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.
For the past 35 years Michael has actively engaged in opposition to nuclear power and nuclear proliferation. He has testified in hearings at county, state, provincial, and the U.S.-Canadian federal levels, providing expert testimony. He has frequently been legal intervenor in matters before both federal governments. Michael has helped stop nuclear waste dumps, atomic reactors, bomb tests, radioactive shipments on the Great Lakes, and many other nuclear ills. Currently, Michael is engaged as a legal intervenor against: the proposed Fermi 3, MI new reactor license application; the Davis-Besse, OH license extension; and the Palisades, MI license amendment request for regulatory relief on reactor pressure vessel embrittlement risks.
Michael began with his opposition to the nuclear industry in 1980 at Fermi 2, a Fukushima twin design, which is located near Monroe, MI, his lifelong home. In the mid 1990s he brought together Citizen's Resistance at Fermi Two. He is Co-Chair of Don't Waste Michigan, and Chair of the Coalition for a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes. Michael co-chairs a U.S.-Canadian task force dedicated to Green Energy and a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes.