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Beyond Nuclear warns about C-14, urges EPA remove nuclear power from "Clean Power Plan"

By the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) December 1st deadline, Beyond Nuclear submitted comments, written by its Radiation and Health Specialist, Cindy Folkers, to the "Clean Power Plan" (CCP) docket. The comments focused on the very significant, but largely overlooked, health hazards of radioactive Carbon-14 (C-14), generated by atomic reactors. EPA had not considered this is in its "Clean Power Plan" proposal, which supports expansion of nuclear power at public expense.

C-14 has a 5,700 year half-life, meaning its significant biological hazard will persist for 57,000 to 114,000 years after it is generated in an operating reactor core. Radioactive C-14 can go anywhere in the body, or food chain, that carbon goes, which is pretty much everywhere. It can cause cancer, birth defects, and genetic damage. Children, pregnant women, and the fetus in the womb, are the must vulnerable to C-14's hazards.

C-14 is released from the nuclear power industry in the form of radioactive green house gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane. It is released as part of "routine radiation releases" from atomic reactors (not to mention nuclear catastrophes like Fukushima), leaking radioactive wastes, and at an especially large-scale due to radioactive waste reprocessing, as is done in France.

In addition to its own comments, Beyond Nuclear joined with 31 allied environmental groups to endorsed comments prepared by the coalition's legal counsel, Diane Curran of Harmon, Curran, Spielberg + Eisenberg LLP, submitted to EPA's regarding the CCP.

The coalition's comments have the expert witness support of a report filed by Dr. Arjun Makhijani of Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER) and Dr. M.V. Ramana of Princeton University's Program on Science and Global Security (and a member of Beyond Nuclear's advisory board), as well as a report filed by Dr. Mark Cooper, Senior Fellow for Economic Analysis at the Vermont Law School's Institute for Energy and Environment. Chris Shuey, MPH, of Southwest Research and Information Center (SRIC) provided a literature summary, entitled "Uranium Exposure and Public Health in New Mexico and the Navajo Nation," documenting uranium mining and milling's devastating impact on indigenous peoples communities and lands in the Four Corners region.

In addition, Beyond Nuclear endorsed an environmental coalition effort led by NIRS; these comments garnered the signatures of 148 groups.

And Beyond Nuclear also signed onto the Climate Reality Check Network's (125 groups) comments to EPA, as well as the Energy Justice Network's "NO Fracking, Nukes & Incinerators in the Clean Power Plan!" (over 100 groups) comments regarding the CCP.