In the United States, nuclear free action camps took place in Vermont and Michigan in August, co-sponsored by the Nuclear Information and Resource Service of Washington, D.C. Working with Indiana's Nuclear Energy Information Service and other regional activists, they convened the Nuclear Free Great Lakes Action camp near Bloomingdale in the southwest corner of Michigan, August 13-20. Skill-building and educational workshops were presented through the week by both veteran and student activists, researchers, regional and national organizers and a nuclear industry whistleblower.
Over 100 people participated in all or part of the Action Camp, with nearly that number joining a 20-vehicle caravan on August 25 to demonstrate at two commercial nuclear reactors on the Lake Michigan shore. The caravan was led through the lakeside towns by a full-size mock-up of a nuclear waste transport cask, drawing much attention from people along the route.
Throughout the week, camp participants had created giant puppets, banners, and skits, and prepared press releases, statements, speeches and action scenarios for the demonstrations, first at the Palisades nuclear power plant, and then at the Cook 2-unit reactor.
At Palisades, demonstrators planted about two dozen white crosses on an adjacent beach, each marked with the name of a neighboring county within the reactor's emergency planning zone. Speeches and skits highlighted Palisades' brittle reactor containment vessel and problems with on-site dry cask spent fuel storage. A beach clean-up concluded the event, and the caravan then hit the road for the Cook reactors farther south.
At the Cook plant, Anishnabhe drummer Kelly Kiyosht from Canada and Western Shoshone spiritual leader Corbin Harney set a passionate and dignified tone for the speakers and nonviolent direct action that followed. Twelve people were arrested as each crossed a police line and sat down in front of the gate. They were taken to a local police station, cited for trespass, and released pending court dates.
Editor's note: photos from this action may be viewed at www.nirs.org/glac