Human Rights

The entire nuclear fuel chain involves the release of radioactivity, contamination of the environment and damage to human health. Most often, communities of color, indigenous peoples or those of low-income are targeted to bear the brunt of these impacts, particularly the damaging health and environmental effects of uranium mining. The nuclear power industry inevitably violates human rights.



Resisting environmental racism at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

Corbin Harney (standing), Western Shoshone spiritual leader, and Raymond Yowell, then Western Shoshone Indian Nation chief, at Peace Camp, NV, Oct. 2002, leading protests against nuclear weapons testing, militarism, and radioactive waste dumping at the Nevada Test Site. Photo by Gabriela Bulisova.November 20th marked the end of a rushed, "going-through-the motions" Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DSEIS) by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), a thinly veiled attempt to revive the cancelled Yucca Mountain high-level radioactive waste dump in Nevada.

NRC didn't even bother to provide advance notice to the affected Indian tribes downstream from the targeted site, let alone consult with them in a government-to-government manner, as is the agency's legal obligation. But at least NRC is consistent: it didn't provide any funding to the tribes, either, placing an extraordinary burden on the tribal nations to meet the arbitrarily-short deadline. In this regard, NRC's SDEIS public comment proceeding itself was a violation of environmental justice (EJ), not to mention the agency's biased push to bury 70,000 metric tons, or more, of high-level radioactive waste on indigenous land, guaranteed to leak into the precious, even sacred, drinking water supply.

Despite NRC's own EJ violations, the Timbisha Shoshone Tribe and the Native Community Action Council met the deadline, with powerful comments. They thereby continued a tradition of protecting Yucca Mountain, and its groundwater, that dates back not just years or decades, but centuries and millenia, to time immemorial. More.


Resistance commemorates dark Atomic Age anniversaries in New Mexico

July 16th marks two dark Atomic Age anniversaries in New Mexico of national and even global significance. It's 70 years since "Trinity," the world's first atom bomb explosion, at Alamogordo, NM -- the Manhattan Project "test" for Nagasaki to follow three weeks later. And it's 36 years since one of the worst (and least known) radioactivity disasters in U.S. history, the massive uranium tailings dam release at Church Rock, NM. Ninety million gallons of liquid radioactive waste, and eleven hundred tons of solid mill wastes, spilled into the Rio Puerco River, vital source of drinking and livestock grazing water for Navajo communities downstream.

But resistance to nuclear weapons and nuclear power remains strong in the "Land of Enchantment," despite decades of ongoing radioactive abuses. For example, Diné No Nukes of New Mexico will join with S.A.N.S. and Nuclear Energy Information Service to celebrate a successful fundraiser for their collaborative "Radiation Monitoring Project," purchasing detectors to be used in Navajo country, still contaminated from decades of uranium mining and milling.

And Downwinders and nuclear weapons watchdog groups, including Beyond Nuclear's Alliance for Nuclear Accountability coalition partners Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety, Nuclear Watch New Mexico and Southwest Research Information Center are not only commemorating "Trinity." They continue their decades-long efforts, such as watchdogging the "Birthplace of the Bomb," Los Alamos National Lab; resisting nuclear weaponeers' attempt to keep their omnicidal trade going for decades to come, at unthinkable expense; opposing threatened in situ uranium mining; and outing the truth about the 2014 radioactivity leak at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad, NM, to name but a few of their ongoing campaigns.


"Uranium? Leave It In the Ground!" film showing & discussion, Nov. 16


10,000 abandoned uranium mines in U.S. and other little known facts

Clean Up The Mines has produced a shocking fact sheet about the conditions at and around the 10,000 abandoned uranium mines in the U.S. Findings include the fact that 10 million people still live within 50 miles of these abandoned mines, 75% of which are on federal and tribal lands. No existing federal laws require cleanup of the hazardous sites. Corporations invariably walk away when mines close, leaving the public to bear the toxic legacy and fund any attempts at cleanup. Uranium mines have contaminated drinking water wells and radioactive dust blows in the wind, deadly in inhaled.


Beyond Nuclear/PSR speaking tour across MI a big success!

Alfred Meyer, PSR board memberAlfred Meyer (photo, left), national board member of Physicians for Responsibility (PSR), spoke throughout Michigan on a tour organized by Beyond Nuclear from Feb. 12-17. His presentations of "Nuclear Power: What You Need to Know about Price, Pollution and Proliferation" were dedicated to the memory of Dr. Jeff Patterson, PSR's Past-President.

Mr. Meyer has worked in recent years, as at the UN, to advance the human rights aspects of releases of hazardous radioactivity into the living environment.

Alfred's first stop on Feb. 12, at Grand Rapids' Fountain Street Church, drew 35 attendees, despite the wintry weather. Corinne Carey of Don't Waste MI video-recorded the talk, and will post it to cable access t.v. in the near future.

Alfred had a productive day in Kalamazoo on Feb. 13th. His presentation at Western Michigan University (WMU) was attended by over 50 people, and garnered an extended interview by Gordon Evans on WMUK Radio, as well as an article by Yvonne Zipp in the Kalamazoo Gazette. Alfred also spoke at a press conference held at WMU's impressive solar panel array, launching a campus climate campaign to divest the university from fossil fuel investments. Alfred was also interviewed by Dr. Don Cooney, WMU Social Work professor and Kalamazoo City Commissioner, and Dr. Ron Kramer, WMU criminology prof., on "Critical Issues: Alternative Views" t.v. program. The interview will be aired on Kalamazoo cable access in the near future, as well as posted to YouTube.

The tour stop in South Haven (4 miles from Entergy's Palisades atomic reactor) on Feb. 14 drew 25 attendees, despite it being Valentine's Day. Kraig Schultz of Michigan Safe Energy Future--Shoreline Chapter video-recorded the talk, and will post the recording to the MSEF YouTube channel in the near future.

Ferndale in Metro Detroit on Feb. 15 drew 75 attendees. Damon J. Hartley of the Peoples Tribune did a write up and took lots of photos.

Monroe's event (within the 10-mile Emergency Planning Zone from the GE BWR Mark I, Fermi 2, as well as the proposed Fermi 3) on Feb. 16, drew 30 attendees, and garnered coverage in the Monroe News (text, PDF). The Ann Arbor (home base for PSR's new MI chapter) event on Feb. 17 also drew an audience despite an impending winter storm.

Beyond Nuclear has been honored and privileged to work with the following groups to make this speaking tour a success: Michigan Physicians for Social Responsibility; Sierra Club; Fountain Street Church; WMU Lee Honors College; WMU Environmental Studies program; WMU Institute of Government and Politics; Michigan Safe Energy Future (both Kalamazoo and South Haven chapters); Don't Waste Michigan; Ferndale Public Library; Alliance to Halt Fermi 3; Ellis Library; Don't Waste Michigan; Coalition for a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes; and the Ecology Center.