While working as a technician at Israels Dimona plant from 1976 to 1985, Mordecai Vanunu learned of his countrys covert production of plutonium for nuclear weapons. Vanunu believed it was his responsibility to inform the citizens of Israel as well as the rest of the world that nuclear weapons are being built and stockpiled in his land, especially in the light of Middle East tensions.
On October 5, 1986, the London Sunday Times, headlined a story Revealed: The Secrets of Israels Nuclear Arsenal, based on interviews with Vanunu. However, Vanunu never saw the paper because five days prior to its release he was lured to Rome and kidnapped there by Israeli secret agents. Vanunu was brought back to Israel, where he was secretly tried and convicted of treason and espionage. His first eleven years of incarceration were spent in solitary confinement. Vanunu, the recipient of the 1987 Right Livelihood Award, is still in prison.
This years awards also cited The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, U.S.A. for Special Recognition. Since Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the award announcement reads, this unique magazine, founded by former Manhattan Project scientists, has been the worlds most reliable source of news and information about global security and the nuclear threat. The Bulletins icon became the Doomsday Clock as it ticks towards midnight, which first appeared on the cover of the June 1947 issue. In February of this year, owing to the U.S. administrations decision to withdraw from the ABM Treaty, the crisis between India and Pakistan, the increased peril of nuclear terrorism, and the U.S. administrations threats of using pre-emptive force over diplomacy to halt nuclear proliferation, the minute hand was moved from nine to seven minutes to midnight, the same setting at which the clock debuted 55 years ago. This marks the third time the minute hand has been moved forward since the end of the Cold War in 1991.
Ole Kopreitan, the grand old man of Norway's peace and anti-nuclear movements, receives the Nuclear-Free Future Education Award for his decades of tireless, informed activism, be it in the streets of Oslo or in the international arena.
Helen Clark, Prime Minister of New Zealand since 1999, receives the Nuclear-Free Future Solutions Award for her groundbreaking contributions as a political visionary pressing to ensure the liveability of earth for the coming generations by creating a world free of nuclear weapons. She was the principal architect of New Zealands anti-nuclear policy at a time when the country declared itself nuclear free and generally pursued a more independent stance in its foreign policy. She is the third politician to receive a Nuclear-Free Future Award, after Stewart Udall, former US Secretary of the Interior (1999), and Member of Parliament Hans-Joseph Fell of Germany (2001).
The Nuclear-Free Future Award (NFFA) program is a project that carries on the spirit of the historic 1992 World Uranium Hearing in Salzburg, Austria. It is an affiliate of the Seventh Generation Fund, an indigenous initiative in California, and is a project of the German Franz-MollFoundation for Future Generations. The founder and director of the Nuclear-Free Future Award is Claus Biegert, a Munich-based writer, journalist and filmmaker.
This year the NFFAs international jury was comprised of peace philosopher Johann Galtung, Hollywood actor Val Kilmer, human rights activist Angela Davis, German MP Monika Griefahn, writers Kirkpatrick Sale, Till Bastian, Vanamali Gunturu, and Peter Stephan Jungk, physicist Alfred Körblein, Cornell University historian Robert Venables, arctic explorer Ann Bancroft, peace-activist Sue Dürr, journalist Karl Grossman, peace activist John Otronto, environmentalist Christine von Weizsäcker, and the managing director of IPPNW-Germany, Frank Uhe.
This years award ceremony, hosted by the Russian environmental organizations Green World and Coalition Clean Baltic, will be held in St. Petersburg, Russia, on October 5.