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.



Resistance builds to radioactive waste shipments on Great Lakes

The Great Lakes United (GLU) Nuclear-Free/Green Energy Task Force has taken the lead in shining a spotlight on the proposal by Bruce Nuclear Power Complex in Ontario to barge 16 radioactive steam generators out the Great Lakes, and across the Atlantic, to Sweden for "recycling" the metal for un-restricted re-use in consumer products. A resolution signed by scores of organizations in the U.S. and Canada, as well as a cover letter to heads of government in the U.S. and Canada, signed by Task Force co-chairs Dr. Gordon Edwards and Michael Keegan, as well as GLU executive director Derek Stack, is posted at the GLU website. Also posted there are three documents written by Dr. Gordon Edwards of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility: a graphic image and photograph showing the radioactive "intestines" inside steam generatorss; an inventory of the hazardous radioactive isotopes that contaminate steam generators; and official company and government environmental assessment documents showing that the plan had been to store the radioactive steam generators on-site as waste, not ship them off for "recycling."

In addition to the radiological risks of one of these barges sinking -- including stigma impacts on economic sectors such as Great Lakes tourism and fisheries, even if there is not a radioactive release -- there is also the precedent setting nature of this proposal. As part of its Yucca Mountain plan, the U.S. Dept. of Energy has also proposed barging high-level radioactive wastes on the Great Lakes, as well as on the Chesapeake and Delaware Bay, various surface waters surrounding metro New York City as well as Boston, the California and Florida coastlines, and such inland rivers as the James in Virginia, the Mississippi, the Missouri, and the Tennessee. Unlike steam generators, irradiated nuclear fuel sinking risks accidental nuclear chain reactions underwater, due to the presence of fissile U-235 and Pu-239 in the high-level radioactive waste, which would make emergency response a "suicide mission," and would worsen radioactive releases to the environment. But any other "away-from-reactor" plans, such as reprocessing or "centralized interim storage" (aka parking lot dumps), could also involve such barge shipments.

Beyond Nuclear has delivered copies of the materials about the Bruce steam generator barge shipments proposal to the U.S. congressional delegations of the eight Great Lakes States (IL, IN, MI, MN, NY, OH, PA, WI). Please contact your own U.S. Senators and U.S. Representative via the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Urge them to take action, such as contacting the Obama administration, to protect the inland and coastal waters of the U.S. from the risks of shipping radioactive wastes.


Iran Opens Its First Nuclear Power Plant

Thirty-six years after construction began under the shah, Iran finally opened its first nuclear power plant at a ceremony on Saturday. ´╗┐Although Iran denies that it is using its civilian nuclear program to mask a plan to build a bomb, many Western countries are dubious. The New York Times.


Nuclear Power companies blackmail German government

The CEOs of four energy giants have injected more controversy into an already heated debate on extending the life span of Germany's 17 nuclear power plants by threatening to shut down facilities, if Berlin goes ahead with plans for a nuclear fuel tax. On Monday, they also demanded that the life spans of the reactors be extended by a minimum of 15 years to make their operation worthwhile. DW-WORLD.DE.´╗┐


Speaking tour of Japan challenges MOX fuel use and financing for new U.S. reactors

Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps toured Japan from August 2nd to 12th, visiting Tokyo, Fukushima, Fukui, Kansai and Kyushu. Highlights included meeting with officials from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation and the Nippon Export and Investment Insurance agency, where a letter signed by 75 U.S. national and grassroots groups was delivered, urging no Japanese financing for risky new reactors in the U.S. A backgrounder spelled out these risks in detail. Most proposed new U.S. atomic reactors have designs owned by Japanese companies -- either Toshiba (Westinghouse), Hitachi (General Electric), or Mitsubishi. At South Texas Project, Toshiba and Tokyo Electric Power Company are even partners in the venture. In addition, Japan Steel Works would be the primary supplier of large nuclear components, such as reactor pressure vessels and steam generators. The Japanese news media were alerted to the letter and meeting.

Local anti-nuclear groups also asked Kevin to address the risks of long-term storage of Mixed (plutonium-uranium) Oxide (MOX) irradiated nuclear fuel in pools, given the leaks of radioactive water that have occurred at five U.S. nuclear facilities, including Indian Point, Salem, Connecticut Yankee, Brookhaven National Lab, and Babcock & Wilcox, Virginia. Several reactors in Japan are recklessly moving to load MOX fuel, even though there is no final disposition plan for the irradiated fuel that would be generated. There is a vague promise to someday build a special reprocessing facility in Japan, but that is unlikely, and would actually only make matters even worse! This means the radioactive wastes will remain in storage pools on-site for decades. Kevin also presented a power point about the many risks of storing irradiated nuclear fuel in pools.

One last highlight -- Paul Gunter's Leak First, Fix Later report was translated into Japanese!


Nuclear Deception: Pakistan, the U.S., and the Secret Trade in Nuclear Weapons

This harrowing book by Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark (2007, Walker and Company) lays bare the myth that "atoms for peace" and nuclear weapons are -- or can ever be -- kept separate. This comprehensive telling of the story of A.Q. Khan follows Pakistan's "Father of the Bomb" from his initial obscurity, to stealing "civilian" uranium enrichment centrifuge blueprints from his Dutch workplace in the early 1970s, to developing the key part of the Islamic Republic's secret atomic weapons infrastructure (unveiled to the world in nuclear test blasts in 1998), to his central role in the Pakistani government's and military's extensive nuclear weapons blackmarket. This worst ever proliferation ring involved, at various times, the likes of Saudi Arabia, China, North Korea, Iraq, Iran, and Libya, as well as Western European, North American, Middle Eastern, and Malaysian suppliers; despite Khan's downfall in 2004, tentacles of this network may still be in operation! 

A recurring theme in the book -- very little reported, and perhaps even less appreciated -- is that, in addition to the U.S.-Pakistani military/political alliance (first aimed against the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s, and for the past decade against the Taliban and Al Qaeda), which led to the U.S. government, at the highest levels, "looking the other way" as Pakistan first developed "the Muslim bomb," then sold it or gave it away for its own mercenary or even more sinister reasons, there was the commercial nuclear power dynamic. U.S. atomic firms had wares to sell in such places as China and North Korea. Such "atoms for peace" commerce led to the necessity of pretending not to know how out of control the bizarre atomic weapons bazaar had grown.

An especially egregious chapter occurred during the White House reign of Bush Sr., with Dick Cheney as Secretary of "Defense." To clear the way for an F-16 jet fighter sale to Pakistan's military -- worth several billions to such firms as General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin -- Cheney Pentagon and State Dept. henchmen, including Paul Wolfowitz and "Scooter" Libby, and their bureaucratic underlings, ruined the career and life of the top federal intelligence officer monitoring Pakistan's nuclear weapons capabilities. They did so to block him from doing his job and interferring with the executive branch's false mantra, that not only did Pakistan not have nuclear weapons, but the F-16 could not be adapted to launch Pakistan's non-existent nuclear weapons. The opposite, in fact, was true. Pakistan's arch nemisis, India, for one, knew better, although the U.S. Congress was kept in the dark, greasing the skids for approval of the F-16 transfer, despite U.S. laws prohibiting such sales to nuclear weapons rogue states like Pakistan.

Another frightening area this book covers is the very close ties between the likes of Osama Bin Laden, and numerous other Islamic terrorists at work in such places as Afghanistan and Kashmir, and the highest echelons of the Pakistani military and ISI (Inter Services Intelligence directorate, its secret police). But more frightening still are the documented instances of such ties involving the Pakistani atomic weapons establishment, including A.Q. Khan himself.

Nuclear Deception should not be confused with The Nuclear Power Deception: U.S. Nuclear Mythology from Electricity "Too Cheap to Meter" to "Inherently Safe" Reactors, another excellent must read by Arjun Makhijani and Scott Saleska (Apex Press, 1999).