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Animals

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).

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Monday
Jun042012

Elephants and others threatened by uranium mine at World Heritage site

In June, the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO, meeting in Russia, will decide whether to change the boundaries of the precious Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania, a World Heritage Site, in order to allow a uranium mine. The Reserve is one of the largest remaining wilderness areas in Africa, harboring the largest elephant population on the continent.

The planned Mkuju River uranium mine, if allowed, would deal a major blow to the ecology of the region and have a devastating impact on economic and social fronts.

Please sign the petition we are co-sponsoring with the Uranium Network to urge the UNESCO World Heritage committee to keep the boundaries unchanged and discourage the Government of Tanzania from licensing the Mkuju River Uranium mine. Your emails will go directly to key committee members.

To learn more, read documentation sent to the Committee by the Uranium Network.

Tuesday
May292012

Bluefin tuna contaminated with Fukushima Daiichi cesium documented on U.S. West Coast

Common DreamsReuters, and the Guardian (including a videoof the Japanese government's response to the news) have reported that bluefin tuna which had migrated from Japan's east coast to the U.S. west coast tested positive for elevated levels of radioactive cesium in August 2011, about four months after massive radioactively contaminated water releases to the Pacific Ocean took place at Fukushima Daiichi. Bluefin tuna is a prized seafood. Although the levels of radioactive cesium-137 and cesium-134 are reportedly lower than Japanese and U.S. permissible levels for consumption, the U.S. National Academy of Science has long maintained that any exposure to radioactivity, no matter how low the dose, carries a health risk of cancer, and that these risks accumulate over a lifetime.

The Reuters article gives the false impression that radioactive cesium-137 is somehow naturally occurring. While Cs-137 was released from atmospheric atomic bomb tests for decades beginning in 1945, and thus can be termed a part of "background" radioactivity levels, this should not be confused with "natural background," for atomic weapons blasts, and their radioactive fallout, are far from "natural." Cs-137, with a 30 year half-life and 300 to 600 year hazardous persistence, was released in large amounts by the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe, especially in March and April 2011. Cs-134, with a 2 year half-life (and 20 to 40 year hazardous persistence), contamination in bluefin tuna is unmistakably of Fukushima Daiichi origin.

Tuesday
May012012

Chernobyl Radiation Leaves Male Birds Singing the Blues

One audible legacy of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster is that the woods surrounding the derelict Ukraine power plant are filled with the songs of lonely male birds.

Very high levels of nuclear contamination have killed far more of the female birds, mainly due to the stressful combination of coping with the radiation while reproducing.

Writing in the journal PLoS One, biologist Timothy Mousseau of the University of South Carolina says that after counting the number of females to males around Chernobyl, researchers concluded that lonely bachelors are spending more time calling out for mates that just aren’t there.

The study also found higher percentages of yearlings, rather than more mature birds, meaning the survival rate is relatively low in the contaminated zone.

“It’s what we’ve seen for many years now,” said Mousseau, the director of the Chernobyl Research Initiative at USC, which has sponsored studies on the long-term ecological and health consequences of the Chernobyl disaster. More.

Tuesday
Feb142012

Environmental coalition continues to defend endangered species against Fermi 3

NRC file photo of Fermi 2 on the Lake Erie shore, where Detroit Edison wants to build a giant new reactorOn Feb. 13, 2012, attorney Terry Lodge of Toledo, on behalf of an environmental coalition, filed a rebuttal to challenges by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff and Detroit Edison. The agency and utility were challenging contentions filed by the environmental coalition on Jan. 11, 2012 concerning NRC's Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) about the new Fermi 3 reactor, a proposed General Electric-Hitachi ESBWR (so-called "Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor"). The new contentions involve such issues as impacts on endangered and threatened plant and animal species (such as the Eastern Fox Snake, the Karner Blue Butterfly, the Prairie Fringed Orchid, the American Lotus, and others), and their critical habitats, from the overall Fermi 3 proposal, as well as related sub-proposals, such as the contemplated transmission line corridor; radiological health impacts on the Monroe County community from Fermi 3, which has already suffered a half century of radiological and toxic chemical harm from the Fermi 1 and Fermi 2 reactors, as well as a number of giant coal burning power plants; and impacts on the Walpole Island First Nation, just 53 miles away across the U.S./Canadian border. The coalition includes Beyond Nuclear, Citizen Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination, Don't Waste Michigan, and the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter.

Beyond Nuclear has compiled all the filings relating to the battle over the Fermi 3 Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

Tuesday
Feb072012

Prairie Island leaks tritium and toxins into soil and groundwater

NRC file photo of Prairie Island nuclear power plantXcel Energy's Prairie Island nuclear power plant has made what appears to be two admissions of separate toxic chemical and radiological spills in less than a week. Residents, and the tribal day care center, of the Prairie Island Indian Community are located within hundreds of yards of the nuclear power plant. While the nuclear establishment's philosophy is one of "dilution is the solution to tritium pollution," impacts on area flora and fauna -- such as bioaccumulation up the food chain, the reverse of dilution -- very often go unmentioned and unstudied. Read more...