Grateful for Science this Thanksgiving

Grateful for Science this Thanksgiving
Dear Friends of Fairewinds,

This week, we in the United States celebrate our national holiday of Thanksgiving.

For us at Fairewinds Energy Education there is a lot to give thanks for: you – our followers and donors, and the foundations – all of whom help Fairewinds to achieve its mission.

Thanks to each of you, we continue to speak ‘truth to power’ about the increasing risk of operating old atomic reactors, the financial infeasibility and boondoggle fiasco of funding and construction attempts to build new nukes, and the current rush by newly created corporations to turn atomic power reactor shutdowns into a high-yield revenue stream.
2017 has been a really busy year for Fairewinds Energy Education , for Arnie and I personally with Fairewinds Associates – the paralegal services and expert witness testimony firm that oftentimes occupies a significant portion of Arnie’s and my time, and for each of our Fairewinds crew members and scientific colleagues.
Nationally, there have been so many attacks this year on independent science, we at Fairewinds have doubled down on our research efforts and our scientific network has grown larger than ever. As we reflect at this time of year, we are thankful for our many colleagues researching and showcasing cutting-edge science; each one is making significant contributions to science and also facilitating community outreach as they make contacts around the globe. We are grateful for the foundations and donors who make it possible for us to do this work.
This Thanksgiving we give special thanks for the ongoing financial and emotional support of The Lintilhac Foundation, The Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation, and The Wallace Research Foundation, all of whom have worked with us on Fairewinds crowd-sourced citizen science efforts in Japan and other locations or have supported Fairewinds atomic power reactor decommissioning oversight.
Our special thanks this year to several key people:
·  Dr. Marco Kaltofen from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) Nuclear Science and Engineering Program for his ongoing scientific research, work with us, and travels with Fairewinds to Japan to meet other scientists and teach with us in September.
·  The STOTEN Journal [Science of the Total Environment] that published the peer-reviewed journal article entitled Radioactively-hot particles detected in dusts and soils from Northern Japan by combination of gamma spectrometry, autoradiography, and SEM/EDS analysis and implications in radiation risk assessment co-authored by Arnie Gundersen and Dr. Kaltofen.
·  Filmmaker Robbie Leppzer from Turning Tide Productions who spent 8-years of his life documenting the Vermont Yankee shutdown and democracy-in-action in Vermont in the film Power Struggle. Robbie’s film continues to show us how important community words and actions are as we all face the ongoing environmental justice and human rights tragedies occurring every day before our eyes.
· Environmental artist Mary Lou Dauray, who has encouraged our work and inspires us every day with her impactful nuclear series.
· And, thank you to the individual special donors who continuously help us pursue this vital environmental work by supporting our efforts to do the research and speak truth to power.
Let Me Talk More About Data:

Accurate scientific data about atomic power reactor radiation releases is difficult to come by. Why? The scientists tagged with monitoring nuclear power plant radiation releases are either employed by an associated industry or work for state or federal agencies that do not want that data released under the guise of possible ‘public panic’. In addition, most of the data currently collected throughout the world is analyzed by corporate labs or government labs that have a vested interest in not allowing accurate results to be shared in the public domain. 
Fairewinds Energy Education is working with scientific colleagues from around the world and with well-trained citizen-scientists crowd-sourcing this data that is then sent to independent labs to conduct accurate analysis. The final results are then shared in the public domain.

You may have noticed that Fairewinds Energy Education has spent significantly less time and money on its videos during the past 18-months. People are asking us why aren’t there more videos and why are you so silent? Fairewinds is not silent by any means; we have been moving in new directions with more active participatory science, more in-depth analysis and research, and many more public presentations and teaching events, and we are grateful that Fairewinds’ donors are supporting this transition.

During the past 2-years Fairewinds Energy Education has had 12 interns from the University of Vermont (UVM) Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources work in our office on various research projects. One research project was turned into a very successful animation and a second research project is currently baseline material for a research paper Fairewinds is currently working on. Two members of our crew joined us after graduating from the UVM Rubenstein School: Ben Shulman-Reed Fairewinds Program Researcher, who also manages to juggle Fairewinds newsletters and social media platforms, and Grayson Webb, a part-time researcher and talented social media writer, who spent June through October in Alaska conducting environmental research.

As Fairewinds looks at our research regarding radioactive dust and the new rush to decommission aging nukes, we remain deeply concerned that the atomic power and nuclear waste industry is presenting new economic paradigms to achieve significant revenue streams. For us and our scientific colleagues this creates escalating environmental concerns about the water we drink, the food we eat, and the very air we breathe. The data we have reviewed clearly shows that very fine radioactive dust [nanoparticles too tiny to see with the naked eye] are oftentimes very highly contaminated and are migrating to locations farther and wider than any of us who work in the atomic power arena and those in the wider environmental community ever anticipated. [Arnie and I know this first hand from our current work and in our previous lives when we each worked for nuclear power corporations.]
So, in this time of thanksgiving, we give thanks to each of you: our scientific colleagues working unceasingly in this challenging arena, the citizen-scientists who do such important crowd-sourced research, the followers on Fairewinds site, Facebook and Twitter followers, the groups that host our presentations and the people who come to listen to hear the truth, the filmmakers and journalists who document this work to protect the planet we all live on, and the donors and foundations who make it possible for those of us at Fairewinds to continue this journey.

Thank you!


Maggie, Arnie, Ben, Grayson, and Sue

Newsletter written by Maggie Gundersen & created by Ben Shulman-Reed
Fairewinds Energy Education
Burlington, VT
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