The women who blocked Russian nuclear deal in South Africa win Goldman Prize

Super good news and well deserved -- the announcement that two women activists from South Africa, Makoma Lekalakala and Liz McDaid (pictured), who relentlessly pursued and uncovered an illegal Russian nuclear power deal with their homeland South Africa, have won the prestigious Goldman environment prize.

As The Guardian's Jonathan Watts describes it, reporting from Cape Town: "Two grassroots women activists – one black, one white – stand together against two of the world’s most powerful men – one black, one white – over a secret, undemocratic, multibillion dollar nuclear deal.

"If this was the plot of a Netflix series, it might be dismissed as too neat, too perfectly symbolic and symmetrical.

"But this is the true story of the two South African winners of this year’s Goldman environment prize who tapped their roots in the anti-apartheid struggle to take on and beat an agreement by their nation’s recently deposed leader Jacob Zuma and Russian president, Vladimir Putin."

Read the full article.


Humanitarian care for Chernobyl's children

When the Chernobyl disaster struck, Belarus, just across the border from the Ukraine Chernobyl site, was the hardest hit. Children, especially, were seriously affected and continue to be. When Adi Roche set up her organization, Chernobyl Children International, in 1991 in Ireland, others were inspired to follow. One such was Linda Walker, who founded Chernobyl Children’s Project UK in 1995, not only to bring Belarussian children out of the country for "radiation vacations," but also to deliver humanitarian aid to those affected by Chernobyl inside Belarus. Her work continues today. Read our story about her at Beyond Nuclear International.


Dogs in the Chernobyl Zone are finally getting medical care

When the Chernobyl zone was evacuated, people left with what they could carry. As with Fukushima, many thought they would quickly return. The dogs left behind have proliferated, but at a terrible price. Many suffer from malnutrition and disease and are preyed upon by wolves. At least 250 have gathered around the Chernobyl reactor site where sympathetic workers have been feeding them. Now they are finally getting help.

Read Beyond Nuclear board member, Lucas Hixson's story on how he, and his Clean Futures Fund, is providing food and medical care for Chernobyl's strays.


New Beyond Nuclear Thunderbird lays out Chernobyl facts

Many myths abound about the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Even now, 32 years later, the so-called "facts" are usually focused on how few people immediately died, a completely misleading statistic since nuclear power plant disasters do not usually kill people instantly. But over the long-term, their legacy is indeed both considerable and often deadly.

In the newest edition of our periodic Thunderbird newsletter, we look at the facts about the Chernobyl disaster and debunk the many falsehoods that endeavor to downplay or even dismiss the deadly April 26, 1986 nuclear power plant accident whose legacy still causes harm today. Children continue to be born with Chernobyl-related birth defects and illnesses as the damage is passed through DNA. The radioactive contamination of land appears to be worse in some places. Wildlife are serving as sentinels as not only tumors, but smaller brain sizes, shortened life spans and sterility, among other impactsm, are observed.

See our story at Beyond Nuclear International and download Chernobyl: The Facts, to learn more. 


Getting too close to the "too late" time say First Nations

First Nations chiefs and other indigenous and non-indigenous activists came together at the UN in New York on April 23 to hold a special event — “Radioactive Waste and Canada’s First Nations”. They were there to denounce the failure of the Canadian government to consult with -- or listen to -- First Nations peoples about the deadly and permanent damage a proposed radioactive waste dump near the Ottawa River in Ontario could do to people, the land and the environment. They called for respect for Mother Earth and warned that our abandonment of radioactive waste along with inaction on climate change could have catastrophic consequences.

The UN event took place on the same day as a press conference in Ottawa, Canada’s capital. There, the Anishinabek Nation, Ottawa Riverkeeper, the Concerned Citizens of Renfrew County and Area, and Ralliement Contre la Pollution Radioactive, called on the International Atomic Energy Agency “to investigate why radioactive waste abandonment plans in Canada are proceeding despite a policy vacuum at the federal level, and with scant attention to international obligations as laid out in the UN Joint Convention on radioactive waste.”

Read our coverage of the UN event -- Mother Earth and the "too late" time: We are getting perilously close, warn First Nations -- at our Beyond Nuclear International blog site.