It’s August already. They don’t call this time of year “the dog days” for nothing. After a pretty frenetic Spring, things have slowed down a bit. But that doesn’t mean that nothing is happening. We at NEIS are using this relatively “slow(er)” time to re-group, plan, groom and educate those who are in need of knowing about nuclear hazards.
- Educating Congress on “The Age of Decommissioning”
NEIS spent the better part of a year making plans with national allies to hold a Congressional briefing on “The Age of Decommissioning” — issues pertaining to reactor decommissioning and radioactive wastes. The team had to raise $10,000, solicit expert witnesses, and then get a Congressional sponsor to find space in the Capital to conduct the session.
The hard work paid off on July 16 when over 75 Congressional staffers and members of the media attended “Decommissioning Nuclear Power Plants: What Congress, Federal Agencies and Communities Need to Know,” at the Visitors Center in the Nation’s Capitol Building. The educational briefing was conducted by the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) of Washington, D.C. Members of the trade press attended, and wrote excellent articles about the event. Prior to the event an article on decommissioning and “just transitions” appeared in Midwest Energy News as well, which served to help promote the Briefing.
Panelists included Zion Mayor Al Hill, who gave a thorough, first-hand description of the impacts that not planning properly for reactor closures have had on his community. Other experts included Robert Alvarez, Senior Scholar, Institute for Policy Studies; former Department of Energy Senior Policy Advisor to the Secretary and Deputy Assistant Secretary for National Security and the Environment; Geoffrey H. Fettus, Senior Attorney for Energy & Transportation, Natural Resources Defense Council; Kevin Kamps, Radioactive Waste Specialist, Beyond Nuclear; Ian Zabarte, Western Shoshone, and Secretary, Native Community Action Council; and Jackson Hinkle, Youth Activist, San Clemente High School, near the site of the San Onofre reactor in Southern California.
The day after was spent visiting with issues staff of members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation, including staffers from the offices of Senators Durbin and Duckworth and several representatives. All members of the Delegation were hand delivered invites to attend the briefing, and all received Briefing Packets afterwards.
One thing NEIS has learned over the past 37 years is that one-shot deals are pretty worthless. There are plans to conduct similar sessions in the future on the continuing issues of proposed centralized interim storage (CIS) sites in TX and NM, the controversial Yucca Mt. site in NV, and radioactive waste transportation.
The other lesson we’ve learned is to value perseverance and continuity. Upon returning to Illinois, NEIS convened a follow-up briefing with local Zion and state officials and activists working on these issues, to map out summer actions following up on the Briefing messages.
- Not Just One-Trick Ponies — Other Activities of Note…
Did I say “slowed down”? While arranging for the July Congressional Briefing was certainly the main focus of action for much of early summer, it was by no means all NEIS was engaged in:
In May, NEIS
- participated in a formation meeting of the Sierra Club’s “Ready for 100” renewable energy campaign, to get the City of Chicago 100% renewable energy by 2030;
- conducted an educational street action outside of the Exelon Corporation HQ in Chicago on the day of its Annual Meeting, held this year in Washington, D.C.
- gave a “You Can’t ‘Nuke’ Global Warming” presentation for the Chicago Youth Area Climate Action group;
- did a Mother’s Day nuclear update segment on the local Val Leventhal radio show;
- went to Washington to participate in the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability’s annual DC Days event, meeting with staff of nine members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation;
- met with staff from the German Heinrich Böll Foundation to discuss energy transition and just transitions for fossil and nuclear plant communities.
In June, we
- hosted the 37th NEIS Annual Meeting in Chicago (wish you had come!!);
- launched our summer post card campaign supporting just-transitions for reactor communities by getting signed postcards at the Logan Square Farmer’s Market. NEIS members had been gathering cards at other area Farmer’s Markets throughout the summer, as well;
- tabled at the Jackson Browne concert at the Ravinia Festival in Highland Park (Jackson is a member of Musicians United for Safe Energy – MUSE);
- participated in the planning team preparing for the Sept. 8th National Day of Climate Action of the People’s Climate Movement;
- were interviewed by reporter Kari Lydersen for an article in Midwest Energy News, which appeared in July.
In addition to the Congressional Briefing on Reactor Decommissioning in Washington, D.C., and meeting with staff from five members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation, July and August found us
- being interviewed for a segment of Libbe HaLevy’s “Nuclear Hotseat,” weekly podcast;
- inaugurating the “Tour the Moore” educational program at the Henry Moore Sculpture to Nuclear Power as part of Chicago’s Hiroshima Day Remembrance on August 6th.
- sounding the alarm about proposed shipments of spent-fuel from Exelon’s LaSalle nuclear plant to Canada.
We Can’t Do It Alone – What YOU Can Do….
As we continue these works above in preparation for the battles in the Fall, we need the help and support of you, our members, to get this work done. Here are a few SIMPLE things you can do:
- Send a postcard/letter/e-mail to Sens. Richard Durbin and Tammy Duckworth (or your own U.S. Senator) opposing the Senate version of H.R. 3053:
This House bill would promote massive transportation of high-level radioactive waste around the country to unnecessary, expensive and locally opposed “centralized interim storage” facilities in Texas and New Mexico; and restore attempts and funding to build Yucca Mt. When the bill moves to the Senate, we ask the Senators to OPPOSE whatever the bill is.
Use the attached postcard template to: 1.) make your own postcards and get people to send them; 2.) cut and paste the text and send an e-mail using the Senators’ website “comment” page; or 3.) form the basis of your own letter to them. If you need more background or information, just visit the NEIS website’s Radioactive Waste pages.
Here is their contact info:
Senator Richard Durbin:
711 Hart Senate Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Phone: (202) 224.2152
Senator Tammy Duckworth:
524 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-2854
- Renew Your Membership!
We don’t send out asks that often; but when we do, it’s because we need your continued support to keep NEIS and its work going. Whether you choose to contribute online, or prefer sending a good old fashioned check, now is the time to send your support to NEIS, as we prepare for a vigorous Fall campaign season. (Please – don’t make us call you at dinner time! )
Thanks in advance for being there with us, all these years! Roll up your sleeves, and stick around for more fireworks.
Be well, do great things,
–Dave Kraft, Director—
POSTCARD TEXT OPPOSING SENATE VERSION OF H.R. 3053:
OPPOSE H.R.3053, THE “FUKUSHIMA FREEWAYS” BILL!
Dear Sen. ________________________________
The House recently and unwisely passed Rep. John Shimkus’ (R. IL) H.R.3053 to re-start the flawed Yucca Mt. high-level radioactive waste (HLRW) disposal site in Nevada, and promote unnecessary private “centralized interim storage” (CIS) radwaste facilities in Texas and New Mexico – over strong local objection.
While it’s tempting to want to get HLRW out of IL communities like Zion ASAP, prematurely sending it to flawed or unnecessary facilities like these is both dangerous and uneconomic; and increases the risks from transportation accidents in communities that have nothing to do with nuclear power and waste currently, while senselessly contaminating additional new sites around the nation that will ultimately have to be cleaned up. This is simply dumb energy policy, designed to “unconstipate” a dying nuclear power industry at ratepayer and taxpayer expense, not protect the public or environment. When the Senate version of H.R. 3053 comes before you, I ask you to vote “NO”. Thank you.