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Tuesday
Aug312010

International physicians group calls for ban on uranium mining

The International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) adopted a resolution at its International Council meeting on Sunday in Basel, Switzerland, calling for a ban on uranium mining and the production of yellowcake (uranium oxide). The resolution described both processes as “irresponsible” and “a grave threat to health and to the environment”.

The resolution also describes uranium mining and yellowcake production as a “violation of human rights”. The right to life, liberty and security, to physical integrity, self-determination, the protection of human dignity, the right to clean water are just some of the rights that are afflicted by uranium mining and its processes, say the doctors.

The resolution follows on from a conference entitled “Sacred Lands, Poisoned People” held on August 26th, also in Basel, on uranium mining in which Beyond Nuclear's Linda Gunter participated. Activists from all of the major mining regions around the world (including Manuel Pino from Acoma Pueblo, pictured), many of them representing indigenous peoples, gathered together and exchanged information collated on health effects and damage to the environment. The group issued a call for the ban in a joint statement at the conclusion of their talks. As a result of this data, representatives from the German and Swiss IPPNW affiliates submitted a resolution calling for a ban to the bi-annual meeting of the international IPPNW federation.

Wednesday
Aug252010

Pro-nuclear US Senator Murkowski defeated in Alaska Republican primary?

Although it won't be known for sure until next month, Alaska's Republican U.S. Senator, Lisa Murkowski, may have just lost to "Tea Party" insurgent candidate Joe Miller in yesterday's primary elections. Murkowski, and her father and predecessor in the same U.S. Senate seat, Frank Murkowski, have been top pro-nuclear power champions from their perch atop the Senate's Energy and Natural Resources Committee dating back over a decade. (The elder Murkowski, in fact, was strongly criticized for nepotism when he, just elected Governor of Alaska, tapped his own daughter to fill his own just vacated U.S. Senate seat!) But Tea Party candidates, including kingmaker Sarah Palin herself, are very pro-nuclear power in their own right. For example, Tea Party candidate Sharon Angle in Nevada, challenging Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, has advocated reprocessing at Yucca Mountain in lieu of radioactive waste disposal there -- an activity that wouldn't require underground containers to eventually fail and leak over time, but would rather spew large amounts of harmful radioactivity directly into the environment in real time! And Palin herself, whose endorsement of Miller may have put him over the top in his campaign against Murkowski, has lambasted Reid and President Obama for their opposition to the Yucca dump in Nevada. So a Murkowski ouster may not signal any let up in pro-nuclear efforts to expand nuclear power and open radioactive waste dumps in the U.S. Senate, by any means, if they are simply replaced by equally pro-nuclear power Tea Party candidates! How Tea Party candidates can support taxpayer subsidies for new atomic reactors, and exorbitantly expensive government programs such as the Yucca Mountain dump or reprocessing facilities, given their supposed fiscal conservatism and concern for protecting taxpayers, is difficult to reconcile! Similar questions have been asked of currently serving supposedly "fiscal conseratives" in the U.S. Senate who also support massive taxpayer subsidies for new reactors in the form of risky federal loan guarantees.

Sunday
Aug222010

Seabrook reactor goes for license renewal 20 years in advance

Owners of the Seabrook nuclear power plant in New Hampshire have announced plans to request an operating license renewal 20 years before the expiration of the current license. At a press conference on August 19, a newly-formed coalition of local, regional and national groups filed a formal petition to the NRC to change its rule to require that the license extension process begin no more than 10 years before the expiration date. The petition further calls on NRC to suspend its current review of Seabrook owners, NextEra’s (aka Florida Power & Light) license extension application for the historically controversial Seabrook nuclear power station. Seabrook was the site of huge protests and sit-ins in the mid-1970s during construction. The second planned reactor was dismantled and four companies went bankrupt before the current Seabrook reactor became operational. (Photo Eric A. Roth, May 1977 courtesy of Harold Marcuse Web site).

Friday
Aug202010

How "dirty, dangerous and expensive" is nuclear energy?

In this compelling new 30-minute television interview, Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear explodes the myths now being promulgated by those promoting nuclear power. He tells of the insoluble problems of nuclear waste, how nuclear power plants routinely emit radioactive poisons, how catastrophic accidents can happen, how nuclear power plants are pre-deployed weapons of mass destruction for terrorists, and the enormously high costs of nuclear power. He exposes the falsehood that the French nuclear program has been a success and that nuclear power does not contribute to global warming. Using the eponymous title of the landmark Beyond Nuclear pamphlet,  Dirty, Dangerous and Expensive, the Enviro Close-Up show, hosted by Beyond Nuclear board member, Karl Grossman, can be seen widely this weekend on Free Speech TV Saturday, August 7 at 11:30 a.m. ET, and at 6:30 p.m. ET. On the satellite Dish Network it will be airing on Channel 9415 and on DirectTV on Channel 348.

Friday
Aug202010

Fallout from Russia's fires: the ashes of Chernobyl?

A deputy for the regional parliament in Bryansk, Lyudmila Komogortseva, found that radiation levels in the burning forests were six to 12 times higher than they were before the fires began. But just as Moscow kept many of Chernobyl's victims in the dark for days about the dangers they faced — volunteer cleanup crews worked in the wreckage with their bare hands, unaware that they were being exposed to lethal doses of radiation — Russia's leaders again tried to pretend nothing was wrong. Time.