Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Environment Lobbyists Pessimistic On Outcome

As dozens of international environmental groups faxed communiqu?s and met with negotiating teams preparing for Saturday's nuclear summit, few had any illusions that it would bring the world any closer to nuclear security.

"They clearly don't have any great expectations," said Thomas Cochran of the Washington-based Nuclear Resources Defense Council, who noted that the length of the formal summit talks has been streamlined to only five hours. "From what we hear from people within the government, not much will come out of it."

"We had hopes up until we saw the agenda that they might actually achieve something," said Greenpeace's Josh Handler. "With so many topics in so little time, this is not likely to amount to anything more than hot air."

Leaders of the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations -- the United States, Germany, Japan, France, Italy, Britain and Canada -- are gathering in Moscow just a week before the 10th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster.

But Handler and others are concerned that the G-7 leaders who were so eager to assist in the closure of the former Soviet Union's most dangerous reactors at the 1992 summit in Munich, Germany, are now backing away from their earlier intentions.

He urged them to end all retrofitting programs of aging nuclear reactors in Eastern Europe and close them down instead.

"It's like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic," said Handler. "But we're all going to go down anyway."

One of dozens of environmental groups to flood Moscow in a pre-summit flurry of activity, Greenpeace staged a protest along the Moskva River Friday to bring its message to the world leaders. Cruising past the Kremlin under a banner that read, "No More Chernobyls -- No to Nuclear Reactors," Greenpeace activists left a floating sign in the middle of the river for the G-7 leaders meeting inside the Kremlin wall to see.

"When they raise their glasses tonight at the state dinner, they should pledge not to leave Moscow until they have plans to shut down unsafe reactors," said Greenpeace activist Karen Richardson.

At a conference co-sponsored by the Nuclear Resources Defense Council and the Center for Russian Environmental Policy, more than 40 nongovernmental organizations issued a communiqu? to world leaders calling for, among other things, the shutdown of all high-risk nuclear reactors -- including all Chernobyl-type reactors and outdated VVER-440 models -- within 10 years.