In 1963, the CND began their campaign by organizing a petition they called “No Bombs South of the Line,” which argued for the establishment of a nuclear free zone in southern New Zealand. The CND collected over 80,000 signatures which was the largest petition in New Zealand since the petition calling for equal voting rights between women and men collected in 1893.
Canadians sit-down for nuclear disarmament of the United States Bomarc Missile in La Macaza, Quebec, 1964
In fall 1958, Canadian Prime Minister John Diefenbaker agreed to house 56 American Bomarc missiles in North Bay, Ontario and La Macaza, Quebec, in keeping with the terms of the NORAD agreement. The American manufacturers designed the Bomarc missiles to be fitted with nuclear warheads, but when the missiles arrived in Canada, the nuclear warhead parts had not yet arrived.
Native American and environmentalist groups block nuclear waste site in Ward Valley, California, 1995-2000
In March of 1988, U.S. Ecology, a national dump operating company, decided upon Ward Valley, California as the most desired location for building a new nuclear waste dump. Because this was federal land in the state, the government of California needed to buy Ward Valley land from the Bureau of Land Management in order to give U.S. Ecology the rights to build the dump. The Valley, however, is located in the Mojave Desert, an area home to an endangered species of desert tortoise considered sacred to a number of Native American tribes.
U.S. Anti-nuclear activists partially block establishment of nuclear power plant in Limerick, PA, 1977-82
In the early 1970s, the state of Pennsylvania proposed a plan for building a nuclear power plant in Limerick, PA, to provide power to residents in Montgomery County, PA. Around that time, the Environmental Protection Agency declared that the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) must conduct a study to determine the impact a nuclear power plant would have in the town of Limerick, and the surrounding county.
In the 1980’s and 90’s South Korea’s nuclear industry was growing, and the Korean environmental and anti-nuclear movement grew along with it. During the 1980’s, over fifty percent of the country’s electricity came from nuclear power, so that by the end of the decade, storage of the radioactive waste posed a formidable challenge as on-site storage facilities began to reach capacity.
In July 1973, then-Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos announced the decision to build the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) in response to the Philippines’ economic crisis at the time. The Middle East oil embargo was putting incredible stress on the Philippine economy. For the Marcos regime, investing in nuclear power was the solution to their dependence on imported oil and energy demands. However, Bataan residents and Philippine citizens responded in fierce opposition to the new plant due to its threat to public health.
Due in part to the OPEC energy crisis in the 1970s, Germany began a transition to greater nuclear energy production. Demand for electricity was projected to grow by seven percent annually and the state’s solution was the construction of eight nuclear plants by 1990. Citizens in communities that were determined suitable for the building of a nuclear facility were worried about the potential dangers of nuclear energy – low-level radiation, the risk of a catastrophic disaster, the disposal of radioactive waste and other environmental impacts due to the construction and operation of the plant.
In 1991, the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Authority (TLLRWDA) began searching for a disposal site for dangerous toxic waste in the Hudspeth County area. According to the 1983 La Paz agreement, Hudspeth County falls in a no-contamination zone surrounding the Mexican border. Regardless, the TLLRWDA selected Sierra Blanca, a small low-income town in an environmentally fragile region.
After the United States dropped the first atomic weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the initial shock of the weapons’ destructive power wore off, many countries became interested in developing electricity based off of the nuclear technology. Along with the exciting new possibilities that always accompany new technology, nuclear fission carried with it a whole host of dangerous challenges as well.
U.S. anti-nuclear activists campaign against restarting Three Mile Island nuclear generator, 1979-1985
At 4:00 a.m. on Wednesday, 28 March 1979 began the worst accident in the history of United States commercial nuclear power, when the Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station experienced a failure that would ultimately lead to the release of “approximately 2.5 million curies of radioactive noble gases” into the surrounding areas. This mishap, in turn, sparked the largest string of anti-nuclear protests in the country’s history. That weekend, activists held rallies across the country.
In May of 1973, the Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) announced plans to install Oklahoma’s first nuclear power plant in Inola, just east from Tulsa. It was to use two General Electric boiling-water reactors and the project was to cost $450 million. With the support of U.S. Senator Henry Bellmon, PSO advertised that the nuclear power plant could provide unlimited power and help economic growth in the area.
In July 1976, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved the construction permit for the Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant. Leading up to this point, local activists in the small New Hampshire town had attempted to prevent the establishment of a nuclear plant via legal methods such as regulation agencies, the court systems, and a town meeting vote in opposition of the project.
In 1954, Congress approved the Atomic Energy Act in an attempt to jumpstart nuclear energy in the United States. The Atomic Energy Commission was charged with creating a positive image of the peaceful applications of nuclear power as well as with regulating safety measures.