Anti-Nuke Rallies Urge for Closure of Indian Point

October 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

Anti-Nuke Rallies Urge for Closure of Indian Point

pg 14, 15,16


New York,NY– Last Saturday, October 1, 2011, mass rallies across theUnited Statesprotested the dangers of nuclear power. Since the devastating destruction of theFukushimaplants inJapanlast March, the urgent message from anti-nuclear forces here in this country is “it can happen here.” Billed as “A National Day of Action forAmerica’s Nuclear Free Future,” groups rallied in 16 cities from coast to coast. Organized protests happened in St. Petersburg, Fort Lauderdale and Fort Meyers in Florida, San Clemente and San Diego, California, Atlanta, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio, Asbury Park, New Jersey, Raleigh, North Carolina, and Virginia.

Here in New York City, some 300 people converged at Pier 95 to show their support and hear celebrated spokespersons urging to shut down nuclear plants, especially the Indian Point Nuclear Power plants, just 24 miles fromNew York City. Many claimed solidarity with “Occupy Wall Street” where 700 people were arrested as they attempted to cross theBrooklynBridge. Some from the Nuclear Free Future said they planned to join the Wall Street group later in the day. We are all about the same thing and we are connected to the Wall Street protests because whether its nuclear power or nuclear weapons, it’s all about corporate greed,” Dr.Helen Caldicott, co-founder of Physicians for Social Responsibility, told The Westchester Guardian before she publicly addressed the rally. The 73-year-old Caldicott has authored numerous books and spoken out against nuclear power and nuclear proliferation for four decades. Her public speech on Saturday was brief but highly charged.

“I’m fed up with this bloody industry. It’s a death industry. Forty percent of the European land mass is radioactive and will be for hundreds of years. Nuclear radiation never ceases and is in our food.” Caldicott slammed President Obama for supporting the nuclear industry.

Brent Blackwelder, former president of Friends of the Earth, and a senior environmental lobbyist inWashington D.C., warned about the daily affects of living within 50 miles of nuclear plants. He asked the audience “Will we be sending our kids to school with potassium iodine pills and a dosimeter?” (potassium iodide or KI pills are used to protect against thyroid cancer if exposed to radiation). Emotional testimonies by several Japanese speakers, mostly young women, about how the Japanese government was urging people living near Fukushima to show patriotic solidarity by eating local food probably contaminated with radioactivity. One woman who lives 400 miles from Fukushima said there was evidence of contamination in the soil of local, organic farms. John Hall famed singer / songwriter of the band Orleans and former New York congressman who represented the 19th district where the Indian Point twin reactors are located, serenaded protesters with both new and old songs about the dangers of nuclear power, including “Plutonium is forever” and his newest about Fukushima, “I Told You So.”

Hall, co-founder of Musicians United for Safe Energy (MUSE ), urged for the closure of Indian Point, which is currently in the final phases of the re-licensing process. Entergy, the owner of the reactors, applied to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC ) to renew their operating license in 2007, but there has been strong opposition from Governor Cuomo and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman against the license renewal application. Also speaking Saturday was Harvey Wasserman anti-nuclear activist, author of SOLAR TOPIA!: Our Green-Powered Earth, A.D. 2030, Kevin Kamps, Radioactive Waste Watchdog at Beyond Nuclear, Karl Grossman, investigative journalist, author, and professor at SU NY Old Westbury, recipient of the George Polk, James Aronson and John Peter Zenger Awards and Alice Slater, Founder of Abolition 2000, NY Director of Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and its UN representative.

The nationwide rally was the brainchild of Priscilla Star, executive director of Coalition Against Nukes. Star lives just downwind from the Millstone nuclear reactors in Waterford,CT, “We hear from Japanese people affected by Fukushima every day.  They’re afraid to abandon their homes and businesses, but afraid to stay,” she said. “They’re frightened for their children and it just breaks your heart.”

Star organized a massive outreach via a cyber network after the catastrophe atFukushima. Organizations who supported her effort include Shut Down Indian Point Now, Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition, Friends of the Earth, Sierra Club NYC, Greenpeace, Ralph Nader, NYPIRG, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Helen Caldicott Foundation, Beyond Nuclear, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation,Westchester Citizens Awareness Network, Time’s Up, ECOFEST, Rock the Reactors.


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