Takoma Park is first US city to declare compliance with Nuclear Ban Treaty

The City Council of Takoma Park, Maryland, last night (March 14th) voted unanimously on a resolution that reaffirms the city’s support for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, or ‘Nuclear Ban Treaty.’ Beyond Nuclear is headquartered in Takoma Park.

The Nuclear Ban Treaty was adopted last year at the UN by 122 countries. The Treaty comprehensively prohibits everything to do with nuclear weapons and makes these weapons illegal under international law. Fifty-seven countries have signed it so far, and as many as 146 countries are expected to sign it in the coming months.

The United States is not one of them, but as with the Paris Climate Agreement, that does not stop cities, states, businesses, colleges and faith communities from complying with this Treaty.

Takoma Park was one of the first cities in the US to declare itself a ‘Nuclear-Free Zone’ back in 1983. Since then, through a city ordinance, Takoma Park has banned companies involved in the production of nuclear weapons from doing business in Takoma Park, or from or for bidding on City contracts, and has avoided investment in companies engaged in the production of nuclear weapons.

Since these prohibitions mean that Takoma Park already complies with the new Treaty, the March 14 resolution declaring the City ‘treaty compliant’ was more of a formality. As the first city in the US to do so, however, Takoma Park has led the way for many more to follow. Read the full press release.


Injustice at sea: the sailors of the USS Ronald Reagan and the Fukushima plume

American sailors on the USS Ronald Reagan were exposed to radiation from Fukushima. Many are sick. Some have died. Why can’t they get justice? Our latest article, on Counterpunch and on Beyond Nuclear International, looks at the two class action lawsuits brought by sailors aboard the Reagan during the Fukushima nuclear crisis and asks why it is taking so long for them to get justice. Nine of the plaintiffs have already died but the case has had to fight through procedural hurdles and is yet to be heard on its merits.

The USS Ronald Reagan arrived off the Japan coast before dawn on March 12, 2011 with a crew of 4,500. It had been on its way to South Korea but returned to join Operation Tomodachi.

But what actually happened to the Reagan after that is still clouded in confusion, or possibly cover-up. After it got doused in the radioactive plume, then drew in radioactively contaminated water through its desalination system — which the crew used for drinking, cooking and bathing — it turned into a pariah ship, just two and a half months into its aid mission.

Floating at sea, the USS Reagan was turned away by Japan, South Korea and Guam. For two and a half months it was the radioactive MS St. Louis, not welcome in any port until Thailand finally took the ship into harbor.

Read the article.


Introducing Beyond Nuclear International!

Beyond Nuclear is expanding! We are excited to introduce our new initiative, Beyond Nuclear International.

We created Beyond Nuclear International, a dynamic new web platform, in order to tell the anti-nuclear story from the humanitarian perspective and to reach out to global audiences. BNI will present lively news reports, inspiring people profiles, and eye-catching events, from mass protests to groundbreaking new films and the creative arts. BNI puts the human face on the issue.

Watch for updates as we post new stories from around the world. And please share our content by forwarding these emails to your networks.

Beyond Nuclear will continue to perform its vital role as an in-depth information source on nuclear power and nuclear weapons for our engaged activist audience.

Some of the stories featured this week on the BNI site include: A profile of Beatrice Fihn, the young, fresh and female face of the nuclear weapons ban movement; Not thriving but failing, a look at the work of Dr. Timothy Mousseau who found animals were not doing well in the radiation zones around Chernobyl and Fukushima; Villagers in India risk their lives to block nuclear weapons; Fleeing Fukushima, a nuclear evacuation reality check, by Dr. Ian Fairlie, and more. More

More dirty nuclear deals, this time France in India


Groups condemn French-India nuclear deal to be signed on Fukushima anniversary

French president, Emmanuel Macron, should not be imposing the untested, expensive and technically troubled French EPR reactor on India, say two international groups opposed to nuclear power in India and across the world.

Macron will visit India on March 11, 2018, seven years to the day since the start of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster in Japan, the second worst nuclear catastrophe after the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear reactor explosion in Ukraine. France and India are expected to sign a framework agreement during the visit that would fast track a six-reactor EPR project at Jaitapur on India’s west coast.

“The French have no right to inflict the risks and environmental devastation of nuclear power on unwilling communities in India,” said Kumar Sundaram, director of DiaNuke. “The French nuclear sector is preying upon India’s apparent eagerness to buy nuclear plants in order to restore their global reputation, fatally damaged by the failures of their EPR nuclear projects at home and in Finland.” 

Beyond Nuclear (US) and DiaNuke (India) are calling for foreign corporations not to proceed with nuclear power projects in India. In addition to the French Jaitapur site, a subsidiary of the Russian nuclear company, Rosatom, has a six reactor nuclear project in Kudankulam where two of its VVER-1000 reactors are already operational. The bankrupt US company, Westinghouse, hopes to build six AP1000 reactors in the village of Kovvada in Andhra Pradesh.

There have been vigorous protests at all the foreign-owned nuclear sites from farmers, fishermen and villagers, whose lives and livelihoods, along with scarce water supplies, are threatened. As many as 5,000 people are expected to protest on the eve of Macron’s visit. The Jaitapur EPR project would be the biggest nuclear power plant site in the world if built, producing 9,900 MW of electricity.

“It's ironic that while Macron is selling nuclear power to India where villagers have been shot protesting it, his government is at the same time tear-gasing nuclear opponents at home," said Linda Pentz Gunter, international specialist at Beyond Nuclear. “This shows yet again why nuclear energy and democracy are fundamentally incompatible.” Read the full press release.


Saudis in market to buy nuclear power plants....and make nuclear weapons?

Caroline Lucas, Britain’s only Green Party member of parliament, decried this weekend’s meeting with Saudia Arabia in London. “Today the British Government is rolling out the red carpet to a leader of a murderous regime, accused of committing war crimes. No doubt we'll be trying to flog them weapons while they're here. Our cosy relationship with Saudi Arabia is a complete disgrace,” she tweeted. 

The Saudi shopping spree includes talks with U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who is in London hoping to sell the Saudis AP1000 commercial nuclear reactors made by the bankrupt US company Westinghouse. Perry will meet with Minister of Energy and Industry Khalid Bin Abdulaziz Al-Falih (pictured at an earlier encounter.)

 As Energy Voice reported, “With domestic demand for new nuclear technology in the doldrums, U.S. nuclear companies like the bankrupt Westinghouse Electric Co. have been seeking new markets abroad for their nuclear technology.” The Saudis have vast nuclear ambitions — -- 17,600 megawattws from 16 reactors and with $80 billion to spend.  

The Kingdom is after a deal tantamount to that afforded their enemy, Iran, and expect to enrich their own uranium. But unlike Iran, Saudia Arabia refuses to guarantee they will not progress to enriching uranium to weapons-grade. Since Saudi Arabia is generously endowed with ample sun and wind, it is turning to nuclear to replace its oil use (which it can export instead at vast profit) for reasons clearly connected to nuclear weapons development and not electricity need. More