Victory! South African court decision rules nuclear power plans unconstitutional and illegal

Secret plans to build new nuclear reactors in South Africa that were never subjected to an open, transparent and public process, have been quashed by a judge in Cape Town in a major victory for anti-nuclear and environmental groups there. David Fig, a leading academic and advocate against nuclear energy, wrote this analysis for The Conversation. The opening paragraphs are below. Read the full article here.

On 26 April 2017, coincidentally the 31st anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, the Cape High Court presented its judgement on the case brought by Earthlife Africa Johannesburg and the Southern Africa Faith-Communities’ Environmental Institute. The two NGOs were challenging the way in which the state has determined that we should be purchasing 9600 megawatts of extra nuclear power. The judge, Lee Bozalek, used terms like ‘unconstitutional’ and ‘illegal’ to refer to the state’s behaviour and declared invalid the steps taken by the state. 

What has been deemed illegal are the state’s determinations that the nuclear build go ahead, its handing over of the procurement process to Eskom, the regulator NERSA’s automatic endorsement of the state’s plans, and the secretive agreement with Russia and two others with the US and South Korea on nuclear co-operation. Eskom’s request for information from nuclear vendors, a step taken to prepare the procurement, which ends on 28 April, is also invalid. 

Government will have to start again on all these procedures if it is serious about going ahead with the nuclear build. To do so legally, it will have to open up the process to detailed public scrutiny. The regulator will have to have a series of public hearings before the country can endorse its historically highest ever spend on infrastructure estimated at well over R1 trillion. The international agreements will have to be brought before the scrutiny of parliament.  Continued.


Nuclear Free Future: Nuclear Sabre-Rattling - From Korea to Yucca Mountain

Margaret Harrington and co-host Ben Shulman-Reed, researcher with Fairewinds Energy Education, speak with Kevin Kamps, Nuclear Waste Watchdog with Beyond Nuclear, about nuclear escalation on "Nuclear Free Future," an ongoing series on Channel 17/Town Meeting Television in Burlington, Vermont. The discussion covers not only the nuclear escalation in the Korean Peninsula but the continuous nuclear weapons buildup, including nuclear waste, uranium mining, and nuclear weapons testing. Watch the episode here.


The final mission for Cassini

As reported by investigative journalist and Beyond Nuclear board member, Karl Grossman, and published at Enformable (founded and run by Beyond Nuclear board member Lucas Hixson):

Despite protests around the world, the Cassini space probe-containing more deadly plutonium than had ever been used on a space device-was launched 20 years ago. And this past weekend-on Earth Day-the probe and its plutonium were sent crashing into Saturn.

Grossman literally wrote the book about Cassini and related nuclear power in space subject matter, The Wrong Stuff: The Space Program's Nuclear Threat to Our Planet

Opponents speak out against attempt to revive Yucca dump "mutant zombie"

Be sure to count the toes! This political cartoon, by Jim Day in the Las Vegas Review Journal, marked the 2010 cancellation of the Yucca dump scheme by the Obama administration -- 23 years after the "Screw Nevada" bill. The cartoon harkens back to "The Beast of Yucca Flats," a 1961 B horror flick, and conveys the Yucca dump's "mutant zombie" nature. In response to U.S. House Republican efforts to restart the long-cancelled Yucca Mountain, Nevada high-level radioactive waste dump proposal licensing proceeding, resistance has been fierce and broad. The Native Community Action Council held a successful Earth Day event in Las Vegas, in defense of Western Shoshone Indian Nation treaty rights, including opposition to the proposed dump, as well as nuclear weapons testing in Nevada. In addition, the State of Nevada's governor, attorney general, state legislature, and congressional delegation spoke with one voice, on behalf of their constituents, adamantly asserting "we do not consent" to this scientifically unsuitable and environmentally unjust "Screw Nevada 2" scheme. And 80 organizations, including Beyond Nuclear, wrote to all 535 members of congress, urging that the Yucca dump "mutant zombie" (see above left, and count the toes!) remain dead. More


Iraqi-American Doctor Who Revealed Flint Water Crisis Slams Trump & Travel Ban at March for Science

As reported by Democracy Now!

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha's scientific research, and courage to make it immediately public, given the high stakes for the health of 9,000 Flint children -- a large percentage of them children of color, as well as children of low income families -- has been widely praised. In fact, TIME magazine named her as one of its 100 Most Influential People for 2016.

In January 2016, after Dr. Mona's revelations had garnered international news headlines about the Flint drinking water catastrophe, Beyond Nuclear published an essay at Counterpunch ("After Flint, Don't Let Them Nuke the Great Lakes Next!"), pointing out the links between the Flint drinking water lead poisoning, and another potential catastrophe in the offing not far from Flint -- Ontario Power Generation's (OPG) proposal to dump all of the province's so-called "low" and "intermediate" level radioactive wastes, from 20 reactors, on the Lake Huron shoreline. Tens of millions of people draw their drinking water from the Great Lakes, downstream from OPG's proposed Deep Geologic Repository at the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station.