The International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union has stopped short of a West Coast ban on unloading spent radioactive fuel rods the U. S. Department of Energy has proposed for shipment through the Port of Long Beach. The union's leaders, meeting in a coast-wide caucus, left such a boycott to each of its local units.
Local 13, which represents Long Beach dockworkers, on Tuesday reaffirmed its opposition to the shipments. But it will not vote on a boycott of handling the used nuclear fuel unless the federal government decides to ship it here over objections of city and state officials.
"I think it's clear we're going to support the Port of Long Beach and the Port of L. A., and the politicians who've taken stands against these things," said David Arian, president of Local 13. "But we want to get away from where the longshoremen take a position and everybody else stands back and applauds. We're trying to join in with the rest of the community to stop these things."
Port and maritime officials have said a boycott by dockworkers would stop the shipments. The union would stop non-union workers from unloading the cargo, Arian said. Local 19 in Seattle, which was considered a possible unloading point, voted unanimously Jan. 9 not to handle the casks of spent fuel.