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Wednesday
Jul092014

88 pounds of nuclear material seized by ISIS in Iraq

As reported by Reuters, Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants have seized 88 pounds of nuclear material from a university in Mosul, Iraq. The Iraqi Ambassador to the United Nations has reported the theft to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and called on the UN for assistance in the nuclear material's recovery.

Reuters reports that Iraq's U.N. Ambassador, Mohamed Ali Alhakim, wrote in his July 8 letter:

"Terrorist groups have seized control of nuclear material at the sites that came out of the control of the state," Alhakim wrote, adding that such materials "can be used in manufacturing weapons of mass destruction."

"These nuclear materials, despite the limited amounts mentioned, can enable terrorist groups, with the availability of the required expertise, to use it separate or in combination with other materials in its terrorist acts," said Alhakim.

He warned that they could also be smuggled out of Iraq.

"The Republic of Iraq is notifying the international community of these dangerous developments and asking for help and the needed support to stave off the threat of their use by terrorists in Iraq or abroad," Alhakim wrote.

The incident is reminiscent of the immediate aftermath of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, when unguarded nuclear facilities were systematically looted.

Monday
Jul072014

Chris Williams (VCAN, VYDA, NIRS) to speak in Chicago July 17th

From left to right, Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps, VYDA's Chris Williams, and VYDA's Jeanette Baer "frog marched" into a waiting "Paddy wagon" by Windham County Sheriff's deputies for the ride to Brattleboro City Jail, March 22, 2012.The following announcement comes from Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS) Director, David Kraft. If you are near Chicago and can attend, please do, and bring folks with you! If not, but you know folks near Chicago, please send word to them!

"Greetings All --

NEIS would like to invite you and your organization/group to a special evening with activist/safe-energy advocated CHRIS WILLIAMS on Thursday, July 17th, 6:30 p.m. at Multi-Kulti Center in Chicago (see flier here and NEIS website -- www.neis.org -- for details). No charge, free-will offerings accepted. 

Chris has done community organizing on energy and consumer advocacy issues for decades. He's the 18-year former director of Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana; and recently with his involvement with the Citizens Action Network of New England [Vermont Citizens Action Network, VCAN] and the Nuclear Information and Resource Service [NIRS, where he serves as Board Chair] in D.C. [as well as his involvement with Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Alliance, VYDA], has played an instrumental role in helping shut the old and unsafe Vermont Yankee nuclear reactor in Vermont. His tool box comes fully equipped -- everything from community organizing to civil disobedience to NVDA [non-violent direct action]. 

He comes to us in Illinois -- the most nuclear-reliant state in the U.S. -- with a simple yet important message: You CAN and MUST shut nuclear reactors! This comes at an especially critical time, as Exelon Corporation launches its national campaign to gut renewable energy and subsidize old, unprofitable reactors.

Please make plans to attend this event, and inform people you know about it through your group's e-mail blasts, list serves, and by reproducing and distributing the flier [linked above]. Please RSVP if you can come. Thanks in advance! We hope to see you in Chicago on the 17th!

--Dave Kraft--"

If you plan on attending, please RSVP to Dave/NEIS at: (773) 342-7650, or neis@neis.org.
Beyond Nuclear is proud to partner with Chris and Dave on this event. It's not the first time. As but two examples: the mass non-violent civil disobedience action against Entergy Nuclear's Vermont Yankee (see photo, above left), and the Beyond Nuclear/NEIS "Mountain of Radioactive Waste 70 Years High."
Monday
Jul072014

"A Scary Super Typhoon Is Bearing Down on Japan…and Its Nuclear Plants"

U.S. Navy Joint Typhoon Warning Center map showing projected path of Super Typhoon NeoguriAs reported by Mother Jones, a "once in decades storm" packing winds stronger than 150 miles per hour, Super Typhoon Neoguri, is taking direct aim at some of Japan's nuclear power plants. The good news is, the reactors have long been shut down. However, irradiated nuclear fuel in need of cooling remains stored on-site. Will "Fukushima lessons learned," and supposed safety regulation upgrades in Japan, be enough to weather yet another monster storm?

Friday
Jun272014

Fired security guard whistleblowers speak out against Palisades at NRC meeting

As reported by the Kalamazoo Gazette and Michigan Radio, three security guard force whistleblowers spoke out an a Nuclear Regulatory Commission public meeting last night, alleging that they were terminated from Entergy's Palisades atomic reactor because they raised safety and security concerns.

The attorney representing two of the three whistle blowers, Billie Pirner Garde of Washington, D.C., phoned into the meeting as well.

Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps, as well as members of Michigan Safe Energy Future, and other concerned local residents, also spoke out at the meeting.

Kevin discussed a long list of security failures at Palisades, including a scandal involving the chief of security exposed by Esquire magazine in 2007, as well as incidents in 2002: a security guard suffering a nervous breakdown on the job, while armed, after having been forced to work 72 hours per week for a solid year; and three suspicious cars penetrating deep into Palisades, but driving off without ever being stopped, because Palisades security guard force phoned the wrong local law enforcement agency, resulting in a 45 minute delay in response.

Remarkably, nearly 12 years after POGO first warned about security weaknesses at Entergy's Indian Point nuclear power plant near New York City, Entergy's security failures continue today, as at Palisades.

At a recent meeting with NRC Chairman Allison Macfarlane, Kevin objected to NRC Region 3 Office of Public Affairs spokesman Viktoria Mytling expressing agency support for a state bill in Michigan granting immunity to nuclear power plant security guards for lethal shootings. The sponsor of the bill has been quoted warning environmentalists that they should think twice before protesting at nuclear plants.

The coalition also expressed concern to Chairman Macfarlane about the recipe for disaster of Palisades problem-plagued security guard force now being granted immunity for fatal shootings, with a state park immediately to the north, and a resort community immediately to the south. In addition, the State of Michigan has established a waterway trail on Lake Michigan, encouraging kayakers to travel past Palisades. Although there are buoys in the Lake demarcating Palisades' property, there is no signage warning boaters that they are entering a zone where use of lethal force is authorized.

WOOD TV and WSBT TV also reported on last night's NRC meeting.

Thursday
Jun262014

"Great Lakes Communities Struggle Against Proposed Nuclear Waste Facility"

In an article entitled "Great Lakes Communities Struggle Against Proposed Nuclear Waste Facility," reporter Katie Rucke of MintPress News provides an update on the 13-year-long resistance to what Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps has described as a "declaration of war against the Great Lakes."

The Canadian federal Joint Review Panel, evaluating dump proponent Ontario Power Generation's environmental assessment, will hold another round of public hearings beginning on Sept. 9th in Kincardine, Ontario -- targeted for the proposed Deep Geologic Repository at the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station, which already "hosts" nine reactors, as well as a radioactive waste incinerator and "interim" storage site.