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Nuclear Weapons

Beyond Nuclear advocates for the elimination of all nuclear weapons and argues that removing them can only make us safer, not more vulnerable. The expansion of commercial nuclear power across the globe only increases the chance that more nuclear weapons will be built and is counterproductive to disarmament.

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Wednesday
Jul222015

Cora Henry: "70 Years After Bomb, Hiroshima Activists Defy Nuclear Energy Industry"

Kosei Mito, showing Elisabeth Fernandes, of Osaka, and her niece his research on nuclear power. They are on the banks of the Motoyasu River, in front of the Atom Dome. Mr. Mito's guide badge, with an anti-nuclear weapons symbol, reads “IN-UTERO SURVIVOR.” Photo taken March 12, 2015 by Cora Henry in Hiroshima, Japan.Cora Henry, a journalism student at Indiana University, has published an article entitled "70 Years After Bomb, Hiroshima Activists Defy Nuclear Energy Industry."

Henry's article explores the history of the evolving position of Hiroshima's Hibakusha, literally “radiation-affected people,” towards nuclear power. She interviewed survivors of the bombing at the iconic remains of the Hiroshima Prefectural Industry Promotion Building, known as the Atomic-Bomb Dome.

In the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe, an anti-nuclear power consensus has emerged in both major Hibakusha organizations, with some members now very active in the ongoing campaign to resist atomic reactor restarts across Japan.

Wednesday
Jul222015

"West Lake Landfill may be more contaminated than previously thought, company says"

St. Louis Post-Dispatch graphicAs reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Exelon Nuclear has admitted that Cotter Company documents have revealed that previously undisclosed radioactive waste streams could have been dumped at the West Lake Landfill in metro St. Louis. A Cotter subcontractor, B&K Construction, illegal dumped 8,700 tons of uranium processing wastes from Mallinckrodt Chemical Works at West Lake Landfill in 1973. Exelon's predessor took over Cotter a year later, but Exelon is still liable for the costs of the illegal dumping.

Mallinckrodt had processed uranium for nuclear weapons, including highly concentrated Belgian Congo uranium ore during the earliest days of the Manhattan Project in the 1940s, that led to the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan in August 1945.

On July 17th, a bipartisan group of Missouri U.S. Congress Members wrote the U.S. Department of Energy, urging that the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers take over West Lake Landfill clean-up as part of its FUSRAP (Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program) jurisdiction.

In March 2015, Beyond Nuclear board member Kay Drey and colleagues in St. Louis published a pamphlet entitled "Remove the radioactive wastes NOW! Protect Metro St. Louis' water and air from West Lake Landfill's radioactive contamination!" It includes a map, showing that the radioactive wastes at West Lake Landfill are upstream of the drinking water intakes for North County and the City of St. Louis, on the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. The pamphlet urges readers to "Please go to www.moenviron.org to sign a letter asking U.S. Senators Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt and Congress members William Lacy Clay and Ann Wagner to work to transfer responsibility for West Lake’s radioactive wastes to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers."

Friday
Jul172015

Radioactive West Lake Landfill: "The people of St. Louis have had to live with this burden for generations"

This radiation warning sign is posted on the perimeter fence of the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton, Mo. Photo credit: Sarah Skiold-Hanlin, St. Louis Public Radio)As the clock winds down on the 70-year mark, commemorating the infamous atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, the radioactive mess that was made in the U.S. to generate those uranium and plutonium bombs, respectively, has yet to be cleaned up.

As a letter sent by a bipartisan, bicameral group of U.S. Senators and Representatives from Missouri to the U.S. Energy Secretary states, "...the West Lake Landfill site in North St. Louis County...is only one of numerous sites in the St. Louis region that remains impacted by wastes generated by the United States government as part of the early Manhattan Project in the 1940s. The people of St. Louis have had to live with this burden for generations and we believe it is incumbent on the federal government to find a clear path forward for all the sites either through removal of the [radiologically impacted material] or effective containment."

Complicating "effective containment," however, is the fact that the radioactively contaminated West Lake Landfill site is in the Missouri River floodplain, upstream from major drinking water intakes for the metro St. Louis region.

As Beyond Nuclear board member Kay Drey puts it, St. Louis bears the burden of some of the oldest radioactive wastes of the Atomic Age. St. Louis-based Mallinckrodt Chemical Works processed extraordinarily highly concentrated (65% uranium) Belgian Congo ore for the Manhattan Project, which fed uranium enrichment facilities at Oak Ridge, TN. Some of the enriched uranium then fueled plutonium-production reactors at the Hanford Works in WA, which generated the deadly material that went into the "Trinity" test blast in New Mexico on July 16, 1945, as well as the "Fat Man" bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan on August 9, 1945. Highly enriched uranium that had passed through St. Louis for processing also went into the "Little Boy" bomb that annihilated Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.

In 1973, radioactive Manhattan Project wastes were illegally dumped at the West Lake Landfill site, where they remain a risk and hazard to this day.

In their letter, U.S. Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Roy Blunt (R-MO), and U.S. Representatives Wm. Lacy Clay (D-MO) and Ann Wagner (R-MO), urged Energy Secretary Moniz to reconsider the U.S. Department of Energy's previous decision to not include the West Lake Landfill site in its FUSRAP (Formerly Utilized Site Remedial Action Program). A top official at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as well as the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, were cc'd, in hopes of the federal agencies determining the best possible way to protect St. Louisans from the deadly legacy of the oldest radioactive wastes of the Atomic Age.

In March 2015, Beyond Nuclear board member Kay Drey and colleagues in St. Louis published a pamphlet entitled "Remove the radioactive wastes NOW! Protect Metro St. Louis' water and air from West Lake Landfill's radioactive contamination!" It includes a map, showing that the radioactive wastes at West Lake Landfill are upstream of the drinking water intakes for North County and the City of St. Louis, on the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. The pamphlet urges readers to "Please go to www.moenviron.org to sign a letter asking U.S. Senators Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt and Congress members William Lacy Clay and Ann Wagner to work to transfer responsibility for West Lake’s radioactive wastes to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers."

Thursday
Jul162015

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. (You can still donate via this Go Fund Me site: http://www.gofundme.com/radmonitoring)

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.

Thursday
Jul162015

Karl Grossman: "Obama, the Iran Deal, and Plutonium"

Karl Grossman is a professor of journalism at the State University of New York/College at Old Westbury who has specialized in investigative reporting for 45 years. He is the host of the TV program “Enviro Close-Up,” the writer and presenter of numerous TV documentaries and the author of six books.Beyond Nuclear board of directors member Karl Grossman (photo, left) has published a blog at The Times of Israel entitled "Obama, the Iran Deal, and Plutonium." Quoting Amory Lovins, L. Hunter Lovins, and Jacques Cousteau, Grossman illuminates how "there’s no 'peaceful nuclear power,'" and that "Nuclear weapons and nuclear power are two sides of the same coin."

Drawing on his 45 years of investigative reporting, and his authorship of six books -- much of it focused on the covers ups, deceptions, and hypocricies of nuclear power -- Grossman describes how India acquired nuclear weapons through Eisenhower's so-called "Atoms for Peace" path.

He warns that the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency's schizophrenic mandate -- to promote nuclear power, while curbing nuclear weapons proliferation -- risks other countries likewise obtaining "The Bomb." This includes Iran, even under the current "Iran Nuclear Deal," hammered out by the likes of the "great booster of nuclear power," U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.

Grossman's blog was published on July 16, 2015 -- 70 years to the day after the U.S. detonation of "Trinity" in the New Mexico desert. The Manhattan Project plutonium bomb "test" led to the annihilation of Nagasaki, Japan just over three weeks later.

[See the Obama administration's White House web site postings about the Iran Nuclear Deal; and see the full text of the Iran Nuclear Deal itself.]