UN Special Rapporteur says women and children should not move back to Fukushima

Un Special Rapporteur, Baskut Tuncak, who has already criticized Japan's treatment of Fukushima "cleanup" workers, has urged Japan not to force Fukushima evacuees back to the accident zone, especially women and chidren. In delivering his report to the UN, Tuncak said the Japanese government should “halt the ongoing relocation of evacuees who are children and women of reproductive age to areas of Fukushima where radiation levels remain higher than what was considered safe or healthy before the nuclear disaster seven years ago.”

He noted that returning vulnerable people to an area where allowable exposure rates have been raised from 1 to 20 mSv/yr (a dose far too high for civlians and a change made only because it is impossible to clean up the aftermath of Fukushima back down to 1 mSv/yr), was filled with "with potentially grave impacts on the rights of young children returning to or born in contaminated areas.” Read the full story on Beyond Nuclear International.


As COP 24 climate talks begin, a reminder of why nuclear doesn't belong

"How many times have you heard people say ‘I would much rather not have nuclear power but we need it to combat climate change’?" asks British activist, Linda Walker.

She writes: "This claim has been made so many times by the nuclear industry and its supporters that many people now just accept it as the lesser of two evils.

"But the development of new nuclear power plants is actually no part of the solution to tackling climate change, and is in fact a big part of the problem.

"Nuclear power is not carbon-free; is prohibitively expensive; all projects overrun wildly on both time and budget; is a source of harmful waste which no one yet knows what to do with; provides a terrorist target; produces routine emissions which are harmful to health; power plants are vulnerable to the flooding which will come as sea levels rise, and have to close down in times of drought; Chernobyl and Fukushima have shown the widespread and long-term health and environmental impact of accidents; and even nuclear advocates have recently admitted the close links to nuclear weapons."

Read her point by point list of reasons nuclear power must be rejected as a climate solution, new this week on Beyond Nuclear International. More


Beyond Nuclear opposing Second License Renewal for Peach Bottom reactors in Pennsylvania

Beyond Nuclear is requesting that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) convene a public hearing and legal intervention into Exelon Generation’s application to extend the operations of its two-unit Peach Bottom nuclear power station in Delta, PA by another 20 years.  Peach Bottom Units 2 & 3 are already operating in their first 20-year license extension to the original 40-year license that expired in 2013 and 2014, respectively. Exelon is now seeking to extend Peach Bottom’s operating license from 2033 to 2053 for Unit 2 and 2034 to 2054 for Unit 3.

Beyond Nuclear contends that Exelon’s extension application fails to comply with NRC regulations requiring Exelon to sufficiently demonstrate how it will manage increasing wear and tear caused by the combination of extreme heat, pressure, radiation and vibration on Peach Bottom safety systems throughout the requested 60- to 80-year extended period of operation. With the nuclear industry trending towards increasing reactor closures due to economical, technological and political challenges, Exelon does not detail how its age management program will collect sufficient operating experience either from the Peach Bottom units and the shrinking fleet nor provide alternative means (i.e., laboratory studies of materials samples harvested from decommissioning units) to gather the data needed to manage  age-related degradation such as embrittlement, corrosion, cracking and fatigue projected into the license renewal period beginning in 2034 and 2035.

Beyond Nuclear has retained the Washington, DC law firm of Harmon, Curran, Spielberg and Eisenberg, LLP and David Lochbaum, a widely recognized independent nuclear engineer, reactor safety consultant and expert witness.


Citizens search for truth about radiation as CA wildfire ends

The Woolsey fire in California was 100% contained as of November 21 after burning for nearly two weeks.

In the wake of the Woolsey fire, people in areas surrounding the contaminated Santa Susanna Field Laboratory site (SSFL) -- just north of Los Angeles -- are worried that chemical and radioactive pollution may have been carried offsite by fire currents and smoke.

During the fire, the California Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) did not warn the public and fire fighters that smoke from the fire could be carrying radioactive particles from the site. The DTSC "believed" there was no danger but refused to make public the methods used, and results of, any testing they have done. Now the public is seeking the truth from more trustworthy sources.

Fairewinds Energy Education has released protocols (download here) for collecting environmental specimens to be analyzed for radionuclide content. They are asking that samples be gathered within 100 miles of SSFL and/or the Woolsey fire and its smoke. At present, we do not know whether the Woolsey fire carried radionuclides offsite, or what the current contents of dusts and soils are. Instructions for collecting, cataloging and shipping specimens are included as well as how to get additional information or answers to your sampling questions.

Please sign the petition to clean up SSFL if you haven't already.

Listen to the latest Nuclear Hotseat episode #388.

Get more background on the Woolsey and Chernobyl wildfires.

Listen to Beyond Nuclear's Cindy Folkers interview on SSFL and radiation dangers.

Also see Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists article on the Santa Susanna fire.


The forgotten vets of America's atomic war

No compensation, no medals, no recognition. That was the story of America's atomic vets who served -- and were exposed to radiation -- in the Pacific during Cold War US atomic testing. Still today, those vets are told their illnesses don't qualify for VA care. "We were used as guinea pigs," one survivor told Jennifer LaFleur. Read her exposé in Reveal, this week on Beyond Nuclear International.