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writing for godot

The Nuclear Age Turns 70 -- Let's Party!

Written by Dave Kraft   
Tuesday, 13 November 2012 16:55
What if the Nuclear Industry had a birthday party…and WE showed up?

Dec 2, 2012 marks the 70th anniversary of Enrico Fermi's historic first sustained nuclear chain reaction – a transformational event in human history which changed humanity and ushered in the Nuclear Age.

To mark that historic occasion, safe-energy and anti-nuclear activists from around the world have decided to throw a party, of sorts – a Conference: A Mountain of Waste 70 Years High: Ending the Nuclear Age. What better place, the thinking went, to end the Nuclear Age than on the spot where it all began?

It’s important to recognize that that Age has not been very kind to everyone – beginning with the people of Japan. The Faustian bargain continues to this day – with the Japanese once again becoming nuclear victims after Fukushima, and the world threatened by the continued presence of both nuclear weapons and nuclear power radiation releases and wastes.

This Conference notes that to this day, not a single ounce of radioactive waste has been permanently disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner. And it attempts to bear witness to those fellow humans to whom the Nuclear Age has been less than kind. Whether the hibakusha of Hiroshima or now Fukushima; the Navajo or Australian Aborigines; the children of Belarus; the returning Gulf War veterans; the Marshall Islanders; or the old women of Opachychi, who have returned to their family homes in the highly contaminated regions surrounding Chornobyl to live out the remainder of their radiation-disrupted lives, it’s important to understand that the Nuclear Age has come at an exceedingly high price, often paid by those who don’t receive the alleged benefits.

The Conference will bring in the best minds of the movement and numerous people affected adversely by the Nuclear Age to tell that story. The Conference features such notables as Akiko Yoshinda of Friends of the Earth-Tokyo, to update attendees about the ongoing, never-ending Fuushima disaster; Setsuko Thurlow, a Hiroshima hibakusha from Toronto, Canada, to make the temporal connection between this anniversary and the first atomic bombing; Dr. Norma Field, Robert S. Ingersoll Distinguished Service Professor of Japanese Studies Emerita, University of Chicago, who has spent years teaching “atomic history” at the University of Chicago; and Dr. Arjun Makhijani of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research in Takoma Park, MD, who will provide the details of how the US – and world – can get off the nuclear treadmill and go “carbon-free/nuclear-free”.

Details of the schedule and the full list of speakers can be downloaded at

In addition to the Conference presentations, a Chicago premiere of the acclaimed documentary, “The Atomic States of America” is planned for Saturday evening, Dec. 1st, and will be free and open to the public (free-will offerings accepted). On Monday Dec. 3, a special guided tour car caravan will depart from the Henry Moore Sculpture to Nuclear Power on the University of Chicago Campus to the Red Gate Woods Forest Preserve in Palos Park to visit the burial site of the first nuclear wastes of the Nuclear Age – within spitting distance of bike and hiking trails, and public picnic groves.

This is a call to come to the very birthplace of the Nuclear Age – memorialized by Henry Moore’s sculpture to Nuclear Energy, on the very site where Fermi’s experiment occurred – to remember its victims, and seriously question whether that Age has the right to continue among civilized human beings.

Make plans to attend with a guest, and pass this invite along to interested individuals and groups.

We ask you to be a part of this historic event in Chicago to help end the Nuclear Age – on the very spot where it began, 70 years ago.

Stay well, do great things, register TODAY.

Dave Kraft
NEIS, Chicago

Linda Gunter
Beyond Nuclear, Takoma Park MD

Kendra Ulrich
Friends of the Earth, Washington DC

A Mountain of Waste 70 Years High: Ending the Nuclear Age

Saturday, December 1 -- International House, 1414 E. 59th Street, Chicago
8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Evening events 5:30 – 10 p.m.
Sunday, December 2
9 a.m. to 3 p.m. -- Hutchinson Commons, Reynolds Club, 5706 S. University Ave., Chicago
3:30 p.m. -- Memorial ceremony, at Henry Moore Sculpture to Nuclear Power, 56th and Ellis, Chicago
4:30 – 6:30 -- Active Hope – a workshop to deal with nuclear despair
Monday, December 3
A planned caravan to the Red Gate Woods Forest Preserve site where the first wastes of the Nuclear Age are buried – next to picnic groves and bike paths. Leaving from the Henry Moore Sculpture on the University of Chicago campus at 10 a.m., returning by 1 p.m. You must sign up in advance at Conference Registration desk for this tour.

• Guest Plenary Presenters:
o Akiko Yoshida, Friends of the Earth, Tokyo Japan
o Setsuko Thurlow, hibakusha, Toronto Canada
• Keynote Speaker: Sat. Dec. 1, 7 – 8 p.m., open to the public
o Dr. Norma Field, Univ. of Chicago Robert S. Ingersoll Distinguished Service Professor of Japanese Studies Emerita
• Seven panels featuring 16 other guest presenters presenting on topics dealing with nuclear power, waste, weapons, and – a world without nuclear
• Book Signing: Dr. Arjun Makhijani (“Carbon Free/Nuclear Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy”), and Kristen Iversen (“Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats”)

Optional Reception with Presenters – Sat. Dec.. 1, 5:30 – 7 p.m.; $30/person, advance reservations only

Chicago Premiere of the acclaimed documentary, “Atomic States of America”
Sat. evening, Dec. 1, 8 – 10 p.m., free, open to the public

REGISTRATION: open to the public, $40 for 2 days, includes lunch ($50 at door); online at; or download registration form from the website and returning it by mail with payment to NEIS.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: full Conference schedule, registration, speakers list, travel and housing suggestions available by visiting the website of Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS),; or call us at (773)342-7650.

SPONSORED BY: Beyond Nuclear, Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS), and Friends of the Earth; co-sponsored by UChicago Climate Action Network (U-CAN), and International House Global Voices Program (Saturday events). your social media marketing partner
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