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2017 Nuclear-Free Future Award winners announced








Today at the United Nations, a majority of the world community signed a historic treaty: a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination. This historic outcome is the result of the tireless work of dedicated individuals from across the globe. And it could not be more urgent and timely, given the recent ICBM launch by North Korea and heightened tensions between that country and the United States 

The Nuclear-Free Future Award (NFFA) has, since 1998, recognized that without these efforts such achievements can never be attained. To reward this work, the NFFA annually honors unsung heroes whose efforts and struggles, sometimes at risk to their own lives, and often unsupported financially, deserve international recognition and acclamation. 

Winners of the 2017 Nuclear-Free Future Award, each worth $10,000, are from Niger, Great Britain and Japan. The NFFA also offers two non-monetary Special Recognition awards. The ceremony will take place on September 15, in Basel, Switzerland.

The 2017 winners are: Almoustapha Alhacen (pictured left), Niger, for Resistance; Janine Allis-Smith and Martin Forwood, (pictured above) Great Britain, for Education; and Hiromichi Umebayashi, Japan, for Solutions. Jochen Stay of Germany and the Swiss anti-nuclear movement will receive the Special Recognition awards. 

Almoustapha Alhacen, a Tuareg, worked until recently at the French-owned Areva uranium mine in Arlit, Niger. When he saw how his sick and dying co-workers were ignored by the company, and how the environment was affected, he founded the NGO, Aghirin’man, (“Protection of the Soul,” in the language of the Tuareg). Alhacen has courageously spoken out, both in Niger and on international stages, against human rights abuses and the negative health impacts caused by uranium mining, and continues to do so even after losing his job and livelihood in 2015. 

Janine Allis-Smith and Martin Forwood are the two-person heart of Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment (CORE). For several decades, the pair have unmasked, publicized and challenged the often secret operations at the Cumbria-based Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant in northwest England and its short-lived and failed MOX fuel fabrication plant there. Today, they are also helping lead opposition to proposed new nuclear reactors at Moorside, adjacent to Sellafield. CORE is an indispensable pillar of the British anti-nuclear movement.

In 1980, physicist Dr. Hiromichi Umebayashi (pictured left) left his teaching post at the Tokyo Metropolitan Technical College in order to dedicate himself to achieving world peace and to eliminating nuclear weapons. His vision: a Northeast Asia Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone; no atomic missiles stationed on the ground in Japan, North Korea, or South Korea; and a guarantee from Russia, China, and the United States that no nuclear weapons would be deployed or used within the zone. He is the founder of Peace Depot Inc., a non-profit initiative that focuses on peace research and education and promotes ideas for national defense systems not reliant on atomic deterrence or outright military supremacy. 

The ceremony honoring this year’s Nuclear-Free Future Award winners takes place in cooperation with the international congress “Human Rights, Future Generations, and Crimes in the Nuclear Age,” September 14th-17th, Kollegienhaus, University of Basel, Petersplatz 1.  More