CONTACT: Human Rights Now NY, September15HRN@gmail.com
Nuclear Power is NOT the answer to Climate Change
September 15, Monday, 10AM – noon
UN Church Center, 777 UN Plaza, 2nd Fl., New York, NY 10017 (44th St. & First Ave)
WHAT: In conjunction with the NYC People’s Climate March and the United Nations Climate Summit 2014 in September, nuclear experts and activists will speak about issues associated with nuclear power – such as Fukushima, nuclear waste, uranium mining, human rights, health, economic, and technical issues – and will discuss why nuclear energy is not “clean” energy nor a solution to climate change. A Q&A session will follow the presentations.
WHERE: UN Church Center, 777 UN Plaza, 2nd Fl., NYC (44th St. & First Ave)
WHEN: Monday, September 15, 2014, 10AM-noon
WHO: Mr. Arnie Gundersen, Fairewinds Energy Education
Ms. Leona Morgan, Diné No Nukes
Mr. Pradeep Indulkar, Filmmaker
Ms. Marilyn Elie, Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition
Mr. Alfred Meyer, Physicians for Social Responsibility
Ms. Mari Inoue, Human Rights Now
Mr. Tim Judson, Nuclear Information Resource Service
Please pre-register by sending your name and affiliation to: September15HRN [a] gmail.com
Open to the public. Admission is free. No UN pass is required to enter the building.
Fukushima Radioactivity – increased exposure levels and unstoppable contamination: More than three years have passed since March 11, 2011, when the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami caused structural damage to the TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, resulting in a massive leakage of radioactive materials into the environment. Today, TEPCO still does not know how to stop the ongoing radioactive leaks from its facilities into the environment.
Many people, including children and pregnant women, still live in areas highly contaminated by the nuclear accident, because the Japanese government set the boundary of the evacuation zones based on an exposure level of 20 mSv per year, a threshold 20 times higher than that of the international protection standard and the pre-catastrophe national standard.
The Right to Health and a Safe Environment
Residents are entitled to live in a safe and healthy environment. However, a safe and healthy environment is not available to many Fukushima affected people because sufficient protective measures and supports are not provided in contaminated areas. Also, the rights to access to medical treatment and to know about one’s own body and health parameters have been seriously denied. The Fukushima nuclear accident teaches us that nuclear energy is not sustainable, and that such a disaster cannot respect the environment or the right to health of the most vulnerable individuals.
Indian Point Puts 20 million in New York City Area at Risk
In the United States, there are about 100 nuclear power reactors still in operation. Two of them operate at the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant, 25 miles from New York City. Indian Point is in the process of renewing its operating licenses for an additional 20 years of operation. Nearly 20 million people reside, work or play within a 50 miles radius of these nuclear reactors. Are there any known safety concerns at Indian Point? Where does nuclear fuel come from? Is nuclear energy a carbon-free energy? How much nuclear waste is produced and where does it go, or more to the point, how long will it stay at the reactor sites, in need of continual cooling and security? Why do we have to take the Fukushima nuclear disaster seriously?
Arnie Gundersen, former nuclear power Senior Vice President, has more than 40 years of experience in nuclear power engineering. He attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) where he earned his Bachelor Degree cum laude while receiving a prestigious Atomic Energy Commission Fellowship for his Master Degree in nuclear engineering. He holds a nuclear safety patent and was a licensed reactor operator. During his career in the nuclear power industry, he managed and coordinated projects at 70 US nuclear power plants.. He is an expert witness on nuclear power engineering and risk, and has made presentations to Japanese universities, press, and the Diet about the ongoing tragedy from the Fukushima accident. As part of Fairewinds Energy Education initiatives, he has hosted numerous videos and provided updates about the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, found at: www.fairewinds.org
Leona Morgan is a Diné (Navajo) organizer working with several community organizations based in the Southwest focused on addressing effects from past uranium mining and threats of new uranium operations in New Mexico since 2007. In 2014, she co-founded a network, Diné No Nukes, an initiative to nurture wide-scale awareness of nuclear and uranium development initiatives in the “Four Corners” region by providing multi-media educational materials and industry analyses to the Navajo electorate & elected officials. The goal of Dine No Nukes is to increase public awareness and civic participation to ensure that informed decisions are made on nuclear issues across the Navajo Nation and within the Four Sacred Mountains—for the protection of health, water, land, cultural resources and the sovereignty of the Diné people. www.dinenonukes.org
Pradeep Indulkar is an award winning documentary filmmaker of “High Power”, which won the Yellow Oscar in the short film category of the Uranium Film Festival in Rio de Janeiro in 2013. He has 12 years of experience at a nuclear reprocessing facility at different levels – from plant operator to engineer – which helped him gain wide experience and knowledge of the operational hazards and radiological threat to human life and the environment. After having some serious health issues, he left the job at the nuclear facility and started working to educate the public on nuclear power and the environment. He has founded 10 environmental education centers in India.
Marilyn Elie has been working to close the Indian Point nuclear power plant for the last 20 years. She is a co-founder of Westchester Citizens Awareness Network and one of the original members of the Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition, IPSEC, a coalition of grassroots and environmental organizations in the lower Hudson Valley. She became involved in this issue because of her concern about the unsolvable problem of high level radioactive waste; a toxic legacy that we are passing on to untold generations. Marilyn has also learned to watchdog the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. She regularly attends Nuclear Regulatory Commission meetings and has seen three regional directors come and go. She has learned how to read NRC reports for what is hidden between the lines and, on occasion, is the only person in the room who can attest to changes in the regulatory position because she was there at the original meeting. She firmly believes that the next year is critical in determining if the reactors at Indian Point will be relicensed to operate for another 20 years or if they will be denied a new operating license.
Alfred Meyer has worked with Physicians for Social Responsibility since 2000, and currently serves on the Board of Directors and Co-Chair’s PSR’s Radiation and Health Committee; he is a co-author of the 2014 PSR/IPPNW Chapters critique of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) report on the health effects of the Fukushima disaster, and is involved with a team that is working with the US Environmental Protection Agency as they begin the process to review and change radiation standards for U.S. nuclear power operations. He also is working with the PSR New York Chapter to add PSR’s resources and expertise to the broad based effort to shut down the Indian Point Reactors just north of New York City, to prevent and stop natural gas hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and to minimize climate change. Mr. Meyer has networked PSR with other groups working on Fukushima and nuclear power issues in the New York City area.
Mari Inoue, Esq. was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan. While working as an attorney in New York State, she has been volunteering for Human Rights Now (HRN) as its New York Representative since 2010. She co-authored “Opinion on the Measures to be Taken by Japan and Tokyo Electric Power Company to Address the Destruction of Health, Environment and Life Caused by the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Disaster”, an opinion paper submitted by HRN in August 2011 that requested the Japanese government and TEPCO to change its policies on food safety, decontamination, evacuation, radiation protection etc. based on international standards, international precedents and domestic law in order to protect the health and restore the living environment of residents affected by the disaster. She has been playing an important role on behalf of HRN in co-organizing seminars and events in NYC to raise awareness about the ongoing grave situation in Fukushima. Recently she delivered a speech at the United Nations in March 2014 on behalf of HRN and 6 other international NGOs with ECOSOC status, and requested the international community to take the Fukushima nuclear accident seriously; to implement lessons learnt from Fukushima in the discussion on global health and environment; to take steps towards a nuclear free world; and to seek alternative energy in the Post-2015 discussion.
Tim Judson joined Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) in 2013 and was appointed Executive Director in 2014. He has been an organizer, campaigner, researcher, and policy analyst on nuclear issues since 1998. Prior to joining NIRS, he led campaigns in New York and New England, worked with whistleblowers, represented organizations pro se in NRC licensing cases, and helped develop the successful campaign to close the Vermont Yankee reactor. Tim is President of the Board of Citizens Awareness Network, a grassroots organization in New England and New York, and a co-founder (2011) and steering committee member of the Alliance for a Green Economy (AGREE), a statewide coalition in New York advancing the transition to a carbon-free, nuclear-free energy system. He has also a worked as an organizer, policy analyst, and researcher in the labor movement, and headed up the Workers’ Rights Program for the Progressive States Network.
HUMAN RIGHTS NOW: Human Rights Now (HRN) is an international NGO with ECOSOC status established in Tokyo in 2006. It has over 700 members composed of lawyers, scholars, journalists and concerned citizens, to promote and protect human rights worldwide with a special focus on Asian countries. In July 2011, on behalf of a coalition of civil society groups in Japan, HRN requested the Office of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to appoint a Special Rapporteur to investigate the human rights situation after the nuclear disaster in Fukushima. In response to the request, Mr. Anand Grover, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health, visited Japan in November 2012. In December 2012, HRN submitted a joint statement, endorsed by more than 70 civil societies in Japan and worldwide, urging the IAEA and the Japanese government to take a rights-based approach in response to the nuclear disaster based on the preliminary findings and recommendations issued by Mr. Grover in November. To inform the international community about the ongoing crisis, HRN has delivered speeches and submitted statements to the Human Rights Council, has collaborated closely with a number of international NGOs and grassroots organizations around the world, and has organized human rights seminars and press conferences in Japan, Geneva, and New York. For more details on our past activities, reports and statements on Fukushima related issues, please visit: hrn.or.jp/eng/news/2012/09/23/human_rights_situation_after_nuclear_disaster_fukushima_japan
PEACE BOAT US: Peace Boat US is a civil society, non-profit organization working to promote peace, human rights, equitable and sustainable development, and respect for the environment throughout the United States and the world. These goals are pursued through peace education programs, including onboard conferences, workshops, face-to-face encounters and field studies. Peace Boat US upholds The Hague Agenda for Peace and Justice for the 21st Century, including the promotion of the non-violent prevention and resolution of conflict among nations and peoples, and the development of a culture of peace. (https://peaceboat-us.org/)
Nuclear Information and Resource Service: Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) is the national hub of the grassroots anti-nuclear and safe energy movement in the US. NIRS’s mission is to promote the fastest possible transition to a nuclear-free, carbon-free sustainable energy supply; to advocate for responsible and environmentally just solutions to radioactive and toxic waste; and to fight for the greatest possible protections from the health and environmental effects of radiation. NIRS lso works closely with the international movement, and has a long affiliation with the World Information Service on Energy, a network spanning 12 countries on five continents. NIRS is the organizer of the nuclear-free, carbon-free contingent to the People’s Climate March in New York City which will be held on September 21, 2014. www.nirs.org
PHYSICIANS FOR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY: Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), the U.S. affiliate of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) advocates for sound public health policies regarding exposure to radioactive and other toxic materials. PSR is the medical and public health voice working to prevent the use of and to abolish nuclear weapons, to promote safe, non-nuclear energy, and to slow, stop and reverse global warming and the toxic degradation of the environment. PSR was founded in 1961 and was instrumental in achieving the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty that ended the global radioactive contamination produced by atmospheric nuclear bomb testing. PSR shared in the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), for building public pressure to push their governments to end the nuclear arms race. (http://www.psr.org/) Fukushima presents an immediate challenge to protect those individuals most endangered by exposure to dangerous levels of radioactivity, and to adequately and openly track the health consequences of the ongoing irradiation of populations. PSR and IPPNW Germany recently co-authored “Critical Analysis of the UNSCEAR Report on Fukushima” which is available at: http://www.fukushima-disaster.de/information-in-english/maximum-credible-accident.html
THE INDIAN POINT SAFE ENERGY COALITION: The Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition (IPSEC), a coalition of over 70 environmental, health and public policy organizations, was founded in 2001 to address the vulnerability of the nuclear reactors at the Indian Point nuclear power plant. Over 20 million people live within 50 miles of the plant. Our concerns include both existing radiation releases and potential additional releases from human error, aging infrastructure or terrorism, and the flawed, unfixable evacuation plan. Our grassroots efforts have enlisted the support of hundreds of local, state and federal officials.
TEMPLE OF UNDERSTANDING: The Temple of Understanding (TOU) is among the oldest interfaith organizations in the United States with international presence and ECOSOC status at the United Nations (UN). The vision of founder Juliet Hollister was to cultivate positive social change and peace through the insights of all religions. Currently the TOU’s work at the UN is focused on sustainable development, through the transformation of consciousness needed to make necessary life-style changes to ensure sustainability. Religions help people shape their worldview and act on their values. Governments need the guidance of an awakened civil society to make radical changes. Corporations need an awakened civil society that will insist on sustainable consumption. Inspired by Thomas Berry CSP and the world’s religions, the TOU works towards the current manifestation of such transformation, in collaboration with those of many religious traditions and many different organizations. The TOU founded the Interfaith Consortium for Ecological Civilization, and most recently works closely with the Mining Working Group at the UN and the Women’s Major Group. Education and cultural programming have formed much of their work in the past, and inform the current work. www.templeofunderstanding.org, www.IC4EC.org