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International

Beyond Nuclear, while U.S. based, recognizes that the issue of nuclear power, particularly in relation to climate change and reactor expansion, has become an international issue. Multi-national corporations, often with foreign ownership, have taken over every facet of the nuclear fuel chain, from uranium mining to waste disposition. Beyond Nuclear is currently engaged in supportive efforts in a number of different countries.

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Monday
Jul092012

Beyond Nuclear wakes U.S. up to Canadian radioactive waste dumps targeted at Great Lakes shoreline

The Bruce Nuclear Complex in Ontario on the Lake Huron shore is currently the biggest single nuclear power plant in the world, with 8 still operable (and 1 permanently shutdown prototype) reactorsThe Toronto Star has reported that passionate expressions of opposition to the proposed "low" and "intermediate" level radioactive waste dump targeted at the Bruce Nuclear Complex in Ontario, Canada -- just a half-mile from the Lake Huron shore -- are rolling in from U.S. citizens to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency. Weekly email action alerts and website postings by Beyond Nuclear have helped spread the word across the U.S., not just in Michigan -- 50 miles across Lake Huron from Bruce. 

Ontario Power Generation, the nuclear utility which owns Bruce and is responsible for radioactive wastes generated at 20 reactors across Ontario, has proposed this "Deep Geologic Repository," which Dave Martin of Greenpeace Canada renamed the DUD (Deep Underground Dump). Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps serves on the Great Lakes United team in opposition to the dump.

At the very same time, several towns near Bruce have volunteered to be considered as Canada's high-level radioactive waste dumping ground, for a total of 22 reactors across Canada. Bruce hosts 9 reactors -- 1 a prototype that has been permanently shut down, and 8 still operable CANDUs (Canadian Uranium Deuterium atomic reactors).

Kevin also spread the word against these Canadian radioactive waste dumps across Michigan in May, as he spoke at screenings of "Into Eternity" at more than a half dozen communities around the state.

Tuesday
Jul032012

Dr. Judith H. Johnsrud receives national Sierra Club Award

This quilt Judy is admiring was created by textile artist Margaret Gregg of Virginia, and was given to her on May 4th by the Sierra Club "No Nukes Activist Team" in honor of her 50 years of anti-nuclear leadership. It reads "JUDITH: PROTECTING LIFE FOREVER."Leon Glicenstein, a life-long friend and supporter of Dr. Judith H. Johnsrud, has written an article for the Sierra Club Pennsylvania Chapter's Summer 2012 newsletter The Sylvanian about the national Sierra Club and the Sierra Club "No Nukes Activist Team" recognition ceremony, held May 4th in Takoma Park, Maryland, honoring Judy's half-century of anti-nuclear leadership not only locally, regionally, and nationally, but even globally, including major presentations overseas. Judy is a founding board member of Beyond Nuclear. Included in Leon's article is a partial list of anti-nuclear victories Judy helped win in her home state of Pennsylvania alone.

Beyond Nuclear posted a tribute to Judy shortly after the ceremony, which includes more photos of the presentation of her quilt (see photo, left), as well as links to writings by Judy, such as her brief history of the Environmental Coalition on Nuclear Pollution, which she founded and led for many decades.

Tuesday
Jun052012

Former Japanese PM Kan: "the best way to make nuclear plants safe is not to rely on them, but rather to get rid of them”

Former Japanese Prime Minister, Naoto Kan, testifying before a Diet investigation commission on the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastropheIn an article entitled "Japan's Former Leader Condemns Nuclear Power," theNew York Times reported on May 28th about the three-hour testimony of Japan's former Prime Minister, Naoto Kan, before a Japanese parliamentary investigation into the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe. Kan was serving during the first five months of the catastrophe, from 3/11/11 to August, when he resigned. Kan warned that the politically and economically powerful "nuclear village" in industry, government, and academia has shown "no remorse" for the catastrophe, as it pushes to re-start Japan's 50 remaining atomic reactors despite widespread grassroots opposition. Kan pointed out that “Gorbachev said in his memoirs that the Chernobyl accident exposed the sicknesses of the Soviet system. The Fukushima accident did the same for Japan.” Kan shared that he feared a worst case scenario cascade (or in the words of Kan's Chief Cabinet Secretary, now Minister of Trade, Industry, and Economy, Edano, "demonic chain reaction") of reactor meltdowns and high-level radioactive waste pool fires, which could have caused the “release into the air and sea many times, no, many dozens of times, many hundreds of times the radiation released by Chernobyl,” which would have forced the evacuation of 30 million people from Tokyo, leading to “a collapse of the nation’s ability to function.” Kan concluded “It is impossible to ensure safety sufficiently to prevent the risk of a national collapse. Experiencing the accident convinced me that the best way to make nuclear plants safe is not to rely on them, but rather to get rid of them.”

An AFP article, carried by Japan Today, reports that Kan compared the "nuclear village" in Japan to the imperial militarism that plunged Japan into World War II. Kan is quoted as saying “The nuclear accident was caused by a nuclear plant which operated as national policy...I believe the biggest portion of blame lies with the state...Before the war, the military came to have a grip on actual political power… Similarly, plant operator TEPCO and FEPC (Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan) held sway over the nation’s nuclear administration over the past 40 years...They ousted experts, politicians and bureaucrats critical of nuclear energy from the mainstream. Many others they sidelined so that they could maintain the status quo.”

Thursday
May312012

"Not on our Great Lakes: anti-nuclear activist criticizes proposed Ontario waste site"

Jim Bloch of The Voice, serving northern Macomb and St. Clair Counties in eastern Michigan, has reported on the speaking tour of Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps across Michigan, which featured showings of the documentary film "Into Eternity" about the proposed geologic repository for high-level radioactive waste in Finland. The tour was organized by Kay Cumbow of Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination (CACC), to ring the alarm about the DGR ("Deep Geologic Repository," or DUD, as Greenpeace Canada's Dave Martin dubbed it, for Deep Underground Dump) targeted by the nuclear utility Ontario Power Generation (OPG) at the Bruce Nuclear Complex on the Ontario shoreline of Lake Huron, 50 miles from Michigan and upstream of such communities on the U.S. side as Alpena, Bay City, Port Huron, and Detroit.

Although supposedly "only" for so-called "low" and "intermediate" level radioactive wastes from 20 atomic reactors in Ontario, as Bloch reports, the DUD could easily morph into a catch-all for every category of radioactive waste, including high-level, from 22 operable and additional shutdown reactors across Canada. Concerned citizens and environmental groups are urged to express their opposition to Canadian decision makers by visiting the proposal's environmental assessment website. The Great Lakes (photo, above left), 20% of the world's surface fresh water, and drinking water supply for 40 million people in the U.S., Canada, and a large number of Native American/First Nations, would be put at radiological risk.

It's interesting that OPG chose to cut off its consideration of earthquakes in the area at just 180 years ago: 200 years ago, the New Madrid quakes of 1811 and 1812 -- the largest in North American recorded history -- were powerful enough to impact the Great Lakes region, even though they were epicentered in Missouri. Native American oral history in Michigan, for example, speaks of tsunami-like waves on the Great Lakes. The DUD's entrance tunnel mouth would be located about a half-mile from the Lake Huron shore, as would its surface facilities for handling and storing radioactive wastes.

Thursday
May312012

Gordon Edwards: "SNC-Lavalin and the Demise of CANDU Competence"

Dr. Gordon Edwards, President of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility (CCNR), recently wrote this essay, "SNC-Lavalin and the Demise of CANDU Competence." SNC-Lavalin, a Quebec-based multi-national corporation, recently took over Atomic Energy of Canada, Ltd.'s (AECL) CANDU reactor division for the bargain basement price of just $15 million. Its situation since can only be described as in meltdown. Its stock value has plummeted, with $1.5 billion in losses, prompting a shareholder class action lawsuit. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police raided its Montreal headquarters, related to $56 million in "untraceable and un-accounted for payments, presumed to be bribes." And a former SNC-Lavalin vice president, with close ties to the Gadhafi family in Libya, which he used to land a controversial Libyan prison contract, is now in a Swiss prison himself, charged with "fraud, money-laundering, and corruption of officials." Another SNC-Lavalin consultant is now in a Mexican jail, charged with "consorting with organized crime, falsifying documents, and human trafficking." Meanwhile, CANDU nuclear engineers are leaving the company in droves, and remaining nuclear engineers are threatening a major strike, due to deep cuts in pay and pensions threatened by SNC-Lavalin. Dr. Edwards warns this dangerously undermines CANDU competence -- and an attached news article shows how the strike and departures could well impact CANDU operations in New Brunswick and Ontario, Canada, as well as a number of overseas countries with CANDUs.