Beyond Nuclear has added a new division -- Beyond Nuclear International. Articles covering international nuclear news -- on nuclear power, nuclear weapons and every aspect of the uranium fuel chain -- can now mainly be found on that site. However, we will continue to provide some breaking news on these pages as it arises.




On August 14, 2018, Sortir du nucléaire Aude, Nuclear Heritage Network and Réseau “Sortir du nucléaire” put out a press release from the International Anti-Nuclear Summer Camp, which took place in Narbonne in the south of France from August 6 to 12.

The gathering of anti-nuclear activists from 17 countries took place just a few miles away from Malvési, the Orano (formerly Areva) uranium-conversion facility.

As reflected in the press release, participants had some questions for the global nuclear establishment, and fellow citizens:

How can the nuclear industry propagate so much new waste when there is waste that has not been properly cleaned up at uranium mines, nuclear weapons facilities, and nuclear power plants? Why does government allow the nuclear industry to continue, knowing the health and environmental dangers, as well as possible terrorism risks? How do private interests suppress democracy and human rights? What are the solutions to fight against nuclear proliferation? How can we separate nuclear energy into "civilian" and "military uses? To address these shared problems, the International Anti-Nuclear Summer Camp has designed a week's long program filled with workshops, discussions, film screening, debates, activist formations, site visits, music, street actions, and two commemorations for the bombings of Hiroshima (August 6) and Nagasaki (August 9).

The press release includes this quote:

Leona Morgan, an indigenous organizer and activist fighting nuclear colonialism in the United States remarks, "It is imperative to work together across cultures, languages, and borders to make a nuclear-free world a reality."

Leona Morgan founded Diné No Nukes, and is a co-founder of Nuclear Issues Study Group in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

See the full press release here, in English; and here, in French.

For more information:


UN Side Event Webcast April 23: Radioactive Waste and Canada's First Nations

Message from Dr. Gordon Edwards of CCNR (Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility):

The following is a link to the United Nations archived webcast of a special event, “Radioactive Waste and Canada’s First Nations”,  held on April 23, 2018, on the occasion of the 17th Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. 

Speakers are:

1. Candace Neveau, youth and mother, Bawating Water Protectors, Anishinabek Nation.
2. Grand Chief Joseph Norton, Mohawk Nation of Kahnawà:ke, Iroquois Caucus.
3. Grand Chief Patrick Madahbee, Anishinabek Nation, Union of Ontario Indians.
4. Dr. Gordon Edwards, President, Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility.
5. Chief April Adams-Phillips, Mohawk Nation of Akwesasne, Iroquois Caucus.
6. Dr. Ole Hendrickson, Concerned Citizens of Renfrew County and Area, Ottawa, Ontario.
7. Chief Clinton Phillips, Mohawk Nation of Kahnawà:ke, Iroquoid Caucus.
8. Chief Troy Thompson, Mohawk Nation of Akwesasne, Iqoquois Caucus.


Why Trump might bend nuclear security rules to help Saudi Arabia build reactors in the desert

As report by Steven Mufson in the Washington Post.

The article quotes a number of voices skeptical of the nuclear weapons proliferation risks a nuclear power program in the Middle East would represent:

Henry Sokolski, the executive director of the nonprofit Nonproliferation Policy Education Center who served in President George H.W. Bush’s Pentagon, asked, “How do we feel about the stability of the kingdom? The reactors are bolted to the ground for a minimum of 40 years and a maximum of 80 years. That’s enough for the whole world to change.”

...Many experts on Saudi Arabia say the kingdom wants its own program to deter or counterbalance Iran. “I think part of it is keeping up with the Iranians and trying to build up a nuclear infrastructure that could be turned into weapons capability,” Gause said. [F. Gregory Gause is a professor of international affairs at Texas A&M University.]

...“We have a tendency to use nukes as a way of ingratiating ourselves with countries around the world and then we get into a negotiation of whether there are safeguards,” said Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.). “I think ultimately it’s going to come back to haunt us.”

...Saudi Arabia “would like us to cave to some degree on some elements of the 123 agreement,” said Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. But, he added, “the fewer Mideast nuclear weapons states, the better. And the fewer nondemocratic nuclear states, the better. And the fewer states where I can’t predict 10 years down the road what their attitudes will be toward the United States, the fewer of those countries that have nuclear weapons the better.”


North Korean Nuclear Reactor Safety: The Threat No One is Talking About

As reported by Matt Korda at 38 North.

The introduction to the article states:

The ability of North Korea to safely operate its nuclear reactors, according to many experts, is increasingly being called into question given the North’s isolation and lack of safety culture. Pyongyang’s ability to respond to a nuclear accident in a timely fashion will make the difference between a small-scale event and a catastrophic disaster. And while the actual contamination would be localized, the lack of transparency from North Korea in dealing with the situation is likely to cause political panic in the region in excess of the actual radiological exposure and environmental impact. The opening of nuclear safety talks with the North to help prevent such an accident from occurring would provide a rare opportunity for regional dialogue and could pry open the door for realistic and productive discussions of North Korea’s nuclear program.

There are some dubious statements in the article, such as the downplaying of the potential magnitude of a reactor or radioactive waste disaster in North Korea (see above: "...while the actual contamination would be localized, the lack of transparency from North Korea in dealing with the situation is likely to cause political panic in the region in excess of the actual radiological exposure and environmental impact").

Just as dubious is the following:

If a crisis were to occur, North Korea’s secretive nature would also hinder any kind of collective response to a nuclear accident. Reliable information would be scarce, as the regime would certainly attempt to suppress any reporting on the extent of the damage. Regional panic would set in, and governments in South Korea, China and Japan would feel immense pressure to respond. Milonopoulos and Blandford imply that such panic is essentially unavoidable; it was widespread despite Japanese transparency in the wake of Fukushima. (emphasis added).

The notion that the Japanese central government, and Tokyo Electric Power Company, were "transparent" in the immediate and even long term aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe would be laughable, if it weren't so tragically and painfully mistaken.

But beyond such flaws, the article does make some important points.


Michael Flynn’s role in Mideast nuclear project could compound legal issues

As reported by Michael Kranish, Tom Hamburger, and Carol D. Leonnig in the Washington Post.

As the article reports:

Flynn, who was fired by President Barack Obama from his post as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014, became involved in ACU’s project in 2015, as part of a group of former top military and diplomatic officials and nuclear experts the company assembled to help push its plan.

The idea: to build several dozen “proliferation-proof” nuclear power plants across Persian Gulf states. The plan relied heavily on Russian interests, which would help build the plants, as well as possibly take possession of spent fuel that could be used to build a nuclear weapon, according to people familiar with the project.

ACU’s managing director, Alex Copson, had been promoting variations of building nuclear facilities with Russian help for more than two decades, according to news reports. Copson did not respond to requests for comment, and ACU’s counsel, Don Gross, declined to comment.

But such a claim of nuclear weapons "proliferation-proof" atomic reators is a hollow, PR ploy. It flies in the face of basic physics.

As the prescient 2006 book, Insurmountable Risks: The Dangers of Using Nuclear Power to Combat Global Climate Change, by IEER's (Institute for Energy and Environmental Research) senior scientist, Dr. Brice Smith, made clear, nuclear weapons proliferation is an inevitable risk of nuclear power's expansion to regions like the Middle East (see Chapter 3, "Megawatts and Mushroom Clouds").