Civil Liberties

The construction and operation of dangerous nuclear reactors - and the infrastructure needed to support them - inevitably flout civil liberties. Most recently, the opportunities for public intervention against proposed new reactors have been severely curtailed, often leaving a window open largely after the project is a fait accompli.


Entries by admin (20)


Government spying on non-nuclear movement in Canada

In his book CANADA'S DEADLY SECRET: Saskatchewan uranium and the global nuclear system (Fernwood Publishing, Canada, 2007), Jim Harding documents Canadian government spying on the anti-nuclear movement. He discussed it in the context of documenting a secret, $2.5 million pro-nuclear propoganda and disinformation campaign orchestrated by the Canadian [federal government's] "Crown corporation" Atomic Energy of Canada, Ltd. (AECL), mandated to promote nuclear power, and carried out by the Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA):

"The cynical use of clandestine tactics by the nuclear industry is demonstrated by the fact that, while this CNA "public information" campaign was occurring, the AECL was creating a secret database on the personnel, funding and vulnerabilities of about a hundred anti-nuclear groups across Canada. This "Database of Anti-Nuclear Groups" was published for "Restricted Commercial" use by the AECL in January 12, 1988. It was done by the Ridley Research Group of Toronto and was leaked to several anti-nuclear activists across Canada including myself. As this nuclear offensive continued, it felt like the non-nuclear forces were on the receiving end of a counter-insurgency campaign to push back the gains made over the previous decade. Shutting down the nuclear industry was not going to get any easier." [from Chapter 5, "Corporate Agenda," page 75]


Pro-nuclear attack on freedom of speech in Alberta, Canada

An article by Canadian anti-nuclear activist, researcher, and author Pat McNamara documented a pro-nuclear attack on an anti-nuclear billboard in Alberta that occurred in 2009. The attackers defaced an anti-nuclear message by painting profanity and a Nazi swastika on it (see photo at left), as well as lodging a Molotov cocktail at it in an apparent attempt to burn it down. Fortunately, the attack did not result in physical injuries. 


EDF fined millions & its senior staff sentenced to years in prison for spying on Greenpeace France

Greenpeace International has blogged about the larger implications of a French court's conviction of Electricite de France (EDF) and two its senior staff for "complicity in computer piracy": hiring a private investigator to hack into Greenpeace computers and steal 1,400 documents. The court has fined EDF 1.5 million Euros ($2 million), ordered it to pay 500,000 Euros ($682,000) in damages to Greenpeace France, and an additional 50,000 Euros ($68,200) to the Greenpeace campaigner whose computer was hacked and confidential documents stolen. The court has sentenced two senior EDF officials, and two officials at the private investigation company, to 2-3 years of jail time each, as well as fining three of them thousands of Euros each. World Nuclear News has reported on this story.


Dominion security film concerned citizen car license plates in North Anna parking lot at post-quake NRC public meeting

On Monday, October 3rd, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) held an "exit meeting" with Dominion Nuclear at its North Anna nuclear power plant in Mineral, VA. The meeting, open to the public, had to do with NRC's findings regarding Dominion's rush to restart its two reactors in the aftermath of the August 23rd, 5.8 magnitude earthquake epicentered about ten miles away. The quake generated ground motions twice what the plant was designed to withstand, which caused visible damage to the facilities. The extent of damage to underground pipes carrying radioactive materials, and to electrical cables vital to safety and cooling systems, remains uninspected and unknown.

After the NRC-Dominion meeting, the floor was opened up to concerns and questions from the public -- including dozens of citizens concerned about safety risks. By chance, Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps happened upon Dominion security personnel videotaping a vehicle with anti-nuclear bumper stickers parked outside the meeting, including its license plate. When given the chance at the microphone, Kevin asked how appropriate it is for Dominion Nuclear security personnel to violate the civil liberties and right to privacy of concerned citizens, taking part in good faith in an NRC-sponsored public meeting. Kevin asked why such meetings could not be held at a public location, such as the local public high school where NRC meetings about the proposed new reactor(s) targeted at North Anna have been held, rather than at the "information center" located immediately adjacent to the front entrance to the North Anna nuclear power plant, a high-security zone.


NRC violates President Obama's commitment to open, transparent, accountable government with secretive communications with industry

As reported by the Associated Press, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) regularly communicates secretively with the industry it is supposed to be regulating, in order to deny the public access to company documents. Michael Keegan of Coalition for a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes calls it a game of "hide and seek" that keeps the public in the dark. The latest revelations of such NRC-industry secrecy have been brought to light by Ray Shadis of the New England Coalition, who busted NRC on having secretive communications with Entergy Nuclear regarding tritium leaks at its controversial Vermont Yankee atomic reactor. Such NRC secrecy flies in the face of President Obama's commitment, on his very first day in office, to have an open, transparent, and accountable administration.