Demystifying Nuclear Power Through Education
Our mission is to educate the public about nuclear power and other energy issues.
Fairewinds Energy Education is an easy to use educational hub for fact-based, undistorted energy information. Fairewinds’ website features blogposts, podcasts, and videos in which we collaborate with experts in wide ranging fields to discuss energy issues.
California’s largest utility, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), has a dubious safety record. PG&E customers have already seen their fair share of environmental threats, mismanagement and costly drama. PG&E has contaminated the groundwater at Hinkley (you remember Erin Brokovich), was on legal probation for killing eight people when one of its gas lines exploded in San Bruno in 2010, and then last year PG&E’s high voltage transmission line likely failed in high winds causing the Camp Fire that killed more than eighty others…
Since early 2019 we’ve been hearing about the Green New Deal, a program that did not initially include nuclear power. Then suddenly, after an extensive lobbying effort by the atomic power industry, we heard: Ocasio-Cortez: Green New Deal ‘Leaves the Door Open’ on Nuclear.
Lately, Americans are experiencing an unprecedented volume of top-down lies emanating from the White House and its circle of acolytes like Energy Secretary Rick Perry.
Recently, after Forbes Magazine published an opinion piece entitled, It Sounds Crazy, But Fukushima, Chernobyl, And Three Mile Island Show Why Nuclear Is Inherently Safe, a number of Forbes’ readers called and continue to write Fairewinds Energy Education to ask us if this opinion piece is true. Quite frankly, the article is an infomercial for the nuclear industry: it twists data in order to paint a rosy picture of nuclear energy.
To begin Part 2, let’s talk about the scientific studies that Dr. Marco Kaltofen and I began together back in 2012. Before the ongoing catastrophe created by the Fukushima meltdowns, the maximum allowable radiation exposure to civilians worldwide emanating from commercial atomic power reactors was 100 millirem per year (1 milli Sievert per year).
As we prepare for the eighth remembrance of the March 11, 2011 earthquake, tsunami and triple meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi, Fairewinds is ever mindful of what is currently happening in Japan.
In 2016 Fairewinds identified numerous examples of dangerously deferred maintenance for critical mechanical portions of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant. Now that PG&E filed for bankruptcy protection on January 29th, 2019, it is likely that new cash constraints will further delay critical plant repairs.
For several decades, electric energy visionaries like Amory Lovins foresaw a future that was powered by energy from the sun and wind. The electric power industry claimed that electric generation corporations needed what the industry calls ‘baseload’ power from CONG (coal, oil, nuclear, and gas) for the times when the sun does not shine and the wind does not blow. It turned out that the visionaries like Amory were correct!
Fairewinds Energy Education firmly believes in the science of human induced climate change along with the vast majority of the scientific community and our scientific colleagues. Humans are rapidly changing the chemical composition of our atmosphere by releasing billions of metric tonnes of CO2, methane, and other greenhouse gases through our over reliance on fossil fuels and gross misuse of land.
Tomorrow begins the new year of 2019. I want to thank each one of you who writes and calls Fairewinds Energy Education with technical questions and/or encouragement for the work we do. Thank you to each one of you who donates to help us continue Fairewinds scientific research and is participating or has participated in one of Fairewinds citizen science programs. We so appreciate your work with us and your donations to us
Already facing significant losses, the communities impacted by the Woolsey Fire are now worried about airborne radioactivity because the Woolsey Fire burned the area around and adjacent to the Santa Susana Field Lab, an old nuclear test facility that is now a superfund site. Vegetation in close proximity to superfund sites tend to have high levels of toxic and possibly radioactive materials stored within them due to nutrient uptake through the roots. As the vegetation surrounding the Santa Susana Lab burned, it released these toxic particulates into the air to be dispersed at the whims of the breeze.
After fielding many questions and having been asked for support, Fairewinds has launched sampling protocols and procedures to collect a wide set of data from as many of the surrounding areas close to the site as possible. Once again, we are utilizing the power of citizen scientists and volunteers to collect these soil and dust samples, so that we and the scientists we work with may more accurately assess if Santa Susana radioactive isotopes are migrating to the surrounding communities or the pristine forests where people hike and explore.
Read our full sampling protocol here
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Co-authored by Dr. Marco Kaltofen, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), and Arnie Gundersen, Fairewinds Energy Education, the article details the analysis of radioactively hot particles collected in Japan following the Fukushima Dai-ichi meltdowns. Based on 415 samples of radioactive dust from Japan, the USA, and Canada, the study identified a statistically meaningful number of samples that were considerably more radioactive than current radiation models anticipated.
The Fairewinds Crew created this special 2-minute animation to show you why building new nukes is a lost opportunity for humankind with precious time and money wasted on the wrong choice. At least $8.2 Trillion would be needed to build the 1,000 atomic reactors the nuclear industry wants – that’s 1 reactor every 12-days for 35-years. Watch the animation to see what it means and why!
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff and management don’t like whistleblowers, and somebody who probably ranks as their least favorite one is this week’s Nuclear Hotseat guest: Arnie Gundersen, chief engineer with Fairewinds Energy Education.
Arnie Gundersen, chief nuclear engineer with Fairewinds Energy Education Nonprofit, spent one week at the end of March in the Harrisburg Pennsylvania area for a series of events remembering the 40-years since the meltdown at TMI. Arnie was invited to present the keynote at Penn State’s 40th commemoration of the Three Mile Island disaster that was filmed by C-Span on March 27, 2019. Prior to uploading the filmed presentation to C-Span, the videographers and crew also professionally edited Arnie’s PowerPoint slides into the film itself.
Soviet doctors treating Chernobyl-exposed suddenly had an unwelcome crash course in this medical problem. They found that radioactive contaminants, even at relatively low levels, infiltrated the bodies of their patients, who grew sicker each year. Gradually, health officials understood they had a public health disaster on their hands. Thousands of archival records document the catastrophe. Ukrainian doctors registered in the most contaminated regions of Kiev province an increase between 1985 and 1988 in thyroid and heart disease, endocrine and GI tract disorders, anaemia and other maladies of the blood-forming system.
Imagine a stun gun powerful enough to immobilize the US. Listen to Nuclear Hotseat host, Libbe HaLevy, and Arnie Gundersen discuss the effects of an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) from a nuclear weapon in space. EMPs are becoming the new face of global war. It can happen here. Also hear Fairewinds Board Chair, Robert Manning, talk about the importance of detente for world peace.
Nearly everyone who’s seen it and lived to tell the tale describes it the same way: a horrifying, otherworldly thing of ghastly beauty that has haunted their life ever since.
“The colors were beautiful,” remembers a man in Morgan Knibbe’s short documentary The Atomic Soldiers. “I hate to say that.”
“It was completely daylight at midnight—brighter than the brightest day you ever saw,” says another.
Much of what’s known about the health impacts of radiation comes from studies of acute exposure — for example, the atomic blasts that leveled Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan or the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl in Ukraine. Studies of those events provided grim lessons on the effects of high-level exposure, as well as the lingering impacts on the environment and people who were exposed. Such work, however, has found little evidence that the health effects are passed on across generations.
Nuclear-power experts Arnie and Maggie Gundersen return to Project Censored to publicize the ongoing damage the Fukushima meltdown site is inflicting on Japan and the Pacific. They also rebut the idea that nuclear power is part of the answer to climate change.
Arnie Gundersen appears on Global Research News Hour, Hosted by Michael Welch, to share his understanding of the spread of nuclear contamination at Fukushima,
The head of Tokyo Electric Power Co. apologized Tuesday over his predecessor’s order to not use the term “core meltdown” to describe the situation at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant in the early days of the March 2011 crisis.
TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s promise that the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant was “under control” in his successful pitch three years ago for Tokyo to host the 2020 Olympic Games “was a lie”, former premier Junichiro Koizumi said on Wednesday.
Arnie and Maggie Gundersen appeared on TMI (Too Much Information) Podcast hosted by Dave Archer to discuss nuclear energy, the NRC, becoming whistleblowers, Fukushima, and all things in between.
When the deadly Woolsey Fire broke out at the Santa Susana Field Lab site last month, state officials assured residents that no high-level toxins or radiation were present at the site, known for decades of nuclear and rocket-engine testing in the hills above the San Fernando and Simi valleys. But those statements have been met with skepticism by residents and activists. Now, they are rolling out their own study that will look into potential contamination from the site during the fire.
Tucked away in the hills above the San Fernando and Simi valleys was a 2,800-acre laboratory with a mission that was a mystery to the thousands of people who lived in its shadow. In a place called Area IV of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL), there was a secret collaboration between the U.S. government and private companies to test the limits of nuclear power.
Margaret Harrington talks with Robbie Leppzer about his documentary film POWER STRUGGLE and Maggie and Arnie Gundersen join the discussion to tell the story of how their research exposed Vermont Yankee officials.
Nuclear-power critics Arnie and Maggie Gundersen return to Project Censored to explain some of the continuing hazards facing Fukushima, Japan, years after the meltdown there.
Arnie talks about his trips to Japan to collect dirt samples following the nuclear reactor explosions at Fukushima and his work with Japanese citizens who learn to collect and analyze samples. Gundersen finds to this day serious contamination up to 300 miles from Fukushima - even in areas that have been declared safe to live.
Arnie Gundersen, Chief Engineer at Fairewinds Energy Education appeared on Nuclear Hotseat, a podcast hosted by Libby Halevy, to discuss the human toll inflicted by the nuclear disaster at Fukushima Daiichi.
Kevin Kamps, Nuclear Waste Watchdog of Beyond Nuclear, talks with Margaret Harrington, Host of Nuclear Free Future, about the federal plan to transfer 40 years of Vermont Yankee nuclear waste to Yucca Mountain, Nevada.
NIIGATA--An investigation committee is leveling the blame for the failure to use the word "meltdown" following the Fukushima nuclear accident in March 2011 at Tokyo Electric Power Co. President Masataka Shimizu.
Former nuclear industry senior vice president Arnie Gundersen, who managed and coordinated projects at 70 US atomic power plants, is appalled at how the Japanese government is handling the Fukushima nuclear crisis.
Filmed during the 5-year timespan the action was occurring, this feature-length documentary by filmmaker Robbie Leppzer highlights the heated politics involved in the state-wide community effort to close the aged Vermont Yankee (VY) atomic power reactor. The film chronicles the unfolding drama as citizen activists and elected officials – alarmed at ever increasing safety violations at VY – take on the federal government and one of the biggest nuclear power corporations in America demanding the closure of the reactor at the expiration of its original 40-year license.
Eager to maintain its energy policy in the wake of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, Japan made sure concerns about nuclear technology were downplayed at the 12th Group of Seven summit it chaired in Tokyo days after the disaster, according to Japanese diplomatic records declassified Wednesday.
While these cost overruns have made national headlines, no one seems to be asking the important question: are these atomic power plants – first designed more than 20-years ago –even safe to operate if they should ever be completed. For the past eight years, Fairewinds chief engineer Arnie Gundersen has worked with environmental groups all around the southeaster US in their campaigns that prove this AP1000 reactor design simply is not safe. Bottom line: Not only is Vogtle too expensive, but the AP1000 reactor is simply not be safe to operate if it is built.
On May 9, workers discovered a 20-foot-diameter hole where the roof had collapsed on a makeshift nuclear waste site: a tunnel, sealed in 1965, encasing old railroad cars and equipment contaminated with radiation through years of plutonium processing. Potential radiation levels were high enough that some workers were told to shelter in place while others donned respirators and protective suits as they repaired the hole.
Fairewinds Energy Education program researcher Ben Shulman-Reed appeared with Margaret Harrington, host of Nuclear Free Future on CCTV, along with Kevin Kamps of the nuclear waste watchdog, Beyond Nuclear via Skype. Rising nuclear tensions with North Korea as well as the continuous nuclear weapons buildup around the world, including nuclear waste, uranium mining, and nuclear weapons testing were key components of the discussion.
Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and the recent developments at the Fukushima Daiichi reactors as well as the possible restart of more atomic reactors in Japan were the topics of discussion when Nuclear Free Future host Margaret Harrington invited Fairewinds Chief Engineer Arnie Gundersen and Program Researcher Ben Shulman-Reed to join her on the CCTV program.
Spring: The Season of Nuclear Disaster – Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Fukushima Daiichi was the title of the April 4, 2017 tele-briefing hosted by the Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) and guest speaker Fairewinds’ Chief Engineer Arnie Gundersen
The following list compiles several books hat we highly recommend you read if you are interested in learning more about the Chernobyl disaster. All the books are linked to a website where you can read reviews or purchase the books.
On Saturday March 26th, Arnie traveled to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to give a keynote presentation on the 38th anniversary of the nuclear meltdown at the Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant. This is the presentation he gav
Fairewinds Chief Engineer Arnie Gundersen joined Sojourner Truth Radio's host Margaret Prescod on March 14th to commemorate the 6th anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.
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