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Environmental Justice

The siting of nuclear facilities - whether uranium mines, waste dumps, enrichment plants or other radioactivity-emitting operations - invariably occurs in communities of color and/or low-income. This consistent environmental racism is not unique to the nuclear industry but is a pattern that Beyond Nuclear is working to end.

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Monday
Sep032012

Saugeen Ojibway Nations challenge the targeting of their traditional territory for a high-level radioactive waste dump

Saugeen First Nation logoThe Saugeen Ojibway Nations (SON, the Chippewas of Saugeen First Nation and the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation) live on the Lake Huron shoreline of Ontario. Their Communal Lands are just 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) from the Bruce Nuclear Complex. With a total of 9 atomic reactors (8 operable, 1 permanently shutdown), as well as "centralized interim storage" (including incineration!) for all of Ontario's 20 atomic reactors' "low" and "intermediate" level radioactive wastes, Bruce is amongst the world's single largest nuclear sites. 

But now a Deep Geologic Repository (DGR) for burying all of Ontario's "low" and "intermediate" level radioactive wastes has been proposed by Ontario Power Generation (OPG), owner of Ontario's 20 atomic reactors. 

As the SON have submitted to the Canadian nuclear establishment, the likelihood that its traditional lands are also targeted for Canada's national HIGH-level radioactive waste dump (for all of Ontario's, Quebec's, and New Brunswick's irradiated nuclear fuel) means that OPG's Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the DGR is illegally deficient, failing to consider the cumulative impacts associated with the potential for this high-level radioactive waste DGR in the immediate vicinity of Bruce.

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO), comprised of Canada's nuclear utilities, has been hired by OPG to represent it in the "low"/"intermediate" DGR Environmental Assessment proceeding, and is also in charge of the high-level radioactive waste dump site search in Canada. NWMO has entered into ever deepening stages of consideration for locating Canada's national high-level radioactive waste dump at any of five municipalities surrounding the site of the proposed Bruce DGR, namely: Saugeen Shores, Brockton, Huron-Kinloss, South Bruce and Arran-Elderslie.

Thursday
May242012

Sign petition to block uranium mines poisoning Navajo water

Former uranium mine worker and Navajo leader, Larry J. King (pictured), has gathered 10,000+ signatures and growing on a petition to stop new uranium mines that will contaminate Navajo drinking water supplies. Hydro Resources requested a permit 23 years ago to mine from an aquifer at four sites in two New Mexico towns: Church Rock and neighboring Crownpoint. It has since received permits from the EPA, the NRC and the state. The Easterm Navajo Dine Against Uranium Mining has been fighting the plan since 1994. The site is on private land but within the Navajo community. The Navajo Nation has banned uranium mining on its own lands. Mining from the aquifer for uranium will pollute the water under the two towns and make it undrinkable. Chuch Rock does not use the aquifer currently but views it as a future water source. Read more and please sign the petition to the Environmental Protection Agency which is revisiting its decision to grant Hydro Resources a permit.

Thursday
Apr122012

"Fighting the Legacy of Enrico Fermi"

NRC file photo of Fermi 2Michael Leonardi of Occupy Toledo has published an essay in Counterpunch, re-run at Ecowatch, about the resistance to the Fermi nuclear power plant on the Lake Erie shoreline near Monroe, MI. Leonardi links to Beyond Nuclear's involvement in "Freeze Our Fukushimas" efforts to shutdown Fermi 2 (see photo, left), the largest Fukushima Daiichi twin GE Mark I reactor in the world, with around 550 tons of high-level radioactive waste stuck in its storage pool, more than Fukushima Daiichi Units 1 to 4 put together.

Leonardi also mentions the struggle to nip the proposed new "Fermi 3" reactor, a GE-Hitachi "Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor" (ESBWR), in the bud. Beyond Nuclear's website hosts the compiled submissions by the the environmental coalition resisting Fermi 3, submitted in response to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Draft Environmental Impact Statement. Beyond Nuclear, along with Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination, Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario (CEA), Don't Waste Michigan, and the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter -- represented by Toledo attorney Terry Lodge -- continue to officially intervene against Fermi 3 in the NRC's Atomic Safety (sic) and Licensing Board proceeding.

The Fermi nuclear power plant represents an international risk, as reflected by CEA's involvement: Ontario is a short 8 miles away from Fermi, across Lake Erie. In addition, the Walpole Island First Nation is only 50 miles away (see entry below, as well).

Most ironically, when the first self-sustained nuclear chain reaction was achieved by Fermi at the University of Chicago as part of the Manhattan Project on December 2, 1942, a coded phone call was made by one of the physicists, Arthur Compton, to James Conant, chairman of the National Defense Research Committee. The conversation was in impromptu code, reflecting Fermi's Italian identity:

Compton: The Italian navigator has landed in the New World.

Conant: How were the natives?

Compton: Very friendly.

This is documented at the U.S. Department of Energy's "CP-1 [Chicago Pile] Goes Critical," The Manhattan Project: An Interactive History.

Tuesday
Feb142012

Environmental coalition demands NRC notification of Canadian First Nations regarding Fermi 3 new reactor proposal

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, 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 environmental coalition includes Beyond Nuclear, Citizen Environmental 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

Nuclear plant next to Prairie Island Indian Community leaks radioactivity and toxins yet again

NRC file photo of Prairie IslandXcel 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. Read more...