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Dear Reader,

Every once in a while as a law student there comes an opportunity to explore a topic purely of one's own choosing.  This paper is a final project submission for Environmental Law at the University of Hawai`i.  The assignment was to examine an environmental issue from a specific viewpoint.

I chose to write on nuclear energy from the perspective of Dr. Helen Caldicott (as a note, the citations to Dr. Caldicott's works are absent, as the project was meant to be from her viewpoint).  The narrator is generally fictional, and therefore, the interactions with her are likewise generally fictional.  I say "generally" because there are a few key pieces of truth disclosed in the piece.  For instance, I did see Dr. Caldicott speak at the Environmental Law Conference in Eugene, Oregon.  Before the conference, I had not given nuclear energy much thought, there are no nuclear power plants where I live; I live in paradise.  Thus, this project gave me the chance to delve into an area of law that raised my consciousness.

Special thanks to Professor Casey Jarman, my Environmental Law professor who enabled my trip to the Oregon Conference, and who made this piece possible by encouraging creative discussion of legal issues.

Nichole Shimamoto


A child walks along walls covered in photographs of the dead and dying.  She is remembering the bomb that turned Hiroshima into a desert.  She was a baby then . . . two years old only and seemingly too young to remember, but the mind takes and stores its own photographs.  The girl can turn away from the pictures on the walls, but she cannot escape the memories that flit across her consciousness.  "There was the flash of a million suns.  Then the heat prickled my eyes like needles," she whispers.  She does not yet know that the radiation is in her body, that it will make her weak, that it will kill her.

The Nuclear Age began on July 16, 1945 in Alamogordo, New Mexico when the United States fired the first test weapon, "Trinity."  J. Robert Oppenheimer, director of the Manhattan Project that produced the bomb, reportedly recalled this line from the Bhagavad Gita, "I am become death, the shatterer of worlds."  Three weeks later, on August 6, 1945, at 8:15 in the morning, local time, a single B-29 bomber flew over Hiroshima and destroyed two-thirds of the city with a nuclear weapon.  Three days later, on August 9, 1945, a sister bomb was dropped on Nagasaki.  Humankind had developed and unleashed a tool powerful enough to destroy itself.

I sit at the computer, overwhelmed by this juxtaposition of one girl's tragedy with the tragedy of a nation.  I begin to understand Helen's outrage at all things nuclear and atomic.  I have been working for her for six weeks now.  While she is not aware of it, we usually disagree.  I've decided it's because we come from different worlds.  I am an attorney, with an undergraduate degree in business, who was born 31 years after the bombing of Hiroshima, and who believes somewhere in the back of her mind that nuclear power plants exist only in deserts.  And Helen, well, what did her resume look like anyway?  I pull myself up from slouch-position, log onto the Internet, and run a search using "Helen Caldicott" as the search term.  1,454 hits.  Amazing.  I glance at a few of the biographies detailing her achievements. 

Helen is clearly regarded as one of the world's leading anti-nuclear activists.  She is an activist and leader of the anti-nuclear and environmental movements.  In 1977, she founded Physicians for Social Responsibility, an organization of 23,000 doctors that received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985.  Helen herself was also nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and she has received dozens of awards, as well as eighteen honorary university degrees.

I first heard Helen speak at the Environmental Law Conference in Eugene, Oregon.  Two months later, I ran into her at my sister's graduation.  I introduced myself, told her that she had "opened a door in my mind."  We talked over coffee, and as we parted, she gave me her business card.  She told me to call her after I graduated if I wanted a job.  At the time, I didn't think I would ever call.  But the day after graduation, I saw an article about her in a magazine.  I decided it was fate -- I found her card and called her.  At the interview, she said, "Scientists who work for nuclear power or nuclear energy have sold their soul to the devil.  They are either dumb, stupid, or highly compromised."  I decided then and there that I would work for this woman if she offered me the job.  The passion in her voice persuaded me, even if the content of her thoughts did not.  Three years of law school had left me jaded, and I was looking for something to believe in.

This morning Helen left a note on my desk:



The speech you drafted is fine.  I made a few suggestions.  Please look over and leave a revised copy on my desk.  Also, I'd like you to start a new project . . .

In the year 2000, there will be a Review Conference of the states parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty.  In mid-December, I'll be attending a conference in Honolulu, where environmentalists, engineers, lawyers, business executives, etc. will be throwing their thoughts out on the table.  I think one of the Articles of the treaty deals with nuclear energy.  Please research.




I take out my book of International Legal Documents.  The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) establishes a "right" to nuclear technology.  The nuclear weapons states agreed not to assist any non-nuclear weapons states to obtain or produce nuclear explosives in any way; they would, however, make available the potential benefits of peaceful applications of nuclear explosions for such industrial or civil-engineering uses as the stimulation of gas fields or the construction of harbors and canals.  The non-nuclear weapons states agreed not to produce nuclear explosives and to allow inspection of their nuclear reactors and nuclear materials production facilities to insure that no source or special fissionable material was being diverted for possible weapons use.  Article IV of the NPT describes the "inalienable right of all Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes."  Article IV also declares the obligations of nuclear states to assist non-nuclear states with the development of nuclear energy, and notes particularly the "needs for the developing areas of the world."

Helen would be fundamentally opposed to Article IV.  She devoted the last 25 years to an international campaign educating the public about the medical hazards of the nuclear age.  In an interview published by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Helen said that she'd always been scared of nuclear weapons.  When she was little, she read On the Beach by Neville Shute, an Australian.  It was about a nuclear war that occurred by accident and everyone in the northern hemisphere died.  When she studied medicine, she learned about what radiation does to genes.  I remember our first meeting, where she discussed in great detail the fuel cycle, and its biological and medical implications.  I pull out my notes:


Atomic reactors use uranium as fuel.  Uranium emits a radioactive gas called radon that is inhaled and remains radioactive in the lungs for more than 100 years.  Radium can also be swallowed in the dust, absorbed through the bowel wall, and laid down in the bone, where later it can induce bone cancer or leukemia.  Uranium ore continuously emits gamma radiation, which can cause cancer and induce congenital deformities or genetic disease in the next or future generations.


After the uranium is mined, it is milled and refined. Thousands of tons of waste are discarded and left lying in huge heaps on the ground.  Workers are exposed to radon and gamma radiation.  The piles also contain radium, which is very soluble in water, and in this form is readily concentrated in plants, animals, fish, and eventually at highest levels, in human beings, if they eat the contaminated food.

Enrichment and fuel fabrication

The uranium is then enriched and fabricated into fuel rods which are transported to the nuclear reactor, and placed in the reactor core.  A typical 1000-megawatt reactor uses over 6,300 rods, one-fourth of which need to be changed annually.  The nuclear energy process converts uranium into radioactive "wastes":

  • Strontium 90 (radioactive for 600 years).  It is tasteless, odorless, and invisible.  It concentrates in the food chain, and causes bone cancer and/or leukemia and probably breast cancer.
  • Cesium 137 (radioactive for 60 years).  It deposits in muscles of the body where it can produce malignant changes.
  • Plutonium (radioactive for half a million years).  It enters the body through the lungs, where just one millionth of one gram can produce lung cancer.  It migrates to the bone and/or liver, where it causes cancer.  It can cause birth deformities, and induces genetic mutations.


The spent fuel rods are transported to a reprocessing plant.  During reprocessing, the plutonium is removed and purified in powdered form as plutonium dioxide, to be used as either fuel for atomic bombs or fuel for "breeder nuclear reactors" (reactors that breed plutonium).

The medical implications are horrifying.  I start thinking about Sadako, the little girl in Hiroshima who "saw the flash of a million suns" and then died of leukemia.  I remember learning in biology that cells and genes that are actively dividing (as in fetuses, babies and young children) are more susceptible to the effects of radiation.  Therefore, the young, such as Sadako, are more likely to develop cancer or leukemia.  Also, radioactive materials don't just disappear.  If an individual dies of lung cancer engendered by plutonium, her body will return to dust, but the plutonium lives on to produce cancer in another human being.  I am angered by the fact that governments spend millions of dollars researching causes of cancer, leukemia, and inherited disease, but simultaneously spend billions of dollars in an industry that will directly propagate these diseases.

Is Article IV then truly a bad thing?  Viewing the nuclear age from Helen's standpoint, I can see how the splitting of the atom is possibly the most tragic event in human history.  Helen used to treat children with cystic fibrosis (a life-threatening disease of the lungs and digestive system).  She said that that is when she realized how precious and special life is.  Helen has a message she keeps posted on her door: 


Nuclear reactors were initially designed to make atomic and hydrogen bombs.  Apart from nuclear war, nuclear power poses the greatest public hazard the world has ever encountered because of radioactive wastes.  Cessation of all forms of nuclear power is the ultimate form of preventive medicine.


I am torn.  Part of me believes as Helen believes, but the other part of me is limited by selfishness, business practicality, and the fact that I have never seen a child dying.  Instinctively, I feel that Helen is narrow-minded and idealistic.  Energy development is a primary concern for increasing the standard of living in developing countries.  Developing countries need energy assistance from the developed countries.  I remember reading an article called "Healing the Planet," which estimated that developing countries would need to double their energy production by the year 2025 in order to reach a standard.  Helen told me that Robin Hood was a childhood hero because he took from the rich and gave to the poor, and that she herself became a doctor because she wanted to help people.  Why, then, I wondered, could she not understand that developing countries need nuclear energy as much (if not more) than the developed countries?

As I sit, pondering this, my computer screen blanks.  Many years of experience with malfunctioning computers and I do what most people do:  I hit the side of the monitor.  I wait.  Nothing changes.  I punch a few keys.  Still nothing.  Control-Alt-Delete.  This is not looking promising.  I reboot.  The computer makes a smallsound, a blank screen appears, but this time, there are words . . .


Nichole, It's good to be able to talk with you.  What year is it anyway?  Sadako.


Sadako?!  I look around.  There are only three other people in the office.  They all seem to be diligently doing their work--and besides, how would anyone know that I read a book about Sadako last night?  I stare at the blinking green cursor.  Should I answer?  May as well, I suppose.

Sadako, It is 1999.  How is it that you don't know the year?  Nichole.


Nichole, My goodness, 1999 already?  Just one year before the millennium, Year of the Dragon, according to Chinese Zodiac.  Where I am, there is no time.  Timelessness is okay, but I miss Peace Day . . . every year on August 6th my family and I would remember those who died when the atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.  Are you enjoying work?  Sadako.


This is very strange.  Could I possibly be communicating with someone who died forty-four years ago?



Yes, I'm enjoying work.  But I am disturbed by this--how is it that we are communicating?



Nichole,  A strange power connected me with you.  I don't know how it works, exactly, but I am able to send my thoughts to you by writing letters in my mind.  Really, it's strange, but nothing to be distressed about.  It's kind of fun, is it not?  To share thoughts like this?  It's been so long since I've communicated with anyone living.  I can't think of how this came to be.  Were you thinking about me by any chance?  Sadako.


Sadako,  This is impossible.  Yes, I was thinking about you.  I read a book about you last night.  You became a heroine to children in Japan.  But how does this explain anything?  Can you read all of my thoughts, or only those that I type?  Nichole.


Nichole,  I really don't have any answers.  It's just some crazy phenomenon, I guess.  I get only the thoughts you send to me.  What is "type"?  Sadako.


This whole thing is absolutely crazy, but for some reason, I find myself willing to take a leap of faith.  If Sadako is truly communicating with me, then I should be excited at this miracle.


Sadako,  I am sending my thoughts to you by "typing" them.  It is similar to writing letters, only it is done through a machine.  I hope you don't mind my asking, but what is it like to die?  And this place that you are at—what is that like?  Nichole.


Nichole, I don't remember dying itself.  One minute I was alive, and the next thing I knew, I wasn't.  I like it here, nothing hurts.  It is like always being in that state between sleep and wakefulness.  Have there been more atom bombs since I died?  Sadako.


Sadako,  I'm glad to hear that the after-life is pleasant.  There haven't been any bombs purposefully dropped, not since you died.  There have been numerous nuclear accidents, however.  Three of them were particularly bad:  Windscale (UK), Three Mile Island (US) and Chernobyl (Ukraine).  According to David Maples in his September 1993 article, "Chernobyl's Lengthening Shadow," in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Chernobyl released over 300 times the radiation released by the Hiroshima bomb, and contaminated at least 20 countries.  Studies estimate that the health problems will continue to manifest, particularly in children, for 1000-10,000 generations.  Before you wrote to me, I had been thinking about nuclear energy, and how I wasn't exactly opposed to it.  Writing about nuclear accidents, however, gives me pause to question whether the risks associated with nuclear energy justify its use.  What would you say to convince someone like me that nuclear energy isn't worth its costs?  Nichole.


Nichole,  I would simply say that nuclear weapons can destroy the planet.  They can destroy human civilization.  What are the benefits to nuclear energy?  Sadako.


What a good question.  What are the benefits to nuclear energy?  Not too long ago, Helen and I got into a discussion about the economic benefits:

Helen:    The idea that nuclear power is the answer to global warming is a myth.
Nichole:   What do you mean?  Nuclear energy is possibly the most efficient source of energy available on the planet.  The splitting of just a single atom . . .
Helen:   Making nuclear electricity requires massive amounts of fossil fuel.  It takes obscene amounts of fuel to manufacture and construct a reactor.  Additionally, there is the mining, milling, and enriching of uranium, and the fabricating of the fuel rods.  Add to that the fuel required to store the radioactive waste for 500,000 years, and to decommission the reactors.  Nuclear power actually contributes to global warming.
Nichole:   Sure, it takes energy to make energy, but the net effect is still positive.
Helen:   A nuclear power plant must operate for 18 years before one net calorie of energy is extracted.  This figure doesn't even include the transport and storage of radioactive waste or decommissioning the reactor.  After all of that, the reactor has a life of only 22 more years before it becomes so radioactive and dangerous that it must be decommissioned.
Nichole:   I must say that I'm surprised.
Helen:   When the "Atoms for Peace" program was first launched, people thought that nuclear energy would be too cheap to meter.  They were blatantly incorrect.  Nuclear power plants cost on average over $1 billion to build, and the costs of accidents, decommissioning and downtime have yet to be fully accounted for, let alone the economic costs of the damage to human health and the environment.
Nichole:   I read a 1994 article by C. Flavin and N. Lenssen called "Power Surge."  It said that from 1978-91, research and development spending on nuclear energy amounted to $72 billion, while only $10 billion was spent for solar and other renewable energies.  If what you're saying is true, then why are we spending so much in nuclear energy development?
Helen:   I honestly don't know.  Especially when one looks at incidents like Chernobyl.  The Chief Economist for the Research and Development Institute of Power Engineering (the designing company for the Chernobyl reactor) reported in "The Pacific Rings of Fire" in 1993 that the Chernobyl accident alone could end up costing US$358 Billion by the year 2000.  Absolutely amazing.  On a positive note, despite the lack of funding, the per unit cost for most sustainable energy sources is cheaper than for nuclear energy, competitive with fossil fuels and constantly reducing.
Nichole:   Well, Wall Street for years has advised against investment in nuclear power because it is far more expensive than coal, and far, far more expensive than alternative energy sources such as solar, wind, tidal etc.  Apparently, Wall Street knows what it's talking about.


That was our discussion last week.  I haven't found anything to refute what Helen said since.  I reply to Sadako . . .


Sadako, Actually, I'm hard-pressed to think of any benefits.  I talked about this with my boss once.  There doesn't seem to be any rational economic motivation behind it . . .


As I write to Sadako, I begin thinking about all of the other areas of risk.  In my Environmental Law class at law school, we talked a lot about hazardous materials.  Nuclear energy produces waste which remains radioactive and a threat to health and the environment for up to 500,000 years.  There is no known way of storing this waste safely and securely for such a long period, and no way of permanently disposing of it at this point in time.

After the plutonium is extracted from the radioactive waste, very dangerous elements remain, which have no further use and are pure waste products.  Because it is extremely hot, the solution must be stored and cooled continuously for years.  The solution is stored in tanks with a 30-year lifespan, and every month numerous leaks of radioactive wastes are reported.  When this dangerous fluid leaks, it inevitably contaminates the local water system, or enters the atmosphere and falls to the earth in the rain as radioactive fallout.  These elements can be absorbed by roots of grass and vegetables and are further concentrated in the flesh and milk of animals when they eat the grass.  Like many other isotopes from nuclear fission, these substances are invisible, tasteless and odorless.  It is impossible to know when one is eating or drinking or inhaling radioactive elements.

The plutonium itself is extremely dangerous.  The nuclear industryhas no idea how to isolate this plutonium from the environment so it will not damage this, or future generations.  It is estimated that nuclear power by the year 2001 will have generated 1,139 tons of plutonium, whereas weapons will have contributed 250 tons in the same period.  Although it could be used as "fuel" in breeder reactors, more plutonium will be produced than will be utilized, so there will be a continual net increase in plutonium manufactured.  One pound evenly distributed would be adequate to cause cancer and kill every person on Earth.

Whenever one speaks of storage of hazardous or radioactive materials, one must also consider that these materials must be transported.  Nuclear energy involves the transportation of highly radioactive materials from mines to processing plants to reactors to reprocessing plants to reactors again and finally to storage sites.  Transporting radioactive materials poses additional risks of accidents resulting in uncontainable leakage into the environment.  These risks are particularly high in the shipments of waste across the world's oceans.  Plutonium must be transported very carefully, packed in small quantities in separate containers because 10 pounds is "critical mass," meaning that a spontaneous atomic explosion could occur if 10 pounds or more were compacted together in a finite space.  While the benefits of nuclear energy are confined to the states with nuclear energy, the health and environmental costs are borne by many others.


. . . Not only is there no rational economic motivation behind nuclear energy, I am beginning to see some of the other risks—such as in storage and in transportation.  Some materials remain radioactive for up to half a million years.  This is many times longer than the length of any civilization in history.  How did we think we were going to store anything for that long?  And transportation also has its own inherent dangers.  There would be disastrous consequences if a truck or a ship were to crash or in some way discharge some of its deadly contents.  Helen (my boss) is always saying that it is irresponsible for humanity to keep producing this waste before we have developed storage methods to ensure human and environmental safety.  Nichole.


Nichole, I don't mean to alarm you, but I think you've forgotten another very important risk—that of nuclear weapons.  Aren't they related somehow?  Sadako.


Sadako is right of course, inherent in nuclear energy is the risk of nuclear weapons proliferation.  In 1946, a report to the U.S. Secretary of State's Committee on Atomic Energy concluded that "the development of atomic energy for peaceful purposes and the development of atomic energy for bombs are through much of their course interchangeable and interdependent."  The committee warned of atomic warfare.  Frank von Hippel, adviser to the U.S. government, noted in 1991 that "civilian nuclear energy programs provide a convenient cover, as well as the training, technology and nuclear material necessary for the construction of nuclear weapons."  France, Iraq, North Korea, and India have all redirected nuclear energy technology into a nuclear weapons program.  Furthermore, the increase in production and reprocessing of plutonium from civilian nuclear reactors means that diversion into nuclear weapons becomes even harder to prevent.


Sadako, You are right.  There is the threat of nuclear bombs.  Also, because plutonium is the basic material of atomic bombs, it is vulnerable to theft by terrorists, racketeers, non-nuclear nations and deranged individuals.  5 kilos of plutonium is adequate fuel for a nuclear weapon.  Man has already made 450 tons of plutonium.  Nichole.


Nichole, It seems you've changed your mind about nuclear energy.  I should let you get back to work.  Before I go, however, I would like to ask you one quick question.  When I first got sick, my best friend Chizuko told me the story about the crane.  Cranes are supposed to live for a thousand years.  If a sick person folds a thousand paper cranes, the gods will grant her wish and make her healthy again.  I remember folding my six hundred sixty-fourth crane.  I didn't make it to a thousand.  What happened to my cranes, do you know?  Sadako.


Sadako, I can't believe you don't know.  Your classmates folded three hundred and fifty-six cranes so that one thousand were buried with you.  After the funeral, your class collected your letters and published them in a book that was sent around Japan.  Everyone in the country learned of your thousand paper cranes.  Young people throughout the country began collecting money to build a monument to you and all the children who were killed by the atom bomb.  In 1958, the statue was unveiled in the Hiroshima Peace Park.  It is of you, standing on top a granite mountain, a golden crane in your outstretched hand.  Some say that in a way, you got your wish because you live on in the hearts of Japan's people.  Thank you for all of your help. I view the nuclear age differently because of you.  Nichole.


Nichole, You are welcome, though I don't know that I really helped all that much.  I wonder if maybe I was given the chance to communicate with you so that I could learn of my cranes.  I am glad that I have helped others, but the cranes helped me too—they made me feel stronger inside.  I also wonder—is there such a thing as a "right" to nuclear energy?  Good luck to you.  Maybe we'll talk again someday.  Sadako.


The computer screen blanked.  Sadako was gone.  She left me with a question: Is there a "right" to nuclear energy?  Well, the Non-Proliferation Treaty establishes a "right" to all parties to develop nuclear energy.  The development of nuclear energy creates a legacy of serious and long-lasting environmental and health problems, and enables proliferation of nuclear weapons.  This affects the security and the well being of people in all states, not just those in the states with nuclear energy. The "rights" outlined in Article IV appear to be in conflict with more fundamental rights such as the rights to health and life.  States do not have an "inalienable right" to damage human health or the environment nor to threaten the security of neighboring states or the lives of citizens.  I draw up a list of all the international law instruments that I think are being violated:

Nuclear power threatens the health and life of citizens currently living as well as those in subsequent generations.  In any conflict, the right to life prevails over the right to energy development.

In addition, where there is clearly a choice between non-life-threatening energy options and life-threatening energy options, states have a responsibility to choose non-life-threatening options.  The NPT was adopted at a time when the full implications on health and life were not known.  In fact, these implications are only now coming to light as a result of, inter alia, the Chernobyl accident and nuclear waste problems.  Now that these implications are known, it is evident that Article IV conflicts with the rights to health and life established under other instruments of international law.

The International Court of Justice (the World Court) in The Hague, Netherlands, looked at international law and agreed, at least as far as nuclear weapons are concerned.  On July 8, 1996, the World Court ruled that the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is subject to the rules of international law applicable to armed conflict and to the rules of humanitarian law, which nuclear weapons cannot satisfy.  The Court unanimously announced its opinion that: "There exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control."  (¶  105 (2)F).  This opinion may be the most important opinion by a court in the history of the world.  It was issued at the request of the United Nations General Assembly (the congress or parliament of our existing system of world governance), and is based on evidence, scientific studies and law.

Energy assistance needs to conform to the economic, health and environmental needs of the recipient countries.  As a business major, I recognize that energy companies, whose main aim is to make a profit, cannot be relied upon to conform to such requirements.  After all, many developed countries actually recognize that nuclear energy is uneconomic, unsafe, and unnecessary.  They are turning away from nuclear energy.  The United States, Canada, Greece, Italy, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Spain, Sweden, Finland and Germany have all cancelled, halted construction, or not placed orders on further reactors.  It appears that the problem isn't that the developed world is embracing nuclear power, but that nuclear power companies from the developed world are peddling it instead to the developing world.

Alternative energy sources that are environmentally safe and cost effective are available and could provide for the world's energy requirements.  First, current consumption of energy by the developed world is inefficient. The developed countries could reduce their energy consumption without damage to their economies or standard of living by using energy efficiency techniques such as minimal processing, recycling, use of energy efficient machinery, and more efficient energy management. Utilizing energy efficiency would in fact improve the standard of living globally as it would reduce the impact of over-consumption of energy on the environment and human health.

Second, alternative energy sources could provide the energy currently provided by nuclear energy and also the projected energy output of nuclear power plants planned for the future.  Coal, oil and hydroelectric stations will continue to play a role in the world's energy needs. While each of these is either non-renewable or damaging to the environment, they are not life threatening to the degree that nuclear energy is.  However, it is not necessary to expand these energy areas. Solar, biomass, wind, geothermal and other renewable non-polluting energy sources could fill the energy requirements of the 21st Century.

Corresponding with Sadako sparked a flame in me.  Maybe it is just easier to fight for someone than it is to fight for an ideal.  The Chairman's Working Paper for the 2000 Review Conference calls on States parties to "reaffirm the importance they attach to ensuring the exercise of the inalienable rights of all the parties to the treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination."  I re-write this as I imagine Helen would want it re-written:

"The States parties reaffirm the inherent and inalienable rights to life and health.  The States parties recognize that these rights must be upheld in the pursuit of energy.  The States parties shall continue to note the needs of the developing world.  The States parties reaffirm the rights of all States to develop research, production, and the use of safe and sustainable energy sources."

It is very clear to me now that Article IV of the NPT should not be reaffirmed.  Rather, it should be left to lapse as Article V ("right" to nuclear explosions for peaceful purposes) has done.  Indefinite extension of the Treaty would legitimize the indefinite possession of nuclear weapons by the nuclear states and would also legitimize the "inalienable right" of states to develop nuclear energy, thereby violating the rights of their citizens and those of other states to health and security.  Helen frequently says that while the 20th Century has seen many threats to the global environment, nuclear energy is the most frightening.  Sitting at my computer, on the brink of the new millennium, I see an opportunity to change our thinking, to correct our mistakes, and to move down a new path before Nuclear Winter destroys us all.  Albert Einstein wrote, "The problem is not the atom bomb, but the heart of the people."

It is late.  I am ready to go home.  I shut off the computer, stack my papers, and stand up to leave.  I am about to switch off the light when I decide I have one more thing to do.  I go back to my desk and I pull out two pieces of paper.  With one, I engage in the Japanese craft of paper folding.  On the other, I write a note:

Dear Helen. 

I agree with you completely.  Here is a crane. I'll explain in the morning.   Nichole.