Animals are affected by the operation of nuclear power -- but are the most ignored of all the nuclear industry's victims. Whether sucked into reactor intake systems, or pulverized at the discharge, aquatic animals and their habitats are routinely harmed and destroyed by the routine operation of reactors. In addition, animals are forced to remain in highly radioactive areas after a nuclear disaster, such as around Chernobyl and Fukushima. Some of our latest stories about animals can be found on our newest platform, Beyond Nuclear International. And for more about how routine reactor operations harms marine wildlife, see our Licensed to Kill page



Sheep in Scotland declared edible, despite lingering radioactive contamination from Chernobyl fallout

Sheep in Scotland, UK, contaminated with radioactive fallout from the 1986 Chernobyl reactor explosion, have been declared permissible to market for consumption. The news was a relief to farmers in the area. However, permissible does not mean safe. The European Commission in 1986 declared 1,000 bequerels of Cesium-137 per kilogram of sheep meat permissible for humans to consume. But as the U.S. National Academy of Science has confirmed for decades now, any exposure to radioactivity, no matter how small, carries a health risk, and cumulative exposures add to the risk. Chernobyl's radioactive cesium-137 fallout has a half life of 30 years, meaning its hazard in the environment will persist for 300 to 600 years.


As Gulf wildlife dies in oil catastrophe, Obama's call for "clean energy" masks push for taxpayer-backed atomic expansion

Although President Barack Obama did not say the words "nuclear power" in his first ever Oval Office address to the nation on June 15th, his call for an accelerated "transition to clean energy" in response to the worst environmental catastrophe in U.S. history -- the worsening oil catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico -- represents a tacit push for the expansion of atomic energy. This would only take place by transferring the financial risks and even direct costs (not to mention the radiological risks) squarely on the backs of taxpayers. Obama said "Last year, the House of Representatives acted on these principles by passing a strong and comprehensive energy and climate bill –- a bill that finally makes clean energy the profitable kind of energy for America’s businesses." He failed to mention that the 2009 Waxman-Markey climate-energy bill would carve out up to 30% of federal "Clean Energy Deployment Administration" funding and support -- loan guarantees, outright loans, and other subsidies -- for new atomic reactors and other nuclear facilities such as uranium enrichment plants. Obama also failed to mention that the Kerry-Lieberman "climate" bill in the Senate -- more of a dirty energy subsidy bill, including, ironically, support for expanded offshore oil drilling -- contains a long list of taxpayer giveaways to the nuclear power industry, as revealed in analyses by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Physicians for Social Responsibility. The Kerry-Lieberman bill would include the $36 billion expansion of the nuclear loan guarantee program funding requested from Congress by Energy Secretary Chu for the Fiscal Year 2011 budget, $9 billion of which the Obama administration is trying to rush onto the Fiscal Year 2010 budget by attaching a rider onto the emergency supplemental war funding and disaster relief bill currently before the U.S. House Appropriations Committee. Also not mentioned in Obama's speech was the Bingaman energy bill, passed by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee last summer: its version of the federal "Clean Energy Deployment Administration" is significantly worse than the House version, allowing for unlimited loan guarantees for nuclear power, without congressional oversight -- granting the Department of Energy veritable blank check writing authority for the nuclear relapse. Contact the White House comment line at (202) 456-1111, or fill out its web form at; urge President Obama to stop seeking to expand atomic energy at taxpayer risk and expense.


Indian Point nuclear plant kills a billion Hudson River organisms per year

The battle is on over Indian Point's nuclear power plant's request for a 20 year license extension, as the State of New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation has blocked needed water permits due to the twin reactors' "once-through" cooling system that kills a billion Hudson River organisms per year, including endangered species such as the shortnose sturgeon. But Entergy Nuclear, which made an incredible $436 million in pre-tax profits at Indian Point in 2009, will not go down without a fight.


Rare wildlife in India protected as uranium prospecting plan rejected

A plan to begin uranium mining in Meghalaya, a move strongly opposed by residents, has been halted by a national panel of wildlife experts. Prospecting in the area some years ago had already caused serious health impacts to villagers. But it was the threat to rare forms of wildlife that ultimately stopped the plan. The National Board of Wildlife rejected the exploratory drilling proposal because of strong local opposition and also because the area is home to elephants, black bear, leopards, deer and the red pandal, one of the world's rarest animals.


Sea turtles die as a result of BP oil spill

Already, 23 sea turtles have turned up dead on the shores of Mississippi as a result of the massive and on-going oil spill off the Gulf Coast. Sea turtles are vulnerable to polluting industries like oil and of course nuclear as we have already recorded in our investigative report, Licensed to Kill.