TRT World's The Newsmakers: 30 Years Since Chernobyl

As featured on TRT World's "The Newsmakers": Thirty years since the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown, The Newsmakers asks Kevin Kamps [of Beyond Nuclear in Washington, D.C., U.S.A.] and Jonathan Cobb [of the World Nuclear Association in London, U.K.] what lessons have been learnt from the world's worst civil nuclear disaster. [Watch the segment, from the beginning of the recording to the 14 minute 12 second mark.]

Kevin cited Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Energy Education's clever line, as reported at Forbes:

“We all know that the wind doesn’t blow consistently and the sun doesn’t shine every day,” he said, “but the nuclear industry would have you believe that humankind is smart enough to develop techniques to store nuclear waste for a quarter of a million years, but at the same time human kind is so dumb we can’t figure out a way to store solar electricity overnight. To me that doesn’t make sense.”

Trying to downplay nuclear power risks, as compared to other electricity generation risks, Cobb cited a hydro-dam break in China that killed a large number of people by drowning, and then disease.

But Cobb failed to mention the risks of a dam breach at the Oconee nuclear power plant in Seneca, SC. As reported by Tom Zeller, Jr., in the Huffington Post, two U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission whistleblowers have revealed, if the upstream dam fails, whether due to an earthquake, terrorist attack, etc., three reactors could be submerged under 16 feet of water, plunging Oconee into a Fukushima-like catastrophe.

Gundersen warned about such "inland tsunami" risks at Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant in Nebraska, during historic flooding on the Missouri River in 2011.


Remembering Chernobyl -- the warnings from wildlife

Writes Linda Pentz Gunter in The Ecologist: "Dr Timothy Mousseau has published more than 90 peer reviewed articles in scientific journals, related to the effects of radiation in natural populations (and more than 200 publications in total).

He has spent 16 years looking at the effects on wildlife and the ecosystem of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

He and his colleagues have also spent the last five years studying how non-human biota is faring in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear meltdowns in Japan.

But none of this work has received anything like the high profile publicity afforded the 'findings' in the 2006 Chernobyl Forum report which claimed the Chernobyl zone "has become a wildlife sanctuary", and a subsequent article published in Current Biology in 2015 that said wildlife was "thriving" around Chernobyl.

"I suppose everyone loves a Cinderella story", speculated Mousseau, an evolutionary biologist based at the University of South Carolina. "They want that happy ending." But Mousseau felt sure the moment he read the Forum report, which, he noted, "contained few scientific citations", that the findings "could not possibly be true."

Ninety articles later, Mousseau and his research partners from around the world are able to demonstrate definitively and scientifically that non-human biota in both the Chernobyl zone and around Fukushima, are very far indeed from flourishing."  Read the full article --- Blind mice and bird brains: the silent spring of Chernobyl and Fukushima.


DANGER - Radioactive Leak at INDIAN POINT

This 30-minute interview has just been published and broadcast in New York City, and is also available for viewing online: Alfred C. Meyer, Board Member of Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) & Kevin Kamps, Radioactive Waste Watchdog at Beyond Nuclear, discuss the danger of continuing radioactive leaks at Indian Point, Buchanan, New York. An Access for All Production produced through the facilities of Manhattan Neighborhood Network, by Gloria Messer, Producer/Director.


The Chernobyl plume led to a nuclear-free Austria. Why not elsewhere?

Writing today in Counterpunch, Beyond Nuclear's Linda Pentz Gunter explores how the April 26, 1969 Chernobyl nuclear disaster led to a nuclear-free Austria.  An excerpt:

Nuclear power plants are banned in Austria under the country’s constitution after a 1978 referendum.  (Yes, Virginia, it is actuallyillegal to build nuclear power plants there.)

Nuclear weapons are also banned.  So is the storage of nuclear waste.

Transportation through Austria of civil or military nuclear materials or waste has been outlawed.  Any attempt to revive nuclear power in that country cannot happen without a national referendum.

Austria has taken strong action against the proposed new Hinkley C reactor in England by filing a legal challenge at the European court of justice against EU-granted state subsidies which would be lavished on the $35 billion boondoggle by the British government.

Austria’s chancellor, Werner Faymann, spoke out against nuclear energy during the COP21 climate talks in Paris last December.  Nuclear energy is not included in the climate agreements made there.

Austria’s Director for Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament, Alexander Kmentt, is leading the call for global nuclear weapons abolition at the United Nations.

Not content simply with a nuclear-free Austria, the Vienna-basedCities For A Nuclear Free Europe is demanding “an immediate Europe-wide moratorium on nuclear power plant construction (including plants that are already under construction).”

Read the full article.


Beyond Nuclear presents Kay Cumbow of Michigan with the 2016 Dr. Judith H. Johnsrud "Unsung Hero" Award at ANA's DC Days

Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear presents Kay Cumbow of Michigan with the 2016 Dr. Judith H. Johnsrud "Unsung Hero" Award at ANA's D.C. Days on Capitol Hill. Photo by Scott Kovac, Nuclear Watch New Mexico.At the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability's (ANA) 28th annual D.C. Days, Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps presented the 2016 Dr. Judith H. Johnsrud "Unsung Hero" Award to Kay Cumbow of Michigan, for her more than three decades of grassroots anti-nuclear activism. The awards reception was held April 19th, on the top floor of Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill, overlooking a panoramic view of the District of Columbia at sunset.

Kevin's introduction of Kay describes the Judy Johnsrud "Unsung Hero" Award, and includes a far from complete list of the reasons why Kay is most deserving.

The text of the award certificate reads: Alliance for Nuclear Accountability and Beyond Nuclear award the 2016 Dr. Judith H. Johnsrud Unsung Hero Award to Kay Cumbow, for demonstrating tireless dedication and stubborn determination, despite daunting odds, in her creative, visionary work for a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes.

Here are Kay Cumbow's prepared remarks.

Kay attended DC Days as a member of a delegation from Women's International League for Peace and Freedom's (WILPF) Michigan Chapter. WILPF, founded more than a century ago, is an ANA member group, as is Beyond Nuclear. (WILPF celebrates its 101st birthday on 4/28/16!)

The award is named in honor of Judy Johnsrud (1931-2014), a Beyond Nuclear founding board member, in celebration of her nearly half-century of anti-nuclear leadership. Judy herself was awarded a lifetime achievement award by the Sierra Club in 2012. Beyond Nuclear featured a tribute to Judy on the back cover of our Three Mile Island meltdown +35 years commemoration newsletter.