"Nuclear power is not only unnecessary, it is among the costliest and potentially the most dangerous ways to produce electricity," writes John Kinsman, a Wisconsin farmer and the president of Family Farm Defenders, a WNPJ member group. "Besides the brave Japanese workers who are sacrificing themselves in the battle to stop this meltdown, who is next to suffer from the inevitable nuclear accidents? Why, of course, farmers, fishers, gardeners and consumers who have to dump milk, destroy animals and bury produce that has been contaminated by fallout," adds Kinsman, in a Capital Times op/ed.
Tornadoes swept through Alabama and put the southeastern United States in a state of emergency last week. Another potential threat from nuclear plants is looming over the area.
|Protesters hit the streets in Kewaunee County opposed to the area's two nuclear power plants. Saturday's action follows ongoing troubles with damaged nuclear plants in Japan. It also marks the approach of the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in the Ukraine.|
"I just remember the emotional impact it had on people and even to this day, 25 years ago, I'm keenly aware of the radiation being in the fallen leaves in the fall, in the tap water," explained former Ukraine resident, Natasha Akulenko. (Watch the video here from FOX 11, WLUK-TB Green Bay, Wisconsin reporter: Beth Jones - The story continues below)
Drs. Monica Vohmann and Bruce Barrett, members of WNPJ member group Wisconsin Physicians for Social Responsibility, write in the Capital Times about the health effects of radiation and the dangers of nuclear power: "There is no doubt that the use of nuclear power increases people’s exposure to radiation, and not just locally. Radioactive isotopes traceable to the Three Mile Island accident of 1979, Chernobyl and now Fukushima can be found in human tissue throughout the world. There is also no question as to whether sickness and death result from these sorts of accidents. They do, and in large numbers." Read more... (Photo: Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant)
Wisconsin State Journal: State leaders debate the future of nuclear energy in light of Japan disasterSubmitted by staff on Tue, 04/12/2011 - 3:55pm
Legislation that would have weakened nuclear safeguards in Wisconsin has been dealt a serious blow by the disaster at Japan's Fukishima Dai-ichi nuclear plant. Pam Kleiss, executive director of WNPJ member group Physicians for Social Responsibility, says, "We feel the current state law speaks directly to the concerns that people in Wisconsin have about nuclear power. What the Fukushima Dai-ichi incident is showing us is that there are things that are happening that are beyond what the owners and operators perceived to be the highest level of risk." Charlie Higley of the Citizens Utility Board says, "Even if you have all the best defenses you can think of, there are times when nature still wins." Higley is also concerned about the fact that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has cited Wisconsin nuclear plants for 22 safety violations since 1996. Read more... (Photo: Point Beach Nuclear plant on the shore of Lake Michigan.)
Phil Montgomery will be the new head of Wisconsin's Public Service Commission, which regulates energy, water and telecommunications utilities.
As a state legislator, Montgomery supported a complete repeal of the radioactive waste and cost safeguards on new nuclear power plants.
"Consumer advocates would naturally have concerns about somebody who seemed so supportive of industry now being in a position of overseeing those industries," Mike McCabe of Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a WNPJ member group, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Until recently, Montgomery also served on the Board of Directors for ALEC, a corporate-funded group notorious for pushing regressive state policies.
Montgomery's executive assistant at the PSC will be R.J. Pirlot, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce's top lobbyist.
How serious is the nuclear disaster in Japan? What do we know about the long-term health impacts of nuclear accidents, from the Chernobyl meltdown? Can nuclear power ever be "safe"? What are the implications for energy policies in Wisconsin and nationally?
On the anniversary of the Three Mile Island disaster, we came together for a discussion with local experts at a Forum in Madison:
Shahla Werner, Ph.D, Director of the Sierra Club - John Muir Chapter
Robert Schuettpelz, Executive Director of Friends of Chernobyl Centers, U.S.
Jo Oyama-Miller, Board President of Madison-Obihiro Sister Cities (Obihiro, Japan)
Pam Kleiss, executive director of Physicians for Social Responsibility Wisconsin, a WNPJ member group, writes in the Wisconsin State Journal of her experience as a teacher in Japan. After imagining what life is like there in the wake of an earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster, she concludes:
"Current Wisconsin law contains important safeguards to Wisconsin's public health and ratepayers. We must continue to oppose repeal of these important protections. Concerned citizens must work to improve the safety of the radioactive waste storage pools and operation practices at our Wisconsin reactors.
"Let's hope that key United States policymakers and Wisconsin legislators are paying attention to Fukushima. It is a lesson we don't want to be forced to live through again."
"The boss of the company behind the devastated Japanese nuclear reactor today broke down in tears - as his country finally acknowledged the radiation spewing from the over-heating reactors and fuel rods was enough to kill some citizens," reports the UK Daily Mail on March 18.
Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice member groups and allies are analyzing the situation and sharing information:
The Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice, with seven member groups and allies, officially asked Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen to support a lawsuit that New York, Vermont, and Conneticut States are bringing against the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, for its violations of federal law in regards to nuclear waste storage.
The NRC has allowed toxic nuclear waste to remain at Wisconsin facilities without prior studies on the waste sites. The Attorney General must intervene to protect the residents and businesses of Wisconsin, the groups argue. The NRC must conduct site-by-site studies to ensure that the integrity of the waste storage structures remains intact and necessary repairs are made. An especially important concern is groundwater contamination.
The groups' letter to Van Hollen is below.