Fox 11 News: Marchers remember Chernobyl

Protesters hit the streets in Kewaunee County opposed to the area's two nuclear power plants. Saturday's action follows ongoing troubles with damaged nuclear plants in Japan. It also marks the approach of the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in the Ukraine.

"I just remember the emotional impact it had on people and even to this day, 25 years ago, I'm keenly aware of the radiation being in the fallen leaves in the fall, in the tap water," explained former Ukraine resident, Natasha Akulenko. (Watch the video here from FOX 11, WLUK-TB Green Bay, Wisconsin reporter: Beth Jones - The story continues below)

Natasha Akulenko lived through that disaster and now is marching in protest of nuclear power plants to prevent another. More than two dozen people from all over the state protested peacefully around the Kewanee Power station and Point Beach Nuclear Power Plant.

Members of the non-profit group, "Nukewatch," say they want to promote a nuclear-free future, in remembrance of what happened at Chernobyl, and what is ongoing at damaged plants in Japan.

"We just think the risks are too high to justify operation of nuclear reactors," said Nukewatch Co-Director John LaForge.

The two nuclear power plants combined produce enough electricity to power more than one million homes in Wisconsin.

But marchers feel there are better alternatives to nuclear power.

"We're asking for the phase out of nuclear, and its replacement with renewables like wind, and solar and energy efficiency," said "Beyond Nuclear" group member, Kevin Kamps.

Marchers say they don't want what happened in Chernobyl or Fukushima to happen here, and they believe it could.

The Associated Press reported earlier this month that both plants drew extra attention several years ago from regulators because of spotty safety records.

However officials say operating under new ownership the plants have improved those safety grades.

Point Beach officials say safety remains their number one priority.

"It's about having redundant systems in place," said Point Beach Communications Manager, Sara Cassidy. "It's about having back up diesel generators that are ready in case we need them. It's all about doing what we can to make sure we're promoting public health and safety."

The Kewaunee Power Station is licensed to 2033.

Point Beach is licensed to 2030 and 2033.

And in addition to federal regulators, these protesters say they too will continue to keep a watchful eye on the plants.

FOX 11 did contact the Kewaunee Power Station, however no one was available for comment.

 

-- Nukewatch 740A Round Lake Rd Luck, WI 54853 (715) 472-4185

www.nukewatch.com