A strong turn out of concerned local residents and representatives of environmental groups, including Beyond Nuclear, calling for the shutdown of Entergy's Palisades atomic reactor in southwest Michigan, has generated extensive local media coverage. In the photo at left, longtime grassroots anti-nuclear watchdog Catharine Sugas asks the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) “If you can’t shut down a plant that’s dangerous…what are you? How can you keep a plant going that’s obviously dangerous?”
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has finally done what tens of thousands of Japanese people have been urging - agreed to phase out nuclear power in that country entirely. After demonstrators surrounded his residence every Friday and tens to hundreds of thousands of Japanese took to the streets in unprecedented protests, the Japanese government has agreed to have all nuclear power plants shut down by the 2030s. Noda admitted that the majority of the Japanese public favored a transition to zero use of nuclear power. The government had also been considering 15% and 25% usage. But the continuing aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi triple reactor meltdowns, and the perilous state of unit 4 at the site along with on-going radioactive releases made a continued pro-nuclear policy untenable. More.
Many us have been following the often shocking events unfolding in India as protesters at both the Koodankulam and Jaitapur nuclear sites have been brutalized by authorities. Meanwhile, government officials blame foreign interference and incitement by overseas NGOs. Nothing could be further than the truth, with challenges to the proposed Jaitapur reactors and the fuel loading at the Russian Koodankulam reactors led by prominent Indians such as Admiral Ramdas and S.P. Udayakumar. The latter's life was considered in such danger at Koodankulam that fellow protesters refused to allow him to volunteer for arrest. Thousands occupied the beach and many fled into the sea when police opened fire, killing one protester. Read more. And to participate in support of the Koodankulam protests, go here.
And here's a petition on AVAAZ to "Save the Koodankulam Protesters." Over 6,000 people face prison for their non-violent opposition to the Koodankulam nuclear plant in Tamil Nadu, India. Now, many of the protesters have commenced an indefinite hunger strike in a last-ditch attempt to save their freedom and stop the nuclear plant -- and only our added pressure can force the government to stop this illegal persecution of peaceful protesters.
The people protesting the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant in Tamil Nadu, India need our help like never before. This grassroots struggle started in the 1980s, and has gradually grown in the face of strong community opposition -- with about 10,000 people today actively resisting the imposition of the plant in their backyard.
The Fukushima disaster in Japan in 2011 provides unambiguous testimony of the dangers associated with nuclear power, and the Koodankulam plant has also been constructed in an area susceptible to earthquakes and tsunamis. But the struggle in Tamil Nadu is about something even greater than threat from a very dangerous technological dream. It is about the collapse of freedom in a country that has long claimed to be the world’s largest democracy in the tradition of Mahatma Gandhi.
Authorities imposed a blockade severely limiting access to food, water and electricity to many thousands of protesters. Mothers were forced to feed their babies sugar water as no milk was allowed into the village. Despite the non-violent nature of the protest, 6800 people have been charged with the serious crimes of sedition and/or waging war against the state, and formal complaints have been filed against many thousands more. The leaders of the movement have been falsely charged with attempted murder. This is not only a parody of law but a severe violation of the Indian Constitution, which the police and government have sworn to uphold.
On May 1, 2012, 25 protesters began an indefinite hunger strike as a final measure as the plant prepares to go online. On May 4th, an additional 300 women joined the indefinite strike. We need your urgent help to save these non-violent protesters from serious bodily harm and possibly death.
Please help by asking the officials of the Tamil Nadu and central Indian governments to drop all charges against these non-violent protesters and allow them to freely exercise their constitutional rights without punishment! Sign the petition now.
For more information please see: http://www.transcend.org/tms/2012/04/cases-against-koodankulam-protestors-a-parody-of-law-fact-finding-team/
The oldest operating French nuclear power plant, at Fessenheim near the German border, suffered a chemical explosion on September 5 that sent 8 workers to the hospital, two of them with steam burns. This was just the latest set-back for the French nuclear sector which is struggling to maintain a presence overseas but saw its Evolutionary Power Reactor (EPR) all but canceled at the Calvert Cliffs, MD site on August 30. Fessenheim sits on the banks of a river and on an active fault line and has been the object of consistent and large opposition to its continued operation (Colmar rally in 2009 pictured). At first alarm, it was believed a fire had broken out as 50 firefighters were dispatched to the site, operated by EDF. Later, it was described as a chemical explosion that released "non-radioactive" steam. The newly-elected French president, François Hollande, said he would shut the Fessenheim plant during his five-year term which most observers believe means at the end of it, in 2017. Furthermore, his energy minister, Dauphine Batho, has been quoted recently describing nuclear energy as "necessary" and the "energy of the future" causing a flurry of critical and often derisory articles and commentaries in the French media.
Concerned local residents and environmental groups express concerns to NRC Chair Macfarlane about leaks & coverups at Palisades
A coalition of concerned local residents, as well as representatives of environmental groups, has responded to a letter sent to them on September 4th by U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Chairwoman, Allison Macfarlane. The exchange centers on a leak of radioactive and acidic water above, around, and even into the control room at the problem-plagued Palisades atomic reactor in Covert, Michigan on the Lake Michigan shoreline. Chairwoman Macfarlane stated that the NRC Staff had determined that the leak was not significant enough for the NRC Chair and Commissioners, as well as the general public, to be notified about it. The coalition begged to differ.
Chairwoman Macfarlane also stated that NRC's approval of Palisades' 20 year license extension requires Entergy to manage aging of safety significant systems, structures, and components. The coalition responded that Entergy is utterly failing at that, as are NRC's own oversight and inspections, for Palisades has suffered a large number of sudden age-related break downs, some of "substantial significance to safety," in NRC's own words (see photo, above left). More.