The Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) and World Information Service on Energy/Amsterdam (WISE) announced in Washington, DC this afternoon that the two groups have agreed to a formal affiliation that will result in the creation of the world’s largest anti-nuclear/sustainable energy organization.
NIRS, the foremost anti-nuclear organization in the United States, with some 6,000 grassroots members, and WISE, with a dozen offices across the globe, both were founded in 1978. The two groups have followed parallel tracks over the years, often working closely together on selected issues and events.
But the new affiliation means that all of NIRS’ and WISE’s activities will be coordinated internationally, which both groups believe will result in a stronger, more cohesive and more effective message.
“Over the past three years, we’ve witnessed an absolutely incredible wave of mergers and consolidations in the nuclear power industry,” said Michael Mariotte, executive director of NIRS. “The nuclear power industry, in many ways a symbol of globalization gone amok, no longer answers to any nation or regulator. The affiliation of NIRS and WISE means that we will be able to more effectively challenge the power of the atomic industry.”
“The future of the atomic power industry is increasingly being determined at the international levelthrough treaties, agreements and behind-the-scenes pacts,” said Peer de Rijk of WISE/Amsterdam. “By combining our resources, we will be more effective at the international level. And by being able to concentrate our resources when needed, we will be more helpful to national groups as well.
The new NIRS/WISE organization will have two main offices, one in Washington, one in Amsterdam. The organization currently also has offices in North Carolina, Russia, Czech Republic, Belarus, Japan, Spain, Argentina, Slovak Republic, Australia, Sweden, Germany and Korea. The new organization has made full funding for these satellite offices a major priority. A separate organization, WISE-Paris, which does consulting, research and other work on energy and plutonium, is not part of the affiliation, although it is highly regarded by NIRS/WISE.
The NIRS/WISE affiliation is the result of a year’s worth of discussion and negotiation and was approved unanimously by both the NIRS and WISE Board of Directors.
The first major project of the new group is to organize opposition to the proposed inclusion of nuclear power as a “Clean Development Mechanism” (CDM) in current international negotiations on the Kyoto climate change Protocol. Under this proposal, developing nations would receive greenhouse gas emissions “credits” by building new nuclear reactors in less-developed, less polluting countries.
“This CDM scheme is a slap in the face to those who believed the Kyoto Protocol might result in real environmental improvement,” said Mariotte. “Trading greenhouse emissions for nuclear power is like trading toxic fumes for brown lung disease: neither option allows one to breathe.”
Added Peer de Rijk, “Combating climate change doesn’t mean we have to trade sunscreen for radiation suits. There are better ways of addressing our mutual energy future than by building atomic reactors with their deadly and inevitable radioactive waste.”
NIRS/WISE promised a major campaign to derail industry efforts to include nuclear power in the current climate change talks, scheduled to reach a head in The Hague, Netherlands in November 2000, where NIRS/WISE said it would have a visible presence.
“Still,” said Mariotte, “this is just the first step. The combined efforts of NIRS and WISE will far exceed the sum of their parts. The nuclear industry should beware: we don’t care how big you get or how much you merge and consolidatewe intend to make the 21st Century the time for sustainable energy. Nuclear power is an obsolete 20th century technology, and it has no business trying to interfere with the future.”
NIRS/WISE said its plans include rapid growth of both its core offices as well as its satellite offices across the globe. The organization also plans to establish new offices in other countries. NIRS/WISE will work on the gamut of nuclear-related issues currently plaguing the globe: from the proposed use of MOX (plutonium-based) fuel to radioactive “recycling” to atomic waste transport issues.
NIRS/WISE will use a variety of tactics, ranging from preparation of solid, well-researched reports, to legal action, large-scale public education and organizing campaigns, to non-violent civil disobedience, to attain its goals. The organization also expects to combine its newsletters, websites, and other means of information.