Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice
Carbon-Free, Nuclear Free WIMedia advisory
For immediate release
Contacts: Pam Kleiss, Physicians for Social Responsibility WI, 608-232-9945
 Diane Farsetta, WI Network for Peace and Justice, 608-250-9240
 Christina Mills, Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, 612-722-9700

One Year After Fukushima, Nuclear Dangers in Wisconsin
State's water supply, farmland at risk as lessons from Japan's tragedy go unheeded

Issue briefing:  Monday, March 12, 12:30 p.m., room 300 SE of the state Capitol

On Monday, March 12, national experts and local advocates will mark the first anniversary of Japan's nuclear disaster, with a briefing on the safety and public health threats posed by nuclear reactors in Wisconsin.  Speaking at the 12:30 pm briefing in room 300SE of the state Capitol will be:
  • Dr. Arjun Makhijani, President of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research
  • John Kinsman, President of Family Farm Defenders
  • Scott Thompson, Clean Energy Associate at Wisconsin Environment
  • Drew Lehmann, Program Associate with WISPIRG
Nuclear reactors pose serious risks to the environment and to human health.  This was made tragically clear one year ago when a tsunami damaged the Fukushima Daiichi reactors in Japan, triggering multiple meltdowns and major releases of radioactivity.  A Nuclear Regulatory Commission task force studied the safety of U.S. nuclear reactors in the days following the disaster.  Yet, the NRC waited until just before the Fukushima anniversary to begin drafting a few of the recommendations.  Worse, reactor owners won't be required to take action to protect local communities until December 2016.

"The ongoing nuclear disaster in Japan has shown the very real and dangerous risks to public health and safety and the environment from nuclear reactors and spent nuclear fuel," said Dr. Makhijani, an internationally recognized authority on energy issues.  "It is astonishing that the Commission continues to grant operating license extensions and even approve new reactor construction and a new reactor design without incorporating the lessons of Fukushima beforehand."

Dr. Arjun Makhijani earned his Ph.D. from the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley in 1972, specializing in nuclear fusion.  He was the principal author of the first study of the energy efficiency potential of the U.S. economy, and the author of Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy (2007).  Dr. Makhijani has testified before Congress, appeared on national and international media, and consulted on energy issues for utilities and United Nations agencies.

"Nuclear power is not only unnecessary, it is among the costliest and potentially the most dangerous ways to produce electricity," said John Kinsman, president of Family Farm Defenders and an organic dairy farmer near Lime Ridge, Wisconsin.  "The Japanese farmers, fishers, gardeners and consumers who had to dump milk, destroy animals and bury produce contaminated by radioactive fallout know that all too well.  Renewable green energy and small-scale agriculture are the only sustainable ways to power and feed our communities."

"In Wisconsin, the drinking water for millions of people is too close to an active nuclear reactor," said Scott Thompson, Clean Energy Associate at Wisconsin Environment.  On Monday, Wisconsin Environment and WISPIRG will release the report Too Close to Home: Nuclear Power and the Threat to Drinking Water.  "An accident like the one in Fukushima, Japan, or a simple leak could spew cancer-causing radioactive waste into our drinking water," added Thompson.  "We should move away from nuclear power immediately and invest in efficiency and safer alternatives such as wind and solar power."

The March 12 issue briefing is free and open to the public.  It was organized by the Carbon Free, Nuclear Free Wisconsin coalition, Clean Wisconsin, Family Farm Defenders, Institute for Energy & Environmental Research, Nukewatch, Physicians for Social Responsibility WI, Sierra Club John Muir Chapter, WI Network for Peace and Justice, WI Resources Protection Council, Wisconsin Environment, and WISPIRG.

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