Nuclear Power news

Nuclear exit unthinkable for climate conference host France

PARIS (Reuters) - Early this year, France's state energy and environment agency was set to publish a study that found the country could realistically abandon nuclear reactors and rely completely on renewable power in decades to come.

Read more [Reuters]

Finland approves underground nuclear waste storage plan

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Finland has become the first country in the world to give a construction license for a permanent underground nuclear waste repository, the center-right government said on Thursday.

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Renewables: the smart way out of crisis in Southern Europe

Even though autumn is in full, colourful swing and we’re slowly getting ready for winter in Europe, Greenpeace is turning up the heat and not letting go of summer just yet.

I still have a picture in my mind of hundreds of volunteers, tourists and local residents heading to the most popular beaches of Croatia, Greece, Italy and Spain, demanding that their governments protect their beloved holiday destinations from dirty energy and make use of what these countries are never lacking: sun and wind.

One would think that in Southern Europe, where sun and wind are so abundant, clean energy sources would be the obvious choice for energy solutions. However, the reality is quite the opposite, and most Southern European governments are responding to economic struggles with plans for new coal power plants and offshore oil-drilling. All this in spite of irrefutable scientific proof that we need to keep the fossil fuels in the ground to avoid the worst consequences of climate change. 

The transition to clean energy is not only possible, but it is the best way to go. It’s a way out of the economic crisis and towards a fresh clean future where renewable energy ensures new jobs, enhances a new sustainable economy, protects ecosystems and mitigates climate change.

To show that this transition is possible, we commissioned expert studies in Spain, Greece, Italy and Croatia to prove the potential and economic added-value of renewable energy and energy savings projects in those countries.

So what did the numbers show?

  • In Croatia, we proved the multiple positive effects of adopting clean energy solutions at hotels, camps, schools and farms on the Croatian coast, islands and mainland. The transition towards 100% renewable energy would create several thousands of new jobs and help the country save € 4 to € 5 billion annually by ending expensive energy imports.

  • In Greece, despite the tough economic situation and strict austerity regime, our experts are showing that it is still possible to cut electricity costs, reduce energy poverty and provide clean energy. Following the energy efficiency and solarization plan that Greenpeace is suggesting, the Greeks would save billions of Euros and create thousands of new jobs every year!

  • Similarly, in Italy, on 20 small islands that are not connected to the grid, electricity is produced through dirty and expensive diesel systems. And since many islands around the world are facing similar conditions, the Italian study could be seen  as a model that can be used in other islands to calculate their own pathway to 100% renewable energy.

  • ​​In Spain, we focused on a possible renewable energy transition in the Canary Islands, which are far from mainland Spain. The entire archipelago is currently powered by expensive, dirty diesel generators. With our Energy [R]evolution scenario for the Canaries we proved that a switch to 100% renewable energy by 2050 is possible. We showed that up to € 42 billion could be saved by investing € 20 billion in renewable energy.

The sun is not good only for our summer holidays. It creates opportunities to revive economies and it’s a resource that can be locally produced and owned. It can also create thousands of jobs. It is time the Mediterranean countries show the rest of Europe the true power of energy from the Sun.

Join the climate movement

With only a few weeks left before the international climate conference in Paris we want to say loud and clear that fossil fuels must stay in the ground and be replaced by renewable energy.

Join the movement for a just energy transition and demand our political and business leaders make the big switch from dirty energy such as oil, coal and nuclear to 100% renewables. We can power our lives with energy models that protect the environment, are in harmony with our health as well as environment and are socially just and economically viable. Nothing stops climate change faster than our actions.

Tina Peternel is the Coordinator of the Solutions for Mediterranean Project with Greenpeace Central and Eastern Europe.

Read more [Greenpeace international]

Citizens group sues California agency over nuclear waste burial

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - A civilian watchdog group sued a California coastal agency on Tuesday, seeking to overturn its decision to allow 1,800 tons (1,632 tonnes) of radioactive waste from a closed nuclear power plant to be buried in containers not far from a beach.

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Saving the last Japanese dugongs

The home of the last few Japanese dugongs is about to be landfilled to make way for two airstrips - part of the expansion of a US military base on the island of Okinawa. But a movement nearly 18 years old is standing up to say NO. That’s why our ship the Rainbow Warrior is en route to join them...

The first thing that drew me to Greenpeace as a young New Zealander was actually the “peace” side of things. Nuclear weapons testing in the South Pacific had drawn strong opposition from local people and from Greenpeace. Ultimately, that opposition cost Greenpeace its ship, the Rainbow Warrior – bombed and sunk by the French government in an act of state sponsored terrorism – and the life of photographer Fernando Pereira. But it also helped win a nuclear free New Zealand.

I was at school, and we were studying the horrors of nuclear war, something that felt like a very real threat at the time. The bombing of the Rainbow Warrior made the issue a whole lot more real.

Many years later, after environmental studies and the start of a career in marine conservation, I found myself in 2005 setting sail with the second Rainbow Warrior to help protect Okinawa’s small population of dugongs, which were under threat from plans to construct a US military airstrip right across a coral reef.

It’s hard to imagine a more peaceful sea creature than the dugong, a hefty vegetarian sea animal that grazes on sea grasses, meanders around coastal waters and was allegedly the basis of mermaid folklore.

The campaign brought together everything that had drawn me to Greenpeace. Protecting endangered ocean creatures – not just dugongs, but the myriad of other coral reef creatures of Henoko Bay, including a huge diversity of clown fish (Nemo, and his various  colourful cousins) and other inhabitants of coral reef and seagrass ecosystems.

The struggle to protect Okinawa’s dugongs is a struggle for existence itself.

There are extremely few dugongs left, and Japan risks losing its only population. It’s also a struggle for peace for the people of Okinawa. For many decades, military bases have dominated the island, and have raised many concerns from local communities. Building a new military airstrip – on the habitat of the last few dugongs – is symbolic of military power bulldozing over local and natural values. Local values that include both “green” – protecting native wildlife and the surrounding oceans - and “peace”, building a society where non-violence finally prevails over warfare and conflict. 

For me, it's both happy and sad to return to Okinawa ten years later. It’s sad because in a decade those voices, despite their strength and defiance, have not been listened to. The plans to drill coral, pave over reefs with concrete and construct a monstrosity from which to launch military aircraft have not been abandoned, as they should have been in 2005.

But it also makes me happy. Happy to see local leaders standing up for peace and for the environment. Happy to arrive on board the new Rainbow Warrior – the third Greenpeace ship bearing this name – to Okinawa.

Once again, we have sailed here in support of the local people that want to save the dugongs, protect the ocean and spread peace.

Take action to save the dugong and Henoko Bay.

Karli Thomas is an Oceans Campaigner at Greenpeace New Zealand.

Read more [Greenpeace international]

Earthquake risk analysis shows U.S. nuclear plants safe: NRC

(Reuters) - Nuclear power plants in the United States are safe to continue operating but need to conduct an in-depth analysis where appropriate, as far as earthquake hazards are concerned, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said on Tuesday.

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When the risks are so high, what would you do?

Five Greenpeace activists last week entered the security zone of what will soon be the world's biggest nuclear power plant - the Kori nuclear power plant (NPP) near Busan in South Korea. Arriving via a black inflatable boat, they climbed out and scampered up a rocky slope unfurling a bright yellow banner in front of the fence of the Kori NPP. For 40 minutes they stood ground as guards looked on, sirens blazed, and warnings from the coast guard were broadcast over the loudspeaker.

The situation at Kori is insane, and it's only getting worse. The need for action is urgent.

When the next two planned reactors start operation by 2022, it will become the only nuclear power plant with 10 reactors. And what is most disturbing is that there are around 3.4 million people living within the 30km zone around the plant.

But what makes someone board a small boat - sometimes for the first time in their lives - on a cold morning and scamper up the slopes of nuclear power plant?

What keeps you standing strong as the coastguard and police descend on you?

Why take these personal risks?

Myungjin Choi decided to participate in the Greenpeace action because he believes that small actions leads to bigger change. At first, he worried  that the activity might be too risky or what would happen if he made a mistake. However, whenever he thought about the citizens living near Kori nuclear power plant, he became bolder.


Jeongmin Lee works as a fundraiser in a health and medical NGO. She is quiet and considers herself an introvert, but, she did not hesitate to take direct action to make the world a better place to live. She says  direct action empowers her to overcome an inherent fear inside of her.

Activist Reiyoung Kim could not just sit still and watch the development of the nuclear power plants. He decided to act to let more people know about the dangers posed by the Kori nuclear plant.

Activist Junho Lee is a drummer in a rock band and a nature-lover who is actively engaged in environmental activities.

These five individuals are part of Greenpeace's tradition of non-violent direct action. They are part of a history of exposing environmental threats, putting their bodies on the line to bear witness and drive change.

Find out how you can get involved.

Daul Jang is the Project Leader for the Climate and Energy Campaign at Greenpeace East Asia in Seoul.

Read more [Greenpeace international]

Fukushima worker diagnosed with "acute" leukaemia due to radiation exposure

Japan's government confirms a worker has developed leukaemia as a result of working on the clean-up at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

There's terrible news from Japan today: Japan's health ministry announced that a worker involved in the clean-up of the destroyed nuclear reactors at Fukushima has been diagnosed with "acute" leukaemia due to his exposure to radiation.

According to the Washington Post, the man, who worked at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster site between 2012 and 2013, has "acute myelogenous leukaemia – a cancer of the blood and bone marrow". His condition is a direct result of him working at Fukushima. Our thoughts are with him and his family and we hope he is receiving the very best medical treatment Japan has to offer.

In the light of this sad news, many people have questions to answer.

Fukushima's owner and operator TEPCO has made firm commitments to the safety of its workers. "[T]he safety of the workers and employees who are involved in the decommissioning operation is the highest priority," says the company's website.

The company now has to acknowledge its measures have been proven to be inadequate.

Japan's President Abe also needs to examine his conscience. Mr Abe has made repeated assurances that the situation at Fukushima is "under control". His government is in the process of lifting restrictions in contaminated areas and forcing evacuees to return.

We now see how empty those assurances were. Lifting of restrictions need to be halted immediately.

Then there is the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and its complacent and premature assessment of the situation in Fukushima.

Only last month, the IAEA ignored major uncertainties and a lack of data in order to declare there would be no discernible health consequences as a result of the Fukushima disaster.

That was followed by the news that Professor Toshihide Tsuda of Okayama University has published a peer-reviewed study showing an increase of thyroid cancer in children who were younger than 18 and living in the area at the time of the disaster.

The Japanese government, TEPCO and the IAEA now need to move and move quickly.

What is being done to identify and help other workers who also may be affected? Safety procedures at Fukushima must be reviewed and radically improved as a matter of the utmost urgency.

Unsubstantiated and unscientific statements that downplay the long term impacts of the Fukushima disaster on people's health and the environment made by the IAEA and Japanese government must be retracted and re-examined.

The workers onsite and the citizens of Fukushima are suffering from the consequences of this nuclear disaster. Ignoring this reality denies their suffering and undermines their fight for justice for themselves and their families.

People's lives are at stake. Illness, propaganda, and false promises are poor rewards for the courageous workers of Fukushima and the evacuees suffering through no fault of their own.

Justin McKeating is a nuclear blogger for Greenpeace International, based in the UK.

Read more [Greenpeace international]

Japan acknowledges possible radiation casualty at Fukushima nuclear plant

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan on Tuesday acknowledged the first possible casualty from radiation at the wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant, a worker who was diagnosed with cancer after the crisis broke out in 2011.

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Second reactor restart: Japan pushes forward with obsolete and risky nuclear power

Today's restart of the Sendai 2 nuclear reactor shows yet again President Abe's disregard for public safety as his government clings to outdated and risky nuclear power.

Here's the thing: Neither of the two nuclear reactors recently restarted at Japan's Sendai nuclear power plant are needed. The country has just enjoyed nearly two years of being nuclear-free. Contrary to the fear-mongering predictions of an energy crisis, it simply didn't happen. The trains still ran, everyone's lights turned on, their smartphones stayed charged.

Prime Minister Abe's energy policy has been shown to be an utter failure. Rather than paving the way for renewable energy, his administration has instead erected roadblocks, has maintained an unrealistic commitment to risky nuclear reactors, and has chosen to push forward with dirty fossil fuels.

Today's restart of the Sendai 2 nuclear reactor only serves to put the Japanese people at increased unacceptable and unnecessary risk.

In giving the green light for the restart, Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) has once more betrayed the public trust by ignoring significant safety issues as well as both their own and international guidelines.

The NRA approved an assessment by Sendai's operator Kyushu Electric Power which excluded major seismic risks at the plant and violated the NRA's own post-Fukushima safety guidelines. On top of that, analysis commissioned by Greenpeace this year showed that the NRA also accepted a flawed volcano risk analysis from Kyushu Electric Power about the active volcano Mount Sakurajima, just 50km from Sendai.

Instead of protecting the public as it is supposed to, the NRA has given in to pressure from President Abe and the nuclear industry. It needs to remember who it's supposed to be serving: people not the utilities' bottom line.

Of course, supporters of nuclear power will hail this as another victory when it's nothing of the kind. In reality, despite massive pressure from the politically-powerful nuclear utilities, the dogged support of the Abe government and ruling political party, and the PR campaigns of pro-nuclear international agencies – like the IAEA – to minimize the public opinion impact of the Fukushima disaster, Japan has only two reactors online four and a half years after the beginning of the ongoing nuclear crisis.

While the number of operating reactors in Japan should be zero, the fact that these powerful entities have only been successful in restarting two out of a one-time fleet of 54 is a testament to the strength of the public opposition to the restart of Japan's nuclear fleet. All Japanese nuclear utilities are facing insurmountable safety issues at their power plants together with mounting political, public, and legal challenges.

Abe and the nuclear industry are stuck in the past, leaving the country without leadership to cope with the challenges of the present. Just look at the government target of nuclear power generating 22 percent of Japan's electricity by 2030. It's complete fantasy.

An analysis released by Greenpeace in April 2015 shows that the amount electricity generated by nuclear will far more likely be between 2 and 8 percent.

You only have to look at Japan's 43 remaining shuttered nuclear reactors to see why. They have multiple safety issues, such as seismic faults located at reactor sites and the fact these reactors are rapidly aging. This, together with public opposition, means many reactors are likely to be shut down permanently.

To make matters more difficult for nuclear, the liberalisation of Japan's electricity market in 2016 will expose large nuclear utilities to competition, especially from the country's clean, safe and rapidly expanding renewable energy industry.

Nuclear energy simply cannot and will not make any significant contribution to Japan's energy mix, now or in the foreseeable future. So why isn't Japan's government creating policies that support the transition to safe, clean renewable energy rather than risking the safety of Japanese citizens with dangerous and outdated nuclear energy?

Meanwhile, the people living close to the Sendai reactors have fought – and will keep fighting – for their right to live free from the threat posed by nuclear power.

At the end of April this year, a request for an injunction against the restart of Sendai was rejected by the courts. The plaintiffs filed an appeal of the decision shortly afterwards on May 6th. While the injunction appeal process continues, the main court case against the operation of the Sendai reactors is ongoing. The next court hearing on the case is scheduled for December 10th. The fight on Sendai is far from over.

Justin McKeating is a nuclear blogger for Greenpeace International, based in the UK.

Read more [Greenpeace international]

The insane plan to expand the world’s biggest nuclear plant

Over 3 million people live within 30 km of what is set to become the largest nuclear power plant in South Korea and the world. So why is the government expanding nuclear and locking out safe, clean renewables?

Two inflatables with ten courageous and committed activists from around the world departed this morning to protest the expansion of the Kori Nuclear Power Plant, near Busan. They are taking action to highlight the risk of nuclear power and the urgent need to transition to clean, safe renewables.

The situation at Kori is insane, and it's only getting worse. Here's why the need for action is so urgent.

1. When the next unit is expected to go online next month, it will become the world's largest nuclear power plant in terms of installed capacity (6860MW) with 7 reactors in operation.

2. What is most disturbing is that there are around 3.4 million people living within the 30km zone around the plant. This compares to 160,000 in the case of Fukushima.

3. When the two planned reactors start operation by 2020, it will become the only nuclear power plant with 10 reactors and more than 10,000 MW in the world.

4. More reactors = more risk. One of the critical lessons from the disastrous Fukushima disaster is that multiple reactors means increased risk.


5. Since beginning operation in 1978, the plant has continuously encountered problems including malfunctions, lack of safety regulations and poor maintenance. In February 2012 a complete station blackout was deliberately concealed by the high level decision makers at the Kori plant, only to be reported to the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission (NSCC), South Korea's regulatory body, a month later.

We aim to expose the intolerable risk of adding two more reactors to the world's largest nuclear power plant and the threat it poses to the general public and the citizens of Busan. The future is renewables. We've already helped convince one big company in South Korea to switch to 100% renewable energy – so what is the South Korean government waiting for? Out with the old, and in with the new!

It's time to switch on renewables and abandon costly, dangerous nuclear.

Daul Jang is the Project Leader for the Climate and Energy Campaign at Greenpeace East Asia in Seoul.

Read more [Greenpeace international]

EU regulators wave through UK nuclear waste clean-up price plan

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Britain won EU regulatory approval on Friday for a pricing model to set the cost of disposing of nuclear waste that environmentalists say is too generous to nuclear power plant operators and punishing for taxpayers.

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Nature thrives in Chernobyl, site of worst nuclear disaster

LONDON, Oct 5 (Reuters) - - Some 30 years after the world's worst nuclear accident blasted radiation across Chernobyl, the site has evolved from a disaster zone into a nature reserve, teeming with elk, deer and wolves, scientists said on Monday.

Read more [Reuters]

Green energy, not nuclear the way to go: German official

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Green energy is cheap in the long run and clean compared to "dirty" coal and costly nuclear power, a senior German energy official said on the sidelines of a Cape Town conference, at a time when South Africa plans to expand atomic power generation.

Read more [Reuters]

International Atomic Energy Agency’s Fukushima Report puts the interests of the nuclear industry first

The recently released IAEA Fukushima Daiichi Accident Report on Japan’s on-going nuclear disaster in the wake of the 2011 triple reactor core meltdowns and catastrophic containment building failure reads more like nuclear industry propaganda than the so-called authoritative and balanced scientific assessment the agency attempts to claim it is.

The report draws conclusions when it should be highlighting major uncertainties and a lack of data surrounding the Fukushima disaster. It downplays the ongoing environmental and health effects of the disaster and misrepresents the current radiological crisis in the Fukushima region.

It’s clear that the IAEA is putting the interests of the nuclear industry before those of the disaster’s many victims. Its report does not accurately reflect the utter failure of the nuclear industry, and most nuclear regulators globally, to learn and implement the lessons of the Fukushima disaster. Not only that, it glosses over the seriously flawed nature of nuclear safety regulation in Japan right now.

And so Greenpeace Japan, together with Japanese civil society organisations, has sent a letter to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano, challenging the conclusions of the IAEA’s Fukushima report as inadequate and flawed.

The IAEA says no discernible health consequences are expected as a result of the Fukushima disaster. This, while it admits uncertainties about both radiation exposure and its long-term effects.

The truth is that nobody knows how much radiation citizens were exposed to in the immediate days following the disaster. If the IAEA can’t give accurate figures about radiation exposure, how can it say there won’t be any consequences? This is political spin and PR, not science.

Not only that, but the report supports the Japanese government’s agenda to make it appear that things can return to normal after a nuclear disaster.

Why else would the IAEA seek to justify Japanese government policy of lifting evacuation orders in increasingly contaminated areas in Fukushima? This strips returning evacuees of much needed and deserved compensation and may force many to return to areas where radiation levels remain dangerously high.

This is all part of the propaganda push to overcome huge public opposition in Japan to restarting Japan’s 42 shutdown nuclear reactors. It’s about normalising the Fukushima disaster. There is nothing normal about the exposure rates that former Fukushima citizens are being asked to return to. 

Only a truly independent international commission that can investigate the causes, consequences, and implications of the accident can provide the Japanese people and the wider world with the unbiased information and accountability they need.

The nuclear industry will continue putting profit before people and safety – that’s what it does. But the IAEA should begin protecting people from the nuclear industry, not acting as its PR company. Justice demands it.

Justin McKeating is a nuclear blogger for Greenpeace International, based in the UK.

Read more [Greenpeace international]

Renewable energy for all. Is it possible?

A world powered 100% by renewables seems like a faraway fantasy. But is it actually possible?

"100% renewables!"

It's a buzz-phrase that loves being thrown around by environmentalists, passionate protesters and science geeks alike. From activists, to companies or start-ups spruiking their latest eco-powered device, renewable anything is a steadily growing industry.

If you're reading this then you already know the motivation behind this growing trend. Climate change, pollution, increasingly warm oceans, water and food shortages – these are just some of the factors that are driving us towards an energy poor world. If we continue towards this path we could be living in a world reminiscent of Total Recall – an oxygen starved "Waterworld" with only a handful of habitable cities. With fossil fuels being one of the biggest drivers behind climate change we know that if we change our practices now and turn to renewables we can keep within the 2 degrees safety limit that scientists warn us about.

But 100% renewable energy? Really? Don’t we need just a little bit of coal/nuclear power to keep the world spinning?

Greenpeace International, in collaboration with the Institute of Engineering Thermodynamics, Systems Analysis & Technology Assessment at the German Aerospace Center, have just made the impossible possible. A 100% renewable energy world by 2050, and it could start in as little as three months from now with a binding agreement at the COP 21 conference in Paris. According to the report, what we need is:

"A strong, long-term goal, phasing out fossil fuels and nuclear power by 2050 through a just transition to 100% renewable energy, as well as the protection and restoration of forests."

What's more, not only is this transition possible, but it will create jobs and is cost-competitive, with the necessary investment more than covered by savings in future fuel costs. The average additional investment needed in renewables until 2050 is about $1 trillion a year. Because renewables don't require fuel, the savings are $1.07 trillion a year, so they more than meet the costs of the required investment.

In jobs, the solar industry could employ 9.7 million people by 2030, more than 10 times as many as it does today, and equal to the number currently employed in the coal industry.

Already, the seemingly major polluting countries are seeing the investment in renewables. In 2014, for the first time in 40 years, global energy-related CO2 emissions remained stable in spite of continued economic growth, thanks mainly to declining coal consumption in China.

Entrepreneurs – from the university educated to the village Einsteins – are coming up with clever ways to power and profit using nature's gift; and almost every day there's a "world first" – from a completely solar powered airport to a country running (almost) completely on renewables.

We also know that renewables have the potential to power up (pun intended) economies, and our "Solarize Greece" crowd-funding campaign is an example of how we're helping to rid the country of the burden of fossil fuels that are holding it down economically and for Greece to fight its way back out of the crisis.

Slowly but surely the world is waking up to the stark reality that fossil fuels are a finite resource with renewables being an additional economic and employment boost. What's more is that there are no major economic or technical barriers to moving towards 100% renewable energy by 2050.

So, maybe the fantasy isn’t so far off anymore.

Take action. Join the Energy [R]evolution!

Shuk-Wah Chung is a Content Editor at Greenpeace East Asia.

Read more [Greenpeace international]

The Story of Greenpeace & the story Greenpeace tells

The documentary film How To Change the World has just splashed out on cinema screens in nine countries. It is by far the best telling of the origin story of Greenpeace I've ever seen, and I've seen a few. As someone who has been with the organisation since 1982 – nearly three quarters of Greenpeace's life and more than half of my own, I've been reflecting on what's different and what's unchanged today from the organisation I joined. To answer that, I have to begin at the beginning.

It was the winter of 1980. I was living in a cabin in the woods with no electricity, no running water, no TV. WiFi and internet were yet to be invented. The snow had been piling up for weeks, and what was normally a couple hour's hike to the nearest town and back could no longer be completed in the little daylight New Hampshire had to spare in January. I was running low on supplies. But worse, I was running out of books. When I had finished reading everything I'd brought with me and started on the modest shelf left behind by the owner and the cabin's seasonal occupants, I picked up something that would change my world. Despite being as far out of the media mainstream as anyone could be, I got hit right between the eyes with a "mind bomb" that had been detonated ten years earlier.

The book I picked up that day was Bob Hunter's Warriors of the Rainbow. It was the story of the founding of an environmental activist group I had never heard of before called "Greenpeace." I was mesmerised.

Here was a group going out and confronting some of the greatest forces on the planet, exposing environmental abuse where it was happening, packaging up those stories for the medium of the day, television, and hurling them into the zeitgeist like cultural hand grenades full of dandelion seeds.

Whether it was a boatload of peace activists sailing into the forbidden zone around a nuclear weapons test site or a tiny rubber boat defying a harpoon or mud-covered monkey-wrenchers shutting down a toxic waste pipe, they were creating simple, black and white stories of ordinary people who believed a better world was possible, standing up against the impossibly powerful forces of militarism, social conformity, and profit-at-any-cost capitalism.

Like artists, they were amplifying the weak signals so many were picking up on that something was amiss with our relationship with nature. It's hard to believe today that this was once a genuinely new idea.

Every one of those stories, implicitly or explicitly, asked a simple question: There's the harpoon, there's the activist. What's going to happen next? And which side are you on?

When I answered that question, I took a step over an invisible line. I became an activist. Millions of people did the same in reaction to the stories that Greenpeace told, the work of Rachel Carson, Edward Abbey, the Sierra Club, CND, artists, singers, culture hackers and relentless investigative journalism that exposed atrocities of human suffering and inhumane abuses of nature. On the back of all of that, a movement was born.

Bob's story of Greenpeace's beginnings is now being retold in Jerry Rothwell's award-winning documentary, How to Change the World. It's the story of a rag-tag mission to stop an American nuclear weapon test in Vancouver's backyard and how it became one of the world's most powerful environmental organisations. One which was forged in the oppositional politics of the North American anti-war movement, tempered with the social upheaval of a global youth rebellion, and infused with the mystic hippy conviction that alternate realities co-exist with and can sometimes overtake the monolithic consensual hallucination we call "the way things are." Both the book and the film are endearing, and enchanting, glimpses into the brilliant and bumbling adventures of a group of friends, "not all of them brave or good," as they literally set course by following the moon and chasing rainbows, making history along the way.

Arguably, the naivety of which they were accused was their greatest strength: they were a bunch of young people who thought they could change the world. Not knowing any better, they did.

It's a story of a different time, and a different organisation.

Or is it? Over the course of my 34-year voyage under the Greenpeace flag, the world has changed profoundly. The cold war ended. Nuclear weapons tests, whose fallout was once declared "perfectly safe" (until it started showing up in children's teeth) are no longer a fortnightly global ritual. Antarctica was declared a land of peace and research, off limits to oil and gas exploration. Radioactive waste is no longer dumped into the sea. The commercial hunting of whales has been reduced to a tiny fraction of the former wholesale slaughter. The ozone hole is in retreat. Entire classes of toxic chemicals that were once simply dumped into rivers are now banned. Greenpeace and the work of hundreds of other organisations and the decisions of millions of individuals made these things happen, all sprung from the same inspiration that moved Bob and his bedraggled boatload of fellow activists.

And Greenpeace has certainly changed. Telex machines have given way to tweets. We speak to a globally connected audience in memes and viral video. Our ships can broadcast, live, from any ocean in the world rather than waiting weeks to deliver film rolls to shore. The organisation has spread from two North American offices that squabbled like teen agers to have presences on every continent with some of our most important work being done in China, Brazil, India, and Africa. We've learned, imperfectly, to squabble like adults.

We've also reaped the rewards, and paid the price, of becoming an institution in the global spotlight. Our name is a calling card that will get us in the door at most corporate headquarters — though often with an additional security check. Through the generosity of millions, we've been able to keep three ships and offices in 55 countries going without soliciting or accepting corporate funding. Greenpeace is the most recognised name in environmental activism, to the dismay of organisations that work for decades on an issue only to have Greenpeace get all the press, and to an entire movement's peril when we publically fail, as we sometimes do, to live up to the values we champion.

When I look at How To Change the World, I think the biggest shift is in that early, uneasy balance of power between what Bob called the "mystics" and the "mechanics." The mechanics won, hands down. The last time I saw a copy of the I-Ching on a Greenpeace ship it was my own. Spiritual journeys or magical coincidences — beyond the occasional rainbow's arrival on the scene at precisely the right time — tend to be kept below the decks and under the table rather than being a part of planning meetings. Maximizing wind power, fuel efficiency, overheads, and arriving on time in a port are what determine our ships' courses these days. There's no chasing moonbeams, and there are fewer people about who would align themselves with Bob's belief that "We were part of a reflex, summoned to action by the Earth itself."

Greenpeace is an organisation dedicated to change, and one which has perennially changed itself to meet changing times. Steve Sawyer, a former Greenpeace leader and mentor to many Greenpeace activists of my generation remembers talk of the "good old days" as far back as the 70s. But to my thinking, there's one thing that hasn't shifted a millimeter from when we started, and that's the story at the core of Greenpeace.

We may tell it in different voices, in different mediums, and through different actions. Where once we disdained the idea of ever taking our story to the boardrooms of our "enemies" or to any audience that required we wear a tie, we learned to work the levers of those strange machines. We learned the story was strong enough to go anywhere.

The Greenpeace story is simple. It's this: We believe a better, more sustainable world is possible, and that brave collective and individual action can bring it to life. What we say today is exactly what we said in 1972: we can change the way we feed and fuel our world, we can live in greater harmony with our planet and ourselves. It's that simple.

If there's a change in the wind these days, I'd say it's being truer to that message than we ever have been. It's reminding ourselves collectively that what binds us all together, whether we got involved thirty years or three days ago, is the fierce optimism of belief that change is possible, despite the apparent odds.

When it comes to real change, the long view is the only one that matters. Whether it was the overthrow of Apartheid, India's struggle for independence, the civil rights or women's suffrage movements, every one of those movements was once dedicated to a seemingly impossible goal. Greenpeace has been an effective voice of alarm, a voice of anger, a voice of "no," a voice of "stop." The world is heeding, albeit too slowly, that warning. At some point, however, shouting "FIRE" in a burning building starts to get in the way of actually putting it out, if that's all you do. Today, we're more defined by what we stand against than what we stand for. Yet at it's core, the story we tell is fundamentally one of hope, optimism, creativity, and courage. What does the green and peaceful future we want actually look like? That's a question I would love to see all of us who believe in a better future tackle together.

A friend reminded me the other day of William Gibson's saying that "the future is already here, it's just not very evenly distributed." A future which can support 7 billion people without destroying our future is already out there. It lives in Elon Musk's decision to open source the Tesla electric car and the "Powerwall" batteries which will enable intermittent renewable sources to reliably power entire buildings. It lives in Costa Rica's decision to abolish its military and repurpose its resources toward health and education. It lives in the Guardian's "Keep it in the Ground" fossil fuel divestment campaign – a thrilling acknowledgment that truth-tellers have a social obligation to activism when it comes to global peril. It lives in adventures like the Solar Impulse's historic crossing of the Pacific in a sun-powered plane without a drop of fuel, in ambitious prototypes like solar bike paths and solar roadways, in buildings fitted with vertical organic farms to feed their occupants, in the sharing economy, in the global investment community that added more new renewable energy capacity last year than oil, coal, and gas combined.

All that evidence reminds us that the most relevant lesson from How To Change the World to Greenpeace today is rule #5: Let the Power Go. As Paul Watson says in the documentary, "The real lesson of those days is that a small group of people can make a difference without many resources." That's never been truer than today. New ideas can travel the world at the speed of thought. Government policy and corporate behaviour can be changed by a few inspired people and a hashtag.

Any force strong enough to truly change the world won't be harnessed or held. It has to be unleashed. The power to change our future doesn't reside with Greenpeace, the environmental institution, it resides with every human being confronted with the fiercely urgent evidence that we need to embrace transformational change, or perish in our commitment to business as usual.

The forces of an entrenched status quo, be they oil companies, coal barons, or the beneficiaries of an economic system more attuned to greed than need will tell us that change is impossible. That it's too expensive. That it's naive. That those hippies in that documentary were wrong, misguided.

The forces that believe a better world is possible say otherwise. We say that when people in large numbers come to believe change is possible, change becomes possible.

Which side are you on?

Brian Fitzgerald is a Story Advisor at Greenpeace International.

Read more [Greenpeace international]

German utilities defend nuclear provisions after report

FRANKFURT/BERLIN (Reuters) - German utilities rebutted a media report that nuclear operators could be as much as 30 billion euros ($34 billion) short in their provisioning for waste disposal.

Read more [Reuters]

German energy firms need to set aside more money for nuclear exit - Spiegel Online

BERLIN (Reuters) - German energy companies are short of as much as 30 billion euros ($34 billion) of the money they need to set aside to build a safe disposal site for nuclear waste as part of the country's exit from nuclear power, Spiegel Online reported on Monday.

Read more [Reuters]

World nuclear capacity set to grow by 45 percent by 2035

LONDON (Reuters) - Global nuclear power generation capacity could increase by more than 45 percent in the next 20 years but the pace of growth will still fall short of what is needed to curb climate change, an industry organization report showed on Thursday.

Read more [Reuters]

How to Change the World: Film review

Greenpeace has been documented in hundreds of books, films, television specials, magazine articles, blogs, university courses and doctoral dissertations. On 9 September, in some 600 cinemas in the UK and US, Picturehouse and Met Films release their new Greenpeace documentary, How to Change the World. This film, by director Jerry Rothwell, may be the best, most insightful film document yet made about the motivations, inspirations, challenges, and ultimate success of Greenpeace, which introduced non-violent, direct action to restore and preserve Earth's ecosystems.

The film has been seven years in the making. Rothwell uncovered hundreds of hours of original 16mm film footage from the 1970s, and selected historic, previously unseen moments from the creation of Greenpeace.

Since its beginning, Greenpeace has been a large, extended family. Nevertheless, the film is based on the written memoirs of Greenpeace co-founder Bob Hunter. He was certainly not alone in conceiving of an "ecology movement" on the scale of the peace and civil rights movements, but it is appropriate that this film follows his story.

Friends and family remember Hunter, who passed away in 2005, as a visionary. He saw the shape of an ecology movement before most people had ever heard the word. He wrote groundbreaking journalism, coined the term "mind bomb" to describe using media to inculcate ideas into human culture at the largest scale, and he helped fashion the Greenpeace tradition of creative direct action.

Rex Weyler, John Cormack, and Bob Hunter on board the Phyllis Cormack. 1 Jun, 1975

His two early books The Storming of the Mind and The Enemies of Anarchy provide brilliant analysis of the 1960s global social revolution and the impact of emerging electronic media. He chronicled Greenpeace's early years in Warriors of the Rainbow, won a Canadian governor general's award for Occupied Canada, and provided an intimate exploration of youthful angst in his novel, Erebus.

I worked with Hunter for a decade as a journalist and Greenpeace activist. He was not an organizational man, but he possessed genuine leadership, a talent for encouraging participation, devising dramatic protests, and making activism fun.

How to Change the World premiered at the Sundance film festival this spring, where it won the special jury award for editing and the candescent award for best social change documentary. The film earned top ten audience favourite honours at Hot Docs 2015, and best feature honours at both the Sebastopol and EcoFilm festivals.

Starting in 1971, the film follows the small band of friends from Vancouver, Canada, sailing into nuclear test zones, blockading Russian whaling ships, disrupting the Canadian harp seal slaughter, and launching the modern environmental movement.

The extended family is often in dispute with itself, ridiculed and mocked by outsiders, and nearly torn apart by competing egos. Through all of this, we witness the challenges of changing society, the resistance of the status quo, and the very human frailties of the heroes and heroines.

Later this fall, the film will appear on Sky networks in the UK, on Netflix in the US, and other cable networks internationally.

For more information about this film, please visit

Rex Weyler is an author, journalist and co-founder of Greenpeace International.

Read more [Greenpeace international]

VIDEO: Watch Greenpeace prank Finland's prime minister

See what happened when a Greenpeace activist turned himself into a representative of Russian nuclear company Rosatom and participated in a gala dinner with the Finnish prime minister.

The Tsar Bomba our guy Dima speaks about in the video is the nickname for the AN602 hydrogen bomb, the most powerful nuclear weapon ever detonated. Its test on 30 October, 1961 remains the most powerful artificial explosion in human history.

What does this have to do with our campaign? Well, Rosatom and Russia are celebrating their 70-year nuclear journey. They have an exhibition of Russian nuclear technology in Moscow and the main piece on display there is a replica of this gigantic A-bomb.

So we built a replica of the Tsar Bomba that we call Fenno Bomba (Fennovoima is the name of the new nuclear plant that Rosatom is building in Finland). Then a team of our activists dressed up and took our Fenno Bomba in the very door step of a gala dinner organised by Fennovoima. There they gave leaflets and presented the Fenno Bomba to the guests (including the Finnish prime minister).

The gala was attended also by a "representative" of Russia's Rosatom. After the prime minister made his speech, the Russian wanted to say a few words. The rest is already a legend.

We wanted to highlight the absurdity of the fact that Finland is building a new nuclear plant with a Russian nuclear company Rosatom that displays a gigantic bomb as a proof of its nuclear know-how. 

Our action shows the farce of the Fennovoima nuclear project, but sadly the truth is even more unbelievable. The project is highly controversial, and has run into many problems before reaching the stage where it's still waiting for the building permit. Core issues include weak ownership, lack of financing and zero credibility, both in Fennovoima and its main business partner Rosatom.

Justin McKeating is a nuclear blogger for Greenpeace International, based in the UK.

Read more [Greenpeace international]

The bombing of the Rainbow Warrior: 30 years later, the first apology

Only a few months ago, Greenpeace supporters worldwide marked the 30-year anniversary of the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior, when French government agents used limpet mines to sink the ship in Auckland, killing Portuguese photographer Fernando Pereira.

But it came as a surprise when Jean-Luc Kister, one of the agents responsible for the attack, apologised in an interview with New Zealand TV channel TVNZ and on the French news site Mediapart (French), on Sunday.

The apology came three decades late, and from just one of the agents responsible, but confirms that the attack was a deliberate act of violence against the ship and its crew during their protests against French nuclear testing in the South Pacific.

Pete Willcox, who was captain of the ship at the time - and who is skipper on board the new Rainbow Warrior in the Pacific right now, as it campaigns against human slavery and overfishing in the tuna industry – reacted:

"I felt that Kister was sincere in his apology last night. And I accept it. We are all human, and we all make mistakes. People and governments alike.

"But Mr Kister was a part of state sponsored terrorism, and there can be no quibbling on this. This includes the late President Mitterrand and the rest of the team that both planned and executed the crime.

"Mr Kister wants us to believe that they were incompetent when they planted the bombs on the Rainbow Warrior, and that they never meant to kill anyone. I believe they were indifferent, not incompetent.

"What did they think would happen? They blew a 2 x 2.5 meter hole in the hull below the waterline. The boat sank in about 45 seconds. About one minute after the first bomb, the second bomb that killed Fernando went off. This was a highly trained military team. Could they really have been that bad at their job? They could have used, and I am guessing here, one quarter of the explosives, and sunk the boat, giving us time to get off.

"There is no doubt in my mind that had the bombs gone off 30 minutes sooner, we would have lost the dozen or so persons who were left from the meeting of the Peace Fleet crews in the cargo hold. They would have never have had time to get off.

"And I can not forget how this event tore a hole in the life of the Pereira family that has never healed."

In a statement (French), Jean-François Julliard, Executive Director of Greenpeace France, said:

"The French government’s planned bombing of the Rainbow Warrior was thirty years ago. Sadly, decades passed before just one of the agents responsible for the bombing apologised.

"While the deadly bombing did manage to sink our ship that day, it never managed to knock the courage a movement of millions still calling for a green and peaceful future.

"This confession confirms what Greenpeace always known to be true: the death of Fernando Pereira and the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior was a deliberate act of violence.

"This confession is a reminder to all that aim to silence the call for a better world – and all who seek to repress peaceful mobilisation with violence – that you cannot halt the courage of millions and you can never sink a rainbow."

Pete Willcox added: "While Mr Kister has apologised last night, the government of France, on behalf of the French state, never has – not to Greenpeace; not to the Pereira family. We are done asking. It up is to them."

The website CourageWorks is dedicated to the memory of Fernando Pereira and to the rest of the 1985 crew of the Rainbow Warrior.

Watch the 2005 documentary about the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior, The Boat and the Bomb here. Or watch the teaser here.

More info on the history of the bombing can be found here.

Tom Lowe is Multimedia Editor at Greenpeace International.

Read more [Greenpeace international]

The potential of wind power

Imagine an advanced, industrialised country with a sophisticated economy and high energy needs being powered just by renewable energy. To be precise, wind power.

This isn't some futuristic vision. It's already happened. For a short time in July, 140 percent of Denmark's electricity demand was met by wind farms. So much power was generated, Denmark was able to sell the surplus to Germany, Norway and Sweden.

Admittedly, it was an unusually windy day. But it shows the potential of wind power, which is the fastest-growing renewable energy. Greenpeace believes wind power could provide 20% of global energy needs by 2030, if governments take the right decisions to reduce fossil fuel-based energies.

Wind farms are sprouting across the world, from the US to Europe to China – the number of wind turbines have quadrupled in the last eight years. Wind power is the third largest source of electricity in China, providing more energy than nuclear. It's central to President Obama's Clean Power Act and some European countries are exceeding their targets for wind-powered energy.

Most wind turbines are on land, but there are ambitious plans for huge wind farms at sea where winds are stronger and more persistent, so even more electricity can be produced.

And with that expansion, costs are tumbling. The cost of using wind power to produce electricity has more than halved in the last five years, and even without subsidies it's now a cheaper alternative than coal and oil – which, in any case, continue to benefit from huge subsidies around the world.

So with technology improving and costs falling, orders are surging and the wind turbine makers are seeing record profits.

Every region of the world can benefit from wind resources. The US alone has enough wind potential to supply its energy needs three times over.

All that's required is the political will, and technological vision, to achieve a wind revolution.

Joanna Mills is a Communications Strategist for Greenpeace International.

Read more [Greenpeace international]

Solar power supplies 10 percent of Japan peak summer power: Asahi

TOKYO (Reuters) - Solar power generation contributed to about 10 percent of peak summer power supplies of Japan's nine major utilities, equivalent to more than 10 nuclear reactors, the Asahi newspaper reported on Thursday.

Read more [Reuters]

Washington state sues U.S. over toxic vapors at nuclear waste site

SEATTLE (Reuters) - The U.S. government has failed to adequately safeguard crews involved in the decades-long cleanup of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state, leaving workers sickened by exposure to toxic vapors, the state said in a lawsuit filed on Wednesday.

Read more [Reuters]

Nuclear is not the answer to the phase-out of fossil fuels

A hundred and sixty thousand people made homeless, with limited compensation and the prospect for many tens of thousands of never returning to their former homes.

That's not the cost of a war, but of the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan. The financial cost alone could well be more than half a trillion dollars.

Broken lives and contaminated land. Is that the future we want in order to keep the lights on?

The nuclear power industry wants to think so, especially with the world waking up to the climate-related dangers of fossil fuels. It's trying to use climate change as an excuse to save and even expand its ailing business.

Most of the reactors which are operating in Europe, the US, Russia and Japan are coming to the end of their lives. No precise cost is known – but decommissioning costs could well reach $ 200 billion over the next 25 years. Even the International Energy Agency, which promotes nuclear power, says there are lots of uncertainties about how much the final bill will be.

New nuclear power stations routinely go way over budget and behind schedule during construction, locking consumers into higher energy bills.

And then there's the environmental cost. The world has built more than 430 commercial nuclear reactors since the start of the nuclear era, and we still don't know how to deal with the waste. There is more than 350 thousand tonnes of spent nuclear fuel rods, highly reactive and with a very long half-life – which means it will remain a threat for thousands of years. And yet, to date, no country has built a permanent facility to store it safely.

It's hard to think of anything more reckless.

The nuclear industry is in trouble. Globally it has been in decline for two decades – currently producing less than 11% of the world's electricity – and 4.4% of primary energy. That's the lowest since 1984.  

France (the European country which relies most on nuclear energy) has committed to reducing its share from 75% to 50% by 2025; Germany has committed to a complete phase-out of nuclear energy by 2022; and Japan's nuclear industry remains in crisis after the triple meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi in 2011, with one reactor operating and 42 shutdown.

The nuclear industry must not be allowed to use climate change to resurrect its business. Nuclear is not the answer to the phase-out of fossil fuels.

We should not be conned into accepting one environmental threat on the premise that it will avert another, when a future free of both nuclear and dangerous climate change is possible through the speedy deployment and development of renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency.


  • "350,000 tonnes of highly-radioactive spent nuclear fuel rods - and nowhere to permanently store it. The true cost and legacy of nuclear energy"

Joanna Mills is a Communications Strategist for Greenpeace International.

Read more [Greenpeace international]

Japan nuclear power outlook bleak despite first reactor restart

TOKYO (Reuters) - The number of Japanese nuclear reactors likely to restart in the next few years has halved, hit by legal challenges and worries about meeting tougher safety standards imposed in the wake of the Fukushima disaster, a Reuters analysis shows.

Read more [Reuters]

Japan nuclear power outlook bleak despite first reactor restart

TOKYO (Reuters) - The number of Japanese nuclear reactors likely to restart in the next few years has halved, hit by legal challenges and worries about meeting tougher safety standards imposed in the wake of the Fukushima disaster, a Reuters analysis shows.

Read more [Reuters]

Ex Schröder Aide on 9/11: 'We Thought the Americans Would Overreact'

Michael Steiner was in Prague in 1989 and at Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's side on Sept. 11, 2001. In an interview, he tells SPIEGEL how the US considered a nuclear attack on Afghanistan and about finding a bug in his phone at the Chancellery.
Read more [Spiegel Online]

Back from golf course, Obama tees up renewable energy, Iran

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama, fresh from vacation and nine rounds of golf in Martha’s Vineyard, launched into a busy two weeks promoting renewable energy and his nuclear deal with Iran.

Read more [Reuters]

Back from golf course, Obama tees up renewable energy, Iran

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama, fresh from vacation and nine rounds of golf on Martha’s Vineyard, is launching into a busy two weeks promoting renewable energy and his nuclear deal with Iran.

Read more [Reuters]

Evacuation advisory lifted for Japan volcano near nuclear plant

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's southwestern city of Kagoshima on Saturday lifted an evacuation advisory on three areas within a 3-km (two-mile) radius of an active volcano 50 km (30 miles) from the Sendai nuclear plant that restarted operations last week.

Read more [Reuters]

Volcano poses no threat to the Sendai nuclear plant – yep, we’ve heard that one before

After being nuclear free for two years, Japan is restarting its reactors. But there’s a problem – they’re old, unsafe, and oh, did we tell you there’s an active volcano nearby?

At the southwestern tip of Japan in Kagoshima Prefecture, sea turtles swim to shore between May and August each year, and dig into the sandy beach to spawn their eggs. Out of hundreds, only a few will hatch, and the newly born turtles will climb onto the sand and swim into the ocean to begin their new life cycle.

Among the deep blue sea, rolling green hills and beautiful big sky, it’s one of nature’s most precious attractions. But there’s one unnatural, glaring sight placed on the shoreline – a giant nuclear power plant.

The Sendai Nuclear Power Plant is the first reactor to reopen since the devastating Fukushima Daiichi disaster in March 2011. Sitting on the southern coast with an “ocean view” its two massive cylindrical structures are painted with a blue and green wave – presumably to “match” the surrounding environment. But the locals are not impressed. After Fukushima, tens of thousands of people were forced to evacuate, emptying entire villages. As a result, Japan closed all of its reactors and re-evaluated safety standards and procedures. Locals know the danger of having a nuclear facility right at their doorstep, and they want it shut down.

Having only been reopened on August 11 this year, the Sendai Nuclear Power Plant already poses a threat. Mount Sakurajima, one of Japan’s most active volcanoes situated 50 km near the Plant, is showing signs of an imminent large eruption. Residents have been warned to evacuate and the Meteorological Agency has raised the warning level from level 3 to 4. The highest is 5, which means necessary evacuation.

Sakurajima Volcano is 50km away from the Sendai Nuclear Power Plant (Photo: Masaya Noda)

Despite this, the government, the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), and Kyushu Electric Power Co., which runs the Sendai nuclear facility have all ignored warnings and have said operations will be as normal. But with the majority of people in Japan being opposed to nuclear, the stories from those who have experienced a nuclear disaster exposes the truth.

At demonstrations opposing the opening of the Sendai Plant at the beginning of the month, I met Ms Masumi Kowata, a teacher from Okuma town in Fukushima. When the Great Tohoku Earthquake happened, the event that triggered the Fukushima disaster, she told me about how a large number of people died because of lung cancer, illness and even suicide.

 Ms Masumi Kowata speaking at the Sendai nuclear plant protests

An ex-student of hers, who was working at the Fukushima nuclear plant when the earthquake hit, said to Ms Kowata, “The pipes of the nuclear plant are becoming a mess. A friend got trapped and died. I couldn’t help.”

The former student was forced to leave behind his friend. Ms Kowata grappled with the student’s pain. How many people were living in the pain that the Fukushima disaster had caused? How many have lost their lives because of the Fukushima disaster? How many more lives will be lost because of nuclear disasters?

Standing with the 2000 or so protesters I join their calls; and from my work at Greenpeace I know the cold, hard truth: our analysis has shown that even without lava reaching the plant, volcanic ash from a large eruption could cause a major nuclear disaster at the site. What is very clear is that this risk is totally unnecessary, and completely unacceptable.

Greenpeace Japan campaigner, Mamoru Sekiguchi, protests with local people in front of the Sendai nuclear plant on 11 August, 2015

We have operated without a single reactor online for almost two years. Sendai should be shut down immediately in light of the increased volcanic activity. Rather than putting citizens at risk of yet another nuclear disaster, Japan’s Abe government should be leading the way to a safe, clean, renewable energy future.

By Mamoru Sekiguchi, Greenpeace Japan Energy Campaigner in Tokyo

Read more [Greenpeace international]

Japan nuclear utility says no special precautions over volcano

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese utility Kyushu Electric Power said on Monday that it was monitoring activity at a volcano near its Sendai nuclear plant, but did not need to take any special precautions after authorities warned of the risk of a larger-than-usual eruption.

Read more [Reuters]

Fukushima operator's mounting legal woes to fuel nuclear opposition

IWAKI, Japan (Reuters) - Four and a half years after the Fukushima disaster, and as Japan tentatively restarts nuclear power elsewhere, the legal challenges are mounting for the crippled plant's operator.

Read more [Reuters]

Japan raises warning level on volcano not far from nuclear plant

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan warned on Saturday that a volcano 50 km (31 miles) from a just-restarted nuclear reactor is showing signs of increased activity, and said nearby residents should prepare to evacuate.

Read more [Reuters]

Japan restarts reactor in test of Abe's nuclear policy

TOKYO/SATSUMASENDAI (Reuters) - Japan has restarted a nuclear reactor for the first time under new safety standards put in place since the Fukushima disaster in 2011, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe seeks to reassure a nervous public that the industry is now safe.

Read more [Reuters]

WWF-France is sad to announce the disappearance of Philippe Germa

Isabelle Autissier, Chairperson of WWF-France, the members of the Board as well as all our WWF family are deeply saddened by the announcement of Philippe Germa's sudden disappearance at sea.
In this difficult time, each and every member of our teams would like to issue their prayers and wishes to his family.

Philippe was passionate about oceans and the marine world, and was more than a leader from the environmental movement.  He was profoundly humanistic, passionate about his ecological vision and desire to leave a living planet to future generations.

Named Director General in February 2013, Philippe joined WWF-France originally in 2008 as a Board trustee, and then becoming Treasurer in 2012. During this time, he actively participated in the national debates in France on the energy transition, on behalf of WWF-France.

Early in his career in the 1970s, Philippe was already convinced that  environmental protection would be in the 21st century what the economy was in the previous century. 

He  joined the "Friends of the Earth".  In 1981, he actively participated in the presidential campaign of the green party.  He was the inspiration for the slogan "En vert et contre tous", and participated in the campaigns against nuclear power plants in France.

In May 1988, under the Michel Rocard government, Philippe Germa was  appointed Technical Advisor in the cabinet of the Minister of Environment.  He worked alongside the Minister for 5 years, where he was the communications advisor, as well as responsible for strategic dossiers including legislative reform to eliminate CFC, the elimination of phosphates from detergents, the decree on the creation of eco-organisms including "Eco-packaging", legislative reforms on water quality, and waste...

In 1993, he struck out into the world of green business and set up an environmental investment fund as part of the Dutch bank ABN Amro. The company, whose first managing director he was, was taken over by the Caisse des Dépôts, later renamed Natixis Environnement & Infrastructures and now manages €1.5 billion of investments across some 60 projects especially renewable energy and sustainable infrastructures.

In 1990, he participated in the creation of the « Ecology Generation » political party.  He was promoted to the rank of "Chevalier" of the French Legion of Honour in 2004.

As our friend and a friend of our Planet, we already miss Philippe terribly.

Read more [WWF]

Japan to restart reactor in test of Abe's nuclear policy

TOKYO/SATSUMASENDAI (Reuters) - Japan is due to switch on a nuclear reactor for the first time in nearly two years on Tuesday, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe seeks to reassure a nervous public that tougher standards mean the sector is now safe after the Fukushima disaster in 2011.

Read more [Reuters]

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