Nuclear power and harm to animals

New Beyond Nuclear booklet shows suffering of animals all long the nuclear fuel chain

From Beyond Nuclear staff

Animals have become our responsibility. Whether wild or domestic, they depend on us for their survival. Wild animals are no longer self-sufficient. Their habitats have been plundered, their food sources eliminated, their migrations disrupted, and now, with the ravages of the climate crisis upon us, they cannot defend themselves against the forces of raging forest and brush fires, or overwhelming floods.

Consequently, we can no longer point to one single pressure point as relatively harmless. Any loss of songbirds, of bees, of frogs, of microbes, could now push those species over a tipping point, precipitating a cascade of collapses among other species, eventually including our own. Every act of extraction, pollution and destruction by humans serves as a cumulative effect in eliminating our co-habitants on planet Earth.

bn_Animals booklet_web_cover

Our new booklet on animals is available to download. Hard copies may also be ordered.

Nuclear power has served as a predator on animals, both wild and domestic, from its inception. While the impacts of a serious nuclear power plant accident have clear and demonstrable effects, the nuclear industry has harmed and destroyed animals at every phase, from uranium mining to electricity production to waste mismanagement. It continues to do so. But the price paid by the animals it harms today is far higher.

All of this is now captured in a new Beyond Nuclear handbook — Nuclear power and harm to animals, wild and domestic. The booklet lays out a broad range of examples across the world, showing how each phase of the nuclear fuel chain serves as a harmful predator. The booklet examines the impact on animals from both existing and proposed uranium mines, operating reactors, potential new reactors, reprocessing, reactor accidents, waste dumps and the harm the inevitable next nuclear accident will deliver.

(All of our handbooks can be found on the Handbooks page on this website.)

Nuclear power and harm to animals, wild and domestic covers the caribou of Nunavuk to the desert tortoise of Nevada, Fukushima’s monkeys to Fermi’s snake, Welsh terns to Florida’s sea turtles and more. In each section, the conclusion is the same: 

“From uranium mining to power generation and the production of radioactive waste, nuclear power acts as a predator on the welfare of animals. A nuclear accident permanently contaminates wild lands and seas and the animals who live there; in a disaster, domestic animals may simply be abandoned.”

Chernobyl dog

Dogs around Chernobyl were abandoned, then multiplied. (Photo: Clean Futures Fund/Dogs of Chernobyl)

For example, the proposed two reactor project, Hinkley C, on England’s Somerset coast, already underway, threatens to kill up to 250,000 fish a day, as it draws in 130,000 liters (34, 342 gallons) of water a second. Fish caught on entrapment screens will be returned to the sea, dead or alive. There is zero accountability.

In Florida, at the St. Lucie nuclear generating station, the plant captured 41 loggerhead, 142 green and nine Kemp’s ridley sea turtles in a single month. St. Lucie has been harming, harassing, injuring and killing sea turtles for years and its owners have assiduously avoided taking effective preventive measures, such as installing a turtle excluder device.

loggerhead sea turtle

The St. Lucie nuclear plant continues to harm and kill sea turtles without penalty. (Photo: iStock)

In areas close to U.K. nuclear plants, carbon-14 has been found in honey and iodine-129 in cows’ milk. The milk of French cows grazing near the La Hague reprocessing facility became contaminated with iodine-129 after a radioactive iodine spill at the facility and was purchased from farmers by nuclear authorities to prevent human consumption.

Animals around the Chernobyl nuclear site are presenting cataracts, tumors, reduced brain sizes in their young and sterility. Studies around Fukushima are beginning to show similar findings. Farm animals and pets died suddenly and mysteriously after the Three Mile Island accident. But farm animals grazing close to an operating reactor in Vermont, USA, also manifested similar health anomalies.

Avocet Minsmere Michael Brace CC

A new nuclear power plant could drive away the precious avocet in Suffolk, UK. (Photo: Michael Brace/Creative Commons)

Taken together, Nuclear power and harm to animals, wild and domestic, delivers a damning litany of animals in strife as a result of nuclear industry activities. The climate crisis has made the plight of animals infinitely worse. It is up to us to eliminate any added burdens that may hasten their demise or extinction. That means ending our use of nuclear power, an industry that poisons our environment and needlessly injures and kills animals of every species, including our own.

Nuclear power and harm to animals, wild and domestic, is available to download from our Beyond Nuclear International website. Hard copies can also be ordered by sending an email to linda@beyondnuclear.org Although we do not charge for the booklets, we ask that you please consider a donation to cover the costs of printing and postage. Cover price per booklet, is $3 each plus shipping but any donation amount is welcome. Please make your donations here.

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