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.
The Belene Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in northern Bulgaria was originally proposed in the mid-1980s. The project was cancelled in the 1992, after significant environmentalist campaigning, when it became clear that the seismic risk in the region was unacceptable. Indeed, 120 people had died in an earthquake only 14km from the project site in 1977. There was also concern that the project would not be economically viable.
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.
When Oregonians received notice in 1968 that the Portland General Electric Company (PGE) planned to install a nuclear power plant in Rainier Oregon, concerned citizens began to work within the political structure to prevent the plant from entering the community. Based on the anti-nuclear sentiment in the US at the time, many Oregonians were wary of the environmental repercussions of a nuclear power plant. Many also considered the construction and upkeep of the plant an unwise allocation of state money.
The Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power plant has been running since 1972 in its home of Vernon, Vermont. Vermont Yankee was born at a time when environmentalists were cracking down on nuclear power. In between the 1970’s and 1990’s, numerous protests took place all across the country against the manufacturing and maintaining of nuclear power facilities. Activists were further ignited by the detrimental accident at Three Mile Island 1979, which marked the worst nuclear meltdown in US history.
On the cover of its 7 July 2008 issue, Der Spiegel, one of the largest and most respected news sources in Europe, depicted the international symbol of the anti-nuclear movement (a smiling sun with the words “NUCLEAR POWER? NO THANKS” surrounding it) languishing half-submerged in the ocean with an accompanying caption that read “Atomkraft - Das unheimliche Comeback” (Nuclear Power: Its Eerie Comeback).
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.
The construction of the Lemoniz Nuclear Power Plant started in the 1970s, as the power company Iberduero Basque Utility planned to build several nuclear plants on the Basque coast. There had been an international oil crisis during the time, and the effect of the oil shortage had huge detrimental consequences for the Spanish economy. The central government was interested in investing in alternative energy such as nuclear power. The central planning of the Lemoniz power plant began in 1972 when the government gave provisional approval to build a nuclear power plant in Lemoniz.
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 1965 Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) announced its plans to build a new nuclear facility with six reactors and selected Diablo Canyon as the optimal site, even though the site included a sacred burial ground of the Chumash Native Americans and a large costal wilderness area as well as potential zones of seismic activity that could lead to earthquakes and a nuclear disaster. Construction was projected to cost $162,270,000 and the plant was forecasted to be operational in May 1972.
The Yankee Atomic Electric Company commissioned the Yankee Nuclear Power Plant in 1960 as a prototype in association with President Eisenhower’s ‘Atoms for Peace’ program. It was the first pressurized water reactor built in New England and only the third in the United States. The plant, nicknamed ‘Yankee Rowe’ was commercialized in 1961, but was only scheduled to be in commission for about six years.
In 1976, Pete Roche and a few other activists founded the Scottish Campaign to Resist the Atomic Menace (SCRAM). Aimed at protesting the construction of the Torness nuclear power station in the South-East of Scotland, as well as opposing nuclear power in general, SCRAM organized some of the largest anti-nuclear power demonstrations in the UK in the 1970s and 80s. The organization was composed of eight full time volunteer workers, plus vacillating numbers of members. The decision-making process was mainly represented by consensus reached during public meetings.
In February of 1981, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) unanimously approved the construction of a $42 million dollar water pump. The proposal claimed the pipeline would bring much-needed water to Montgomery County and areas of Bucks County. Its other purpose would be to funnel half of the 95-million-gallon-a-day flow to cooling the Pennsylvania Electric Company’s new nuclear plant in nearby Limerick. The announcement sparked off a wave of complaints and organization among local citizens.
The state of New York was required by federal law to have a nuclear waste dump by January 1, 1993. In 1988, a special siting committee formed to determine where to put the dump. The siting commission considered five sites in rural Allegany County, New York, as potential spots to put the nuclear dump. The people of Allegany County linked arms in several acts of civil disobedience to prevent the construction of a nuclear waste facility in their backyard.
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.
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.
In 1973, the Northeast Utilities (NU) company began developing plans to build a nuclear power plant in the small town of Montague, Massachussets. The company’s investment in the plant totaled $1.52 billion, roughly thirty times the assessed value of the whole town. The project’s only vocal adversaries were a group of organic farmers who called themselves the Nuclear Objectors for a Pure Environment (NOPE). One of the group’s most active participants was Samuel Lovejoy, an organic farmer and longtime resident of Montague.
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.
After the meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear power facility in March 1979, northern Californian residents feared that a similar incident could occur at their local nuclear plant, Ranch Seco. Located 25 miles southeast of Sacramento, the Rancho Seco Nuclear Generating Station operated a system of reactors that was a technological twin to the facility at Three Mile Island, both designed by General Electric. With the U.S.
U.S. anti-nuclear activists and community members force closure of Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant, 1976-1989
In 1965 Long Island Lighting Company (LILCO) president John J. Tuomy announced the intent to open a nuclear power plant in East Shoreham on Long Island New York at LILCO’s annual shareholders' meeting. Construction on the site commenced in 1973.
In 1976 local residents held their first protest against the construction of the Shoreham Plant, but details of this action are difficult to ascertain. About this time however, Nora Bredes and other local mothers began voicing specific concerns about the community’s health at local county meetings.
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.