Four groups seek to block sale of Westinghouse stock and technology to Kazakhstan nuclear firm

Four groups, including KEI, have sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Treasury's  Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States ("CFIUS"), asking that it block a proposed sale of 10 percent of Westinghouse, the US nuclear energy firm, to KazAtomProm, a nuclear energy firm owned by the government of Kazakhstan.

The groups signing the letter are Knowledge Ecology International (KEI), Essential Action and the Nuclear Information and Resource Service, and Greenpeace.   The URL for the letter is: http://www.keionline.org/misc-docs/17jul07-westinghouse-kazatomprom.pdf

The groups "oppose the transaction on the grounds that the sale will undermine efforts to limit nuclear proliferation, and will give sensitive nuclear technology to a brutal, repressive and undemocratic regime, which may lack long-term legitimacy and stability." 

The letter says "Ever since they were first developed, mankind has struggled to contain the proliferation and use of nuclear weapons.  This has been complicated immensely by the relationship between the military and non-military uses of nuclear power.  The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) should not permit foreign investments that increase the risk that nuclear technologies will ever be used for military purposes, including, but not limited to, uses against the United States.   The CFIUS should not sanction investments that will predictably result in nuclear technologies being transferred to a country that has never witnessed a peaceful transition of political power, which has never held fair and free elections, and which cannot claim to represent long-term legitimacy, in a region fraught with instability and conflict."


See also:  Background on Kazakhstan and its nuclear program
KEI statement on letter to CIFUS on Westinghouse/KazAtomProm sale.

"KEI has joined three other groups to ask the Bush Administration to block the sale of a 10 percent share of Westinghouse, a U.S. firm involved in nuclear energy technologies, to the government of Kazakhstan.  Kazakhstan is seeking a acquire not only ownership of Westinghouse, but also sensitive technology to process nuclear fuels.   Kazakhstan has never held a fair election, exercises controls over the news media, terrorizes the political opposition, including through murder, imprisonment and torture, and is controlled by an authoritarian and corrupt leader who recently changed the constitution to permit him to serve as 'President for Life.'   We have no real understanding of how the Kazakhstan political system will evolve.  In the 1970s, Dick Cheney and others in the Ford Administration sought to sell Westinghouse and GE nuclear technologies to Iran, then run by a 'friendly' authoritarian and repressive leader, the Shah of Iran.  That effort was undone by an unanticipated revolution in Iran.   Kazakhstan is a country that has never seen a peaceful transition in power, or held a fair election, and which is widely known to be corrupt.    When it comes to the control of nuclear technologies, our standards should be high, not low."  said KEI Director James Love. 

FYI.   James Love, +1.202.332.2670.