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Monday
May252015

"Nuclear Waste Hard To Handle For GOP Candidates"

As reported by Jason Plautz in National Journal, "Two early voting states are on opposite ends of the Yucca Mountain divide." South Carolina -- the third presidential primary after Iowa's caucus and New Hampshire's primary -- stores a large amount of irradiated nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste at its many commercial atomic reactors, as well as at the Savannah River Site nuclear weapons complex. The powers that be in South Carolina have long been in favor of dumping its radioactive wastes on Nevada --at the long-targeted Yucca Mountain site -- even though the Silver State already suffered the ravages of four decades of full-scale nuclear weapons testing (both atmospheric, and underground, which also often leaked into the biosphere; sub-critical nuclear weapons tests still take place in Nevada), and has not one single atomic reactor within its borders.

But the Nevada caucus comes just days after the South Carolina primary in the presidential campaign. Republican presidential candidates are now trying to walk that tightrope, dangling above a mountain of radioactive waste 73 years high.

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.