Mud dumped in Welsh waters could contain plutonium

Mud dredged from the Hinkley C nuclear construction site in Somerset, England, and dumped 1.5 miles off the Welsh capital, Cardiff, into the estuarine bay, could contain plutonium. But a recent motion in the Welsh Assembly to halt dumping operations until the mud was tested for plutonium and uranium, was defeated by the Labour Party whose whip mandated a "for dumping vote." The decision was viewed as a betrayal by Welsh citizenry, over 100,000 of whom signed a petition to demand a full spectrum testing of the mud. The dredge site is where Hinkley A discharged into the Bristol Challenge. Hinkley A was originally used for plutonium production for the UK nuclear weapons complex. Read our op-ed on why the vote went the wrong way and the potential consequences for health, safety and the environment.


World Medical Association reaffirms its opposition to nuclear weapons

More than 10 million doctors from 114 countries urged all states to sign and ratify the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons during its recent meeting in Reykjavik, Iceland.

"The WMA Declarations of Geneva, of Helsinki and of Tokyo make clear the duties and responsibilities of the medical profession to preserve and safeguard the health of the patient and to dedicate itself to the service of humanity. Therefore, and in light of the catastrophic humanitarian consequences that any use of nuclear weapons would have, and the impossibility of a meaningful health and humanitarian response, the WMA considers that it has a duty to work for the elimination of nuclear weapons. To achieve a world free of nuclear weapons is a necessity.


Therefore, the WMA:

  1. Condemns the development, testing, production, stockpiling, transfer, deployment, threat and use of nuclear weapons;
  2. Requests all governments to refrain from the development, testing, production, stockpiling, transfer, deployment, threat and use of nuclear weapons and to work in good faith towards the elimination of nuclear weapons;
  3. Advises all governments that even a limited nuclear war would bring about immense human suffering and substantial death toll together with catastrophic effects on the earth’s ecosystem, which could subsequently decrease the worlds food supply and would put a significant portion of the world’s population at risk of famine;
  4. Is deeply concerned by plans to retain indefinitely and modernize nuclear arsenals; the absence of progress in nuclear disarmament by nuclear-armed states; and the growing dangers of nuclear war, whether by intent, including cyberattack, inadvertence or accident;
  5. Welcomes the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and joins with others in the international community, including the Red Cross and Red Crescent movement, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, and a large majority of UN member states, in calling, as a mission of physicians, on all states to promptly sign, ratify or accede to, and faithfully implement the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons; and
  6. Requests that all National Medical Associations join the WMA in supporting this Declaration, use available educational resources to educate the general public and to urge their respective governments to work urgently to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons, including by joining and implementing the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons." More

Radioactive Waste Is Coming through Your Town -- Unless YOU Help Stop It!

Rail-sized cask shipment of highly radioactive irradiated nuclear fuelSo says an action alert by Public Citizen.

Please help us generate a large number of quality public comments to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in opposition to a 40,000 metric ton irradiated nuclear fuel centralized interim storage facility (CISF) proposed by Interim Storage Partners (ISP) at Waste Control Specialists (WCS) in Andrews County, West Texas. NRC's deadline for public comments on environmental scoping is NOVEMBER 19th.

The Public Citizen web form linked above is a quick and easy way to do so, and so is the Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) web form, linked here.

Beyond Nuclear has also prepared several sets of longer versions of sample comments, each addressing different aspects of the risks involved with the WCS/ISP CISF, which you can use to help write your own, and has provided instructions on how to do so, all posted here.

To get an idea of the road, rail, and waterway routes that would be used, in most states, many major cities, and the vast majority of U.S. congressional districts nationwide, see maps and analyses prepared by the State of Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects in the context of Yucca Mountain-bound shipments (the further from the American Southwest the highly radioactive waste originates, the more similar to identical the routes will be, whether bound for Yucca Mtn., NV, or the TX/NM borderlands). Barges on surface waters in many states are also in play, as revealed by the U.S. Department of Energy in 2002, with additional potential barge routes revealed by DOE as recently as late 2017. Many, to most, to all of these routes could well be in play, with shipments bound for the WCS/ISP CISF, unless we stop them! WCS even included a map in its license application documents to NRC, showing that most mainline rail in the Lower 48 is also in play. Public Citizen's Texas Office, and SEED Coalition, have also hammered out a best guess map of transport routes to WCS -- forced to do so, because WCS is being so obscure about what the routes actually will be!

Please take action (do one, two, or even all three of the options above -- there is no limit to the number of comments an individual can submit to NRC). And please help spread the word about this important action alert!

To learn more about the WCS/ISP CISF, visit Beyond Nuclear's Centralized Storage and Waste Transportation website sections.


Dire warnings from IPCC about inaction on climate change

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) today released its new report on global warming which contains dire predictions about the consequences if insufficient action is taken to stem the onrushing climate change crisis.

The report has a long official title --Global Warming of 1.5°C, an IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty -- and is an even longer read. But it makes it clear that failure to take drastic steps to eliminate carbon emissions will be disastrous. We are already seeing the consequences of our tardiness in reducing greenhouse gases today, the report notes. Read the report.

Reports CNN: Governments around the world must take "rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society" to avoid disastrous levels of global warming, says a stark new report from the global scientific authority on climate change.

The report issued Monday by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), says the planet will reach the crucial threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels by as early as 2030, precipitating the risk of extreme drought, wildfires, floods and food shortages for hundreds of millions of people. The date, which falls well within the lifetime of many people alive today, is based on current levels of greenhouse gas emissions."

New Beyond Nuclear handbook lays out threats to health from every aspect of nuclear power

All nuclear power plants routinely release radioactive gases and water contaminated with radioactive isotopes. When a nuclear plant has a serious accident — as occurred at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima — orders of magnitude more radioactivity is released into the environment.

Uranium mining also releases harmful radioactive isotopes and leaves behind radioactive waste. The 1979 uranium tailings pond spill at Church Rock, NM — 90 million gallons of liquid radioactive waste and 1,100 tons of solid mill waste — was the largest accidental release of radioactive waste in US history and permanently contaminated the Puerco River.

Radioactive releases occur all along the uranium fuel chain, beginning with uranium mining and culminating in radioactive waste “management.”

All of these releases — whether large or small (because there is no “safe” dose) — impact human health with varying degrees of severity. And yet most of the time, these impacts are poorly understood, hushed up, or even dismissed. When discoveries are made — such as increased rates of leukemia in populations living near nuclear power or reprocessing plants — there is an immediate effort by industry, often supported by governments, to undermine, challenge or negate such findings.

The fact remains, however, that both the immediate and long-term damage done to human health — which can last for generations — is the single, most compelling reason not to continue with the use of nuclear power and the extractive, polluting industries that must support it.

The Radiation and Harm to Human Health chapter of the Beyond Nuclear anti-nuclear handbook, is available now for download and printing as a standalone booklet. In it, we endeavor to both explain and synthesize the many ways that radioactivity released through the nuclear power sector damages human health, especially the most vulnerable members of our population — women, pregnancy, babies and young children.

We understand that a handbook should be something you can carry in your hand! To that end, we are raising funds to print copies of this booklet. If you would like to contribute, so that we can get this handbook out to the communities that most need it, please donate here. Choose “Handbook” from the pulldown menu to designate your gift. And thank you!

Read more about radiation and the harm to human health.