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The Catholic Worker Movement, and its anti-nuclear heroes in prison.

Beating Nuclear Arms Into Plowshares, Jacobin, BY EILEEN MARKEY 18 Jul 21, The US nuclear arsenal gobbles up massive resources for death that should be used for human life. For decades, Catholic activists have put their bodies on the line to insist we dismantle that arsenal.

Mark Colville knew he would go to prison. When he and six others took wire cutters to the fence at the Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in Georgia, home to a Trident nuclear submarine, the night of April 4, 2018, they weren’t trying to evade the law. They intended to break it.

It was the fiftieth anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination, and his 1967 speech on the “triple evils of racism, economic exploitation, and militarism” echoed in their heads. “Somehow these three evils are tied together,” King had intoned.

For these activists, the bonds are clear: the US dedication to its nuclear arsenal impoverishes the nation as it makes utter annihilation possible. This is a crime far more destructive than any people are routinely put in prison for, the trespassers argue………………

Like hundreds of nuclear weapons sites across the country and around the world, the fifteen-thousand-acre Kings Bay is a central feature of economic and psychic life in its area — in this case, Camden County, Georgia. “We’ve put the world on this hair-trigger alert where every city is fifteen minutes from annihilation — and yet we’re in this state of lethargy,” O’Neill said. “The entire economy of this town is predicated on the end of the world. They are doing the work of Armageddon.”

By midnight, O’Neill and Colville arrived at their destination: a monument in steel and concrete, models of the nuclear arms stored at the base. “It was an idol. We called it the missile shrine,” O’Neill explained. To them it was a false God — a rapacious one who has demanded seventy-five years of human sacrifice.

But their argument is deeper than objection to brutal or wanton spending priorities. To be forced to live under a regime prepared to unleash complete destruction at any moment, knowing that the government is willing to hijack the energy of the most basic bonds at the root of life — the energy in the atom — to destroy the world a hundredfold turns life into a death cult, O’Neill argues.

Eventually the three groups gathered at the missile monument. In a ritual rich with Christian symbolism, McAlister and Hennessy poured their blood on the monument. “Our nation is spilling a lot of blood. The killing our country does, it does in our name, and I strongly object,” Hennessy said.

“Part of the problem,” Colville explained later, “is that the blood spilled by our military isn’t seen. When you see the blood, it offers a potential shift in perspective from this end of the weapon to the other end.” Grady spray-painted “Love One Another” on the pavement. The group read the indictment aloud and unfurled the banner Kelly had been hefting in his backpack: “The Ultimate Logic of Trident: Omnicide.” Then they sat down and waited for the military police to arrest them.

The Catholic Worker Movement………….

The first Plowshares action — named for the biblical admonition from Isaiah to beat swords into plowshares — was launched in 1980 when eight people (including McAlister’s husband and her brother-in-law) broke into the General Electric nuclear missile facility at King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, beat hammers on nuclear warhead nose cones, and poured blood on nuclear blueprints. Since then, there have been more than one hundred similar actions across the United States and in New Zealand, Ireland, England, Australia, Germany, Holland, Scotland, and Sweden. They are direct inheritors of the hundreds of draft-board raids that so bedeviled the United States during the Vietnam War that J. Edgar Hoover established a specific unit to track Catholic activists……………

The Kings Bay seven were arrested on April 4, 2018, and held in the Camden County jail. A few posted bail and went back to their lives to await trial, …..

In 2019, the trial finally began. In October of that year, they were convicted, their arguments about the absurdity that disarming a nuclear weapon could be a crime but possessing one is not, their invocation of religious freedom, and their disputations on justice having convinced neither judge nor jury. Their sentencing was delayed by COVID. Finally, between June 2020 and April 2021, each was sentenced separately……………

“There is not an issue, no matter how small or local, that is not connected to our willingness to murder our children as the necessary cost of achieving security,” he said. “To resist nuclearism is to touch the main wire of racism, violence, poverty in our society.”   https://www.jacobinmag.com/2021/07/nuclear-weapons-antinuclear-movement-plowshares-catholic-workers-movement-trident-camden-kings-bay-seven

July 19, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Greenland moves toward a stricter ban on uranium mining.

Greenland has taken the first step towards outlawing uranium mining after lawmakers there proposed a stricter version of a ban that the country’s national assembly overturned in 2013. Only July 2, the elected government began a month-long public consultation period for a proposed bill that, in addition to mining uranium, would prohibit the feasibility studies and exploration activities that must be completed before a mining project can be considered for a license to begin operation.

According to proposal, Naalakkersuisut, the elected government, is hoping that a reinstatement of what was known as the zero-tolerance policy, to achieve its goal of ensuring that “Greenland neither produces nor exports uranium.”

 Artic Today 14th July 2021

July 19, 2021 Posted by | ARCTIC, opposition to nuclear, politics | 1 Comment

Residents of Andrews County, Texas, speak out against plan for high level nuclear waste dump.

FILE – In this Oct. 14, 2009 file photo provided by Waste Control Specialists, canisters filled with uranium byproduct waste are placed into a burial pit at at Waste Control Specialists near Andrews, Texas. Trucks carrying low-level radioactive waste from 38 states will likely be rolling along Texas highways as early as April, bound for permanent burial at a dump near the New Mexico border. The arrival of the low-level radioactive waste will end a years-long effort by a Dallas-based company, whose majority owner is a big-time political contributor Harold Simmons, to win permission from Texas officials to accept the waste at 1,340-acre tract of scrub brush terrain about 360 miles west of Dallas. (AP Photo/Waste Control Specialists, File)

Andrews County commissioners hear from public on nuclear waste proposal,  Caitlin Randle, MRT.com/Midland Reporter-Telegram July 6, 2021, ANDREWS,

During a packed special meeting of the Andrews County Commissioners’ Court on Tuesday, residents spoke out against plans by the company Waste Control Specialists to store high-level nuclear waste.Andrews County Judge Charlie Falcon said he called the meeting to discuss whether the court should pass a resolution stating their opposition to the storage of high-level waste in the county.

…..  Several residents said they were against bringing high-level waste to the community and asked the commissioners to pass a resolution opposing the project. Some also said they were angry at WCS, which currently operates a low-level waste site in Andrews, for promising that they would never store high-level waste then going back on that promise………..

Julie Stevenson, who said she was a nurse and lifelong Andrews resident, spoke to the court about the medical side effects from exposure to radiation. She said low-level radiation poisoning is akin to receiving 100 to 150 X-rays, while mid-level exposure can cause your gastrointestinal tract to shut down.

“High-level, you will die within three days,” she said. “I don’t want to take that risk for my children. I’m sure you have a lot of geologists speaking with you … but they’re looking at charts, graphs, they’re not looking at my 7-year-old son and my 87-year-old grandfather……… https://www.mrt.com/news/local/article/Andrews-County-commissioners-hear-from-public-on-16297025.php

July 8, 2021 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Protests against France’s Tricastin nuclear station, Greenpeace activists face gaol.

 Despite the lawsuits, we, Greenpeace, will continue to warn of nuclear
danger. Thirty-four Greenpeace activists will appear on June 29 in court in
Valencia. They had entered the Tricastin nuclear site to denounce the
danger. Greenpeace reaffirms in this forum its commitment and calls for the
dismantling of the plant.

 Reporterre 26th June 2021

https://reporterre.net/Malgre-les-proces-nous-Greenpeace-continuerons-l-alerte-sur-le-danger-nucleaire

 “40 years is enough”: 300 people gathered in Montélimar to demand the
shutdown of the Tricastin power plant.

 France Bleu 26th June 2021

https://www.francebleu.fr/infos/environnement/40-ans-ca-suffit-300-personnes-reunies-a-montelimar-pour-demander-l-arret-de-la-centrale-du-1624725803

June 29, 2021 Posted by | France, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Growing support for the nuclear ban treaty in public opinion polls , voters and lawmakers in NATO’s 30 countries

 As President Biden and his NATO counterparts focus on nuclear-armed Russia
at their summit meeting on Monday, they may also face a different sort of
challenge: growing support, or at least openness, within their own
constituencies for the global treaty that bans nuclear weapons.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, the Geneva-based group
that was awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for its work to achieve the
treaty, said in a report released on Thursday that it had seen increased
backing for the accord among voters and lawmakers in NATO’s 30 countries,
as reflected in public opinion polls, parliamentary resolutions, political
party declarations and statements from past leaders.

 New York Times 10th June 2021

June 12, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, opposition to nuclear, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Launch of bigger Stop Sizewell C campaign in UK

East Anglian Daily Times 31st May 2021, Campaigners are going on the offensive against plans for two new nuclear
reactors on the Suffolk coast – saying “it’s not too late to Stop
Sizewell C”. The new advertising campaign is launched today by Stop
Sizewell C, part of a fight-back to highlight the reasons it claims why the
£20billion power project should be opposed.

The campaign will include a touring digital “Advan” visiting tourism and leisure hotspots on the
Suffolk coast between 10am and 6pm with striking and colourful imagery by
award-winning advertising creative Antony Easton and featuring the voices
of residents and campaigners, including Bill Nighy, Diana Quick, Bill
Turnbull and Charlie Haylock.

https://www.eadt.co.uk/news/stop-sizewell-c-ad-campaign-launch-8015014

June 3, 2021 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, UK | Leave a comment

Standing up to the USA’s militarisation of space

U.S. push for space weaponisation must be challenged,  Independent Australia While most of the world supports outlawing space weaponry, the U.S. Government is still pushing to militarise space, writes Karl Grossman.

RETIRED U.S. Army Colonel John Fairlamb stated in a piece in The Hill, the Washington, DC news website:

Fairlamb knows the issue with the weaponisation of space. His background includes being an International Affairs Specialist for the Army Space and Missile Defense Command and Military Assistant to the U.S. Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs. He is familiar with war first-hand: he was a company commander in Vietnam and holds a doctorate in Comparative Defense Policy Analysis.

In his opinion column headed ‘The U.S. should negotiate a ban on basing weapons in space’, Fairlamb wrote:

Given the implications for strategic stability, and the likelihood that such a decision [to deploy weapons in space] by any nation would set off an expensive space arms race in which any advantage gained would likely be temporary, engaging now to prevent such a debacle seems warranted.

It’s time for arms control planning to address the issues raised by this drift toward militarisation of space. Space is a place where billions of defence dollars can evaporate quickly and result in more threats about which to be concerned. Russia and China have been proposing mechanisms for space arms control at the United Nations for years; it’s time for the U.S. to cooperate in this effort.

Indeed, if weapons are deployed in space – and for decades, including during the Reagan Administration’s “Star Wars”  (officially named the Strategic Defense Initiative) push, now likely again with the Trump Administration’s creation of a U.S. Space Force and its mission to “dominate” space – there will be no return.

Space weaponisation ‘cannot be walked back’. And the world is at a crossroads.

Russian Foreign Minister Serge Lavrov two weeks ago called tor talks to create an ‘international legally binding instrument’ to ban the deployment of “any types of weapons” in space.

Lavrov declared:

We consistently believe that only a guaranteed prevention of an arms race in space will make it possible to use it for creative purposes, for the benefit of the entire mankind. We call for negotiations on the development of an international legally binding instrument that would prohibit the deployment of any types of weapons there, as well as the use of force or the threat of force.”

He made the statement on 12 April, the International Day of Human Space Flight, marked this year by the 60th anniversary of Russian Yuri Gagarin’s space flight, the first by a person in space.

The U.S., the United  Kingdom and the then Soviet Union joined decades ago in drafting the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 that designated space as a “global commons” for peaceful purposes. The treaty bans the deployment of weapons of mass destruction in space. It’s been signed by most nations on Earth.

Russia and China – along with U.S. neighbour Canada – have led in a move to expand the Outer Space Treaty by outlawing the deployment of any weapons in space.

During the period of Reagan’s “Star Wars” and in years since, the U.S. has been working on developing space weaponry that has included hypervelocity guns and particle beam and laser weapons.

The Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS) treaty has been pushed by Canada, Russia and China to broaden the Outer Space Treaty.

PAROS has worldwide support. But through a succession of U.S. administrations – Republican and Democrat – the U.S. Government has voted against the PAROS treaty at the Conference on Disarmament of the United Nations. Because conference decisions must be supported by consensus, the U.S. has effectively vetoed the enactment of the PAROS treaty.

The day after Lavrov’s statement, the Chinese Foreign Ministry joined Russia in its plea.

Deputy director of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Information Department Zhao Lijian said on 13 April:

“We are calling on the international community to start negotiations and reach agreement on arms control in order to ensure space safety as soon as possible. China has always been in favour of preventing an arms race in space; it has been actively  promoting negotiations on a legally binding agreement on space arms control jointly with Russia.”

As for the Biden Administration and space militarisation, spokesperson Jen Psaki tweeted‘We look forward to the continuing work of Space Force…’…..

The comments from retired Army Colonel John Fairlamb are quite excellent as he calls for the U.S. to seriously enter into negotiations with Russia and China on PAROS. Both those nations for years have been offering to enter into negotiations at the U.N. to close the door to the barn before the horse gets out. In other words, develop a new treaty that prevents a space arms race before it happens. Sadly, the U.S. due to aerospace industry greed and dreams of space domination has been blocking this much need treaty development process.

Some might see Mr Fairlamb’s comments as representing the U.S. military – as if a sea change was happening inside the Pentagon – on this very important issue. 

The comments from retired Army Colonel John Fairlamb are quite excellent as he calls for the U.S. to seriously enter into negotiations with Russia and China on PAROS. Both those nations for years have been offering to enter into negotiations at the U.N. to close the door to the barn before the horse gets out. In other words, develop a new treaty that prevents a space arms race before it happens. Sadly, the U.S. due to aerospace industry greed and dreams of space domination has been blocking this much need treaty development process.

Some might see Mr Fairlamb’s comments as representing the U.S. military – as if a sea change was happening inside the Pentagon – on this very important issue. 

Alice Slater, a member of the boards of both the Global Network and the organisation World BEYOND War, said

The U.S. mission to dominate and control the military use of space has been, historically and at present, a major obstacle to achieving nuclear disarmament and a peaceful path to preserve all life on Earth. Reagan rejected Gorbachev’s offer to give up “Star Wars” as a condition for both countries to eliminate all their nuclear weapons. Bush and Obama blocked any discussion in 2008 and 2014 on Russian and Chinese proposals for a space weapons ban in the consensus-bound Committee for Disarmament in Geneva.

At this unique time in history, when it is imperative that nations of the world join in cooperation to share resources to end the global plague assaulting its inhabitants and to avoid catastrophic climate destruction or Earth-shattering nuclear devastation, we are instead squandering our treasure and intellectual capacity on weapons and space warfare.    https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/us-push-for-space-weaponisation-must-be-challenged,15066#.YJcE8NQEv74.twitter

May 10, 2021 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Hanford challenge demands action on leaking nuclear waste tank

Ongoing threat.’ Groups demand action on leaking Hanford nuclear waste tank, Tri City Herald,

BY ANNETTE CARY, MAY 01, 2021   RICHLAND, WA

The newly discovered leak in another of Hanford’s aging tanks storing radioactive waste does not appear to threaten the health of Washington people in the near term, said Gov. Jay Inslee.

The Washington state Department of Ecology has the legal authority under the Tri-Party Agreement to take immediate action in response to the leaking tank only if it is “necessary to abate an imminent and substantial endangerment” to people or the environment.

Instead, the agency is starting talks with federal energy officials on what to do next.

If the two agencies can’t agree, then the state could take action, such as fines, and require specific steps to deal with the underground leak.

But groups from Seattle to the Tri-Cities that follow Hanford closely spoke out after the public was told Thursday about the leak.

Demands ranged from immediately emptying the tank to building better storage tanks for waste to a pilot project that could get more waste treated soon.

DOE notified the state Thursday that the tank was leaking, after investigating that possibility since March 2019.

Estimates of the amount of waste that have leaked vary, but the Department of Ecology puts it at a rate of nearly 1,300 gallons per year with an estimated 1,700 gallons leaked into the soil since March 2019…………..

The governor believes Congress should find opportunities to pay for construction needed to prepare waste now held in underground tanks for treatment and to glassify the tank for permanent disposal, his staff said.

Transferring waste from leak-prone single shell tanks to hold them in newer double-shell tanks is only a stop-gap measure and permanent solutions are needed, he said.

Tank B-109 is the second of Hanford’s 149 single-shell tanks identified as having active leaks in recent years. In 2013 Tank T-111 was discovered to be leaking about a half gallon to a gallon a day of waste.

Hanford is left with 56 million gallons of mixed radioactive and other hazardous chemical waste from the past production of two-thirds of the nation’s plutonium for its nuclear weapons program during World War II and the Cold War.

Work is underway to empty waste from leak-prone single-shell tanks into 27 newer double-shell tanks until it can be treated for permanent disposal.

As DOE works to start turning some of the tank waste into a stable glass form for disposal at the Hanford site’s $17 billion vitrification plant by the end of 2023, space is running short in the double-shell tanks.

NEW TANKS VS CLEANUP

Hanford Challenge, based in Seattle, said Tank B-109 needs to be emptied into another tank, putting pressure on DOE to build more tanks.

It quoted a Government Accountability Office report saying that DOE said that insufficient space in double-shell tanks was the top risk to its work to empty and close its aging tanks.

Work is underway to empty waste from leak-prone single-shell tanks into 27 newer double-shell tanks until it can be treated for permanent disposal.

As DOE works to start turning some of the tank waste into a stable glass form for disposal at the Hanford site’s $17 billion vitrification plant by the end of 2023, space is running short in the double-shell tanks.


Tank B-109 has been in use since World War II and currently holds about 123,000 gallons of waste, including about 15,000 gallons of liquid waste………………. https://www.tri-cityherald.com/news/local/hanford/article251052504.html

May 10, 2021 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

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