NH #669: UCSB Global Nuclear Legacies Conference on the Nuke/Race/Gender/Religion/AI/Climate Connection

WHY WE DO IT: Linda Seeley of San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace shows off a picture of her 3-week old great grandson – the next generation of reason for working against nukes.

KEYSTONE PHOTO: Dream Team of Activists at the UCSB Global Legacies conference: (l-r) Jane Swanson, Libbe HaLevy, Linda Seeley, Melissa Bumstead, Heidi Hutner, Jim Heddle, Dr. Amanda M. Nichols, Denise Duffield, Mary Beth Brangan.

This Week’s Featured Interviews

Last weekend, UC Santa Barbara hosted a three day Global Legacies of Anti-Nuclear Activism conference in partnership with NYU Abu Dhabi. Presenters from around the world came together to speak on the interconnectedness of issues that overlap with the detrimental effects of nuclear, including race, gender, religion, indigenous rights, and health.

The full three-day UCSB program featured inquiries into the intersection of religion, gender, sexuality, and nuclear. I attended as Ambassador to the U.S. for the International Uranium Film Festival, which had me introducing Heidi Hutner’s award-winning film, RADIOACTIVE: THE WOMEN OF THREE MILE ISLAND, and conducting the after-screening Q&A with Heidi.

Filmmaker Heidi Hutner (l) and Nuclear Hotseat’s Libbe HaLevy, post screening and Q&A

I was only able to attend for one day, but I sat in on the roundtable discussion: Environmental Injustice and Nuclear Technologies in California. The presentation was recorded and will be uploaded to the conference website: https://www.antinuclearactivism.org/roundtable-panelists. The interviews on this program were recorded separately, on April 12 and 13, 2024.

  • DENISE DUFFIELDAssociate Director of Physicians for Social Responsibility – Los Angeles, a board member of the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability, and is on the Management Team of Back from the Brink. Here, she talks about crucial strategies for building our movement as we help build others. For more information: PreventNuclearWar.org.
  • MELISSA BUMSTEAD – founder and co-director of Parents Against Santa Susana Field Lab (SSFL), which is one of California’s most toxic places and the site of one of America’s worst nuclear meltdowns. Having dealt with cancer in multiple family members, including her daughter when she was only four years old, Melissa is very attuned to information about cancer and its connection to exposure to radioactivity. Here’s a recent discovery about California cancer rates and proximity to known radioactive sites. Access full report HERE.
CA areas with the top four rates of invasive breast cancer – all sites of known radiological contamination.
  • Cathy Iwane lived in Wakayama, Japan for more than 25 years until the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011. She and her daughters moved to Southern California, where they found themselves inadvertently living in close proximity to the leaking, dangerous San Onofre nuclear generating station. She fought for San Onofre’s closure, now fights for its clean-up and safe storage of radioactive waste, and has continued working on a range of nuclear issues. Here, she reiterates some important points about AI and nukes that were part of her talk.
  • Amanda M. Nichols, Organizer of the Conference, is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Environmental Studies Program at University of California, Santa Barbara. Dr. Nichols’ primary research falls at the intersections of environmental history and religious and gender studies, and focuses on the roles and contributions of women in the North American anti-nuclear movement. We talk about what it takes to put together a conference like this, and how others can learn how to do it for their schools or communities. Contact her via email at: [email protected] or [email protected].

Conference organizer Amanda M. Nichols, PhD, moderating a panel

  • Jane Swanson of San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace was not a speaker, but came to provide support and continue to educate herself in community with others who care.
  • Linda Seeley is also from San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace. She has served as Vice-President and spokesperson for the group since 2009 and has also been a member of the Diablo Canyon Decommissioning Engagement Panel since its inception in 2018. Here, she share not only about what she does, but why she does it.

Numnutz of the Week (for Outstanding Nuclear Boneheadedness):

Any time the government wants to cover up the fact of a radiologically contaminated site, it magically turns it into a “wildlife refuge” or “available land! cheap!” So why not lure solar companies onto the Nevada NUCLEAR Test Site to install “sun farms?” No telling what will happen to the radiological levels when that dust gets kicked up during construction and operation… or what the indigenous treaty rights are regarding that land.