Nuclear Safety? High profile former supporters now campaign against

A growing number of high-profile, high-powered people – politicians, leaders of some countries, the former head of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, a former major U.S. utility head, a former nuclear industry insider – are now dissenting vocally (& loudly!) from the nuclear scene … on the grounds of lack of safety. This is a no doubt incomplete list, but it does provide a pretty clear idea of an important phenomenon.

Nuclear energy is not safe.

It is not clean.

It is not reliable.

(Parenthetically, it is also no solution for climate change, & the highly dangerous wastes it creates will remain so for millennia).

And, more & more people are getting it – some of them people “in high places.”

Below you’ll find a list of people who formerly occupied public positions in which they favoured nuclear power, but who are now speaking out against it.

As well, there are some links to articles & YouTubes you can peruse for yourself to find out more about what these people are now saying publicly.

Finally, there are some relevant quotations from people whose words it would be wise for us to heed.

Gregory Jaczko, former Chair of the U.S. NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission, a body to which he belonged from 2005-2012 & was appointed as chair by President Obama in 2009), wound up resigning in 2012, in the wake of U.S. reaction to the Fukushima disaster that began on March 11, 2011. He now advocates a world-wide nuclear phaseout. In the 2015 documentary film ‘Indian Point’ he explains that seeing at close range what took place in Fukushima changed his views on nuclear power utterly.

Two former premiers of Japan, Naoto Kan (who was in that position at the time the Fukushima disaster began) and Morihiro Hosokowa now speak out against nuclear energy (quotes below). Naoto Kan joined demonstrators to protest the re-opening of the Sendai plant.

Dave Freeman is former head of the Tennessee Valley Authority, or TVA. Originally pro-nuclear, it was at first the economics that made him conclude nukes make no sense. After a visit to Chernobyl in the early 1990’s, he became passionately anti-nuclear. In a riveting 23-minute interview (link below in the Resources list) he makes it clear that even now, in his late 80s, he remains a forceful & passionate speaker/presence.

Arnie Gundersen, nuclear engineer & former nuclear industry executive, was fired for raising safety issues. He’s become an articulate global nuclear critic since the Fukushima disaster began on March 11/11. His Web site has vast quantities of good materials, including a recent 18-minute video that succinctly lists four common issues/problems demonstrated by the TMI (Three Mile Island), Chernobyl & Fukushima accidents.

Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, has said, “We want to end the use of nuclear energy and reach the age of renewable energy as fast as possible. It’s over. Fukushima has forever changed the way we define risk in Germany.”


Peter Bradford, a former commissioner of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission during the Three Mile Island nuclear accident in 1979, now speaks out about why we cannot rely on nuclear power.

Dr. John Gofman, M.D./Ph.D., helped isolate the first gram of plutonium for the Manhattan Project, but later become a passionate, vocal dissenter. Gofman wrote a brilliant, scathing book called “Irrevy” An Irreverent, Illustrated View of Nuclear Power.

Linda Keen, former head of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), was fired as CNSC head because she had begun to have concerns about nuclear safety.

David Lochbaum is a nuclear engineer who formerly worked in the industry, and now works for the Union of Concerned Scientists



This June 4, 2013 event “Fukushima Daiichi Accident: Lessons for California” in San Diego, California featured as speakers

  • Arnie Gundersen
  • Naoto Kan, former Prime Minister of Japan
  • Dr. Gregory Jaczko, former Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  • Peter Bradford, former commissioner of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission during the Three Mile Island nuclear accident in 1979.

(Recent) 18 minutes on four common issues/problems demonstrated by the TMI (Three Mile Island), Chernobyl & Fukushima accidents

Dave Freeman “Kill nuclear power before it kills us!” interview (23 minutes)

Accidents Info:

  •  partial nuclear accidents list here
  • Chalk River accidents here
  • very long list of accidents over the decades since 1940 here

Relevant Quotations

“I deeply regret believing in the security myth of nuclear power.” – Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan at the 2011 Hiroshima Day commemorations

“It’s impossible to totally prevent any kind of accident or disaster happening at the nuclear power plants.  And so, the one way to prevent this from happening, to prevent the risk of having to evacuate such huge amounts of people, 50 million people, and for the purpose, for the benefit of the lives of our people, and even the economy of Japan, I came to change the position, that the only way to do this was to totally get rid of the nuclear power plants.” – former Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan

“I foolishly once believed the myth that nuclear energy is clean and safe. That myth has completely broken down. Restarting nuclear reactors while we still have no place to dispose nuclear waste is a criminal act toward future generations.”Morihiro Hosokawa, 79th Prime Minister of Japan

“If a Secretary of Agriculture endorsed better meat inspection, you wouldn’t have a debate of near religious fervor about whether that person was pro- or anti-meat, whether he had sold out to the vegetarians. You’d debate whether the stricter regulations made sense. It’s somehow unique to nuclear power that, when one refuses to have nuclear power on the industry’s terms, one gets chucked into a bin labeled ‘anti-nuclear.’ ” ~ Peter A. Bradford, former Commissioner of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. March 9, 1982.

“Now, I think if I were to talk to an average person on the street and say that, people would say no, that [Fukushima] was a pretty significant event. And I personally think that’s right. I think that this was a significant event, and it was an unacceptable event. But if we look at the risk models that we use today, it is not -- in our risk models -- an unacceptable event.” Gregory B. Jaczko, then Chairman, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (February 2012)

“We want to end the use of nuclear energy and reach the age of renewable energy as fast as possible. It’s over. Fukushima has forever changed the way we define risk in Germany.” – Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel

“Kill nuclear power before it kills us!” – Dave Freeman, former head of the TVA, former nuclear energy promoter, now a loud nuclear dissenter

“…What part of Fukushima don’t you understand? If you don’t make the modifications [re: safety & emergency planning] you run the risk of destroying the fabric of a country. It happened at Chernobyl, and it’s happening right now in Japan…” – Arnie Gundersen in an interview about the 3rd anniversary of the Fukushima accident (March 2014)

“No matter how far you’ve gone down a wrong road, TURN BACK!” – Source unknown

“It’s never the wrong time to do the right thing.” – Source unknown

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” – Upton Sinclair

“We should be on our guard not to overestimate science and scientific methods when it is a question of human problems; and we should not assume that experts are the only ones who have a right to express themselves on questions affecting the organization of society.” – Albert Einstein

“Our world faces a crisis as yet unperceived by those possessing the power to make great decisions for good and evil. The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking, and thus we drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.” – Einstein (1946)

“Nuclear power is one hell of a way to boil water!” ~ Albert Einstein

“The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” – Albert Einstein

* More relevant quotations on this blog here