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Animals and Radiation

Animals are particularly susceptible to radiation exposure. New studies around the Chornobyl reactor accident site have found reduced numbers of certain species and impacts to genetics.

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Thursday
Feb232017

280 Groups Oppose Western Governors' Association's Efforts to Weaken Endangered Species Act

As reported by a Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) press release, Beyond Nuclear joined with CBD, the Endangered Species Coalition, Humane Society of the United States, and 276 other organizations, opposing the Western Governors' Association's efforts to weaken Endangered Species Act. See a copy of the coalition's letter to National Governors' Association head, Terry McAuliffe (Democrat-Virginia), and the other 49 governors, here.

A current example of Beyond Nuclear's work to protect endangered/threatened species is its intervention, along with coalition partners in southeast Michigan, against the proposed new Fermi 3 atomic reactor on the Great Lakes shoreline. The coalition, represented by attorney Terry Lodge of Toledo, OH, pursued an endangered species contention against Fermi 3 from 2008 until 2014, attempting to protect the threatened Eastern Fox Snake (an indigenous contstrictor). Unfortunately, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Atomic Safety and Licensing Board ultimately ruled against the contention, effectively greenlighting the destruction of the Eastern Fox Snake species Great Lakes coastal wetland habtitat at the Fermi 3 site -- only one of four such habitats that still exist.

But the coalition is still challenging Fermi 3's NRC rubber-stamped construction and operation license, at the second highest court in the land, just below the U.S. Supreme Court -- the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. A part of that appeal involves the proposed new transmission line corridor connected to Fermi 3, challenging its exclusion from NRC's Environmental Impact Statement. That transmission line corridor, if built, would destroy critical habitat, including forested wetlands, where Eastern Fox Snakes can also live.

While Beyond Nuclear et al.'s focus has been on the Eastern Fox Snake, there are numerous additional endangered/threatened plant and animal species that would be harmed by Fermi 3's construction and operation.

Thursday
Jan052017

Lawsuit Launched Against Radioactive Phosphate Mining in Florida

Update provided by Center for Biological Diversity:

Florida is saddled with 1 billion tons of radioactive phosphogypsum -- the result of turning phosphate mined in Florida into fertilizer -- as well as scars and pollution from thousands of acres of phosphate mining.

So just before the holidays, the Center and allies tackled the problem, notifying two federal agencies we'll sue over their approval of more than 50,000 additional acres of mining in central Florida unless they take steps to improve the situation. The new mining would destroy habitat for eastern indigo snakes and Florida panthers, hurt water quality and damage the landscape.

"Phosphate mining violently disfigures the environment, destroying habitat and displacing wildlife," said Jaclyn Lopez, our Florida director.

Read more in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and check out our new phosphate mining webpage.

Saturday
May302015

"Kirk Urges President to Halt Canadian Proposal to Store Nuclear Waste Near Great Lakes"

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL)U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (Republican-Illinois, photo left) has issued a press release, and the text of a letter he sent to President Obama, calling for administration action to protect the Great Lakes against Ontario Power Generation's (OPG) proposed "low" and "intermediate" level radioactive waste dump, targeted at the Lake Huron shoreline at Bruce Nuclear Generating Station.

Sen. Kirk stated: “As co-chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, I am fighting to keep our lakes free from toxins that could harm our precious ecological system and threaten the drinking water source for more than 30 million Americans. Storing nuclear waste underground along the shores of the Great Lakes directly jeopardizes the wellbeing of this shared natural resource, and I urge the President to work with the Canadian Government to postpone this decision and protect our lakes for generations to come.”

In 2011, and again in 2013, Sen. Kirk sent letters of concern to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator. Last year, and again this year, Sen. Kirk has introduced resolutions of disapproval for the site.

In his letter to President Obama, Sen. Kirk stated: "This matter presents an immediate threat to all the Great Lakes, and I ask you to use all diplomatic means available to urge the Canadian government to delay its decision-making process until the proposal has been given all due consideration by the [International Joint Commission."

Sen. Kirk warned: "As a permanent repository, the Kincardine, Ontario facility would hold 7 million cubic feet of nuclear waste for thousands of years. Any leak during that time could unleash toxic material throughout the Great Lakes Basin, and contaminate the largest surface freshwater system in the world while causing irreparable damage to the more than 3,500 [species of] plants and animals that inhabit the ecosystem." (emphasis added)

More information about Canada's Great Lakes shore radioactive waste dump is posted under Beyond Nuclear's Canada website section.

Wednesday
Sep032014

More than one in three wild boar in Germany are too radioactive to eat

"Twenty-eight years after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, its effects are still being felt as far away as Germany -- in the form of radioactive wild boars.

 

Wild boars still roam the forests of Germany, where they are hunted for their meat, which is sold as a delicacy.

But in recent tests by the state government of Saxony, more than one in three boars were found to give off such high levels of radiation that they are unfit for human consumption...

"Even though Saxony lies some 700 miles from Chernobyl, wind and rain carried the radioactivity across western Europe, and soil contamination was found even further away, in France." Hunters who kill wild boar have had to have the meat tested for radioactivity since 2012.  The Telegraph see also The Verge

The limit of radioactive cesium allowed in Germany is 600 Bq/kg of food. For children, it is 300 JBq/kg. But IPPNW issued a report in September 2011, saying that the range of contamination should be orders of magnitude less: 4-8 Bq/kg in order to offer more protection to children.

Friday
Jul252014

Low blood cell counts in wild Fukushima monkeys 

Researchers compared monkeys from two regions of Japan, one group of monkeys from the Shimokita region, 400 Km north of Fukushima and monkeys from contaminated land in Fukushima.

"Fukushima monkeys had significantly low white and red blood cell counts, hemoglobin, and hematocrit, and the white blood cell count in immature monkeys showed a significant negative correlation with muscle cesium concentration. These results suggest that the exposure to some form of radioactive material contributed to hematological changes in Fukushima monkeys."

Changes in blood are also found in people inhabiting contaminated areas around Chernobyl. Nature