Beyond Nuclear has added a new division -- Beyond Nuclear International. Articles covering international nuclear news -- on nuclear power, nuclear weapons and every aspect of the uranium fuel chain -- can now mainly be found on that site. However, we will continue to provide some breaking news on these pages as it arises.



2,000 German activists form human chain around parliament during vote to extend reactor licenses

The German Bundestag (parliament) voted on Thursday to extend the lifespan of the country's 17 nuclear power plants, overturning a decision made 10 years ago by the then ruling Social Democrat-Green Party. The decision has infuriated the opposition as well as hundreds of thousands of activists who have already taken to the streets on several occasions in huge numbers to protest relicensing. As the decision was made, 2,000 protesters formed a human chain around the Bundestag. The Social Democrats and Greens have decried the decision and promise to reverse it should they regain leadership of the country. They also object to the government's apparent by-passing of the lower house, or Bundesrat, where Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats do not enjoy a majority. During the protest against the vote, Greenpeace climbers scaled the roof of the CDU party headquarters and unfurled a banner showing Merkel celebrating with a leader of one of the major nuclear companies.


7 Great Lakes States U.S. Senators object to radioactive waste shipment from Canada to Sweden

Seven U.S. Senators from Great Lakes States -- Russell Feingold (D-WI), Robert Casey Jr. (D-PA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Carl Levin (D-MI), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Richard Durbin (D-IL, Assistant Senate Majority Leader), and Charles Schumer (D-NY) -- have written to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) and the Canadian federal government, expressing serious concerns about a proposed shipment of 16 radioactive steam generators from Bruce Nuclear Power Plant in Ontario to Sweden for "recycling" into consumer products. The shipment, on board a single ship, would violate International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) limits for the quantity of radioactivity aboard a single vessel. The shipment would travel via Lake Huron to Lake St. Clair, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, and connecting rivers (St. Clair, Detroit, the Welland canal, and St. Lawrence), and then across the Atlantic Ocean (see route map). Shockingly, Bruce Power's CEO, Duncan Hawthorne, has stated that there is no emergency plan for dealing with the sinking of the ship, stating there would be plenty of time to determine what to do once the ship sank. The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, as well as the US DOT PHMSA, must approve permits for the shipment before it can commence. PHMSA has recently been the subject of severe criticism for oil pipeline leak and natural gas pipeline explosion disasters, as well as for the close ties between its leadership and companies involved in these disasters. Beyond Nuclear, along with a coalition of environmental groups, has called upon PHMSA to conduct a full environmental analysis on the proposed shipment, in order to fulfill its National Environmental Policy Act federal legal obligations, before permitting the shipment to enter U.S. territorial waters on the Great Lakes -- 20% of the world's surface fresh water, drinking supply for 40 million in the U.S., Canada, and numerous Native American/First Nations, and regional engine for one of the biggest economies on the planet.


Germany's Social Democrats pushing for national referendum on nuclear energy

Germany’s opposition Social Democratic party, in an effort to block the Merkel coalition government's nuclear reactor license renewal policy, is pushing for a national referendum on the future of the country's nuclear power program. A referendum cannot occur until the country’s constitution is amended, as referenda are currently illegal. The move follows a massive demonstration on September 18 in Berlin that saw 100,000 people take to the streets protesting the license renewal of the country's 17 nuclear plants which have been granted 12-year license extensions. In contrast, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in the U.S., routinely hands out 20-year license extensions for this country's dangerous and aging reactors.


100,000 rally in Berlin to protest nuclear power

As many as 100,000 anti-nuclear demonstrators took to the streets of Berlin on September 18 to voice their strong opposition to the Merkel government's decision to extend the licenses of the country's operating nuclear power plants. A human chain was formed around the government building and protesters also rallied at the railway station. The previous government had decided  to shut down all nuclear plants by 2021, but Merkel's coalition government plans to extend the deadline by 10-15 years.


Bi-national environmental coalition demands U.S. Dept. of Transportation scrutinize risks of radioactive waste ship on Great Lakes

A U.S.-Canadian environmental coalition has sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, demanding that it perform a federally required National Environmental Policy Act examination of the risks associated with Bruce Power shipping 16 radioactive steam generators from its 8 reactor nuclear power plant on the Lake Huron shoreline in Ontario, via the remaining Great Lakes, across the Atlantic, to Sweden for melting down and mixing into the consumer product scrap metal recycling stream. The coalition also demands that PHMSA analyze the less dangerous alternative of a longstanding Canadian plan simply to store the steam generators indefinitely onsite. They demand this happen before granting a U.S. DOT permit for the shipment of these radioactive wastes through U.S. waters on the Great Lakes. As described in the coalition's press release, the Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence Cities Initiative has calculated that the radioactive cargo would violate International Atomic Energy Agency safety regulations for the amount of radioactivity allowed on a single ship by 50 times over. The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, whose staff has described the shipment as of very low risk, will hold a hearing in Ottawa, Ontario beginning on Sept. 29th to receive public comment from concerned citizens. Over 75 such submissions have been made by groups from the U.S. and Canada, showing how concerned environmentalists are about this radioactive waste shipment on the Great Lakes. Beyond Nuclear has registered to provide oral testimony at the hearing on the comments it has submitted. A full size image of the map showing the route above appeared in the Detroit News on Sept. 11.