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Nuclear Power

Nuclear power cannot address climate change effectively or in time. Reactors have long, unpredictable construction times are expensive - at least $12 billion or higher per reactor. Furthermore, reactors are sitting-duck targets vulnerable to attack and routinely release - as well as leak - radioactivity. There is so solution to the problem of radioactive waste.

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Friday
Apr042014

Proposed new reactor at Nine Mile Point in Upstate New York officially cancelled!

NRC file photo of Nine Mile PointNRC file photo of FitzPatrickAs documented in the Federal Register, the French Areva EPR ("Evolutionary Power Reactor") targeted at the Nine Mile Point nuclear power plant site in Upstate New York, on the Lake Ontario shore, has been officially cancelled.

The location is already heavily burdened by the presence of Nine Mile Point Units 1 & 2, as well as the FitzPatrick atomic reactor. Nine Mile Point Unit 1 and FitzPatrick are General Electric Mark I Boiling Water Reactors, identical in design to Fukushima Daiichi Units 1 to 4. Nine Mile Point Unit 2 is a Mark II, very similar in design to Fukushima Daiichi. Lake Ontario serves as the drinking water supply for many millions of people in New York, Ontario (including Canada's largest city, Toronto), and a large number of Native American/First Nations.

Monday
Mar312014

Karl Grossman -- "Give Light and the People Will Find Their Own Way"

Karl GrossmanThe March 25, 2014 issue of The Independent, Antioch College's alumni publication, features Beyond Nuclear board member Karl Grossman (Antioch class of 1964). The interview gives a good overview of Karl's distinguished career of investigative journalism, authorship, and teaching.

Karl first entered the field of journalism as a copyboy, during an Antioch College co-op placement at the Cleveland Press. The Press was the first newspaper started by E.W. Scripps, "quite the crusading publisher, highly active during the Muckraking Era," accoring to Karl. At age 18, Karl was inspired by the inscription above the entrance: “Give Light and the People Will Find Their Own Way.”

Karl has gone on to shed much light around the world, with a focus on the issues of nuclear power and weapons, not only on Earth, but in space. His books include Cover Up: What You Are Not Supposed to Know About Nuclear Power, The Wrong Stuff: The Space Program's Nuclear Threat to Our Planet and Weapons in Space.

Karl's 1993 EnviroVideo documentary Three Mile Island Revisited serves as an important milestone by which to remember the disaster, now 35 years on, especially considering the still-unfolding health consequences. Karl's investigation of nuclear catastrophes continues to the present day with his work in the aftermath of the triple meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi.

Asked what he's most proud of accomplishing, Karl pointed to "my journalism that helped in stopping the Shoreham nuclear power plant—the first of seven to 11 nuclear plants planned for Long Island—from going into commercial operation. I wrote hundreds of articles, did TV programs, broadcast on radio and wrote a book on this, Power Crazy. And Shoreham, although it was finished and ready to start operating, was stopped. The additional nuclear plants were never built, and Long Island is now nuclear-free."

For that and other investigative journalism, Karl has been named to the Long Island Journalism Hall of Fame. Karl says this "is quite a kick particularly because among the other 22 persons named is Walt Whitman who founded the Long Islander newspaper in Huntington." Karl's wife of 53 years, Janet, is originally from Huntington.

Friday
Mar282014

Three Mile Island: The People’s Testament

Aileen Mioko Smith, Executive Director of Green Action JapanOn March 27, 1989 (the eve of the 10th anniversary of the beginning of the Three Mile Island nuclear meltdown disaster), Aileen Mioko Smith of Green Action Japan (photo, left) wrote:

"In the summer of 1979, three months after the Three Mile Island accident, a party of five concerned Japanese traveled to Central Pennsylvania to study the incident and its aftermath first hand. It was a personal trip for the two lawyers, a student, a radiation research scientist, and Mitsuru Katagiri, university professor and my husband-to-be. When Mitsuru returned home to Kyoto, he confessed that before he left Japan he thought he had basically understood the accident — a barely averted meltdown catastrophe that quite fortunately had probably released only an insignificant amount of radiation. But as they toured the area, he was surprised by the number of people who reported anomalous occurrences during and after the time of the accident; strange tastes and smells; burning, tingling or reddening of the skin; and changes in the local vegetation, animals and atmosphere. This prompted yet another trip that year.


In August of 1980, l joined my husband on his next trip to the area and have since returned six times, including a 10-month stay in the Middletown area, five miles from the reactor site. These visits are part of a continuing effort to understand the accident and its implications for our common future. I have only just begun.


The passages below are excerpts from home interviews we conducted with approximately 250 TMI area residents over the years, from 1979 to 1988. Our purpose was to learn about the accident directly from the people living nearby. We were especially interested in understanding more about the unusual phenomena they had experienced. 

Now, 10 years after the accident, these widely reported phenomena are still not officially accepted. According to scientists and the government, since the releases were “negligible” the accident’s effects on the environment and the people of the surrounding area should also be negligible. But ten years of cleaning up the damaged Unit 2 reactor has shown that 45 percent of the fuel did indeed melt during the accident and 20 tons of it dropped to the reactor floor. In light of these findings, the accident has been entirely reassessed — reassessed, that is, as to what went on inside the reactor, but not as to what may have happened outside to the surrounding population and environment. Official interest in understanding what really happened at TMI appears to end at the reactor’s perimeter. The government has never even made an effort to reevaluate what the accident may have released to the environment. The interest and effort exerted to learn about the effects to the outside has been virtually non-existent compared to the tremendous interest and effort to learn about and clean up the reactor inside. 

An accurate accounting of what escaped is in many ways impossible. But by listening to the people of the area and by learning from the immediate environment, we can perhaps get a clearer idea of what actually occurred at TMI and how it continues to affect those who live in the area. We have thus chosen to publish our findings in an interview format for several reasons — to counteract the peculiar inattention to local residents’ views and experiences; to reaffirm the original reason for the existence of journalism; and thereby to demonstrate the possibility, indeed the necessity of lay peoples’ participation in the social processes and policies that vitally concern us all."

 

Thus, Three Mile Island: The People's Testament serves as a powerful, enduring evidence of the true consequences of the atomic reactor meltdown for communities downwind, downstream, up the food chain, and down the generations.

 

Three Mile Island Alert has posted the interviews at its website.

 

Beyond Nuclear has included extracts from a few of the interviews in its newsletter devoted to TMI's 35-year mark.

 

To learn more about TMI Truth, visit Beyond Nuclear's website section devoted to the subject.

Friday
Mar282014

Robert Del Tredichi: The People of Three Mile Island

Middletown council meeting, June 20, 1979. Photo: Robert Del TrediciMontreal-based Robert Del Tredichi began documenting the nuclear age in 1979. His first book of photographs and interviews, The People of Three Mile Island (Sierra Club Books, 1980), was part sociology and part critique of nuclear power. In 1987, Del Tredichi founded the Atomic Photographers Guild.

A number of Del Tredichi's photos are included in Beyond Nuclear's Thunderbird newsletter devoted to Three Mile Island truth.

Friday
Mar282014

Harvey Wasserman: People Died at Three Mile Island

Harvey WassermanHarvey Wasserman (photo, left) has been writing about atomic energy and the green alternatives since 1973. His 1982 assertion to Bryant Gumbel on NBC's TODAY Show that people were killed at TMI sparked a national mailing from the reactor industry demanding a retraction. NBC was later bought by General Electric, still a major force pushing atomic power.

(Several years ago, GE's nuclear division was bought out by Hitachi of Japan, forming GE-Hitachi, GEH. Since 2008, Beyond Nuclear has been part of an environmental coalition actively fighting a GEH "Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor," a so-called ESBWR, targeted at the Great Lakes shore in Monroe County, Michigan.)

Five years ago, for the 30-year mark of the Three Mile Island meltdown disaster, in 2009 Harvey wrote "People Died at Three Mile Island," that originally appeared at http://freepress.org, and was also posted at Huffington Post. "People Died at Three Mile Island" is also the title for a chapter in Wasserman's book Killing Our Own: The Disaster of America's Experience with Atomic Radiation (Delta, 1982), co-authored by Norman Solomon, along with Robert Alvarez and Eleanor Walters.

(To learn more about TMI Truth, visit Beyond Nuclear's website section devoted to the subject.)

Harvey serves as the editor of Nukefree.org, and as a senior advisor to Greenpeace and NIRS. He is the author of Solartopia.