NEIS is a Proud Member of
Earthshare of Illinois
The Environmental Workplace Giving Program
After the catastrophic accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in March 1979, national opinion was galvanized against nuclear power. Anti-nuclear groups emerged everywhere - including here in Illinois, which had the largest number of nuclear reactors (14) in the nation. Over time, heavy public support dwindled and by 1981, many organizations founded or revitalized after the TMI accident were struggling for survival or were gone. The one-note tactic of large public demonstrations no longer appealed to the general public, and had failed to stop the completion of any reactors being built at the time. Something different was needed.
NEIS emerged in June 1981 as the response to this urgent need for something different. Seven activists met in a Chicago living room to form an organization dedicated to making the complex and arcane issue of nuclear power understandable to the general public. NEIS was formed to provide the kinds of substantive information needed about the hazards of nuclear power, about waste and radiation, and about the viable energy alternatives to nuclear power. We believe that only a properly informed public can stand up against the power structures in government, finance, and mainstream academia that are allied with the nuclear industry.
But that public was both uninformed, and reluctant to actively seek out the information, let alone take necessary action to stop nuclear power. The founding principles were simple: opposition to the continued expansion and use of nuclear power and a call for its responsible phase-out; opposition of environmentally unsound nuclear waste handling and perpetual storage schemes (there is no such thing as "disposal" in reality); implementation of the tried and true methods of energy efficiency, conservation and cogeneration, while aggressively expanding all kinds of viable and renewable energy alternatives: solar, wind and biomass in particular, the latter two being particularly well-suited to Illinois. These principles remain the goals of NEIS to the present.
Over the years NEIS has worked with an enormously varied cross-section of organizations and institutions: local, national and international environmental groups, local community organizations, peace and anti-weapons activists, and student organizations; churches, cultural institutions and universities; even politicians, elected and appointed officials, governmental groups and agencies. NEIS has carried its "safe-energy and a less-nuclear world" message to all age groups from second grade students through graduate schools of local universities. Over the years NEIS has been no stranger to the likes of Greenpeace, Public Citizen and the Union of Concerned Scientists; members of the Illinois Delegation to Congress, both Representatives and Senators, as well as gubernatorial staff members and mayors; and has been a force behind such local entities and groups as the Environmental Fund of Illinois, EarthDay '90 and 2000 Chicago; the Chicago Electric Options Campaign, and the Nuclear Free Great Lakes Action Camps Coalition.
At its formation NEIS positioned itself primarily as an educational resource. It has produced a regular newsletter, NEIS News, which has been published since the group's formation in 1981. It has conducted many local and regional conferences and workshops on nuclear issues, and maintains a speakers bureau. It established and constantly updates a website. NEIS maintains an active presence within the local and national safe-energy and environmental communities. It has grown to the size and stature enabling it to be a co-sponsor for an international symposium on depleted uranium, held in Hamburg, Germany in 2003, and a national symposium on Nuclear Power and Childrens' Health in 2004. While NEIS has predominantly conducted its work through public educational activities, it has by no means confined itself to such efforts. NEIS has been responsible for organizing many successful conferences and direct actions focussing attention against nuclear power targets. The Nuclear Free Great Lakes Action Camps held from 1999-2002 are an example of such work. The longevity and determination of NEIS have been well demonstrated.
NEIS will not rest until its slogan, "No More, No Way!" becomes a reality, and the era of Renewable Energy ends the hazards of the Nuclear Age once and for all.