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Nuclear Disarmament and Nonproliferation Divine Strake

(May 22, 2006)
Western Shoshone and Downwinders Again Ask Federal Court to Stop Mushroom Cloud Blast

Two Western Shoshone Tribes and individual Western Shoshone Indians and downwinders from Nevada and Utah have asked a federal judge in Las Vegas for a second time to stop the huge above-ground explosion now scheduled for June 23, 2006, at the Nevada Test Site. The blast was first scheduled for June 2, 2006, but then cancelled and re-scheduled after the lawsuit was filed on April 20.

In support of their motion for an injunction filed today, those seeking to stop the blast have filed statements from Dr. Thomas Fasy, of the Executive Committee of the New York City Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility, and of Richard Miller, a toxic exposures expert from Houston, who authored the five volume U.S. Atlas of Nuclear Fallout. Dr. Fasy wrote that “to a reasonable degree of medical and scientific certainty . . . the “Divine Strake” explosion would disperse large amounts of radioactive particles into the atmosphere . . . millions of citizens living downwind . . . are at risk of inhaling particles” and that “it is virtually certain that this inhalation of radioactive particles would result in an increased frequency of a variety of cancers in the exposed populations. Moreover, the increased risk of developing cancers would be borne disproportionately by the children living downwind.”

In his statement, Miller singled out what he called DOE’s “insufficient research regarding the health effects of many of the potential radioisotopes possibly buried in the soil that may be entrained in the dust cloud as a result of the Divine Strake event.” Miller and Fasy both warn that “entire communities may be exposed to radioisotopes including alpha emitters such as americium -241- an acknowledged carcinogen.”

The Plaintiffs’ Reno-based attorney, Robert Hager, also asked Federal District Judge Lloyd George to find that the planned blast would violate the international Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Congressional ban on the development of new nuclear weapons. The Plaintiffs filed a written declaration of John Burroughs, Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee on Nuclear Policy based in New York City, in support of that request. Burroughs noted that the Divine Strake test “reflects a doctrine of warfighting in which nuclear weapons could be used first, against states not possessing nuclear weapons, in an integrated fashion with non-nuclear forces” which Burroughs wrote “is wholly inconsistent with a ‘diminishing role for nuclear weapons in security policies’ agreed by the United States in 2000 and a central element of compliance with the disarmament obligation.”

In the papers filed today, Hager criticized Bechtel of Nevada and the federal Departments of Defense and Energy for “procedural genuflection” by filing papers in a thinly disguised attempt to comply with environmental administrative procedures. Hager claims that the government agencies and Bechtel of Nevada have engaged in “junk science” and have “intentionally failed” to conduct proper sampling of the soil, and has asked the Court to halt any further “testing” by Bechtel and government agencies based on alleged conflict of interest.

Robert Hager, Esq.
Lead counsel for Plaintiffs
Treva Hearne, Esq.
Co-counsel for Plaintiffs
(775) 329-7800

Terry Lodge, Esq.
Co-counsel for Plaintiffs
(419) 255-7552


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