Secrecy It is essential for the security of the nuclear industry. It is necessary because of the dangers posed by radioactivity, and the risks of accident and theft of nuclear fuel. Trucks, ships, and planes transporting nuclear fuels and nuclear wastes are targets for terrorists. Nuclear power plants are targets. Therefore, all must be guarded, monitored, and their operations, routes, etc, kept secret.
Secrecy about the nuclear industry is two-fold.
1. The public must be kept in the dark about all operations of the industry.
2. The public must be kept in the dark about the surveillance of all citizens, because of the nuclear industry.
Loss of civil liberties is essential, in the effort to make the nuclear industry safe –
Necessary measures for the security of the nuclear industry
Laws have to be enacted to try to prevent nuclear materials falling into the hands of criminals or terrorists – laws which affect every member of society
Workers involved in the nuclear industry must have their privacy limited. They must be under secret government surveillance both at work, and in their outside work activities. So must all those outside this industry.
Emergency measures must be authorised – such as searching of homes, phone-tapping, and secret arrest and detention.
The courts system must be weakened, because, due to the extreme danger posed by nuclear threats, there must be a stronger law enforcement authority. The principle of “innocent until proved guilty” has to be discarded in this situation.
History of secrecy in the nuclear industry
Passages below in inverted commas are quoted from Making the Connections Reaching Critical Will – fact sheet, WOMEN’S INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE FOR PEACE AND FREEDOM
1942. The Manhattan Project began nuclear weapons research and development laboratory at Los Alamos in New Mexico. There was no reference on a map, no post office, no publicity. Here International scientists developed the bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki..
1943 Two ‘secret cities’were built for uranium isolation at Oak Ridge in Tennessee and for plutonium production at Hanford in Washington State. Worker were under strict rule not to mention the work going on in the plants. Local rural communities were moved out of the area.
1953. President Eisenhower announced plans for the “peaceful atom” – so began the development of various industries intended to use atomic power for non-military purposes.
“Secrecy was continued through the practice of ‘compartmentalization’, whereby the knowledge of different aspects of nuclear weapons production was divided and separated. This system continues today under the Department of Energy. Huge numbers of classified documents are kept in US government vaults.”
“In the UK, the government is able to legally guard information relating to nuclear weapons and power production under its Official Secrets Act.”
“Restricted access to information has powerful public and ecological impacts. Because of governmental and corporate secrecy, as well as a management culture which discourages proper documentation, information about the health and environmental effects of nuclear weapons and nuclear power production is not easily obtainable.
In China, for instance, no specific official information is available about the health and environmental effects of nuclear technology. In Russia, data are often incomplete, reports rarely detail research methodologies, and many analyses are questionable.”
“Compartmentalization and secrecy are also implicated in a general lack of knowledge about the hazards of nuclear processes. Recent events would suggest that knowledge of ‘the whole system’ is lacking both on the level of the labor force and even in the elite fraternity of nuclear scientists. Still today in nuclear weapons labs, the military production network, and in nuclear power stations across the globe, many workers either are not given the entire picture of nuclear processes, or due to security clearances, are not privy to the overall mission of a particular project that they might be actively engaged in.”
“Meanwhile in the UK, workers have been accused by the UK Nuclear Installations Inspectorate of routinely falsifying safety checks for plutonium/MOX fuel that has been sent to Germany, Switzerland and most recently Japan.”
“Although in the US, UK and elsewhere, grade school and high school students are often given industry-sponsored tours of their local nuclear weapons and power facilities, there is no part of a national curriculum, on either a secondary or university level, that prepares young people for the hazards and consequences of growing up in the nuclear age.”
“Secrets and lies, half-truths about present day practices, ambiguous definitions of new nuclear processes: all these contribute to keeping the public ill-informed and, therefore, ill-equipped to challenge the nuclear status quo.”
Current trends in the loss of civil liberties
Alvin Martin Weinberg (April 20, 1915 – October 18, 2006) was an American nuclear physicist who was the administrator at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) during and after the Manhattan Project period. He came to Oak Ridge, Tennessee in 1945 and remained there until his death in 2006.Weinberg was fired by the Nixon Administration from ORNL in 1973 after 18 years as the lab’s director because he continued to advocate increased nuclear safety
Amendment 4: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.– Fourth Amendment To The United States Constitution
The secrecy and complexity of government wiretapping make it an especially difficult issue for the average American to grasp, and�for the same reasons�an especially easy issue for politicians to manipulate.
. Civil Liberties in the United States: Trend toward Surveillance Will Contine…….. The PATRIOT Act, passed by Congress in October 2001, expanded the ability of the government to watch private Americans’ activities and collect information about them, and strengthened barriers against aliens’ entry to the country, including through indefinite detentions……
A certain degree of increased government and private sector cooperation on sharing information about private individuals, and increased government surveillance of its citizens, is here to stay, however. No government will roll back trends in surveillance technology, and government surveillance habits, that began well before 2001….
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