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ICAN Action Alert May 2008

May 27, 2008
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Stop HEU Use in Radiopharmaceutical Production

IPPNW has launched a medical campaign, as part of ICAN, to accelerate the global conversion of radioisotope-producing reactors from highly enriched uranium (HEU) to low enriched uranium (LEU). The objective of the campaign is the passage of resolutions by medical associations around the world, in order to place irresistible pressure on those few producers who continue to use HEU needlessly.
While it may seem like a small matter compared with the task of eliminating some 25,000 nuclear weapons from the world’s arsenals, this is a proliferation problem in the medical profession’s own backyard. Health care professionals have an obligation to hasten the phase-out of medical commerce in HEU and so terminate one of the most vulnerable pathways to the much-feared “terrorist bomb.”
The International Council and the IPPNW Board supported this coordinated activity in which all IPPNW affiliates are urged to participate as an ICAN priority. We are asking all IPPNW affiliates to take the following steps, starting as soon as possible:
  1. Go to www.ippnw.org/Programs/ICAN/HEU.htm to familiarize yourself with the issue and to download some essential resources, including a draft resolution, a briefing paper on HEU, and a powerpoint presentation that you can use to describe the HEU problem (and the solution) to your medical associations. (For your convenience, the briefing paper and draft resolution are attached.)
  2. Contact your national medical association and/or specialty associations to find out what process they use to consider and adopt policy resolutions. In some cases, this may involve submitting the text through a resolutions committee in advance of an annual meeting. You may find, therefore, that a certain amount of follow up will be required over a period of months, so it would be a good idea to assign this project to a local ICAN coordinator.
  3. Educate the leadership of your medical association about the use of HEU in medical isotope production. The powerpoint presentation available on IPPNW’s website has been designed for use by non-experts. If you have questions, or need additional information or advice, please contact us at director@ippnw.org.
  4. Please keep the Central Office informed about your progress. We already know, for example, PSR members are bringing this issue to the American Public Health Association, and that Ron McCoy has brought an HEU resolution to the Malaysian Medical Association. We will keep you updated on these and other initiatives as we learn more.

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