Senator Pressures NRC to Clear NUMEC President of Illegal Uranium
Diversions to Israel
does not have information that would allow it to unequivocally
conclude that nuclear material was not diverted from the site, nor that
unaccounted for material was accounted for during the decommissioning of
The office of
Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania attempted to obtain a statement
from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission according to documents released under the Freedom of Information Act. On August 27, 2009, Arlen
Specter wrote to Rebecca Schmidt asking that the NRC "issue a formal
public statement confirming that he [constituent Zalman Shapiro] was not
involved in any activities related to the diversion of uranium to
was formerly president of the Nuclear Materials and Equipment
Corporation at Apollo, PA. According to a secret GAO report "Nuclear
Diversion in the US?" partially declassified on May 6, 2010 NUMEC
received over 22 tons of uranium-235, the key material used to fabricate
Israel's top economic espionage case officer Rafael Eitan, who handled
spy Jonathan Pollard in the 1980s, infiltrated NUMEC under false
pretenses in 1968. According to Anthony Cordesman, "there is no
conceivable reason for Eitan to have gone [to the Apollo plant] but for
the nuclear material." CIA Tel Aviv station chief John Hadden called
NUMEC "an Israeli operation from the beginning." NUMEC's venture capital
came from David Lowenthal, who had close ties to Israeli intelligence
and David Ben-Gurion,who spearheaded Israel's nuclear weapons program.
A March, 2010 audit by two former NRC officials published in the
Bulletin of Atomic Scientists confirmed not only that 337 kilograms of
NUMEC highly enriched uranium are still unaccounted for but that all
circumstantial evidence still points to diversion to Israel.
On November 2, 2009 the NRC denied Specter's request.
According to documents released under the Freedom of
Information Act by the US Patent and Trademark Office, in 2009 Shapiro
was nominated by his daughter, Deborah Shapiro, for a National Medal of
Technology and Innovation—the highest honor bestowed by the United
States government on scientists, engineers, and inventors..
Shapiro is still eligible for the 2010 NMTI as a 2009 nominee.
Deborah Shapiro NMTI
nomination forms for Zalman Shapiro with required letters of
Aram Schefrin, Shapiro's
nephew, letter of support. "I'm
an attorney and author. Zalman Shapiro is my
uncle. I have no personal familiarity with his work -but I know
very well. And I cannot imagine anyone
more qualified, as a human being, for your award."
Grace Ann Geibel, RSM, PhD of
Carlow University letter of support. "
He has demonstrated courageous risk-taking from
the beginning of his professional
John T. Conway, Chairman
Emeritus, Defense Nuclear
Facilities Safety Committee, "For a thirteen-year period I was
on the staff of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy of the U.S.
Congress, most of which time I was Staff Director with
oversight responsibility of the U.S. Government's authorization
and appropriation of funds for both civilian and military
applications of atomic energy....
"During my career I interfaced with most of the
early pioneers in the field including Drs. Oppenheimer, Seaborg,
McMillan and Admiral Rickover. If Admiral Rickover were alive
today, I am certain he would also be among those recommending
Zalman Shapiro for the award. "
Kirsten E. Gillibrand,
US Senator, " Although I am not personally acquainted with Dr.
Shapiro, his impressive history of outstanding contributions to
our country recently came to my attention."
Charles Lemaire, a registered patent attorney
of Lemaire Patent Law Firm. "Dr.
Shapiro's contributions are extremely significant in providing
enduring and far-reaching benefits to the economic, social and
environmental well-being of the United States and J strongly
recommend his confirmation for this award."
James C. Roddy, Sentory
Consultant, McCrory & McDowell LLC. "I
with Zalman Shapiro approximately 25 years
ago. We served together on a committee to raise funds for
environmental projects in
Seth Corey, Murphy-Rosen
Research Professor of Cancer Biology and Chemotherapy,
Northwestern University. "His
contributions have been critical for the advance of non.fossil
fuel sources of energy -something that is so incredibly
important in 2009 and for our country's energy-independence and
national security and general wellbeing.
Mark J. Lesky, NOVA Chemicals
Shapiro has consistently demonstrated leadership in
technological innovation combining
vision, integrity and humility despite enduring untold hardships
and enormous challenges."
Stuart Hoffman, PNC Financial
Services Group, "Dr. Shapiro's life is not merely punctuated
with innovations/contributions of enormous benefit to our
country; it Is Indeed a continuum of outstanding achievements on
behalf of the greater good."
Victor Parsonnet, MD, St.
Barnabas "I write to inform you of
his extraordinary gift to
survival·of many patients
Oscar S. Gray, University of
Maryland. "I have known Dr. Shapiro
fifty years. My experience with his
technological career dates from 1957, when I left the Department
of State to join him as an officer of a start-up company that he
was in the process of founding, Nuclear Materials and Equipment
Corporation, headquartered in Apollo, Pa. (NUMEC). He was the
President of the company. I became its Secretary and Treasurer,
and later a Vice President."
Jerome L. Rosenberg, Research
Integrity Officer, University of Pittsburgh. "I
met the nominee shortly after I arrived
Pittsburgh in 1953, and we have been acquaintances, although not
scientific co-workers, since then."
Bernard L. Cohen, Professor
Emeritus, University of Pittsburgh. "I
believe I am particularly well qualified to evaluate both the
importance of Dr. Shapiro's
contributions to the development of
the nuclear power industry (and related areas) and the
importance of the contributions of
nuclear energy to the economic, environmental
and social well being of the United States."
Francis Cotter, retired VP of
Governmental Affairs, Westinghouse. "Dr. Shapiro is a man
of character who is distinguished not only by the high order of
his technical accomplishments, but also by the ethical tenets he
brought to all of it. I consider it an honor to recommend Dr.
Shapiro for the National Medal of Technology and Innovation.
America needs more men like Dr. Shapiro."
Peter D. Trooboff, Covington &
Burling LLP "I have practiced law
for 40 years as a partner at Covington & Burling LLP in
Washington, principally on international matters that have
included hundreds of matters concerning U.S. controls on the
exports of high-technology products
and technical data. This work has drawn extensively on my
interest in science because these assignments have focused on
the export-control regimes of the Departments of State,
Commerce, Energy and Treasury....I am pleased to support
enthusiastically Dr. Shapiro's nomination for the National Medal
of Technology and Innovation because of his unique and
extraordinarily valuable contributions..."
Specter asks that the NRC "issue a
formal public statement confirming that he [constituent Zalman
Shapiro] was not involved in any activities related to the
diversion of uranium to Israel."
Information from Hadrian
R. Katz of the law firm of Arnold & Porter LLP "Despite
his many accomplishments, Dr. Shapiro has for many years been
the subject of repeated defamatory statements, and we
respectfully request your assistance in
clearing a great American scientist's good name.
In particular, we would ask that this
letter be forwarded to the Office of
the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission with your
recommendation that the Commission issue a forrmal
statement confirming once and for all that Dr. Shapiro did not
participate in the unlawful diversion of nuclear material to the
State of Israel."
The NRC denies Specter's
request. "NRC does not have
information that would allow it to
unequivocally conclude that nuclear material was not diverted
from the site, nor that all previously
unaccounted for material was accounted for during the
decommissioning of the site."