2002 World Conference against A & H Bombs
Chelyabinsk Nuclear Victims Organization gAigulh
Today, representatives from various countries are gathered here, having travelled thousands of kilometres to express their solidarity with the Hibakusha of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Together, we are here as people with experience of the horror of nuclear weapons and as victims of radioactivity.
Atomic bombs were dropped on Japanese cities, and people in my region became victims of the nuclear industry, just as people in Nevada, Marshall Islands and Semipalatinsk became victims of nuclear tests.
I come from the state of Chelyabinsk in Russia. A military-industrial complex gMayakh is located there where plutonium, the main material for nuclear weapons, is produced.
During its 50-year operation, there have been three major accidents and more than 1.5 million people were exposed to radiation. Moreover, people living near the complex are continually exposed to low doses of radiation even now.
We are carrying on our struggles for the right to compensation through the courts, just like the Hibakusha in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We are fighting to be able to hand down a beautiful environment and a future without nuclear weapons to our children.
Last year, the government and the President of Russia reversed the Environment Protection Law for the sake of profits, allowing radioactive waste to be brought from other countries into Russia. Radioactive waste from the United States, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and Switzerland is about to be brought into our country. We must study and understand the issue.
In the present situation, where concerns about possible terrorist attacks are growing, it is gravely dangerous to transport radioactive waste within this large country. Worse, the condition of the railroads and trains in Russia is far from adequate.
The Russian facilities do not have the capability to handle this amount of waste. Thus, it will be buried underground in the end, polluting the surrounding environment. Worse still, the re-processed waste could be even more dangerous to the residents.
According to the document I brought with me here, the Russian government is planning to build a waste processing plant on Shimshir Island in the Kuril Islands. I believe that it could also be a concern for the Japanese people, that a plan to build such a dangerous facility which so close to Japan is on the agenda.
Therefore, I would like to ask people from countries, which dispose radioactive waste, to support our activities and to pressure their own governments to stop the waste to be taken to other countries.
In one sense, our planet earth is huge, but in another sense it is also small. Working together, we must prevent the re-occurrence of nuclear disaster anywhere on earth.