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Friday
Sep092011

Dave Martin, Canadian anti-nuclear campaigner, 1954-2011

"Dave Laughing" while training the next generation in non-violent environmental activism. Photo courtesy of Greenpeace Canada. "He left behind a lot of people who loved him" are the concluding words of Elizabeth May, head of the Green Party of Canada and a Member of Parliament, in a Greenpeace tribute to the life of Dave Martin, one of Canada's top anti-nuclear activists of the past generation. Dave passed on this morning after a four year battle with prostate cancer. Greenpeace's memorial also pays tribute to the life and work of Irene Kock, Dave's partner in life as well as anti-nuclear activism, who tragically died in a car accident in 2001.

Bruce Cox, the Executive Director of Greenpeace Canada, where Dave has worked since 2004, said "Dave was our Climate and Energy Coordinator and later Energy Policy Analyst until he took his sick leave. He was an extraordinary individual that made our province, and indeed our country, a better place to live. More importantly his good nature, warm laugh and helping hand made many of us step a little lighter and shine a little brighter just for knowing him."

Gordon Edwards of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility said "Dave was an indomitable campaigner of unquenchable passion, who taught himself how to speak the language of the economist, the politician and the bureaucrat to communicate more effectively his unwavering perception that nuclear energy is a huge mistake. And his effectiveness was second to none. He and Irene Kock did outstanding work at a time when the odds seemed truly impossible; they were an inspiration to all who knew them. Since Irene's passing Dave has been the fountainhead of nuclear activism within Greenpeace and in the heart of the nuclear beast -- Ontario -- along with his tremendous colleague Shawn-Patrick Stensil. He will be sorely missed but joyously remembered."

Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps has many such joyous memories of Dave and Irene. They worked and played together, as friends and colleagues, in a common campaign for a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes since the mid-1990s. Dave and Irene's legacy will live on. As but one of countless examples, the "Great Lakes Nuclear Hot Spots" map they created in 1990 is still commonly used by anti-nuclear activists throughout the Great Lakes basin.

Friday
Sep092011

Yucca dump's permanent cancellation one major step closer to finalization

The western face of Yucca Mountain, as seen through the frame of a sacred Western Shoshone Indian ceremonial sweat lodge. Photo by Gabriela Bulisova, 2004.As reported by KTVN of Reno, Nevada, today the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission -- by the narrowest of margins -- approved an order mandating that its Atomic Safety and Licensing Board conclude and close out all Yucca Mountain repository proceedings by the end of the fiscal year -- September 30, 2011. This is a major victory for opponents of the Yucca dump, as celebrated by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Democrat-Nevada), who has devoted his quarter century long Senate career to blocking the dump. Yucca Mountain, a sacred site belonging to the Western Shoshone Indian Nation as acknowledged by the Treaty of Ruby Valley, signed by the U.S. government in 1863, has been the sole target of the nuclear establishment for a national high-level radioactive waste dump since the "Screw Nevada" bill of 1987. More than $10 billion of ratepayer and taxpayer money has been wasted on the project.

Friday
Sep092011

Radiation in sea at Fukushima triple earlier estimates

From NHK: "A group of Japanese researchers say that a total of 15,000 terabecquerels of radioactive substances is estimated to have been released from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the sea. Researchers at the Japan Atomic Energy Agency, Kyoto University and other institutes made the calculation of radioactivity released from late March through April. The combined amount of iodine-131 and cesium-137 is more than triple the figure of 4,720 terabecquerels earlier estimated by Tokyo Electric Power Company, the plant operator. The utility only calculated the radioactivity from substances released from the plant into the sea in April and May. The researchers say the estimated amount of radioactivity includes a large amount that was first released into the air but entered the sea after coming down in the rain. They say they need to determine the total amount of radioactivity released from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant in order to accurately assess the impact of the disaster on the sea."

Thursday
Sep082011

Fukushima eye witnesses and activists from Japan to speak in New York

A farming family from the now radioactively contaminated Fukushima region along with one American and three leading anti-nuclear campaigners from Japan, will be in New York City on September 21 and 22. The group will deliver eye-witness accounts about the health impacts and continued contamination produced by the Fukushima-Daiichi reactor units that suffered catastrophic damage on March 11, 2011 and the similar risk of a Fukushima-type nuclear accident in the US.

A public forum, open to the press, will be held on Thursday, September 22, from 12-2pm at the American Friends Service Committee’s Meetinghouse at 15 Rutherford Place,  between 15th and 16th Streets, and 2nd and 3rd Avenues in New York City. Please see the flyer for more details.

Monday
Sep052011

Beyond Nuclear on CNN regarding earthquake's impact on dry storage casks at North Anna

On September 1st, CNN correspondent Brian Todd interviewed Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps after the revelation by Dominion Nuclear -- 8 days after the 5.8 magnitude quake that was epicentered just miles from its North Anna nuclear power plant -- that vertical dry casks had shifted up to 4 inches, and horizontal dry casks had suffered surface damage. As documented in CNN's transcript, Kevin said: "[We are] Very concerned because this material is ultra-hazardous inside. This is high-level radioactive waste. If you lose radiation shielding, you can deliver a fatal dose in a few minutes' time to a person at close range." Unfortunately, James Acton, Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, largely downplayed the risks of dry cask storage (however, the same group also invited the CEO of Areva Nuclear to keynote its nuclear weapons non-proliferation conference a few years ago, despite France's willingness to sell atomic technology even to the likes of Khaddafi in Libya). Beyond Nuclear, and nearly 200 additional environmental groups, has called for hardened on-site storage as a needed safety and security upgrade on risky pool and dry cask storage, vulnerable to accidents from natural disasters or operator errors, or even terrorist attacks.