Is IAEA really Impartial and Independent?

After the horrifying statement made by the Director General of AELB vouching that the radioactive waste from LAMP is ‘SAFE’ to the extent that it can be scattered everywhere, I was initially hopeful that the appointment of IAEA as an independent body to look into ‘Lynas Project’ will allay some of the fears of the Kuantan people.

But as I read the article below  written by Joan Russow  from Global Compliance Research Project, I can’t help but wonder whether  it’s too wishful for me to continue to be hopeful?…….

IAEA Meets in Vienna: A Monitor Must Not a Promoter Be

Posted by: “Joan Russow”

Mon Sep 17, 2007 6:38 am (PST)

IAEA Meets in Vienna: A Monitor Must Not a Promoter Be

Joan Russow Global Compliance Research Project

On September 16, 2007, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

meeting opened in Vienna. The IAEA has the role of nuclear watchdog

but has violated several fundamental principles, through selective

monitoring, and through promoting nuclear energy by means of

nukespeak, seductive devices etc. Recently at the DPI/NGO conference

at the UN, on Climate Change, the NGO Peace Caucus and the

Militarism/nuclear matters networking group called upon the IAEA to

end the promotion of nuclear energy as the solution to climate change.


(i)   Principle of sovereign equality of states

Under the Charter of the United Nations, the principle of sovereign

equality of states is affirmed. Yet the IAEA functions as though some

states are more equal than others. If the IAEA were serious about

eliminating the risk of nuclear proliferation, it would have to be

perceived to be fair. The IAEA has not embarked on a full programme of

monitoring the nuclear arsenal of the five permanent members of the UN

Security Council (United States, Russia, France, China and Great

Britain) – and their allies.

(ii)   Principle that a monitor should not a promoter be

The IAEA was set up to monitor not only the proliferation of nuclear

arms, but also the so-called peaceful use of nuclear- including

nuclear energy.

For years, at least since 1992, and the negotiation of the UN

Framework Convention on Climate Change, the IAEA has been a promoter

of nuclear energy as the solution to climate change

(iii)   Principle that a proposed solution should never be equally bad or worse than the problem it is intended to solve.

See Newly released book: Canada’s Deadly Secret

Saskatchewan Uranium and the Global Nuclear System

Jim Harding, Foreword by Helen Caldicott

“Harding exposes the role the government played in perpetuating

nuclear propaganda through the disinformation of campaigns of its

covert Uranium Secretariat and penetration of the public education

curriculum…He also explores the deadly corporate planning processes

that reveal the growing partnership between the oil and nuclear

industries.” Harding “unveils the dark side of nuclear politics in his

home province, which bears the distinction of of being the largest

uranium-producing region in the world and he challenges us to explore

how Canada has consistently been complicit and instrumental in the

expansion of the global nuclear system.” — Helen Caldicot


In 1996, the late Dr Fred Knelman and Dr. Joan Russow authored the

following piece related to the strategies used by the IAEA to promote

nuclear energy as the solution to climate change.




MARCH 26, 1996

By Dr F.K. Knelman and Dr. Joan E. Russow

Dr F.K. Knelman is the Vice President of the Whistler Foundation for a

Sustainable Environment, and Dr. Joan E. Russow, was the delegate for

the Whistler Foundation at the New York Preparatory Committee for

UNCED and at the Earth Summit at Rio. The Whistler Foundation and the

Nuclear Age Peace Foundation had circulated a Declaration that was

signed by 37 Nobel Laureates; this declaration called for the phasing

out of Nuclear energy. They requested permission to read this

declaration at one of the plenary session at Rio Centro; permission

was denied.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was initially set up in

the 1950’s to inspect nuclear arms and to regulate Nuclear energy;

they have, however, become one of the strongest proponents of nuclear

energy. A fundamental regulatory principle of the “separation of

function” is that “the agency entrusted for regulating a technology

cannot be the same agency that promotes the use of that

technology”(Knelman, 1975). IAEA , through its UNCED document entitled

“Nuclear Techniques and Sustainable Development.” acted as a major

proponent, not only of the current use, but of the increased use of

nuclear energy.

Agenda 21– the 700 page far-reaching action-plan document from UNCED,

was adopted unanimously by the global community represented at the

Earth Summit in Rio. In Agenda 21 the following concern about

radiation was expressed:

The deterioration of environmental quality, notably air, water and

soil pollution owing to toxic chemicals, hazardous wastes, radiation

and other sources, is a matter of growing concern. ( Chapter 16.

subsection 12),

The extent of the consequences of the nuclear industry were also

identified in Agenda 21:

Annually about 200,000 m3 of low-level and intermediate- level waste

and 10,000 m3 of high-level waste ( as well as spent nuclear fuel

destined for final disposal) is generated world wide from nuclear

power production. These volumes are increasing as more nuclear power

units are taken into operation, nuclear facilities are decommissioned

and the use of radionuclides increases. (Chapter 22, subsection 1)

Yet at one of the plenary sessions, Mr. Hans Blix, Director-General of

the IAEA, was given permission to present a document advocating

nuclear energy as being a safe alternative energy for the future, and

as being a solution to climate change. The International Non

Governmental Organizations, (NGOs), however, recognized that the

fundamental regulatory principle had been violated, and gave IAEA, the

dubious honour of being presented with the International NGO

Community’s “Most Preposterous Proposal Award” “for presenting nuclear

power as the environmental solution in energy and successfully keeping

its problems out of the documents”.

We would like to highlight some of the SEDUCTIVE DEVICES, STRATEGIES,

DOCTRINES, DOGMAS and FALLACIES that have made the IAEA worthy of this

honour. The examples will be drawn from IAEA document which was

prepared for UNCED. Also references will be made to other UNCED

Documents such as Agenda 21 and the Rio Declaration– the Earth

Charter– 1992, and the Canada’s National Report for UNCED, 1992

The seductive devices, strategies and fallacies used by the IAEA all

draw upon the fundamental language of ‘nukespeak”. Knelman (1986,

1992) has expanded on the euphemistic nature of Nukespeak:

( term first used in Hilgartner S,. R. Bell, and R. O’Connor 1982)

The rule is sanitize by euphemism: political euphemism is of course

older than nuclear power. How many of us recognize the “elimination of

unreliable elements”? There are forbidden words in the language of

civil nuclear power. For example, the words “accident’. “pollution” or

“disease” are never used. Accidents are either “transients”. “events”,

“significant events”. “anomalies’, “occurrences” or “abnormal

occurrences”. In the extreme, they become “normal abnormalities”, i.e.

truth becomes lies. Explosions are “events of rapid disengagement” or

“prompt criticality’. Waste dumps are “residue areas’. Thermal

pollution becomes “thermal effects” and pollution becomes “impacts”.

Disease becomes “health effects”. This is a euphemism for cancer and

genetic malformations. And missing plutonium, which is the link to

clandestine acquisition of nuclear explosives is “material unaccounted

for” or simply MUF! (Knelman, 1986.)

Other names relating to nuclear accidents are criticality, nuclear

excursions, abnormal evolution, normal aberration, plant transients,

unnecessary ignition sources. “Nukespeak” is perpetuated through

“nuclear acceptance campaigns” by the PR departments of the nuclear

establishment, designed to find “palatable synonyms” for “scare words”

through the use of “truth squads” in order to remove “undue public

concern”, create “pro-energy climate” where “technically qualified

persons” would agree that nuclear power poses “no significant threat”

and could be entrusted” for the timely detection of potential

abnormalities, or there is “no evidence” of such threat ( as though

lack of evidence is proof of assertion) and the promises that turned

into lies i.e. that nuclear power would be “too cheap to meter”

providing society with “boundless energy” and save us from “freezing

in the dark”., this is the language of Orwell’s 1984, where peace is

war and truth is a lie. ( Knelman, 1992).

Seductive devices, doctrines, dogmas, strategies and fallacies

• The “blatant misrepresentation or expedient omission” device

This device involves the convenient exclusion of any part that could

be detrimental to one’s position.

The IAEA through expedient omission (possibly for advantageous

“clarification”) has left out a significant section in Agenda 21 which

does not include nuclear energy in the list of “safe” technologies for

the future.

To “clarify” Agenda 21, the IAEA in its UNCED document stated the following:

The UNCED Agenda 21 notes the need for a transition to environmentally

sound energy systems, which will entail major changes in the patterns

of energy production and consumption (IAEA Document, p.5, 1992)

In the Atmosphere chapter of Agenda 21, the following [safe] and sound

technologies are advocated:

cooperate to increase the availability of capacity, capabilities and

relevant technologies …for utilizing and producing environmentally

[safe and} sound renewable energy resources, such as solar, wind,

geothermal, hydropower and biomass,… Each resource should be

utilized in a manner that … minimizes environmental stress and

health impacts, …. (Section 9. Subsection 9 g Agenda 21, 1992)

Thus, we see that in the Energy section of Agenda 21, Nuclear energy

is not mentioned as being one of the [safe] or sound technology.

• The “co-opted terms” strategy

This strategy involves the stipulating of a new definition for a term

that would jeopardize one’s own argument.

In the Rio Declaration the following precautionary principle was advocated:

Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of

full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing

cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.” ( Rio

Declaration, 1992).

In the following statement, the IAEA redefines the important

precautionary principle that was agreed to in the Rio Declaration,


The basic principles for radiation protection and safety in all

applications and activities in nuclear science and technology are

precautionary (IAEA Document , p. 2, authors emphasis)

The Rio principle, however, if enacted and truly adhered to, would

bring about a moratorium on new nuclear power plants while phasing out

currently existing ones.

• The “comparison of convenience” device

This device involves the narrowing down of alternatives so that

whatever aspect is compared will appear favourable to the proposed


In the following statement from the IAEA document, the IAEA narrows

the alternatives used for comparison to those which would appear to be

favourable within the terms of reference of their comparison. Thus,

for example, they compare the relatively low volume of nuclear wastes

to the much larger volume of wastes from fossil fuels. However, it is

the volume of wastes multiplied by their toxicity that is significant.

Merely comparing volumes is a “comparison of convenience”. The same

false comparison is used to compare fuel requirements for the same

energy output.

A nuclear plant would require 27 tonnes of slightly enriched uranium

each year, which corresponds to a few truckloads. The corresponding

quantity of natural uranium is 160 tonnes.

a coal fired plant would need 2.6 million tonnes of coal each year…

which corresponds to the load carried by 5 trains, each transporting

1400 tones every day

an oil fired plant would require 2 million tonnes of fuel oil per

year, which is about 10 supertanker loads. (IAEA document, 1992, p.12)

The nuclear establishment never fails to compare coal and nuclear as

competing energy sources, always claiming the inherent superiority of

nuclear . Usually this is accomplished by failing to include the

entire fuel cycle over its full life of impacts, social and

environmental. They conveniently exclude “safety” factors,”

“production of wastes,”. “disposability of wastes,” “degree of

potential for bioaccumulation,” lifetimes of wastes, toxicity and

proliferation problems associated with nuclear.

Yet no bombs are built of coal, no terrorist is interested in

hijacking coal or in the clandestine acquisition of coal weapons, coal

plants do not have to be decommissioned and mothballed after some 30

to 50 years of operation, their hazardous wastes do not have to be

guarded for 100,000 years, coal dust is easier to contain than radon

and coal plants do not require liability subsidies by acts of

parliament” ( Knelman, 1992)

• The “lull and lure of the technological fix” syndrome

( the “misleading assurance” device or the fallacy of “technological


This syndrome, device or fallacy involves the revealing of the

seriousness of the problem and the offering of a “solution” which is

usually worse than the problem

The proponents of a potentially dangerous act indicate that they

recognize the danger and focus on one area for which they can offer a

technological fix

In the following statement from the Radioactive Wastes section of

Agenda 21, into which it appears that the IAEA had input, the

following situation is recognized:

Annually about 200,000 m3 of low-level and intermediate-level waste

and 10,000 m 3 of high-level waste ( as well as spent nuclear fuel

destined for final disposal) is generated world wide from nuclear

power production. These volumes are increasing as more nuclear power

units are taken into operation, nuclear facilities are decommissioned

and the use of radionuclides increases. The high level waste contains

about 99 percent of the radionuclides and thus represents the largest

radiological risk. ( Agenda 21, Radio Active wastes, 21.1.).

In the IAEA document the authors affirm the certainty of the technological fix.

There is nevertheless a consensus among experts that safe geological

disposal of high level wastes, including spent nuclear fuel, is

technically feasible. ( IAEA Document, p.17)

The view of experts in the field is that safe technological solutions

exist for managing the waste. (IAEA Document, 1992, p. 15)

Knelman (1992) points out that

The assumption behind the notion of permanent disposal of High level

wastes deep in a stable geological formation is false because this

assumption relies on the mistaken belief that anything we do

technologically can be permanent This assumption of permanence is

particularly false when we are dealing with the lithosphere over some

100,000 years and when we must first disturb the geological structure

by digging a very deep hole. AECL(Atomic Energy of Canada Limited) has

dug a deep hole near Lac du Bonnet in Manitoba which is totally

inappropriate for such so-called “permanent” disposal. For one thing

you must, in all events, avoid water. Yet, The AECL hole must be

soaked Walt Patterson, a nuclear critic described this AECL research

as follows: A drunk has lost his keys and is discovered by a police

officer crawling around a street light. When questioned, the drunk

admitted that he had lost his keys in front of a dark building, a

block away. When asked why the drunk was then searching around the

street light, the drunk said ” you see, officer, the light is better

here” and as Dr Martin Resnikoff, an expert on geological waste

disposal has put it ” the earth does not stand still. In other words,

experts in the relevant fields do not agree. (Knelman, 1992, in


• The “rhetoric of notwithstanding clause” doctrine.

This doctrine allows for the indulging in strong statements about deep

concern and the need for significant change and then including a

notwithstanding clause that negates the strong statement.

In the Rio declaration (1992) there is a strong statement about third

world dumping:

States should effectively cooperate to discourage or prevent the

relocation and transfer to other States of any activities and

substances that cause sever environmental degradation or are found to

be harmful to human health. (Principle 14 Rio Declaration, 1992)


There are, however, disturbing “notwithstanding clauses” that appear

such as in the following statements:

Develop regulatory and non-regulatory measures and procedures aimed at

preventing the export of chemicals that are banned, severely

restricted, withdrawn or not approved for health or environmental

reasons, except when such export has received prior written consent

from he importing country or is other wise in accordance with the PIC

procedure; ( Section 19. subsection 53 f , Agenda 21, 1992)

In the following statement in the IAEA document, the IAEA

energetically adopts the spirit of the ” rhetoric of notwithstanding


The IAEA in 1990 promulgated a Code of Practice on the International

Transboundary Movement of Radioactive Waste as a basis for

harmonization of national legislation and policies. The code lays down

the conditions and principles for international waste transfers, such

as that movement must be made in a manner consistent with the

international safety standards, that there must be prior notification

and consent of the sending, receiving and transit States, and that

each State involved should have a regulatory authority…( IAEA

Document, 1992, p. 20

• The “flamboyant absurdity” doctrine or dogma

This doctrine or dogma carries the concerns of one’s opponents to the

point where the regulations governing the opponents concerns should

become the standard by which other potentially lesser concerns will be


The IAEA appears to advocate that, what is considered to be the most

dangerous industry, just because it is dangerous, has developed

stringent standards, and that they who contribute to possibly the

greatest uncontrollable hazard are the ones who should assist the

community in dealing with other hazards.

The basic principles for radiation protection and safety in all

applications and activities in nuclear science and technology are

precautionary and are so well founded in science and so widely

accepted that they are now also being regarded as a source of guidance

in controlling pollutants and impacts arising from other human

activities. Their wider application would undoubtedly contribute

towards sustainable development. (p.2)

• The “justification through dire consequences of alternatives” device

This device involves the revealing of the dire consequences of the

current practices and offering one own practice as the salvation for

the problem

In the following statement the IAEA cites the dire consequences of the

other alternatives to justify their proposed alternative:

The problem of acid rain, which is linked to emissions from the

burning of fossil fuels, has been recognized for decades….. . the

primary concern about the continued and increasing use of fossil fuels

is the problem of CO2 emission and the potential impact on world

climate……. World conference on the Changing Atmosphere… need to

reduce CO2 emission (IAEA document, p. 5)

climate change in connection with fossil fuels (p. 9)

•The “benevolent outcome exploitation” strategy

This strategy involves the selection of the outcome which the

opposition to the proposed alternative would advocate and the

subsequent attempt to demonstrate that the proposed alternative, which

the opposition would condemn, would

be the best way of achieving that outcome.

In the following statements from the IAEA document, the IAEA focuses

on the desired outcomes of reducing acid rain and limiting greenhouse

gas to justify the selection of their proposed alternative:

Several governments have already made commitments to reduce carbon

emission, while recognizing that this will be hard to achieve except

through drastic policy decisions in the energy sector. (IAEA Document,

1992, p.6)

Nuclear power plants in normal operations cause very little

environmental detriment and are beneficial when they replace plants

which would emit CO2, SO2, and NO2 (p. 12). In this resects they would

help to reduce acid rain and limit greenhouse gas emissions (IAEA

Document 1992 , p. 12)

To accomplish the above, IAEA and other nuclear proponents are

recommending the construction of some 4000 to 5000 new commercial

nuclear power plants. The combination of the multi- trillion cost and

the time required for construction renders this proposal no less than

bewildering. By the 6 to 10 year period required for construction,

other sources of climate-altering gases would wipe out all gains.

Secondly at 1/7th to 1/10th the above cost, a much greater reduction

in CO 2 and other climate-altering gases can be achieved through

simple available conservation and efficiency measures.

• The “flaunting and condoning of the vicious circle principle” strategy

This strategy is best explained by the economic principle that “bad

money drives out good,”. that is the opportunity costs of nuclear

power are unacceptable and prohibitive Thus the money spent to

subsidize nuclear power is at the expense of the funds required to

solve the energy problem with safe alternatives, and consequently,

because the research into alternatives will not be effectively carried

out, the safe alternatives will not be able to adequately replace the

non-renewable forms of energy.

In the 1992 report to UNCED, following was stated:

Nuclear energy has safety risks associated with the entire uranium

cycle, from mining through processing to the ultimate disposal of

high-level radioactive wastes. In addition, there are safety risks

associated with the reactors used to generate electricity from uranium

. And the use of fossil fuel to drive conventional thermal generation

produces carbon dioxide and waste heat. (Canada’s National report

UNCED p. 46- 47)

From a domestic consumption point of view, the least environmentally

damaging energy option is energy efficiency. (Canada’s National report

UNCED p. 47)

Despite the above statement, the document concludes::

New, cleaner technologies such as solar energy may help, but the hard

fact is that to a large extent we will have to rely on either thermal,

hydro, or nuclear energy in the future. In addition, energy projects

for both export and domestic supply provide jobs and economic wealth

to the country, and are especially important in some regions of

Canada” ( p. 47. Canada’s National report UNCED June, 1992, authors’


The Canadian government has invoked the “vicious circle principle” by

cutting subsidies to conservation efficiency and renewals. Canada is

thus playing an important role in facilitating this not too hidden

agenda by using many strategies, devices, doctrines, etc.


The ” nukespeak” and the seductive devices, strategies, syndromes used

by the Nuclear Industry involve the language of delusion and

distortion. Hopefully, through the continued revealing and

categorizing of these words of delusion we could, in some small way,

counteract the impact of the not too-hidden-agenda of the IAEA, and

the rest of the nuclear establishment and their government supporters.


Agenda 21, (1992) UNCED document,

Hilgartner S. Richard C. Bell, R. O’Connor 1982 Nukespeak the Selling

of Nuclear Technology in America. Markam Ontario, Penquin Books Ltd.

IAEA ( 1992) Nuclear Power, Nuclear Techniques and Sustainable Development.

Vienna, Austria: IAEA

Knelman, F. ( 1976) Nuclear Energy the Unforgiving Technology.

Edmonton: Hurtsig Publishers

Knelman , F(. 1986) ” Beyond 1984: The Future of Peace”. in Arnopoulos

( ed). Prospects for Peace: An Anthology of Canadian Perspectives on

Social Conflict and Peaceful Change. Montreal: Gamma Institute Press.

Knelman, F. (1992, in progress) Nuclear Power: the Conspiracy of the


Patterson, W. (1992) ” In search of the peaceful atom” Energy Policy,

June 1986, pp 196-200

Rio Declaration (1992) UNCED document

Russow, J (1992). Content Analysis of the UNCED documents that were

adopted by Global Consensus: Agenda 21 and the Rio Declaration.

Russow, J. (1992). “Seductive Devices and Strategies in , IAEA

document that was prepared for UNCED” paper presented “Nuclear Issues

and Rio,” public lecture sponsored by the Greater Victoria Disarmament

Group and the Vancouver Island Peace Society


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *