Johannesburg, 29th July 2016. This year’s NFFAward laureates come from Ethiopia, France, the Netherlands, Turkey, and South Africa.
Since 1998 the Nuclear-Free Future Award has honored individuals and organizations from around the globe who are working to end the Nuclear Age – visionaries primarily engaged in pounding the world’s nuclear warheads into plowshares, or ending the energy sector’s so-called ‘peaceful use of the atom.’
The 2016 Nuclear-Free Future Award Ceremony, in cooperation with Earthlife Africa Johannesburg, will take place on the 17th of November in Johannesburg, South Africa.
This year the international scientists and activists who make up the Nuclear-Free Future Award jury have chosen in the categories of Resistance, Education, and Solutions – each endowed with a $10,000 money prize – the following recipients:
Arif Ali Cangi, Turkey
Arif Ali Cangi, born in 1964 in the province of Mersin, is a leading jurist in the Turkish anti-nuclear movement. He has fought court battles against the illegal dumping of nuclear waste in Gaziemir, Izmir, against the construction of a nuclear power plant in Akkuyu, Mersin, and against the deadly environmental contamination brought on by uranium mining at Köprübasi, Manisa.
In 2012, Mr. Cangi was one of the first anti-nuclear activists to publicize and denounce the illegal dumping of nuclear waste in Gaziemir, where, together with a circle of scientists, he began a campaign to educate the local population about the radioactive danger contaminating their living environs. Mr. Cangi currently spearheads legal proceedings to block the construction of the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant on the Mediterranean coast between Aydıncık and Silifke.
The first plans for the Akkuyu NPP were drawn up in the early seventies, only to be shelved. The current Turkish government, headed by the Justice and Development Party (AKP), resurrected the old plans, and recently entered into an agreement with Russian Rosatom to begin construction of the plant later on this year. On behalf of the Green Party and the Leftist Future Party (YSGP), Arif Ali Cangi has gone to court to block the plant’s construction because the required preliminary safety evaluations were rife with error. Mr. Cangi’s activism in this connection is powered in part by the fact that his family lives near the planned Akkuyu site.
Recently, Mr. Cangi has also lodged an environmental complaint against the former operators of the uranium mine in Köprübasi. The mine was active in the seventies and eighties, but the site was never remediated after shutdown, nor the local citizenry ever informed about the radioactive contamination. Much work awaits Arif Ali Cangi.
Bruno Chareyron, France
Since 1993, Dr. Bruno Chareyron has headed the Commission de Recherche et d’Information Indépendantes sur la Radioactivité (CRIIRAD). Located in Valence, the capital of the Drôme department within France’s Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, CRIIRAD was founded as an independent radiation research institute following the Chernobyl catastrophe in 1986.
Chareyron has made it his life mission to help protect people from radiation’s life-threatening dangers by raising public awareness. In his capacity as director of CRIIRAD, his investigations brought to light the radioactive contamination that escapes from the nuclear fuel reprocessing plant at La Hauge. Following the nuclear disaster at Fukushima, Bruno Chareyron also made it his task to travel to Japan in order to share his technical and practical know-how. Together with Wataru Iwata, a Japanese nuclear expert, he set up a measuring station to which anybody could come and measure their level of exposure to radiation.
Among Chareyron’s many areas of expertise is his deep understanding of the dangers unleashed by uranium mining and milling. Investigating the legacy of France’s 210 shutdown uranium mines, Chareyron found that material from waste slag heaps had been used in the construction of houses, underground parking lots, and even as fill for children’s playgrounds. His research detected that river sediment in areas bordering many uranium slag heaps was so thoroughly contaminated, that it would have to be classified as nuclear waste.
In his role as CRIIRAD’s senior research specialist, Chareyron traveled to Africa to have a deeper look at a number of uranium mining districts, many bordering mines operated by the French AREVA Group – a mining conglomerate responsible for so much radioactive contamination throughout the world. Chareyron arrived not only to warn local populations about the health threats from uranium mining, but also to share the information he gathered with activist NGOs around the globe. In Niger, as a means of clarifying the many mortalities from mysterious illnesses on lands neighboring uranium mines, Chareyron provided technology and knowledge for the small organization Aghirin Man (”Soul Protectors”), founded in 2000. Their work is on-going.
Samson Tsegaye, ETHIOPIA
Samson Tsegaye, CEO of the Solar Energy Foundation in Ethiopia, has made it the focus of his life to provide Ethiopia’s poor, rural people with electrical power and light. Two numbers can help us understand how formidable of a goal this is: of Ethiopia’s 100 million inhabitants, 80 million have no dependable source of electricity. Without any institutional support, Samson Tsegaye already at the beginning of the millennium set out on his own to inform rural dwellers about solar energy, and to begin assembling the necessary technical materials. A few more numbers can help us understand how far Mr. Samson has proceeded towards his goal: since 2006, the year he founded (with the help of Stiftung Solarenergie) the Ethiopian Solar Energy Foundation, he has seen to it that some 30,000 solar light systems have been installed, that 157 schools have been outfitted with solar lights, and that four solar villages have been erected. To accomplish these tasks, his foundation has established two solar technology training centers, from which some 64 solar technicians have graduated.
Special Recognition Awards
The Nuclear-Free Future Award Foundation also conveys on occasion Special Recognition Awards. These honorary awards are not endowed with prizes of money; rather, the recipients receive contemporary works of art. Recipients of the Special Recognition Awards are determined by the NFFA organizers and advisors in consultation with jury members. This year, honorary awards will be issued to:
Susi Snyder, Netherlands/International
For over fifteen years, Susi Snyder has worked for nuclear disarmament in the US, Europe, and around the world. As a member of the global steering committee of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), Ms. Snyder coordinates the lobbying activities of Europe’s ICAN partners, with much of her time poured into the campaign, ”Don’t Bank on the Bomb.” The annual research report shows that while hundreds of financial institutions worldwide have made substantial investments in companies developing, building, or maintaining nuclear weapons, others have stigmatized nuclear weapons and refuse to finance their production. Susi Snyder and ICAN are struggling to free the world from the threat of nuclear weapons, and working with countries, international agencies and global civil society to comprehensively prohibit nuclear weapons through a new ban treaty. Susi Snyder receives the Nuclear-Free Future Special Recognition Award as an exemplary figure of this noble movement.
Alfred Manyanyata Sepepe, South Africa
For over a decade, Alfred Manyanyata Sepepe has worked to see that South African nuclear industry worker health problems are acknowledged as occupational disabilities brought on by radiation exposure. For eleven years, Mr. Sepepe was a maintenance worker at Pelindaba, a nuclear research facility west of Pretoria. Testicular cancer forced him from his job. A number of workers in South Africa’s nuclear industry have suffered comparable fates, their final month’s paycheck their only compensation. Together with Earthlife Africa, Alfred Sepepe motivated a number of Pelindaba workers living in the township of Atteridgeville to participate in an occupational health study, its goal being to authorize just compensation to those suffering from illnesses caused by exposure to radiation at the Pelindaba plant. Mr. Sepepe himself did not participate in the study – ”They won’t find anything. I had cancer and my testicles were removed.” – but some 208 workers were examined by a health specialist in Pretoria. Results attested that 75% of the workers likely suffered from radiation related diseases of the skin, lungs, eyes and kidneys, and eleven cases were singled out to start off a further probe by the office of the public protector. But there has been no further testing, and not one of the disabled workers has received any compensation. Of the 208 examined workers, 59 have in the meantime passed away.
Further information and contacts for interviews with the NFFAward laureates via:
Claus Biegert, cellphone +49/160-90623246, firstname.lastname@example.org
Horst Hamm, cellphone +49/1577-1543231, email@example.com
For additional information, plus images of the laureates, please visit: www.nuclear-free.com
For further information in South Africa, please contact:
At Earthlife Africa Johannesburg:
Cell: 079 331 2028