At events today in Westminster, and in Manchester on the 18th – 20th March, Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) and other groups are organising four high profile events highlighting the impacts of the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters and the alternatives of going ‘beyond nuclear’ to renewable energy alternatives. (1)
This evening in Portcullis House a number of leading experts and politicians will be speaking at the annual Westminster event commemorating the Fukushima disaster. The keynote speaker will be Professor Alexander Likhotal, the President and Chief Executive of Green Cross International, who will read out a speech on behalf of Mikhail Gorbachev, President of the Soviet Union at the time of the Chernobyl disaster. The speech outlines what Gorbachev calls ‘one of the most tragic incidents of our time’.
Other speakers at this meeting, chaired by Shadow Foreign Office spokesperson Catherine West MP, include Molly Scott-Cato MEP, Professor Tim Mousseau, Dr Ian Fairlie and Dr Dominic Kelly.
These events continue in Manchester, with a special NFLA seminar on Friday and a full-day ‘Beyond Nuclear’ Conference on Saturday. Amongst the specialist expert speakers are:
- Professor Tim Mousseau of the University of South Carolina – an expert in the impacts of both Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters on the health of plants and animals.
- Dr Keith Baverstock of the University of Eastern Finland – who will consider what the impacts of low level radiation doses on human health could be.
- Dr Ian Fairlie, an independent consultant on radioactivity in the environment – who will be comparing the health and ecological impacts of the two nuclear disasters.
- Emeritus Professor Keith Barnham of Imperial College – who will consider how to develop a renewable energy revolution in the UK.
- Linda Pentz Gunter, international nuclear specialist with the American NGO ‘Beyond Nuclear’ – who will consider the international nuclear / energy debate.
- Dr Angelika Claussen, board member of IPPNW Germany – who will talk about the German ‘Energiewende’ or ‘energy transition’ which moves away from nuclear and towards renewables.
- Reinhard Uhrig, Campaign Director with Global 2000 / Friends of the Earth Austria – who will outline why Austria is nuclear free and is moving ahead with a 100% renewables target by 2030.
- Dr David Reinberger of the Vienna Office for Environmental Protection – who will outline the prospects for the Austrian Government’s legal challenge on Hinkley Point with the European Commission.
A campaigners day event on the Sunday will consider how to build up a UK strategy to emphasise the need to go ‘beyond nuclear’ and embrace renewable energy at a time when the current government is cutting subsidies to solar and onshore wind.
The NFLA is delighted to bring to its members such a quality array of international speakers and looks forward to hearing what they have to say.
NFLA Chair Councillor Ernie Galsworthy said:
The ‘beyond nuclear’ events over the next four days promise some of the most high quality discussion on Fukushima and Chernobyl and the alternatives to nuclear power that the NFLA and other groups has ever provided to its members and a UK audience. I am sure all who attend will be much better informed and the information from it will be disseminated far and wide. It is high time to go ‘beyond nuclear’ and embrace renewables for a safe, sustainable and low carbon future.”
For more information please contact Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary on 07771 930196, who can provide links to organisers of all four distinct events and for interviews with some of the speakers.
Notes for editors:
The Beyond Nuclear events include:
(1) ‘Beyond Nuclear’ Parliamentary seminar, Attlee Suite, Portcullis House, Westminster, 7pm – 9pm:
- Message from Mikhail Gorbachev, President of the USSR at the time of Chernobyl – Professor Alexander Likhotal, CEO and President of Green Cross International
- Why we don’t want Hinkley Point C in the light of Chernobyl & Fukushima – Molly Scott-Cato MEP, South West England
- The current situation at Fukushima and for the evacuees -Ms Yahoi Hitomi, journalist and member of the Chikyumura / Village Earth Fukushima NGO
- How Fukushima changed Japan’s nuclear policy – an analysis in an international context
- Dr Dominic Kelly, Associate Professor of Politics and International Studies, Warwick University
- Biological effects of nuclear radiation from Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters – Dr Tim Mousseau, Professor of Biological Sciences, University of South Carolina
- Health Dangers of Routine Emissions from Nuclear Reactors – Dr Ian Fairlie, independent consultant on radioactivity in the environment
- Why emergency core cooling systems don’t work at nuclear power stations – Dr John Busby, technical advisor to the Stop Hinkley group
- Nuclear Insecurity – Dr David Lowry, independent nuclear policy consultant.
NFLA ‘Beyond Nuclear’ special seminar, Manchester Town Hall, 18th March, 1pm – 3.30pm:
- Chernobyl & Fukushima: similarities and differences – Dr Tim Mousseau, Professor of Biological Sciences, University of South Carolina
- The long-term impact of Chernobyl on Europe – Angelika Claussen, IPPNW, Germany
- The continuing nuclear disaster in Fukushima – Dr Ian Fairlie, independent consultant on radioactivity in the environment
- The humanitarian impact of the Fukushima disaster in Japan – Yayoi Hitomi, Chikyumura / Village Earth Fukushima NGO
- The moves towards non-nuclear solutions around Europe – Reinhard Uhrig, Global 2000, Austria.
‘Beyond Nuclear’ main conference, Manchester Mechanics Institute, 19th March, 9.30am – 4pm:
Introductory session – The international debate on new nuclear:
- Messages from Mikhail Gorbachev and Naoto Kan – Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary.
- How do we go ‘beyond nuclear’ around the world? – Linda Pentz Gunter, Beyond Nuclear, USA.
- The Austrian legal challenge on Hinkley Point – David Reinberger, Vienna Ombuds-Office and Cities for a Nuclear Free Europe Network.
Session 1 – The impact of the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters on health and the environment:
- Chernobyl and Fukushima, a comparative study – Dr Ian Fairlie, independent consultant on radioactivity in the environment.
- What underpins the health effects of radiation at low doses? – Dr Keith Baverstock, Department of Environment Science, University of Eastern Finland and former Head of WHO Radiation Protection Programme for Europe
- Do Nuclear Accidents Generate a “Garden of Eden” for Wildlife? Lessons from the Chernobyl and Fukushima Disasters – Dr Tim Mousseau, Professor of Biological Sciences, University of South Carolina.
Session 2 – Can renewables step up to the mark in the UK? What can be learnt from the Austrian and German ‘Energiewende’ experience?
- How do we develop a low carbon, non nuclear energy revolution? – Prof Keith Barnham, Emeritus Professor, Imperial College.
- The Austrian energy debate and why it has embraced renewables? – Reinhard Uhrig, Global 2000 / Friends of the Earth Austria.
- Is Germany’s ‘Energiewende’ delivering a renewable revolution? – Angelika Claussen, IPPNW Germany.
Campaigners Day, Bridge 5 Mill, 22a Beswick Street, Manchester, M4 7HR, 20th March, 9.30am – 4pm:
- Includes plenary session – the campaigns in Austria, Germany, France and the USA –
- Reinhard Uhrig, Head of Campaigns, Global 2000, Austria
- Angelika Claussen, Nuclear Phase-out spokesperson, IPPNW Germany
- Andre Lariviere, Member of ‘Sortir du Nucleaire’, France
- Linda Pentz Gunter, International Specialist, Beyond Nuclear, USA
Also includes workshops and plenary sessions for campaigning groups to seek to develop a more cohesive strategy.
The NFLA and other members of the Steering Group (CND, SERA, Low Level Radiation and Health Conference, Chernobyl Children’s Project, Kick Nuclear, JAN UK) would like to thank the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust Ltd, WISE International, Lush Charitable Trust and participating groups for providing funds for the logistics and organisation of these events.