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Wednesday
May202015

Michael J. Keegan receives ANA & Beyond Nuclear "Judith Johnsrud Unsung Hero Award" at DC Days 

Michael J. Keegan (right) receives Judith Johnsrud Unsung Hero Award from Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps. Photo by Glenn Carroll of Nukewatch South.On May 18, the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA) and Beyond Nuclear named Michael J. Keegan of Monroe, MI the 2015 Judith Johnsrud Unsung Hero, "for demonstrating tireless dedication and stubborn determination, undeterred by lack of recognition, resources, or short-term success, in his creative, visionary work for a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes." The award ceremony took place as part of ANA's annual D.C. Days Capitol Hill reception, held at Rayburn House Office Building.

The award was named after Beyond Nuclear founding board member, Dr. Judith H. Johnsrud, who passed on in 2014. Judy's anti-nuclear activism began in 1967, when she blocked Project Ketch, a scheme to explode a thousand H bombs underground in Pennsylvania, to carve natural gas storage. Her resistance to nuclear power included intervening against Three Mile Island, long before the meltdown. In 2012, the Sierra Club honored Judy with a lifetime achievement award for her half-century of anti-nuclear activism. (See Beyond Nuclear's tribute to Judy on p. 6 of its TMI 35th anniversary newsletter.)

The criteria for this award include: a clear dedication to the issue; hard-working and self-sacrificing; determined, fearless spirit when confronted with challenges and setbacks; unsung. No one fits this bill better than Michael J. Keegan. More.

Friday
May152015

Court orders immediate release of peace activists

From AP: A federal appeals court has ordered the immediate release of an 85-year-old nun and two fellow Catholic peace activists who vandalized a uranium storage bunker, their attorney said Friday.

The order came after the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati last week overturned the 2013 sabotage convictions of Sister Megan Rice, 66-year-old Michael Walli and 59-year-old Greg Boertje-Obed (pictured) and ordered resentencing on their remaining conviction for injuring government property. The activists have spent two years in prison, and the court said they likely already have served more time than they will receive for the lesser charge.

On Thursday, their attorneys petitioned the court for an emergency release, saying that resentencing would take weeks if normal court procedures were followed. Prosecutors on Friday afternoon responded that they would not oppose the release, if certain conditions were met.

After the close of business on Friday, attorney Bill Quigley said the court had ordered the activists' immediate release. He said he was working to get them out of prison and was hopeful they could be released overnight or on the weekend.

"We would expect the Bureau of Prisons to follow the order of the court and release them as soon as possible," he said.

Thursday
May142015

"Nuclear Evacuation Preparations in Question for Chicago Area Communities"

NBC 5 investigative reporter Chris Coffey has looked at the Disaster Accountability Project's findings and applied them to Exelon's atomic reactors in Illinois. Major gaps are apparent, especially in the 10- to 50-mile zones around atomic reactors.

The U.S. government warned Americans in Japan to get at least 50 miles away from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, once the radiological catastrophe began there in March 2011.

The report quotes Beyond Nuclear: “They are not ready for the flood of nuclear evacuees that would flow out of the 10-mile Emergency Planning Zone and seek shelter in their communities, not to mention potentially large numbers of spontaneous 'shadow' evacuees who would also flee in panic, despite no official orders to do so,” said Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear.

Thursday
May142015

Indian Point nuclear plant fire leaves oil slick on Hudson River

A transformer fire that has shuttered the Indian Point nuclear power plant 30 miles from New York City has also left its own ugly carbon footprint -- an oil slick on the Hudson River. The fire caused a shutdown of the nuclear plant which could remain closed for several weeks according to its owner, Entergy. New York governor, Andrew Cuomo, said that even after the blaze on the nonnuclear side of the plant was quickly doused, the heat reignited the fire that was again extinguished. Fire is considered the number one risk for catastrophe at nuclear plants yet few precautions are taken to prevent them and are left to voluntary initiatives by plant owners rather than enforcement by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. This short video taken by Riverkeeper shows the oil in the Hudson discharged during the nuclear plant fire.

Tuesday
May122015

Beyond Nuclear stands in solidarity with DC ANCs & City Council members against Exelon takeover of Pepco

Logo courtesy of Public Citizen's Energy ProgramBeyond Nuclear stood in solidarity with Advisory Neighborhood Council representatives from almost all the wards in the city, as well as three City Council members, who spoke out at a press conference on the steps of city hall against Exelon Nuclear's takeover of the local utility Pepco. The press conference was supported by PowerDC. Public Citizen took photos at the event.

The speakers, and PowerDC, are calling on DC residents and businesses to take action, to contact DC's Mayor, Muriel Bowser, as well as the city council, to speak out against Exelon's ill-advised takeover of Pepco. As reported by Greenpeace's Connor Gibson at an excellent article on the issue at HuffPost, public comments are needed by May 26th. Maryland's Public Service Commission, meanwhile, is to announce its ruling on the Exelon-Pepco merger this Friday, May 15th. If any Pepco jurisdiction rejects the takeover, the deal is blocked. More.