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Anti-nuclear resistance in Russia: problems, protests, reprisals

Anti-nuclear resistance in Russia: problems protests, reprisals

Standing up to Rosatom

 https://beyondnuclearinternational.org/2020/06/21/standing-up-to-rosatom/      June 21, 2020 by beyondnuclearinternational  

Anti-nuclear resistance in Russia: problems protests, reprisals

The following is a report from the Russian Social Ecological Union (RSEU)/ Friends of the Earth Russia, slightly edited for length. You can read the report in full here. It is a vitally important document exposing the discrimination and fear tactics used against anti-nuclear organizers in Russia and details their courageous acts of defiance in order to bring the truth of Russia’s nuclear sector to light.

Rosatom is a Russian state-owned corporation which builds and operates nuclear power plants in Russia and globally. The state-run nuclear industry in Russia has a long history of nuclear crises, including the Kyshtym disaster in 1957 and Chernobyl in 1986. Yet Rosatom plans to build dozens of nuclear reactors in Russia, to export its deadly nuclear technologies to other countries, and then to import their hazardous nuclear waste.

This report is a collection of events and details about the resistance to Russian state nuclear corporation, Rosatom, and other activities that have led to the pollution of the environment and violation of human rights. Social and environmental conflicts created by Rosatom have been left unresolved for years, while at the same time, environmental defenders who have raised these issues, have consistently experienced reprisals.

Nuclear energy: failures and LiesIn the autumn of 2017, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) discovered a concentration of the technogenic radionuclide ruthenium–106 in the atmosphere of several European countries. A number of experts linked the ruthenium release to the Mayak plant in the Chelyabinsk Region2 3, but Rosatom continues to deny this.

On the 8th of August 2019, an explosion occurred during a test of a liquid rocket launcher at a marine training ground in Nenoksa Village of Arkhangelsk Region. The administration of the city of Severodvinsk, 30 km from the scene, reported an increase in radiation levels, but later denied the claim. The Ministry of Emergency registered an increase of 20 times (to2 μSv/h) around Severodvinsk, while the Ministry of Defense reported the radiation level as normal. Only two days later, Rosatom reported that five employees were killed and three were injured at the test site. According to media reports, two employees of the Ministry of Defense were also killed and three were injured, and medical personnel who helped the victims were not informed about the risk of radiation exposure.

Expired reactorsMore than 70% of Russian nuclear reactors are outdated. They were developed in the 1970s and were designed to operate for only 30 years. The lifetimes of such reactors have been extended by twice the design limit. Rosatom’s strategy also includes a dangerous increase of the reactor’s thermal power. Rostekhnadzor (Federal Environmental, Industrial and Nuclear Supervision Service) grants licenses for lifetime extensions without an environmental impact assessment and without public consultations.

Especially worrying are the lifetime extensions of reactor-types with design flaws. Chernobyl–type (RBMK) reactors in Leningrad, Smolensk and Kursk regions are still in operation after exceeding their lifetimes, as well as VVER–types, such as at the Kola nuclear power plant (NPP) in Murmansk region. Neither type has a sufficient protective shell to contain radioactivity in case of an accident or to protect the reactor from an external impact or influence.

For many years, Murmansk regional environmental groups have opposed the aging Kola NPP reactor’s lifetime extension. They have participated in public hearings, have organised many demonstrations, and appealed to and received support from the prosecutor’s office, but this was all ignored by Rosatom.

Activists also called on the governor to shut down the old NPP, but environmental organisations were shut down instead. One such organisation is Kola Environmental Center (KEC) – listed as a Foreign Agent in 2017 – and subject to two trials and fined 150,000 rubles. KEC was forced to close down as a legal entity in 2018, but has continued its environmental work as a public movement.

Decommissioning problemsMost of the Russian nuclear power plants, despite their lifetime extensions, are approaching inevitable closure. Over the next 15 years, the NPP decommissioning process will take place. Currently, 36 power units are in operation at 11 NPPs in Russia, and 7 units have been shut down. While the fuel was removed from 5 of these units, the NPPs have not yet been decommissioned. This process will lead to enormous amounts of nuclear waste. Moreover, sufficient funds for the decommissioning process have not yet been earmarked.

The public organisation, Green World, has worked for many years in Sosnovy Bor, Leningrad Region, a city dominated by the nuclear industry and closed to outsiders. Since 1988, activists of the organisation have opposed dangerous nuclear projects in the Baltic Sea region and have provided the public with independent information on the environmental situation.

Green World has consistently called for the decommissioning of Leningrad NPP and took an early lead in collecting and preparing information on how decommissioning should take place, studying the experience of other countries. They have paid particular attention to information transparency and to wide participation in decision–making, including, for example, former employees of the nuclear industry.

Rather than be met with cooperation, the organisation and its activists have, since the beginning, experienced pressure from the authorities and the dirty nuclear industry. Activists faced dismissal, lawsuits and even attempts on their lives.In 2015, Green World was listed as a Foreign Agent and forced to close. In its place, another organisation was opened – the Public Council of the South Coast of the Gulf of Finland. Activists have continued their work as before under this new name.

Uranium mining protest

In the Kurgan region, Rosatom’s subsidiary company, Dalur, has been mining uranium and the local communities fear an environmental disaster. In the summer of 2019, the state environmental appraisal revealed a discrepancy between Dalur’s documentation and the Russian legislation requirements, but the company started the deposit’s development anyway at the end of 2019.

  • The ‘Dobrovolnoe’ uranium deposit is located in a floodplain of the Tobol river basin. This means that all the water that flows into the river will pass through the aquifer, flushing out radioactive and toxic compounds into the surrounding environment.
  • Since 2017, Kurgan activists have been protesting against the development of the deposit. They have appealed to the authorities and begun protests. One of their videos, ‘Uranium is Death for Kurgan’, has already reached 50,000 views. Several times, activists have tried to start a referendum and demand an independent environmental review, but so far, have received only refusals from the local officials.
  • In February 2018, Natalia Shulyatieva, the spouse of activist Andrey Shulyatiev and mother of three children, died after falling into a coma. Activists believe this occurred in reaction to learning that Dalur had filed a lawsuit against her husband, accusing him of undermining the company’s reputation. The lawsuit was withdrawn following Shulyatieva’s death.

Rosatom Importing uranium waste

In the fall of 2019, environmentalists revealed that radioactive and toxic waste (uranium hexafluoride, UF6) were being imported from Germany through the port of Amsterdam into Russia. This is the waste from the uranium enrichment process which will be sent to the Urals or Siberia and stored in containers above the ground. Thus, under the auspices of a commercial transaction, the German uranium–enriching enterprise, Urenco, avoids its nuclear waste problem,

while Rosatom profits by taking the hazardous waste into Russia.In response to this transaction, the groups Russian Social–Ecological Union, Ecodefense and Greenpeace Russia called on Russian civil society to protest. More than 30 organisations and movements joined the common statement, and various demonstrations have taken place in Russia, as well as in Germany and the Netherlands.

As a result of protests, the question of importing radioactive waste was taken up by the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg and the transportation of the waste was delayed for three months.

However, in March 2020, when people in Russia were further restricted from protests during the COVID–19 virus quarantine, the import of radioactive waste was resumed through the port of the less populated town of Ust–Luga in Leningrad Region. Additional organisations and residents of the Leningrad region then decided to join the earlier anti–nuclear statement and protest.

Following these protests, a number of activists have faced persecution. Novouralsk is a nuclear industry–dominated and closed city of Sverdlovsk region, and is the end destination of the transported uranium hexafluoride. In response to a series of one–person protests, authorities initiated legal cases against three pensioners at the beginning of December 2019. Charges were later dismissed. 

Another example is Rashid Alimov, an expert from Greenpeace Russia, who protested in the center of Saint Petersburg. Later the same day, two police officers together with six other people without uniform detained Alimov in front of his house. He then faced charges and a substantial fine. Charges were later dropped.

Environmental organisations that had previously opposed the import of uranium waste were listed as Foreign Agents. Ecodefense was the first of such, listed in 2014. In 2019, the pressure continued and the organisation’s leader, Alexandra Korolyova, was targeted. Five criminal cases were initiated against her, which forced her to leave the country.

The Mayak plant: Rosatom’s dirty face

The Mayak plant in the Chelyabinsk region is a nuclear waste reprocessing facility, arguably one of the places most negatively affected by the Russian nuclear industry. Firstly, radioactive waste was dumped into the Techa river from 1949 to 2004, which has been admitted by the company. According to subsequent reports by the local organisation For Nature however, the dumping has since been ongoing. As a result, 35 villages around the river were evacuated and destroyed. Secondly, the explosion at the plant in 1957, known as the Kyshtym tragedy, is among the 20th century’s worst nuclear accidents.

One of the first organisations that raised the problem of radiation pollution in the Ural region was the Movement for Nuclear Safety, formed in 1989. During its work, the Movement was engaged in raising awareness, social protection of the affected population, and publishing dozens of reports. After unprecedented pressure and persecution, the organisation’s leader, Natalia Mironova, was forced to emigrate to the United States in 2013. Since 2000, another non–governmental organisation, Planet of Hope, has held thousands of consultations with affected citizens. Nadezhda Kutepova, a lawyer and head of the organisation, won more than 70 cases in defence of Mayak victims, including two cases in the European Court of Human Rights. However, some important cases have still not been resolved. These include 2nd generation victims, cases involving pregnant women who were affected during liquidation, as well as the many schoolchildren of Tatarskaya Karabolka village who were sent to harvest the contaminated crop after the accident.

The state and Rosatom have reacted against the actions of Nadezhda Kutepova, persecuting both her and Planet of Hope. The organisation survived arbitrary inspections in 2004 and 2009, but was labelled a Foreign Agent in 2015 and closed in 2018. After being accused of ‘industrial espionage’ under the threat of criminal prosecution, Nadezhda was forced to flee the country with her children. She nevertheless continues her struggle to bring justice for the victims of Mayak.

Since 2002, the public foundation For Nature has been disputing nuclear activity in the region. The organisation appealed to the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation on the import of spent nuclear fuel from the Paks nuclear power plant in Hungary. The court declared the Governmental Decree to be invalid, thus preventing the import of 370 tons of Hungarian radioactive waste.

In March 2015, For Nature was also listed as a Foreign Agent and fined. In 2016, the court shut down the organisation. In its place, a social movement of the same name was formed, and continues to help the South Ural communities.

Struggle against a nuclear repositoryIn the city of Krasnoyarsk, Rosatom plans to build a national repository for high–level radioactive waste. A site has been selected on the banks of Siberia’s largest river, the Yenisei, only 40 km from the city. Environmental activists consider this project, if implemented, to be a crime against future generations and violates numerous Russian laws. Activists are also concerned that waste from Ukraine, Hungary, Bulgaria (and in the future from Belarus, Turkey, Bangladesh, and other countries) could be transported there as well.

The community is understandably outraged, as no one wants to live in the world’s nuclear dump. Since 2013, for more than 7 years, the people of Krasnoyarsk have been protesting. To date, more than 146,000 people have signed the petition to the President of the Russian Federation protesting against the construction of this federal nuclear repository.

Most of the producing nuclear power plants are located in the European part of Russia, but the waste is going to be sent for ‘the rest of its lifetime’ to Siberia. Local activists refer to this, with good reason, as Rosatom’s “nuclear colonisation” of Siberia.

In 2016, Fedor Maryasov, an independent journalist and leader of the protest, was accused of inciting hatred against ‘nuclear industry workers’ as a social group. A criminal case was initiated under the article on extremism. The basis for this accusation was 125 publications on social networks and the press about nuclear topics. The activist’s apartment was searched and his computer seized, along with a printed report on Rosatom’s activities in the Krasnoyarsk region.

The federal security service also issued Maryasov an official warning for treason. Only wide publicity in the media and the active support of human rights lawyers has thus far prevented further criminal prosecution of the activist.

Conclusion: 

Nuclear power is a problem, not a solution.

Despite the nightmare described above, Rosatom is trying to convince us of the nuclear industry’s purity and purported carbon neutrality. In addition, Rosatom is building nuclear plants abroad using money from the Russian Federation’s budget. Nuclear not only won’t save our climate, but will continue to create even more insoluble problems of radioactive waste for thousands of years.

We demand that:

Russia must abandon all further development of nuclear energy. 

Current nuclear power plants should be closed and decommissioned as soon as possible.Current funds from the development of nuclear energy should be redirected to the development of local renewable energy sources, to the restoration of contaminated territories and as support for those affected by the activities of the nuclear industry.

The problem of nuclear waste should be discussed widely, openly and inclusively, with the participation of all interested parties, and decisions should be made democratically, taking into account the principles of environmental justice. 

Pressure on all activists, including environmental defenders and defenders of victims’ rights, should cease immediately.

And finally, Rosatom should be held responsible for environmental pollution and violation of human rights.

The Russian Social Ecological Union (RSEU)/ Friends of the Earth Russia is a non-governmental, non-profit and member based democratic organization, established in 1992. RSEU brings together environmental organizations and activists from across Russia. All RSEU activities are aimed at nature conservation, protection of health and the well-being of people in Russia and around the world. In 2014, RSEU became the Russian member of Friends of the Earth International. Read the full report.

May 6, 2021 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Reference, Russia, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

City of Geneva calls for the closure of French nuclear station in Bugey

Boursorama 27th April 2021, Nuclear: the city of Geneva calls for the closure of the French power plant
in Bugey. Located about 70 kilometers as the crow flies from Geneva, it is
accused by the cantonal and municipal authorities of Geneva of causing
serious danger to the population because of its obsolescence.

https://www.boursorama.com/actualite-economique/actualites/nucleaire-la-ville-de-geneve-demande-la-fermeture-de-la-centrale-francaise-du-bugey-675eabc567add32699ff078a743e0b24

April 29, 2021 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, politics international, Switzerland | Leave a comment

Growing opposition to Rocket Lab in New Zealand

Rocket Lab: Growing opposition in New Zealand. By Murray Horton, 18 Apr 21,

Rocket Lab started life as a small New Zealand company but is now much bigger and has become the local subsidiary of a US company, with its owners including arms industry behemoths such as Lockheed Martin. 

It specialises in frequent launches of small satellites for clients including a range of US military and intelligence agencies. These launches are conducted from New Zealand, which prides itself on being nuclear free (it was kicked out of the ANZUS Treaty in 1986 by the other two parties – the US and Australia – for having banned US nuclear warships from entering. That remains the status quo today). 

NZ also claims to have an independent foreign policy. But it remains the most junior of the Five Eyes global electronic spying network (with the US, UK, Canada and Australia). Having Rocket Lab operating a private enterprise space port in New Zealand for US military and intelligence agencies, with the active backing of Jacinda Ardern’s Government, totally undermines that claim.

Rocket Lab has, up until recently, received uncritical, even adulatory, coverage by the NZ news media. That, plus the fact that its’ launch pad is in a very remote, sparsely populated area (the Mahia Peninsula on the North Island’s east coast) means that it has been off the radar (pardon the pun) of the NZ public. 

In 2021 that is now changing. Mainstream media coverage has become more critical, the best example being  “Mahia, We Have A Problem”, by Ollie Neas in the March 2021 North & South (a national monthly magazine). And opposition has started, right in Rocket Lab’s back yard, in the Mahia area, led by local Maori women (Maori are the indigenous people of New Zealand). 

There was a protest against Rocket Lab’s most recent military satellite launch; the group – Rocket Lab Monitor – has taken its case to the local media; and, via billboards, etc, directly to the people. They have set up a Website

Opposition is also being organised on a more national scale – New Zealand is one of the most urbanised countries in the world and Rocket Lab’s assembly plant and headquarters is situated in the country’s biggest city, Auckland.
 
Murray Horton
Secretary/Organiser
Anti-Bases Campaign
Christchurch, New Zealand

April 20, 2021 Posted by | New Zealand, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

In Ontario, opponents of nuclear waste disposal join forces 

Opponents of nuclear waste disposal join forces  https://www.tbnewswatch.com/local-news/opponents-of-nuclear-waste-disposal-join-forces-3644864 ‘Ignace should not get to decide’ whether to accept a storage site, a spokesperson says.

By: Gary Rinne   19 Apr 21, KENORA, Ont. — Thirty thousand households and businesses in Northwestern Ontario are receiving postcards from a group of organizations opposed to nuclear waste disposal in Northwestern Ontario.

We the Nuclear Free North calls itself an alliance of Indigenous and non-Indigenous volunteers and organizations who believe the risks of transporting and burying nuclear waste are too high.

It’s delivering information cards outlining its concerns to residents living between Upsala and the Manitoba border.

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization has identified the Revell Lake area, about 35 kilometres from Ignace, as a candidate site for an underground repository, and is continuing to conduct studies in the area.

NWMO is also still looking at a site in Bruce County in southern Ontario.

We the Nuclear Free North says it has launched a website to provide information about the project from sources that are independent of the nuclear power companies that generate and own Canada’s nuclear waste. 

It says NWMO is proposing to send multiple truckloads of highly radioactive waste to its selected site “every day for at least 40 years.”

Spokesperson Fred Melanson, who served on Ear Falls council when that community was being studied for nuclear waste disposal, said “This is not the kind of development the people of Northwestern Ontario want. Burying nuclear waste is a high-risk experiment.”

Although NWMO has developed a working relationship with the Township of Ignace during the study process, Environment North representative Dodie LeGassick said “This is not an issue for one community. It is an issue for the entire region.”

LeGassick said “Ignace should not get to decide whether 22,000 trucks hauling radioactive waste drive through Nipigon and through Shuniah Township and all of the other many communities along the route.”

On its website, the alliance – which includes Environment North and Northwatch – also notes that the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples requires that states “take effective measures to ensure that no storage or disposal of hazardous materials shall take place in the lands or territories of indigenous peoples without their free, prior and informed consent.”  

Peter White, an elder with Grand Council Treaty # 3’s Ki’ieshgitabaaning Cultural and Healing Lodge said “The lives of our children and future generations are too precious to be used as a nuclear experiment and should not have this burden put on their shoulders.”

NWMO intends to make a final decision on the location of the underground storage site in 2023.

April 20, 2021 Posted by | Canada, opposition to nuclear, wastes | Leave a comment

South Korea aims to fight, at International Tribunal, Japan’s plan to empty Fukushima water into Paific Ocean


S Korea aims to fight Japan’s Fukushima decision at tribunal, 
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/4/14/s-korea-aims-to-fight-japans-fukushima-decision-at-tribunal, 15 Apr S Korea
Moon Jae-in asks officials to look at ways to refer Japan’s Fukushima decision to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has ordered officials to explore petitioning an international court over Japan’s decision to release water from its Fukushima nuclear plant, his spokesman said, amid protests by fisheries and environmental groups.

Moon said officials should look into ways to refer Japan’s move to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, including filing for an injunction, spokesman Kang Min-seok told a briefing.

Japan unveiled plans on Tuesday to release more than 1 million tonnes of contaminated water into the sea from the plant, which was crippled by a 2011 earthquake and tsunami, starting in about two years after filtering it to remove harmful isotopes.South Korea protested strongly against the decision, summoning Koichi Aiboshi, Tokyo’s ambassador in Seoul, and convening an intra-agency emergency meeting to craft its response.

Moon also expressed concerns about the decision as Aiboshi presented his credentials, having arrived in South Korea in February for the ambassador’s post.“I cannot but say that there are many concerns here about the decision as a country that is geologically closest and shares the sea with Japan,” Moon said, asking Aiboshi to convey such worries to Tokyo, according to Kang.An aerial view shows the storage tanks for treated water at the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Okuma town, Fukushima prefecture, Japan February 13, 2021 [Kyodo via Reuters]South Korea’s foreign ministry issued a statement saying it had raised similar concerns with the United States after the Department of State said Japan’s decision was “transparent” and in line with global safety standards.

The ministry also said it shared “strong regret and serious concerns” about the water’s planned release at a video conference on Wednesday with Chinese officials on maritime issues.

A series of protests against the move by politicians, local officials, fishermen and environmental activists took place in South Korea on Wednesday, including in front of the Japanese embassy in Seoul and consulates in the port city of Busan and on Jeju island.

A coalition of 25 fisheries organisations staged a rally and delivered a written protest to the embassy, urging Tokyo to revoke the decision and Seoul to ban imports from Japanese fisheries.

“Our industry is on course to suffer annihilating damage, just with people’s concerns about a possible radioactive contamination of marine products,” it said in a statement.

The progressive minor opposition Justice Party and some 30 anti-nuclear and environmental groups called Japan’s move “nuclear terrorism,” and said they sent the Japanese embassy a list of signatures of more than 64,000 people opposed to the move collected from 86 countries since February.

April 15, 2021 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, politics international, South Korea | Leave a comment

Opposition to uranium and rare earths mining – party wins Greenland election

Left-wing party opposed to rare earth mining project wins Greenland election,  A left-wing environmentalist party opposed to a controversial mining project won a clear victory in Greenland’s parliamentary election, according to results released Wednesday. https://www.france24.com/en/europe/20210407-left-wing-party-opposed-to-rare-earth-mining-project-wins-greenland-election 7 Apr 21,

With 36.6 percent of the vote, Inuit Ataqatigiit (IA) was ahead of Siumut, a social democratic party that has dominated politics in the Danish territory since it gained autonomy in 1979.

“Thank you to the people who trusted us to work with the people in the centre for the next four years,” IA leader Mute Egede said on KNR public television after the results were announced.

IA, which was previously in opposition, is expected to grab 12 out of the 31 seats in the Inatsisartut, the local parliament, up from eight currently.

But without an absolute majority, the most likely scenario is that IA joins forces with smaller parties to form a coalition.   Siumut, which headed the outgoing government, was partly weakened by internal struggles. It gained 29.4 percent of the vote, still two percentage points higher than its results in the 2018 election.

The dividing line between the two parties was whether to authorise a controversial giant rare earth and uranium mining project, which is currently the subject of public hearings.

The Kuannersuit deposit, in the island’s south, is considered one of the world’s richest in uranium and rare earth minerals — a group of 17 metals used as components in everything from smartphones to electric cars and weapons.

IA has called for a moratorium on uranium mining, which would effectively put a halt to the project.

Divisions over Kuannersuit originally triggered the snap election in the territory after one of the smaller parties left the ruling Siumut coalition.

Opponents say the project, led by the Chinese-owned Australian group Greenland Minerals, has too many environmental risks, including radioactive waste.

Egede told KNR he would immediately start discussions to “explore different forms of cooperation” before forming a coalition government.

The 34-year-old, who has been a member of the Inatsisartut since 2015, took over the reins of the left-green party a little over two years ago.

April 8, 2021 Posted by | ARCTIC, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Taiwan environmentalists to hold anti-nuclear rally in June

Environmentalists to hold anti-nuclear rally in June, Focus Taiwan, By Wu Hsin-yun and Lee Hsin-Yin)   Taipei, March 13 (CNA) Environmentalists will hold a rally on June 5 to oppose the use of nuclear power and keep the 4th Nuclear Power Plant mothballed ahead of an August referendum on the plant’s fate.

At an event commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake, a nationwide anti-nuclear alliance of more than 100 groups urged the public to push back against groups that support the development of nuclear power, citing the harm left by the devastating earthquake.

Independent lawmaker Freddy Lim (林昶佐), who attended the event, said the issue of nuclear energy has gone beyond politics, and people should take the responsibility to say no to it instead of leaving nuclear waste to the next generation.

The alliance urged the public to voice its opposition during a national referendum vote in August, when one of the questions will be: “Do you agree that the 4th Nuclear Power Plant be activated for commercial operations?”……… https://focustaiwan.tw/society/202103130014

March 15, 2021 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Taiwan | Leave a comment

Women in government – the key to getting rid of nuclear power

Nuclear withdrawal was thanks to women, says former energy minister, https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/nuclear-withdrawal-was-thanks-to-women–says-former-energy-minister/46423854  5 Mar 21, Having four women in Switzerland’s seven-person government played a key role in the decision to phase out nuclear energy ten years ago, according to Doris Leuthard, who was energy minister at the time of the nuclear disaster in Fukushima on March 11, 2011.

The three other female cabinet ministers at the time were Micheline Calmy-Rey and Simonetta Sommaruga from the left-wing Social Democratic Party and Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf from the centre-right Conservative Democratic Party.Leuthard, from the centre-right Christian Democratic Party, admitted that she didn’t immediately realise the scale of the disaster at Fukushima.

“My first reaction was to say that that’s very far away from us, in Japan, in a country that deals seriously and professionally with events of this kind. I didn’t realise right away that it was a major disaster,” she told Le Temps.

In an interviewExternal link with Swiss newspaper Le Temps on Thursday, Leuthard said she would have had a hard time convincing men on the political right to abandon nuclear power.

“I think women are generally more sensitive to the environment and to the risks to which the population is exposed. When safety is at stake, they are willing to look at new solutions, even if it means paying a little more. They were more quickly convinced that we could opt for a new energy mix,” said Leuthard, who stepped down from the government at the end of 2018.

Only gradually did it become clear how serious the disaster was and that Switzerland had to act. On March 14 the government imposed a moratorium on nuclear projects.

“It was a decision that had to be taken quickly because, at the time, we intended to replace the three oldest [nuclear] plants with a modern, new-generation facility. We had to carry out a new risk analysis and see whether we could maintain the nuclear option in our energy policy. We informed the owners of the Swiss power plants, who had submitted applications to build this new-generation facility. It was a difficult moment, as our decision could cause them significant damage. […] I must admit that I didn’t sleep very well for two nights.”

In the end Switzerland did decide in 2011 to phase out nuclear power, which supplies about a third of the country’s electricity production.

In 2017 Swiss voters endorsed a new energy law that aims to promote renewable energy by banning new nuclear power plants and reducing energy consumption.

In December 2019 the 47-year-old Mühleberg nuclear power plant near Bern was permanently switched off – the first of five Swiss nuclear power reactors to be decommissioned. The event was considered so important that viewers could follow the progress live on Swiss television.

March 6, 2021 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Switzerland, Women | Leave a comment

Nuclear Free And Independent Pacific Day 2021

Nuclear Free And Independent Pacific Day 2021Monday, https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO2103/S00005/nuclear-free-and-independent-pacific-day-2021.htm   1 March 2021, 
 Peace Movement Aotearoa   Today, 1 March, is Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific Day – the 67th anniversary of the ‘Bravo’ nuclear bomb detonation by the United States close to the surface of Bikini Atoll, in the Marshall Islands, which blasted out a crater more than 200 feet deep and a mile across.

Particles of radioactive fallout from the blast landed on the island of Rongelap (100 miles away) to a depth of one and a half inches in places, and radioactive mist appeared on Utirik (300 miles away). The US navy did not send ships to evacuate the people of Rongelap and Utirik until three days after the explosion. Fallout from this one nuclear weapon detonation spread over more than 7,000 square miles, and traces were detected throughout the Pacific, in India, Japan, the United States and Europe. The Marshallese, and other Pacific peoples subjected to more than 300 full scale nuclear bomb detonations in the Pacific – conducted by Britain, France and the US – were used as human guinea pigs in an obscene experiment to ‘progress’ the insane pursuit of nuclear weapons supremacy.

Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific Day is a day to remember that the arrogant colonial mindset which allowed, indeed encouraged, this horror continues today – the Pacific is still neither nuclear free nor independent.

Much of the Pacific remains under foreign control, from military or illegal occupation to dependence on a coloniser state for international representation, including ‘American’ Samoa, Cook Islands, French-Occupied Polynesia, Guam, Hawai’i, Kanaky, Niue, Norfolk Island, Northern Marianas, Pitcairn Island, Rapa Nui, Tokelau, Uvea mo Futuna, and West Papua. The voices of these Pacific peoples, along with the voices of ngā hapū o Aotearoa and indigenous Australians, are not heard directly in the UN General Assembly and other international forums where so many decisions on crucial issues affecting our region are made – not only on nuclear weapons and other disarmament priorities, but also on social and economic justice, human rights, protection of natural resources and the environment, the COVID-19 pandemic, climate justice and demilitarisation.

The Pacific is one of the regions that is being, and will continue to be, most impacted by climate change and extreme weather events which are affecting low-lying islands and Pacific peoples who are dependent on natural resources for food, clothing and shelter, and on water sources that are vulnerable to salinisation by rising sea levels and high seas. Yet the overwhelming majority of fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions do not come from the Pacific island nations.

The Pacific is also one of the most highly militarised regions in the world – but only four Pacific island nations have armed forces. The overwhelming majority of militarisation in the Pacific comes from outside the region – military bases, military training exercises, and military occupation by the armed forces of Indonesia, France and the United States, in particular, along with Australia, Britain, China, New Zealand, Russia and others.

Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific Day is a day to think about the many faces of colonisation – physical, cultural, spiritual, economic, nuclear, military – past and present; the ongoing issues of independence, self-determination and sovereignty here in Aotearoa New Zealand and the other colonised and occupied countries of the Pacific; and the ability of Pacific peoples to stop further nuclearisation, militarisation and economic exploitation of our region.

It is a day to acknowledge and remember those who have suffered and died in the struggle for independence around the Pacific; those who have opposed colonisation in its many forms and paid for their opposition with their health and life; and those who have suffered and died as a result of the nuclear weapons states’ use of the Pacific for nuclear experimentation, uranium mining, nuclear bomb blasts and nuclear waste dumping.

It is a day to celebrate the courage, strength and endurance of indigenous Pacific peoples who have maintained and taken back control of their lives, languages and lands to ensure the ways of living and being which were handed down from their ancestors are passed on to future generations.

It is the day to pledge your support to continue the struggle for a nuclear free and independent Pacific, as the theme of the 8th Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific Conference said: “No te parau tia, no te parau mau, no te tiamaraa, e tu, e tu – For justice, for truth and for independence, wake up, stand up!”

March 2, 2021 Posted by | environment, OCEANIA, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Opposition to nuclear dump plan for upstream at Chalk River

February 23, 2021 Posted by | Canada, opposition to nuclear, wastes | Leave a comment

Relief that Bradwell nuclear project has stalled

Essex Gazette 17th Feb 2021, A CAMPAIGN group has called the pausing of talks regarding a new nuclear power station a “silver lining” and hopes the proposal will be scrapped
altogether.
The Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group reacted after it was
announced engagement and active project work on Bradwell B will be paused
for at least a year and says it indicates a “significant reversal” for
the project.
Talks between Maldon District Council and Bradwell B Power
Generation Company – a collaboration between China General Nuclear (CGN)
and EDF – have stalled. The Bradwell group said, in order to tightly
control expenditure, it needs to pause aspects of the project it is not yet
ready to progress. But BANNG chairman Prof Andy Blowers said: “Despite
urging the developer to suspend public engagement during the pandemic,
BANNG was told the national need was urgent and it was in the public
interest that the proposed development is not indefinitely or even
substantially delayed.

https://www.gazette-news.co.uk/news/19094101.baang-reacts-positively-bradwell-b-talks-paused/

February 20, 2021 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Over 100,000 people sign petition to stop Sizewell nuclear, save nature reserve


East Anglian Daily Times 16th Feb 2021, More than 100,000 people have signed a petition calling for the proposed Sizewell C nuclear power station to be rejected because of its fearednimpact on an internationally-important nature reserve.

The RSPB Love Minsmere campaign launched a national advertising campaign last week
targeting EDF Energy offices with more experts and wildlife campaigners backing its fight against the £20billion project.

https://www.eadt.co.uk/news/rspb-love-minsmere-petition-hits-100000-target-7327452

February 18, 2021 Posted by | environment, opposition to nuclear, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Community fights Canadian govt’s slick propaganda pushing for high-level radioactive waste dump

Radio — A community’s fight to stop a high-level radioactive waste storage facility

https://talkingradical.ca/2021/02/09/radio-a-communitys-fight-to-stop-a-high-level-radioactive-waste-storage-facility/ February 9, 2021 by Scott   Michelle Stein and Bill Noll are members of Protect Our Waterways – No Nuclear Waste, a group of concerned residents of South Bruce, Ontario, who have come together in opposition to the proposal to put a high-level radioactive waste storage facility in their community. Stein and her husband raise cattle and sheep on their farm, which sits next to the proposed site. And Noll is a retired engineer who lives right across from the site. Scott Neigh interviews them about their concerns with the proposed facility and their campaign to stop it.

Since the dawn of the nuclear age in the 1940s, humanity has faced stark questions of risk and safety. Some of those questions have to do with the dangers of acute catastrophe, but others are about the less dramatic but no less serious risk posed by the waste that the nuclear industry generates. Among the most challenging of that waste to deal with – designated “high-level radioactive waste” by the industry – is spent fuel bundles from nuclear reactors. Comprised of a highly toxic and radioactive mix of isotopes, the material in these bundles will be dangerous to living things for at the very least hundreds of thousands of years.

Though it has been decades since the industry first started producing radioactive waste, there has yet to be a fully satisfactory answer to the question of what to do with it. The organization currently tasked with figuring that out for the millions of used nuclear fuel bundles in the Canadian context is the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO). Currently, used fuel bundles are kept in interim storage facilities on reactor sites, but the long-term plan is to put them in a “deep geological repository” (DGR), a location that is deep underground and geologically stable. A number of countries are currently developing DGRs for high-level radioactive waste, but none are currently operational.

The NWMO is in the middle of an elaborate selection process to find a site for both the plant that will repackage the fuel bundles for long-term storage and the storage facility itself. They began with 22 possible host communities in 2010 – mostly, it should be noted, small financially distressed communities – and they have narrowed their possibilities down to two, Ignace in northwestern Ontario and South Bruce in southern Ontario, near Lake Huron. They hope to announce their decision in 2023.

The concerns that Stein, Noll, and other members of their group have with the facility are many. Despite assurances from the NWMO that it will all be safe, their own investigation of processes for transporting and storing nuclear waste around the world have convinced them that very real risks remain under the NWMO’s plans. They fear that the facility could endanger human and environmental health, local agriculture, local drinking water, and the larger Great Lakes basin. And they argue that it is not just about their community being the wrong choice, but that the whole approach is flawed.

Moreover, they are quite concerned about the process. They have identified a pattern of what they say is incomplete and one-sided information from the NWMO, and a process that takes advantage of communities by downplaying risk and promising economic benefits that they say seem unlikely. The NWMO insists that whatever community ends up hosting the DGR must be willing, but they have refused to clarify exactly what that means.

Much of the group’s work has focused on mounting a local grassroots response to the slick and well-funded PR efforts of the NWMO. Before COVID, that involved knocking on doors. They’ve brought in speakers and hosted events, lobbied politicians, done media work, and made presentations to other local organizations. Last summer, they presented a petition against the DGR with signatures from more than 1500 residents to the local municipal council – and to put that in perspective, the current mayor got fewer votes than that in the last local election. They commissioned Mainstreet Research to do an opinion survey that found 64% of local residents would vote against locating a DGR for high-level radioactive waste in the community. The group is demanding a binding referendum on the issue.

Stein said, “Since they won’t give us a definition of what ‘willing’ is, we are going to just continue to show them what ‘not willing’ looks like.”

February 16, 2021 Posted by | Canada, opposition to nuclear, wastes | Leave a comment

Despite punishment by the government, Russia’s ”Eco-Defense’ has helped to stop construction of a nuclear power plant

Massimo Greco, RNA International 10 Feb 21, The Leningrad District Court of Kaliningrad refused to recognize the criminal cases against Alexandra Koroleva as illegal. The court once again found that there were sufficient elements to initiate criminal proceedings against the head of the public organization “EcoDefense”, recognized as a “foreign agent”. This decision will be appealed by the defense on appeal.
Recall that the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation entered the organization into the register of “foreign agents” in mid-2014. “Eco-Defense!” became the first environmental organization in Russia to be punished like this.
In the resolution of the Ministry of Justice, there was argued that the reason for this decision was a campaign organized by Eco-Defense! against the construction of a nuclear power plant in the Kaliningrad region.
********
In 2014, the construction of the nuclear power plant was frozen and remains so to this day, and “Eco-Defense!” convinced a number of European investors not to invest in Rosatom’s dangerous project. https://www.facebook.com/RNA.international/

February 11, 2021 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Russia | Leave a comment

Opposition to more nuclear waste in Texas – unlikely alliance of environmental groups and oil companies

West Texas is on track to get even more nuclear waste — thanks to the federal government,Texas Tribune, BY ERIN DOUGLAS FEB. 10, 2021 “………..Nuclear debate in Texas The nuclear power industry prides itself on operating no-emissions plants without burning fossil fuels like coal and natural gas, which create the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. By locating in the Permian Basin, one of the most productive oil fields in the world, Waste Control Specialists has found itself in a political fight against fossil fuel interests that its customers often compete with.

Elaine Magruder is co-owner of an Andrews County ranch where her family has raised cattle and pumped oil since 1893. She’s also a member of a coalition of Permian Basin landowners and oil and gas operators that oppose radioactive waste storage and disposal in Andrews County. The coalition is led by Fasken Oil and Ranch, which owns thousands of acres in Andrews County.

Magruder says she’s worried that a transportation accident could expose local residents to radioactive material and disrupt oil and gas operations. She also worries that a leak at the facility could allow radioactive material to seep into the ground, contaminating area drinking water. The facility is near the Ogallala Aquifer of the Great Plains, which provides drinking water for millions in the West………….

Ewing, the Stanford University nuclear security professor, said the larger risk is environmental contamination due to the facility’s proximity to the aquifer — a concern shared by some other nuclear scientists and geologists.

This unlikely alliance of environmental groups and oil companies has Abbott on its side. In November, the governor sent a letter urging the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to deny the application for storing spent nuclear fuel in Andrews County, arguing in part that the proposed facility “imperils America’s energy security” by making the region an even greater possible terrorism target than it is today due to its oil and gas reserves………… https://www.texastribune.org/2021/02/10/nuclear-waste-government-rules/

February 11, 2021 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, USA, wastes | Leave a comment