Holtec in (even more) hot water

A big expose about corruption at Holtec on ProPublica today. Here's the headline:

A False Answer, A Big Political Connection and $260 Million In Tax Breaks.

Holtec International gave false answer in a 2014 New Jersey tax break application connected to political boss George E. Norcross III, a Holtec board member. Five days after WNYC and ProPublica asked about it, lawyers called it "inadvertent" and asked the state to correct it.

And here is the lead:

"A company that won the second-largest tax break in New Jersey history gave a false answer about being prohibited from working with a federal agency in sworn statements made to win $260 million in taxpayer assistance for a new plant in Camden.

"A review by WNYC and ProPublica found that Holtec International CEO Kris Singh responded “no” on certified forms submitted to the state in 2014 that asked if the applicant had ever been barred from doing business with a state or federal agency. The forms were submitted to the New Jersey Economic Development Authority as part of the company’s successful application for tax breaks.

"In fact, the international nuclear parts manufacturer was caught up in a contracting investigation at the federally owned Tennessee Valley Authority. In 2010, Holtec was barred for 60 days from doing any federal business and paid a $2 million administrative fine to the TVA, according to an agency report. Holtec’s debarment marked the first time the agency had taken such action against a contractor.

Read the full story.



Funding for Yucca Mountain dump blocked in key U.S. House Appropriations Committee vote

The Yucca dump zombie remains dead -- for now anyway. Political cartoon by Jim Day of the Las Vegas Review Journal in 2010, when the Obama administration wisely cancelled the unsuitable proposal. 1987 marked the year of the Screw Nevada bill in Congress. Be sure to count the toes!Thank you to those in key states with congress members on the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, who took action on our alerts earlier this week -- our side managed, by a narrow two-vote margin, to fend off a Republican amendment, attempting to re-insert funding for the controversial, dangerous Yucca Mountain high-level radioactive waste dump scheme, targeted at Western Shoshone Indian Nation land in Nevada. (Speaking of which, the National Congress of American Indians, NCAI, weighed in this week against the Yucca dump, a very valuable action!) While this is very good news, we will need to remain vigilant -- Republican U.S. Representatives may try again on the U.S. House floor in the weeks or months ahead, as an amendment on final passage (likely to take place in the first half of June). But there is some bad news -- funding for Consolidated Interim Storage Facilities (CISFs, as currently targeted at New Mexico and Texas -- see related entry about Rose Gardner, above) was retained in the U.S. House Appropriations bill. We will soon see if funding for the Yucca dump, or de facto permanent surface CIS dumps, is included in U.S. Senate energy and water appropriations bill. Please contact your U.S. Rep., and both your U.S. Senators, and urge that they block any funding for the Yucca dump, and for CISFs, at decision making points in the future. (You can be patched through to your congress members' D.C. offices via the U.S. Capitol Switchboard, at (202) 224-3121.)  Learn more at Beyond Nuclear's Yucca Mountain website section.


Beyond Nuclear honors Rose Gardner with the Judith Johnsrud "Unsung Hero" Award

Left to right, front row -- Rose's daugther Bridget, granddaughter Aubrey, Rose Gardner, daughter Jessica; back row -- Beyond Nuclear's Linda Gunter, Paul Gunter, Kevin Kamps. Photo by Molly Johnson.Rose Gardner of Alliance for Environmental Strategies (AFES) in Eunice, New Mexico is the winner of Beyond Nuclear's 2019 Dr. Judith H. Johnsrud "Unsung Hero" Award. Judith was an activist, leader and founding board member of Beyond Nuclear and other groups. Rose was recognized "for tirelessly defending her community, in the belly of the beast, undeterred by daunting odds, with a calm, humble heart, and yet fiery determination." The honor was bestowed on May 21 on Capitol Hill, during the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability's (ANA) 31st annual D.C. Days. See the reception announcement with additional awardees here.) Rose's home is just five miles from a "low-level" radioactive waste dump which is threatening to add 40,000 metric tons of highly radioactive nuclear fuel; every one of these thousands of rail shipments passing through Eunice, en route. Rose's hometown already "hosts" a uranium enrichment facility. Just 37 miles away, Rose's home is also threatened by "temporary" storage of 173,600 MT of commercial irradiated nuclear fuel (more than twice what currently exists in the country); the site is very near a geologic disposal facility that leaked military plutonium and other trans-uranic wastes into the environment on Valentine's Day, 2014. In short, the nuclear industry is trying to turn Rose's majority Hispanic area into a "nuclear sacrifice zone." Rose joined Beyond Nuclear and other ANA member groups in educating congressional offices about these and related nuclear issues. Rose also joined Beyond Nuclear on our weekly radio show at Sputnik International. We thank and congratulate Rose for defending her New Mexico "Land of Enchantment" against such an environmental injustice, and look forward to working with her and our New Mexico and Texas grassroots allies, as well as those in transport corridor states, to stop these consolidated interim storage facilities, and the Mobile Chernobyls they would launch! More


The importance of the creative arts to anti-nuclear activism


We ran an entry in our weekly email bulletin by that title a couple weeks ago. Here are some additional examples of the creative arts as a form of anti-nuclear activism: To the Village Square, a book by Lionel Delevingne; and the work of the Atomic Photographers Guild.

The importance of this medium has come into sharp focus currently with the powerful and widely acclaimed HBO drama series, Chernobyl.

There is of course a long history of the use of visual and lively arts in activism, and the anti-nuclear movement is no exception. Indeed, the International Uranium Film Festival has been able to garner countless films on the topic for its globe-trotting screenings and street theatre has been an integral part of anti-nuclear protest around the world. We believe this medium is an excellent one with which to communicate an otherwise sometimes dry and arcane subject matter. That is in part why Beyond Nuclear launched Beyond Nuclear International -- which showcases filmmakers, painters, photographers, multi-media and theatrical performances and others. You can find these stories mainly under the Events & Actions or People tabs on the Beyond Nuclear International website.


Beyond Nuclear names Rose Gardner of AFES, NM as Dr. Judith H. Johnsrud "Unsung Hero" award recipient at ANA's 2019 DC Days

Left to right, front row -- Rose's daugther Bridget, granddaughter Aubrey, Rose Gardner, daughter Jessica; back row -- Beyond Nuclear's Linda Gunter, Paul Gunter, Kevin Kamps. Photo by Molly Johnson.From May 19-22, the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability will hold its annual "DC Days." Beyond Nuclear has been a proud ANA member group since our founding in 2007. A highlight of every DC Days is the awards ceremony. Beyond Nuclear gives the Dr. Judith H. Johnsrud "Unsung Hero" Award* each year. We are happy to announce this year's "Unsung Hero" awardee: Rose Gardner, with the Alliance for Environmental Strategies (AFES) in Eunice, New Mexico.

(See a photo of Rose with her grandchildren, in the following NPR link. The photo is captioned "I've got three little babies here and nobody's speaking up for them," says Rose Gardner, who's worried about what the proposed facility would mean for her grandchildren's future, and was taken by Nathan Rott/NPR. See his April 11, 2019 story, "New Mexico Is Divided Over The 'Perfect Site' To Store Nation's Nuclear Waste," here.)

Rose is our ally in the fight against irradiated nuclear fuel consolidated interim storage facilities (CISFs) at Interim Storage Partners/Waste Control Specialists, across the state line in Texas, just several miles from her home (including helping to provide us legal standing in this case, as a member and supporter of Beyond Nuclear), and at Holtec/Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance, halfway between Carlsbad and Hobbs, NM, about 40 miles from her home (see Beyond Nuclear's Centralized Storage website section, for more info. on the CISFs).  
Also receiving awards at DC Days are: Congressman Adam Smith, of Washington's 9th District; Patricia Mellen, attorney; and the Bill Mitchell Grassroots Activist of the Year Award, the mystery recipient to be announced at the ceremony itself, taking place Tues., May 21st from 6-7:30pm Eastern, at 2060 Rayburn House Office Building, Capitol Hill, Washington, DC. See ANA's awards reception announcement, here. It is not too late to register for and attend DC Days, if you can make it. 
*Judith Johnsrud (1931-2014) was a founding board member of Beyond Nuclear. She also co-founded Nuclear Information and Resource Service, as well as the Environmental Coalition on Nuclear Power. One of her many claims to fame was helping co-lead the intervention against the building of the infamous Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in the first place, in the 1970s, years before the TMI-2 meltdown. Another was being honored, in 2012, by Sierra Club for a half-century of anti-nuclear activism. See a tribute to Judith on the bottom of the last page of our 2014 newsletter about the Three Mile Island meltdown.