by Stanley Heller, Administrator, Promoting Enduring Peace
Every year hundreds of millions of dollars are spent by U.S. companies to buy raw and enriched uranium from Russia. Profits from these sales are helping fund Russia’s war against Ukraine. It’s hypocritical for the U.S. government to demand European countries stop importing Russian natural gas while we import uranium from the very same country.
The U.S. has allowed itself to depend on major uranium imports from Russia and Russian-allied Kazakhstan, but we are not simply calling for increases in domestic uranium production. Uranium mining usually comes at a steep price in pollution of Native American land. There’s also the fact that the uranium is being used chiefly by the nuclear power industry.
Besides the usual worries about the safety of nuclear power plants and lack of a long-term plan for disposal of nuclear waste, this year we’ve learned of a grave new concern, that parties at war will not automatically give a wide berth to nuclear power plants. Russia shelled and took over the Zaporizhya nuclear power complex and its attacks on Ukraine’s electric power grid in November have cut normal and vital electric power to all four Ukraine’s nuclear power complexes.
The U.S. should stop importing Russian uranium and start a crash program to transition away from costly and environmentally damaging uranium and fossil fuel dependence.
The above is the text of a petition we are sponsoring along with the Ukrainian Socialist Solidarity Campaign. It’s a one-two punch, one punch against Russian aggression and another against the costly and dangerous nuclear power industry. We hope you’ll consider signing. We link it at our site: PEPeace.org.
Another and even bigger nuclear issue is the possibility that the war over Ukraine could become a nuclear war. Putin has made several scarcely veiled threats to that effect. As Daniel Ellsberg has said, Putin is acting like the U.S. has done on many occasions. What can be done? While we want nuclear weapons to be abolished entirely, we see that we have to do things in the short run to dampen down the possibility that wars go nuclear. The Defuse Nuclear War campaign has many good ideas: 1) Abolish the ICBMs, the land-based nuclear-armed missiles; 2) make a no-first-use pledge and structure nuclear weapons policy around it; 3) Take nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert; 4) rejoin nuclear treaties that Trump renounced.
Read more about this at our site: PEPeace.org.
Coming up in late February:
Promoting Enduring Peace and Workers Voice US will support a fund-raiser for the independent miners union in Ukraine, NGPU (Independent Mineworkers Union of Ukraine). The union faces enormous challenges, first from an invader who frequently cuts electricity even while miners are below the earth and second from a government that pushes anti-labor measures in its Rada (parliament). For an interview with a miner leader see the Ukraine/Russia links in the Resources section of PEPeace.org.