A new study, believed to be the first to investigate health effects on insects near operating nuclear power plants, has found a highly significant twofold increase in morphological malformations on true bugs in the 5 km vicinity of three Swiss nuclear power stations. The study — Morphological Abnormalities in True Bugs (Heteroptera) near Swiss Nuclear Power Stations — was conducted by Alfred Körblein, a physicist and authority on the health impacts of low-dose radiation, and Cornelia Hesse-Honegger, who has studied and painted insects affected by the Chernobyl nuclear accident. (You can read more about Hesse-Honegger's work here.) Earlier studies on wildlife around Chernobyl and Fukushima found large and highly statistically significant incidences of radiation-induced mutation rates. Due to its ecological design, however, the Swiss study cannot answer the question whether the effect is caused by radiation from nuclear power plants. However, given the results, the researchers are calling for future studies to confirm their findings. Read the study.
Animals are affected by the operation of nuclear power -- but are the most ignored of all the nuclear industry's victims. Whether sucked into reactor intake systems, or pulverized at the discharge, aquatic animals and their habitats are routinely harmed and destroyed by the routine operation of reactors. In addition, animals are forced to remain in highly radioactive areas after a nuclear disaster, such as around Chernobyl and Fukushima. Some of our latest stories about animals can be found on our newest platform, Beyond Nuclear International. And for more about how routine reactor operations harms marine wildlife, see our Licensed to Kill page
As reported in an environmental coalition press release: Congressman Would Do Irreparable Damage to Endangered Species, Public Lands, Climate.
In a letter to U.S. Senators, Beyond Nuclear joined with Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth, Public Citizen, and 166 more groups to urge they vote against Trump's nominee for Interior Secretary, Ryan Zinke, Republican U.S. Representative from Montana.
The letter and press release mention Zinke's horrible record re: the Endangered Species Act.
Beyond Nuclear, in coalition with several additional environmental groups, raised an endangered species contentions against the Fermi 3 proposed new reactor in Michigan.While numerous threatened and endangered species would be harmed by Fermi 3 construction and operation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission excluded all the rest, narrowing legal arguments to one species -- an indigenous constrictor, the Eastern Fox Snake. While the environmental coalition's legal counsel, attorney Terry Lodge from Toledo, kept the contention alive for several long years -- despite repeated attempts by Detroit Edison and NRC staff to kill it -- in the end, the NRC's Atomic Safety and Licensing Board ruled in favor of construction and operation of Fermi 3. The chief judge absurdly claimed the final ruling re: the Eastern Fox Snake represented a "NEPA victory." (NEPA is short for National Environmental Policy Act.)
Truth be told, it wasn't a victory for the Eastern Fox Snake. One of only four habitats for the threatened species on the very ecologically fragile Great Lakes shoreline would be destroyed by the construction and operation of Fermi 3.
The environmental coalition is still appealing the licensing of Fermi 3, including a NEPA challenge against the proposed transmission line corridor. If built, the corridor would further harm threatened and endangered species -- including the Eastern Fox Snake -- by destroying critical habitat, including forested wetlands.
Update provided by Center for Biological Diversity:
Florida is saddled with 1 billion tons of radioactive phosphogypsum -- the result of turning phosphate mined in Florida into fertilizer -- as well as scars and pollution from thousands of acres of phosphate mining.
So just before the holidays, the Center and allies tackled the problem, notifying two federal agencies we'll sue over their approval of more than 50,000 additional acres of mining in central Florida unless they take steps to improve the situation. The new mining would destroy habitat for eastern indigo snakes and Florida panthers, hurt water quality and damage the landscape.
"Phosphate mining violently disfigures the environment, destroying habitat and displacing wildlife," said Jaclyn Lopez, our Florida director.
Read more in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and check out our new phosphate mining webpage.
TAKOMA PARK, MD, March 7, 2016 -- A Florida nuclear power plant that sucked a scuba diver through its unprotected cooling intake pipe, is in ongoing violation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), Beyond Nuclear and the Rachel Carson Council have charged.
The incident at the St. Lucie Nuclear Generating Station on Hutchinson Island, Florida, is the second entrainment of a human at the plant. The first occurred in 1989. However, the plant’s intake system has for decades routinely captured, harmed and killed thousands of marine animals, most notably endangered and threatened species of sea turtle as well as manatees and other protected species. The plant is owned by Florida Power & Light (FPL).
“Sucking in the scuba diver exposes that FPL has failed to act for almost a decade on its ongoing violations of the Endangered Species Act,” said Paul Gunter, Director of Reactor Oversight at Beyond Nuclear, the national group of record that watchdogs the environmental damage caused by nuclear power. “Federal law establishes the terms of FPL’s operating license to set limits on the number of protected marine species that it kills and injures that are caused by power plant operations,” he said.
In 2006 St. Lucie drew in 662 sea turtles, 22 of which FPL admits were killed by the plant’s operation. FPL has been obligated to limit the number of endangered species killed by the plant’s intake system since its operating license was amended in 2001.
Arnie Gundersen, Chief Engineer at Fairewinds Energy Education, has posted a blog entitled "Downstream," about the radioactive risks to the Great Lakes from dozens of atomic reactors located on their shorelines, in both the U.S. and Canada.
Gundersen has served as expert witness for Beyond Nuclear et al. in numerous challenges to continued operations at risky reactors on the Great Lakes, including Palisades and Fermi 3 in Michigan, as well as Davis-Besse in Ohio.
(Beyond Nuclear's pamphlet, "Routine Radioactive Releases from U.S. Nuclear Power Plants," also shows it doesn't take an accident to cause contamination of surface fresh water supplies, nor coastal oceanic fisheries for that matter. A map is included, indicating which watersheds are impacted by each operating reactor in the U.S.)