While contaminated sheep in Scotland may have - controversially - been taken off the radioactive list the same is not true for the wild pigs of Germany. On the rise in population, and making ever more frequent appearances in German cities, a significant portion of the wild boar population is still too radioactive for human consumption even nearly 25 years after the Chernobyl reactor accident that contaminated them. Der Spiegel has the full story.
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. (For more, see our Licensed to Kill page).
The Coaster Brook Trout, once plentiful in Lake Superior, has been diminished to a small population, with one remaining natural breeding ground -- the Salmon Trout River in Marquette County, Michigan. This is downstream of the Kennecot metallic sulfide mining proposal targeting the sacred Ojibwe Eagle Rock site on the Yellow Dog Plains. This mine is but one of many metallic sulfide and/or uranium mines targeting sites across Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps helped lead the nuclear power and uranium mining workshops at the 1st (2008) and 2nd (2009) annual "Protect the Earth" gatherings held at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Michigan. These events were devoted to stopping metallic sulfide and uranium mining throughout Michigan's Upper Peninsula, particularly at the sacred Ojibwe "Eagle Rock" site on the Yellow Dog Plains near Lake Superior. Save the Wild U.P., one of the annual gathering's sponsors, has an excellent map showing the location of this Kennecot "Eagle Project," numerous other metallic sulfide mining proposals, and three known uranium mining proposals. Uranium mining is unprecedented in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, although it has already devastated Ojibwe lands at Elliot Lake, Ontario to the east, as described in the book of Serpent River First Nation testimonials edited by Lorraine Rekmans and Anabel Dwyer, and as depicted in an iconic photo by Robert Del Tredichi showing a wall of uranium tailings, visible behind the trees -- radioactive waste from the Stanrock mill near Elliot Lake, Ontario.
At the June 2010 Midwest Renewable Energy Fair in Wisconsin, Kevin also met with Gabriel Caplett and Teresa Bertossi, editors of Headwaters: Citizen Journalism for the Great Lakes. Along with youth from the Keewenaw Bay Indian Community who had recently been arrested trying to defend Eagle Rock from bulldozers, Gabriel and Teresa gave an emergency presentation at Wisconsin's Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free networking caucus about the imminent mining threat at the sacred site. Hence the urgency of this year's 3rd annual Protect the Earth Great Lakes Community Gathering.
Check out this year's beautiful poster. This year's event will feature Ojibwe environmental justice activist Winona "No Nukes" LaDuke as keynote speaker, and renowned Native American musician Joanne Shenandoah. See the text of the email announcement just sent to Beyond Nuclear here.
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 http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact; urge President Obama to stop seeking to expand atomic energy at taxpayer risk and expense.
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.