’s budget. Nuclear not only won’t save our climate, but will continue to create even more insoluble problems of radioactive waste for thousands of years.

We demand that:

Russia must abandon all further development of nuclear energy. 

Current nuclear power plants should be closed and decommissioned as soon as possible.Current funds from the development of nuclear energy should be redirected to the development of local renewable energy sources, to the restoration of contaminated territories and as support for those affected by the activities of the nuclear industry.

The problem of nuclear waste should be discussed widely, openly and inclusively, with the participation of all interested parties, and decisions should be made democratically, taking into account the principles of environmental justice. 

Pressure on all activists, including environmental defenders and defenders of victims’ rights, should cease immediately.

And finally, Rosatom should be held responsible for environmental pollution and violation of human rights.

The Russian Social Ecological Union (RSEU)/ Friends of the Earth Russia is a non-governmental, non-profit and member based democratic organization, established in 1992. RSEU brings together environmental organizations and activists from across Russia. All RSEU activities are aimed at nature conservation, protection of health and the well-being of people in Russia and around the world. In 2014, RSEU became the Russian member of Friends of the Earth International. Read the full report.

Courts threaten freedom of Russian nature protector

February 18, 2021

Courts threaten freedom of Russian nature protector, 10 Jan 2021, 

An act of love — Beyond Nuclear International 

Lyubov Kudryashova loves nature. Now she may be jailed for defending it

By Jack Cohen-Joppa

In Russian, her name means love. And it’s true. Lyubov Kudryashova loves the broad valley of Russia’s Tobol River, where it meanders out of Kazakhstan into the Kurgan Oblast. Her grandfather is buried there, she was born there, and she’s raised three sons there. As far as she knows, her ancestors have always lived there.

There, below the southern Urals, frigid continental winters give way to spring floods that inundate a landscape of oxbow lakes, wetlands, forests and fields. The waters sustain a large aquifer that Russia recognizes as a strategic reserve of fresh water.

“We, native people of the land, are against a barbaric attitude towards nature,” she says. “But our voices are too low.”

Which is why the passion of this campaigning environmentalist and entrepreneur has been met with fabricated charges of encouraging terrorism via the internet. She’s now on trial in a military court in Yekaterinburg, six hours away from her small town.

But Lyubov Kudryashova will not be spurned. “My ecological activity is going to continue. Well, I guess till the day the unjust court could takes away my freedom.”

In 2017, the government awarded an operating license for borehole leeching of uranium to Dalur, a uranium mining subsidiary of the Russian state nuclear agency Rosatom. The license to tap the Dobrovolnoye deposit around the village of Zverinogolovskoye condemned the very farmland Kudryashova’s father managed when she would accompany him as a child.

Dalur has two other leaky in-situ uranium projects in the Kurgan.

Many Tobol Valley residents feared environmental disaster when they learned that hundreds of exploratory wells would be drilled through the aquifer into the mineral deposit lying beneath it, without any public environmental review. Borehole leeching would eventually involve drilling thousands of wells and the injection of a million tons of sulfuric acid over 20-30 years, then withdrawing the dissolved minerals and chemically extracting the uranium.

Several times, activists tried to start a referendum and demand an independent environmental review, but met only refusals from the local officials.

Last fall, environmentalists surveyed some of Dalur’s other boreholes in Kurgan and documented much higher radiation levels than permitted. Despite the concerns, construction began on an in-situ leaching pilot plant and the huge clay-lined “mud pits” needed to receive the massive volume of toxic, acidified sludge produced in the process.

Beginning in 2017, Kudryashova was involved in the legal case against the Russian Federation over its refusal to conduct an environmental impact assessment before awarding the license to develop the mine.

That year, she also co-founded the Public Monitoring Fund for the Environmental Condition and the Population Welfare with the regional branch of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation. One month later, a judge of the Kurgan Regional Court issued an order giving the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) authority to wiretap her telephone.

The Fund publishes information on the environmental impact of Dalur’s mining activity. Kudryashova writes, “Shortly after the completion of the case in the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation and the registration of the environmental fund, a hidden judgment of another court was rendered that allowed the FSB to begin wiretapping my phone and, I believe, begin to look for fictitious crimes in order to stop my work.

“I guess money is more important than the radioactive contamination of land,” she observed.

So it was that on January 29, 2019, armed men led by an FSB captain broke into her family’s home and spent the day searching it. That summer the FSB got a local court to involuntarily commit Kudryashova to the Kurgan District Psychiatric Hospital for most of the month of July. She was kept from speaking with family or others outside without permission of the agency.

Then in March 2020, the FSB charged Kudryashova with 12 counts of “public justification of terrorism using the Internet” based on a specious forensic analysis of posts on the social network VKontakte, which, according to Kudryashova, never belonged to her page. The actual source of those posts remains unknown because the protocol and the DVD-R capturing those posts show evidence of fabrication and forgery.  And at the most recent session of her trial in late December, a CD-R the defense had presented to the court for evidence was found to have been erased by an FSB operative.

Prosecutors say she advocated for violent overthrow of the constitutional order by re-posting memes with such seditious phrases as, “The fate of Russia is determined by each of us, what you personally or I do, then Russia will. A correct position can only be revolutionary” and “If the nation is convinced that the ruling power in the state is directed not at the development of its cultural, economic and other needs, but, on the contrary, at trampling them, then it is not only the right, but also the duty of the nation to overthrow that power and establish one corresponding to the national interests of the people.”

Kudryashova writes, “Nonviolent ecological activism, in the understanding of the rulers of my country, is a crime. That’s why prisons are full of people who wanted to protect nature, but those who harmed it are free… Ecological crimes against present and future generations are not subject to the judgement of a military court.

“I’m 55 years old and my life is not as important as the preservation of nature. My duty and responsibility are to make a small contribution in a great cause — to stop violence against nature and people. The price of atomic energy is the life of future generations.”

Her trial is in the Central District Military Court of Yekaterinburg, where the next hearing is scheduled for 28-29 January, 2021. Agora International Human Rights Group and the Memorial civil rights society in Russia have provided an attorney and other support for Kudryashova.

Letters in support of Lyubov Kudryashova and seeking dismissal of the charges against her should be addressed to the chair of the court collegium examining the case, Judge Sergei Gladkih, st. Bazhova 85, Yekaterinburg, Russia 62005, or by email to Refer to Case №: 2-42/2020, Lyubov Kudryashova.

Jack Cohen-Joppa is the co-editor of The Nuclear Resister, the co-founder of the eponymous organization and co-winner with Felice Cohen-Joppa of the 2020 Nuclear Free Future Award in the category of Education.



Dr Helen Caldicott as mentor for anti-nuclear activists.

February 18, 2021

My Six Mentors,  “…….Helen Caldicott, MD,  by Mary Olson, Gender and Radiation Impact Project, 1 January 20121

Helen Caldicott deserves a much greater place in our histories of the Cold War and ending the USA / USSR arms race than she generally gets. This is, perhaps, because she is powerful and a woman. A pediatrician, who in the 1970’s would not tolerate the radioactive fallout she and her patients were suffering from nuclear weapons tests in Australia, Helen and her family came to the USA. She and another physician named Ira Helfand revived what had been a local Boston organization of physicians and created a Nobel Prize winning organization called Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), which later participated in the creation of another Nobel Prize winning group, the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW). These two along with hundreds of other organizations committed to peace and nuclear disarmament formed the International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) which has helped to create the new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (see ) and also won the Nobel Prize (2017).

Helen herself is a powerful communicator and will move audiences at a level that can change the course of someone’s life and work. She followed her own destiny to winning meetings with Mikhail Gorbachev, President of the Soviet Union, where she educated him about Nuclear Winter and the fact that nuclear is not a war that anyone can win. She also met with President Reagan in the era and diagnosing early-stage dementia… Her ability to bring the reality of the world to these men, and reality of these men to the world set her aside, in a class by herself—and was an enormous contribution to us all.

I first met Helen in the body of her Cold War block-buster book “Nuclear Madness.” I was in the midst of an existential crisis that could have become an even bigger health crisis.  After college I needed a job (not yet a career) because I was broke, broken up from my first “true” love, and far from home. I got a job as a research assistant in a lab at a prestigious medical school; it was 1984.

Within 2 weeks, I was inadvertently contaminated with radioactivity (without my knowledge) by carelessness of a lab-mate. The radioactive material, Phosphorus-32 is used in research to trace biochemical activity in living organisms. This type of radioactivity is not deeply penetrating, so there was some reason not to panic, however the I was exposed continuously for over a week, and I also found radioactivity at home– my toothbrush was “hot”—so I had also had some level of internal exposure. I was terrified. The lab used concentrations of the tracer thousands of times higher than is typical.

The institution told me there was no danger, but because I was upset, they helped me transfer to a different job. No accident report was filed, and in the midst of transition, my radiation detection badge was never processed. It is not possible to know the dimensions of my exposure—I began having symptoms that were not normal for me. Many people, including some family members told me I was imagining things. No one in my circle understood how terrified I was.

I was fortunate that Helen had already written “Nuclear Madness”—the first edition came out in 1978, just before the March 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear meltdown in Harrisburg PA—an event that propelled the book into multiple printings including a Bantam Paperback edition that I found. It turned out that 7 years later I helped Helen to revise and update the same text for the 1994 WW Norton edition. It was Helen’s deep commitment to truth, to speaking and writing that truth, to empowering people to take action for good. Helen’s words accurately described radiation and its potential for harm, and in my panic about the unknown, this calmed me.

Every other authority I had encountered was trying to tell me there was no problem—when I knew they had no right to dismiss what had happened to me.  I am quite certain that had I remained alone with my fear, despair, and confusion my panic would have resulted in behaviors that would have compounded any harm bodily from that radioactive contamination. Reading Helen’s work let me know there was at least one woman walking the Earth who did know what I was going through… it made it possible for me to choose recovery and walk away from a legal battle that would have forced me to maintain, hold and prove a myself a victim. Instead, following in Helen’s wake, I chose Peaceful Warrior. Thank you Helen! : ………..


Mary Olson pays tribute to Rosalie Bertell, the great explainer of radiation impacts on health

February 18, 2021

My Six Mentors,   by Mary Olson, Gender and Radiation Impact Project, 1 January 20121 

“……………. Rosalie Bertell, PhD

It was Rosalie who most let me know that I am able to contribute original work towards the day that People, to decide not to split atoms any more. Human beings began splitting atoms in Chicago, in 1942. Rosalie, a PhD in mathematics and member of the Order of Gray Nuns, knew more than anyone else I have worked with, that all of it—every last nuclear license, and radioactive emission, all the waste and all the bombs and all the money congress gives to nuclear activities are choices. People made, and continue to make these decisions…and we can change our mind.

Rosalie studied radiation impacts and was committed to service on behalf of future generations. She won the Right Livelihood award for her work with communities impacted by nuclear industry. Often called the “alternative Peace Prize” – she was one of the first women to be honored. As a laureate, she was encouraged to find and mentor students. Rosalie hoped that I, and my coworker Diane D’Arrigo would go to graduate school and she could be our mentor. We decided since we were already in our 50’s to simply study with her, informally. We traveled, 5 or 6 times to the Mother House where she resided and she generously met with us in the last two years of her life. She was always small in stature, but at that point her back was bent and she barely came up to my chest, but still had the intensity of a wolverine!

It was Rosalie Bertell who helped me tackle one of the biggest challenges I have faced. After a public talk on radioactive waste policy that I gave during this time, a woman asked me if radiation was more harmful to women, to her, compared to a man. Even though I had studied and known many of the top independent radiation researchers, including Bertell, I had never heard that biological sex could be a factor for harm—other than in reproduction (pregnancy)—but that is more about the embryo and fetus than the woman. I told her that I was sorry, I did not know and would get back to her. In fact, I forgot.

Two years later, when nuclear reactors exploded in Japan at a site called Fukushima Daiichi, I remembered that question and knew it urgently needed an answer. I was unaware that Dr Arjun Makhijani and a team had written on sex differences in radiation harm in 2006 (see ) and also did not turn that up as I searched for any information on differences between males and females. My findings, five years later are an independent confirmation of the IEER work.

Since I found nothing on a basic google dive, I called Rosalie, who was at that point nearing the end of her life, to ask if she had studied biological sex. She had not, and the one report she pointed me to was out of print. It was my second call, a week later, that prompted her to tell me that I would have to look at the data myself.

I had no idea that the National Academy of Science (NAS) had published tables with 60 years of data on cancers and cancer deaths among the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Rosalie told me to find out for myself. I was shocked. I had stopped any formal study of math in the 6th grade…she was a mathematician—I asked her to do it, and she reminded me that she was dying. I protested again. It was her next words that pushed me. Rosalie said, “The data is divided by males and females so you can look at this question—and if there is a difference, it will be a simple pattern. It is good you do not have more math because if there is a difference, you will find it and not make it more complicated than it is.” She said to get a few pencils, a sharpener, an eraser and lots of paper, and go to it. I did.

The result was my first paper on the topic, “Atomic Radiation is More Harmful to Women,” (October 2011) published to the web in time for Rosalie to congratulate me. Three years later the paper was the basis for my invitation to speak at the global Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear Weapons. Three years later as the new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was in the work, I founded the Gender and Radiation Impact Project. Rosalie is the one who put rocket fuel in my determination to help. If the world decides to base radiation protection on Refence Little Girl—make every regulation in terms of protecting females who are infants—five years old, future generations have a chance. Rosalie is the one who modeled for me that it is possible to reach for the best possible outcome, and, indeed, we have an obligation to do so………..……