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.


Tokyo woman tells why Fukushima forced her to evacuate further west 

During events to mark the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Yoko Shimowsawa stood in that cut with a handheld microphone and told her story. She recounted how her young daughter's ill health -- which doctors ascribed to radiation exposure from Fukushima fallout, led to her decision to move her whole family to western Japan. To passersby in Hiroshima, she warned of the persistent health threats and risks to populations still living in the Fukushima and even Tokyo region and drew a parallel between the “invisible and quiet nuclear bombing” of the Fukushima and Hiroshima populations across the decades. Read her story.


Report tracks global success of renewable energy

When arguing the case for or against nuclear energy, you can go with the masters of spin and omission or you can go with the empirical data. We prefer the latter. And for that, there is the welcome annual edition of the World Nuclear Industry Status Report.

After that, the job becomes easy. There IS no case for nuclear power. It’s fundamentally over. Yet governments — mainly those of nuclear weapons states — cling on to it even as their fingers are loosened one at a time from the ledge. They refuse to fall. Why?

These questions are largely answered in the 2018 edition of the WNISR which rolled out in London, UK on September 4, and is available for download — in full or as an executive summary — from the WNISR website. (The US rollout is October 9 in Washington, DC.) Read more about the report.


EPA reaches cleanup decision for radioactive West Lake Landfill Superfund site

Kay Drey, Beyond Nuclear board presidentAs reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

After a grassroots campaign that has lasted not years, but decades, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is poised to announce its Record of Decision (ROD) regarding the West Lake Landfill in metro St. Louis, MO. West Lake Landfill is where Manhattan Project radioactive wastes dating back to the early 1940s were illegally dumped in the early 1970s, and have been leaking out ever since. Beyond Nuclear's board president, Kay Drey, has helped lead that grassroots campaign for decades, including penning a recent op-ed in the Post-Dispatch.

EPA has decided to exhume some 70% of the radioactive waste at the site. How leaving some 30% of the radioactive waste in the floodplain of the Missouri River, upstream of a major metro St. Louis drinking water supply intake, surrounded by residential neighborhoods, is somehow a good idea, is not explained (nor explainable) by EPA.

Also of concern is EPA's indication that it is eyeing sites in Utah, Michigan, Idaho, and Colorado for disposing of the "cleanup." This is another example of "cleanup" simply meaning "transfer" or "re-location" of hazardous radioactive wastes. Don't Waste Michigan, for one -- on whose board of directors Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps has long served -- has fought hard since the 1980s to prevent Michigan from becoming a radioactive waste dumping ground for other states.


Vogtle nuclear plants will continue -- for now

And then there were none? The costs have ballooned to $27 billion. The project is years behind schedule. But construction of two AP 1000 Westinghouse nuclear reactors — Vogtle 3 and 4 in GA — will continue for now. The project partners this week voted to continue construction, inching further out onto the gangplank but refusing to jump. The decision likely just delays the inevitable collapse of the project, a no-win nightmare for all concerned. Sticking with Vogtle will mean even greater financial burdens — which already bankrupted Westinghouse. Dropping it would cause a political firestorm in the state and raise questions about who pays for the enormous sunk costs. If Vogtle falls by the wayside it will mark the welcome end of new nuclear power plant construction in the US. Its sister Westinghouse project in South Carolina was canceled last year. Read the press release from the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.