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Tuesday
Apr022019

Report back from "Nuclear Fool's Day" in St. Louis -- final event on MO, KS, and NE Mobile Chernobyl speaking tour

See Beyond Nuclear radioactive waste specialist Kevin Kamps' power point presentation (as well as links to three short videos -- posted under UPDATE -- and an article, authored by Beyond Nuclear board president, Kay Drey, entitled "Mobile Meltdown: Three Mile Island Train Troubles"), from an event, held at the Schlafly Taproom in St. Louis, MO, on April 1st, 2019. The event was co-sponsored by Kay Drey, Beyond Nuclear, Great Rivers Environmental Law Center, and Missouri Coalition for the Environment.

Monday
Apr012019

A farewell to Kitty Tucker

All of us at Beyond Nuclear were shocked and saddened to learn of the death on March 30th of Kitty Tucker.

Kitty was well known to those of us in the anti-nuclear movement through her tireless work as a lawyer on behalf of nuclear whistleblower Karen Silkwood and her family. In our mutual hometown of Takoma Park, Kitty was most recently a member of the Takoma Park Nuclear-Free Committee which is tasked to ensure that the City abides by its nuclear-free ordinance. The committee is currently engaged in trying to persuade the city to divest its pensions and other funds from Sun Trust bank, one of the (too many) banks with investments in the nuclear weapons complex.

Kitty was a central part of that campaign.

We will run a more in-depth article about Kitty soon, but in the meantime, here is the moving tribute her husband, Bob Alvarez, wrote today on his Facebook page:

"Kitty passed on the evening of March 30th. In 1963, at the age of 19, she was diagnosed with Hodgkins Disease and given a few months to live. But,oh, what a life she went on to live as a mother, loving wife, and warrior for justice. By 1965, she was jailed in Alabama for trying to register African-American voters. She helped found a medical clinic for the poor that's still open, fought for women's rights, became an attorney and helped organize a successful lawsuit on behalf of the parents of Karen Silkwood, a nuclear worker, that won in the Supreme Court. The list goes on. Most importantly, she raised her children with unconditional love and opened the door to a life of meaning for me."

And read Howard Kohn's January 13, 1977 Rolling Stone article about Kitty Tucker's work on the Silkwood case. An excerpt: "Tucker, then the legislative coordinator for the Washington D.C. chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW), became a walking encyclopedia on Silkwood and began to empathize with her posthumous plight. She came to view Silkwood as a heroine of women’s liberation, the labor movement and the antinuclear struggle. And, beyond the symbolism, she also saw an unsolved murder."

Monday
Apr012019

Randy Stafford sounds the alarm on plutonium dust near Rocky Flats

Wednesday
Mar272019

3/28/19: Don't Miss the Nationwide Premiere of Power Struggle

POWER STRUGGLE – A Film About A Successful Grassroots Citizens’

Effort To Shut Down A Nuclear Power Plant — Now Available

POWER STRUGGLE, an 86-minute feature-length documentary film, which chronicles the successful grassroots citizens’ effort to shut down a nuclear power plant in Vermont, is now available to watch or order on DVD at www.PowerStruggleMovie.com.

            POWER STRUGGLE will receive its official national broadcast premiere on Free Speech TV this Thursday, March 28 at 8pm ET, to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the Three Mile Island nuclear accident, and then will be re-broadcast throughout the spring. Free Speech TV is available on DISH Channel 9415, DirecTV Channel 348, and streaming on Sling TV, Roku, Apple TV, and at www.freespeech.org. For additional broadcast dates, visit www.Freespeech.org/PowerStruggle.

See more information here (including a link to a free download of Leppzer's two-hour radio documentary, VOICES FROM THREE MILE ISLAND).

Monday
Mar252019

High radiation exposure rates from the Three Mile Island nuclear accident were hidden from public

Beyond Nuclear today issued a press release revealing how true health research into the impacts of the March 28, 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear disaster were suppressed and compromised by a court order. 

TAKOMA PARK, MD — Residents around the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant that suffered a partial meltdown on March 28, 1979, were exposed to much more radiation from the nuclear disaster than was claimed by officials, says a spokesperson from Beyond Nuclear, a national anti-nuclear and environmental organization.

After the Three Mile Island reactor core melted and radioactivity was released to the surrounding population, researchers were not allowed to investigate health impacts of higher doses because the TMI Public Health Fund, established to pay for public health research related to the disaster, was under a research gag order issued by a court. 

“Because of this court order, actual doses and health impacts were kept from the public for years, leading to the false impression that “no one died” at Three Mile Island, and “that health impacts were minimal and very little radiation got out,” said Cindy Folkers, radiation and health specialist at Beyond Nuclear.

“Research into the true health impacts at Three Mile Island was compromised by a single judge, Sylvia Rambo, who established the parameters for any researcher who wanted to conduct a study using money from this Fund,” Folkers said.

The conditions were:

  1. Those studying the health impact of Three Mile Island radiation emissions were prohibited from assessing “worst case estimates” of radiation releases unless such estimates would lead to a conclusion of insignificant amount of harm—that being “less than 0.01 health effects”. 
  2. If a researcher wanted to claim more harm or investigate a worst-case scenario, an expert selected by nuclear industry insurers would have to “concur on the nature and scope of the [dosimetry] projects.”

Compounding the problem, claims that very little radiation was released during the accident cannot be substantiated because, according to the Kemeny Commission, “An exceptional percentage (well over half) of health physics and monitoring instruments were not functional at the time of the accident.” 

“Without properly functioning monitoring equipment, dose reconstruction — the method used to figure out how much radiation people were exposed to — is at best unreliable, at worst, deceptive,” Folkers said.

Writing this week in Beyond Nuclear International, Folkers lays out how even researchers who did find elevated rates of cancers and other radiation-related illnesses were forbidden from tying these to the nuclear accident because of the proscriptive court order.

The only study able to do so, by Steven Wing et al., was conducted independently and used meteorological data to establish where the radiation plumes traveled that were released from TMI. Researchers then drew blood from people in these plume pathways who complained of symptoms associated with higher radiation exposure: vomiting, diarrhea, and skin reddening (erythema). 

Using a chromosome test initially established in the mid 20th century and honed during examination of Chernobyl liquidators, researchers determined that the public in these plumes received 600-900 milligrays of radiation exposure — thousands of times higher than annual natural background doses; and very much higher than research paid for by the Fund could ever have assessed.

“Despite the evidence in human blood, lived experience of the exposed, recognition of faulty monitors, and increases of cancers, the constant false narrative that TMI caused no harm remains,” Folkers concluded. “The faulty science that plagues the residents around TMI also pervades other radiation studies assessing health impact, including those following explosions at Chernobyl and Fukushima. We are still all impacted by this scientific and legal failing surrounding TMI, which makes it much harder to assess radiation’s impact on human health.”

Folkers’ full article with citations can be found on the Beyond Nuclear International website.

Download the press release as a PDF here.