Physicians for Social Responsibility
Los Angeles


CALIFORNIA'S RAD WASTE PANEL PACKED W/ WASTE GENERATORS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 20 1999

Contact: Maria Hall 310-458-2694

Concern Builds Over Composition of Nuclear Waste Advisory Group; Packed with
Radioactive Waste Generators

Statewide environmental and public health organizations today expressed
concern about the composition of the state's new advisory group on
radioactive waste saying representatives of radioactive waste generators
outnumber representatives of environmental groups by three to one. The
committee includes nine officials of organizations that supported the failed
efforts to build a radioactive waste dump at Ward Valley. Two environmental
groups and one tribe represent those that had opposed the site. Furthermore
the key environmentalist experts on radioactive waste in the state have been
consciously excluded. The panel was established to come up with an
alternative to the now-abandoned Ward Valley nuclear dump project.

California may be on the verge of repeating the mistakes that led to the
Ward Valley impasse, said Jonathan Parfrey executive director of Physicians
for Social Responsibility Los Angeles. "The Ward Valley debacle was caused
in part by largely excluding from the decision making process those who
would be most affected by a badly designed leaking nuclear dump. Now tasked
with coming up with an alternative to Ward Valley we are at risk of starting
down a similar road with a taskforce so imbalanced that consensus with the
environmental community is impossible. But without adequate representation
by those trying to protect public health from a leaking dump no solution can
be found."

While excluding key public interest advocates on radioactive waste issues
from the process the panel includes eight people whose institutions are
associated with the primary pro-Ward Valley lobbying group CalRad Forum.

Susan Clark president of Americans for a Safe Future said Two
representatives of environmental groups and one tribe facing off against
officials of eight waste generators and another organization that has pushed
for Ward Valley is not centrist, and is not fair to the people of
California. The panel as structured can only make a workable solution
difficult if not impossible.

Those organizations in addition to Physicians for Social Responsibility and
Americans for a Safe Future critical of the composition of the panel include
Natural Resources Defense Council, California Public Interest Research Group
(CALPIRG) and the Alliance for Survival.

# # #

Membership on Advisory Panel on Radioactive Waste

Representatives of Organizations that Were Critical of Ward Valley (3)

I. Environmental Organizations
        -Mike Paparian of Sierra Club
        -Sam Schuchat (formerly of California League of Conservation Voters)

II. Tribes
        -Nora Helton of Ft. Mojave Tribe


Representatives of Organizations that Supported Ward Valley (9)

I. Radioactive Waste Generators

    A. Nuclear Power Plant Operators

            -Gregory Rueger V.P. PG&E (operates Diablo Canyon)*
            -Harold Ray V.P. Southern California Edison (operates San Onofre)*

    B. Biotech Waste Generators

            -Theodore Roth President/CEO Alliance Pharmaceutical Corp.**
            -Andrew Scherer Genentech*

    C. Academic Waste Generators

            -Richard Atkinson President UC* +
            -Albert Carnesale Chancellor UCLA* +

     D. Medical Waste Generators

            -Ed Penhoet current Chair California Healthcare Institute*
            -Gary Stephany President Healthcare Association of San Diego and
Imperial Counties


II. Other Individuals or Organizations that Supported Ward Valley

         -Gloria Anderson League of Women Voters Environment Committee***

Associations with California Radioactive Materials Management  Forum (CalRad
Forum) the primary lobbying group of waste  generators that had pushed for
Ward Valley:

* institutional members of CalRad Forum;
** Board member of CalRad Forum;
*** Ms. Anderson a prominent supporter of Ward Valley received a significant
grant from CalRad Forum to prepare a pro-Ward Valley publication for
distribution to members of Congress and the Legislature.

+ The University of California's record on managing radioactive waste at its
DOE laboratories is marked by atmospheric venting and contamination of
groundwater. Lawrence Livermore Laboratories is an EPA Superfund site. Los
Alamos will spend $2 billion over the next ten years in restoring and
decommissioning.

Note: the remainder of the Advisory Committee is composed of past and
present government officials: the heads of Dept. of Health Services CalEPA
and Fish & Game; the retired Legislative Analyst (Post); and a retired
Assemblyman (Sieroty). Also note Dr. Penhoet is the former CEO of the
biotech firm Chiron; now a dean at UC Berkeley School of Public Health; the
California Healthcare Institute which he chairs is a coalition of biotech
medical and academic waste generators.

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Jonathan Parfrey
Executive Director
Physicians for Social Responsibility Los Angeles
1316 Third Street Promenade - Suite B1
Santa Monica, CA 90401-1325
310 458 2694 voice
310 458 7925 fax 
psrsm@psr.org
http://www.labridge.com/psr/