Environmental Impacts

The entire nuclear fuel chain involves the release of radioactivity that contaminates the environment. Radiation can affect the air, water, soil, plants, animals, places of residence and recreation and elsewhere.



David Zwick, clean water advocate and one of ‘Nader’s Raiders,’ dies at 75

As reported by an obituary in the Washington Post.

David Zwick, and the organization he founded, Clean Water Action, have long worked in coalition with the anti-nuclear power movement.

As but one grassroots example, Don't Waste Michigan was blessed by Michigan's Clean Water Action chapter for years on end, in the form of CWA hosting monthly Don't Waste MI meetings in its Lansing offices. CWA didn't just host the meetings, they actively took part.

Such anti-nuclear collaboration also has taken place at the national level. As but one example, CWA has long resisted the nuclear power industry's coveted national dump for highly radioactive waste at Yucca Mountain, Nevada.

This makes perfect sense, given the environmental risks to clean water, from nuclear power and radioactive waste, during so-called "routine" operations, let alone large-scale or even catastrophic hazardous radioactivity releases, as at Three Mile Island Unit 2 in the U.S. in 1979, Chernobyl in Ukraine in 1986, and Fukushima Daiichi in Japan in 2011.


Letter: NorthStar's plans set dangerous precedent

Letter to the editor in the Brattleboro, Vermont Reformer:

Posted Thursday, December 28, 2017 9:21 pm

Editor of the Reformer:

Regarding the article, Vermont Yankee cleanup: Big month on tap in Vermont Yankee case, that appeared in the Reformer on Dec. 27:

I quote: "There's also an ongoing debate about whether Entergy and NorthStar have done enough to locate and measure nonradiological contamination at Vermont Yankee. An Agency of Natural Resources engineer testified this month that the companies' efforts have been "inadequate" on that front..."

It is very typical of Energy/NRC's twisted logic that they would claim that "more testing actually might be dangerous." That is tantamount to their saying, 'we know there IS highly radioactive waste that leaked out of containment, and it is VERY, VERY DANGEROUS and we would rather not admit it is there and have to deal with it.' Actually, their claim that testing might be dangerous is really very funny: it is the contorted way Energy avoids admitting that their radioactive waste is dangerous. Anyone following the Reformer's reporting over the past several years knows that the soil and groundwater at the reactor site are contaminated, thanks to the leaking underground pipe debacle. The area around the pipe leak was tested and found positive for not just tritium, but also cobalt 60, Zinc 65, Strontium 90 and other long-lived and highly dangerous isotopes. We know that groundwater and at least one deep well into the Vernon aquifer are contaminated, thanks to the State's monitoring and the single publicized test of the COB office building drinking water well that found high levels of Tritium. That well was closed for drinking and true to form, Entergy refused to let the state of VT do further testing, using the same excuse: it might be dangerous. Oh yes. Radioactive waste in groundwater, the aquifer, the CT River, and the soil is quite dangerous to all biota that come in contact with it. It is not the testing that is dangerous, it is the waste. Who can believe the forked tongue of Entergy and the NRC? VT must demand cleanup to the highest possible standard. That cannot be done without thorough exploration, testing, measurement and analysis with independent confirmation. No more excuses.

Sally Shaw

Middletown Springs, Dec. 27


280 Groups Oppose Western Governors' Association's Efforts to Weaken Endangered Species Act

As reported by a Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) press release, Beyond Nuclear joined with CBD, the Endangered Species Coalition, Humane Society of the United States, and 276 other organizations, opposing the Western Governors' Association's efforts to weaken Endangered Species Act. See a copy of the coalition's letter to National Governors' Association head, Terry McAuliffe (Democrat-Virginia), and the other 49 governors, here.

A current example of Beyond Nuclear's work to protect endangered/threatened species is its intervention, along with coalition partners in southeast Michigan, against the proposed new Fermi 3 atomic reactor on the Great Lakes shoreline. The coalition, represented by attorney Terry Lodge of Toledo, OH, pursued an endangered species contention against Fermi 3 from 2008 until 2014, attempting to protect the threatened Eastern Fox Snake (an indigenous contstrictor). Unfortunately, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Atomic Safety and Licensing Board ultimately ruled against the contention, effectively greenlighting the destruction of the Eastern Fox Snake species Great Lakes coastal wetland habtitat at the Fermi 3 site -- only one of four such habitats that still exist.

But the coalition is still challenging Fermi 3's NRC rubber-stamped construction and operation license, at the second highest court in the land, just below the U.S. Supreme Court -- the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. A part of that appeal involves the proposed new transmission line corridor connected to Fermi 3, challenging its exclusion from NRC's Environmental Impact Statement. That transmission line corridor, if built, would destroy critical habitat, including forested wetlands, where Eastern Fox Snakes can also live.

While Beyond Nuclear et al.'s focus has been on the Eastern Fox Snake, there are numerous additional endangered/threatened plant and animal species that would be harmed by Fermi 3's construction and operation.


Washington Congressional Delegation Urges President-Elect Trump to Prioritize Hanford Cleanup, Worker Health, Tri-Cities’ Safety

“This work is essential to protecting the health and safety of the Tri-Cities community, the Columbia River, Washington state and our nation.”

As posted on the website of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Democratic News section. U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) is the Ranking Member (Minority/Democrat) on the Committee.

Hanford is the worst radioactively contaminated site in the Western Hemisphere. It got that way, due to military reprocessing, to extract plutonium from high-level radioactive waste, for use in the American nuclear weapons arsenal.


Lawsuit Launched Against Radioactive Phosphate Mining in Florida

Update provided by Center for Biological Diversity:

Florida is saddled with 1 billion tons of radioactive phosphogypsum -- the result of turning phosphate mined in Florida into fertilizer -- as well as scars and pollution from thousands of acres of phosphate mining.

So just before the holidays, the Center and allies tackled the problem, notifying two federal agencies we'll sue over their approval of more than 50,000 additional acres of mining in central Florida unless they take steps to improve the situation. The new mining would destroy habitat for eastern indigo snakes and Florida panthers, hurt water quality and damage the landscape.

"Phosphate mining violently disfigures the environment, destroying habitat and displacing wildlife," said Jaclyn Lopez, our Florida director.

Read more in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and check out our new phosphate mining webpage.