Hannah Smay, Snake River Alliance Board
Bryant Kusy, Snake River Alliance Board
As officials in Trump’s administration discuss the possibility of resuming nuclear testing, we are paying attention.
A future where Idahoans are free from the threat of nuclear contamination is a future free from the threat of nuclear warfare and atomic testing. As Idaho’s only nuclear watchdog, the Snake River Alliance guards against a multitude of nuclear threats. In addition to monitoring clean-up efforts at INL, stopping further development of nuclear power at INL, and promoting clean energy in Idaho, the Snake River Alliance has been actively and absolutely opposed to nuclear weapons from our founding. Throughout our history, we have led opposition to nuclear weapons production and testing and decried the heavy burdens posed by the existence and proliferation of nuclear weapons. Until we live in a world free of nuclear weapons, the Snake River Alliance will remain vigilant against the threat of atomic testing and nuclear war.
Why we must stay vigilant against nuclear testing
There are many reasons why we cannot risk returning to the era of nuclear testing. Nuclear testing inflicts environmental harm, health impacts and unacceptable injustices (disproportionately felt by indigenous communities) by nuclear weapons production and the downwind radioactive fallout from nuclear blasts. Further, resuming nuclear testing threatens to escalate global conflicts through the demonstration of nuclear force.
Here in Idaho, communities continue to suffer from the radioactive fallout of nuclear bomb tests at the Nevada Test Site that occurred from atmospheric testing throughout the 1950s and 1960s, as well as during the era of underground testing. In fact, Idaho’s Blaine, Custer, Gem and Lemhi Counties rank in the top 5 counties in the Lower-48 for per-capita thyroid dosage from radioactive fallout from atomic bombs tested in Nevada. Idaho’s downwinder communities are still struggling for recognition of and compensation for their exposure to radiation. We must work for justice for the victims of last century’s nuclear tests and prevent nuclear violence from being inflicted on generations to come.
Though the INL is a beacon of the “Atoms for Peace” model, the site and its many projects have long-standing ties with the Department of Defense. INL bears the burden of storing and processing waste from nuclear weapons production in the 20th Century. Future nuclear testing would disastrously worsen the pressing and unsolved burden of nuclear waste clean-up and storage.
As the Snake River Alliance works to stop NuScale’s proposed Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) , we recognize the deep entanglements between the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense and the ties between supposedly peaceful atoms and nuclear. In particular, we are scrutinizing the Department of Defense’s keen interest and investment in SMR technology and calling attention to the dangers of developing modular reactors and isotopes that might once again be militarized.
How you can help
You can urge Idaho’s Senators Risch and Crapo to support the Preserving Leadership Against Nuclear Explosives Testing (PLANET) Act. Senator Edward Markey (D-MA), a long-time Congressional leader on nuclear arms control and nonproliferation, has stepped up and introduced legislation to stop the dangerous path to resuming testing. The PLANET Act would prevent the Trump administration from restarting explosive nuclear weapons testing by restricting funds for fiscal year 2021 and all previous years from being used for such a purpose.
Help us stop the Dirty Dozen! We need your help protecting Idaho’s quality of life and economic well-being from the dangerous and unnecessary risk posed by NuScale’s massive proposed nuclear power plant.