September 13, 2009 GRANDPARENTS DAY
Grandmother, Abuela, Nonna, Oma, Grand-mère –
Sharing More than a Name…
In celebration of Grandparents Day, we are proud to announce the pre-launch of SWANS (Sensible Women Advocating Nuclear Safety). As a dedicated “Nana” and Executive Director of SWANS, it seemed natural for our newly formed organization to honor a few Grandmothers on Grandparent’s Day and share a little bit about ourselves. For decades the following grandmothers have joined with other women who have challenged the production and storage of highly radioactive waste near our homes and the homes of our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Ann Harris, Mary Lambert and I began our activism as young mothers and to this day we share the “Audacity to Hope” that our voices will be heard. We each have read thousands of pages of documents, filed hundreds of formal and informal comments, and testified before local, state and federal agencies in the name of nuclear safety. We believe someone needs to ask how long our country will allow increasing stockpiles of highly radioactive waste to remain on its precious waterways and fragile coasts.
Over the years, we have been joined by attorneys general, state legislators, oversight agencies and congressional representatives in our quest to protect our communities from radioactive releases in our water and air. We each believe our children deserve to know that our country will make responsible choices when investing trillions of taxpayer dollars for future generations. We need to believe that the legacy of debt we are creating will create a cleaner, safer, more sustainable energy source for the future.
Our second purpose for a pre-launch newsletter was to share the ad and video SWANS created for each of you to distribute to your families and friends, women’s organizations, and media around our country. Did you know that nuclear power is the only electric generation that requires emergency sheltering and evacuation plans to attain a license? Furthermore, nuclear power necessitates the provision of cancer-blocking medication (Potassium Iodide) to protect thyroids from radioactive contamination in the event of an accident. We invite you to use this ad and video to educate yourself and your community.
We invite other sensible grandmothers, mothers, and single women to take a moment to meet us and to believe that together we can make a difference. “For when we have faced down impossible odds; when we’ve been told that we’re not ready, or that we shouldn’t try, or that we can’t, generations of Americans have responded with a simple creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes we can.” [Barak Obama] We can, we must, address the implications of mounting radioactive waste and population growth near aging nuclear reactor sites.
Here are some brief profiles of some of SWANS high-profile advocates:
Rochelle Becker (with daughter Tama and granddaughters, Marina and Sierra)
Thirty years ago, I awoke to an event that would change my life. My daughter, Tama, age 11, was still asleep as the morning radio announced that there had been a near meltdown at a nuclear plant in Pennsylvania. Now my youngest grandchild is age 11 and lives near one of the two aging reactors operating and producing radioactive waste. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has hinted these nuclear power plants and waste storage facilities could remain on California’s seismically active and eroding coast for 100 more years, perhaps forever. (http://swansweb.org/about/women-leaders/rochelle-becker/ )
Sierra Varano (pictured with her Nana above) is the SWANS youngest supporter (she has chosen the SWANS a installment plan and will likely make her goal to be a Founding member in no time. Sierra has donated her Christmas craft and birthday money to the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility since she was nine years old. You can learn more about Sierra at:
http://a4nr.org/articles/01.03.06giftofhope/?searchterm=gift%20of%20hope . Sierra, along with other young female activists, will be highlighted in future SWANS newsletters.
Ann Harris and great grandchildren — Camilla and Elijah.
In 1944, I visited my uneducated, Southern Appalachian, Mother in an Army hospital, under an oxygen ten, from intentional exposure to Uranium being “cooked” for the nuclear bomb headed for Japan. I can still see that face and I feel driven to educate America’s women about nuclear issues. I love America, but I cannot support an energy source that leaves behind radioactive waste, because I love my great grandchildren’s future more. Today, I represent whistleblowers at nuclear and coal plants, represent my community on the impacts of last year’s coal ask spill and work with legislators and the media on the Tennessee Valley Authority’s efforts to relicense old reactors and build new reactors. (http://swansweb.org/about/women-leaders/ann-harris/ )
Mary Lampert with granddaughter Isa
Mary’s first grandchild, Isa, was born in May 2009, and this new addition to her family inspires Mary to continue to fight to protect our precious future. Currently, Mary is challenging Pilgrim’s Nuclear Power Station’s license renewal application pro se. She was admitted into the adjudication process three years ago and the litigation is ongoing. Mary has chaired the town-appointed Duxbury Nuclear Advisory Committee for almost two decades. The committee reviews the town’s nuclear emergency plans and standard operating procedures annually. She has fought for over two decades to assure that all children, if evacuated due to a nuclear emergency, go first to the Reception Center for monitoring and decontamination, if required, before being sent to a Host facility. The sooner contamination is identified and cleaned off, the better the prognosis (http://swansweb.org/about/women-leaders/mary-lampert/ )