The history of the protest against nuclear energy

In this section we will have articles and links to articles, reports and studies about the movement against nuclear power in different countries. We do not necessarily agree with the contents of the studies we link to. Links are to external documents and will open in new window.

Many interesting reports in specialized magazines, are not available for non subscribers or members, which is a pity. However, many, many others are available. Below a very limited list of available reports on the internet. The reports are not only in English but also in other language. Of each report, a short introduction in the language of the report is included. Information is listed per country.
Reports on the history of the Dutch anti-nuclear power movement, can be found on the Dutch page.
This section should be seen as a start for research: at the Laka library and also at the clippings archive, much more information is available.
Please, report broken links. Suggestion for links are greatly appreciated


The rise of anti-uranium protest in Australia
Dr Sigrid McCausland
October 2000. With main focus on the years 1974-1977. 12 pages

Australia's anti-nuclear movement: a short history
Australia's involvement in the nuclear industry began with supplying uranium for the US and UK's weapons programs during and after World War II. British weapons tests in South Australia and Western Australia 1952-63 left a legacy of health problems for Aborigines and armed service personnel, as well as significant environmental damage.
1998 by Jim Green in Green Left Weekly

The Australian anti-uranium movement
"In Australia as in many other countries, there grew up in the latter half of the 1970s a major citizens movement against nuclear power. The Australian struggle against nuclear power has mainly been a struggle against uranium mining in Australia's Northern Territory. Here I give a general account of this struggle, covering the origins of the Australian anti-nuclear movement, issues in the nuclear debate and the strategy of the movement."
Published in Alternatives: Perspectives on Society and Environment, Volume 10, Number 4, Summer 1982, pp. 26-35, with a number of sub-editorial changes and omission of the references and the lists of Canberra actions.


Zwentendorf ausstellung Am 5. November 1978 fällte die österreichische Bevölkerung mit knapper Mehrheit die Entscheidung, auf die Verwendung der Atomkraft zu verzichten. Die Ausstellung "Widerstand auf Plateausohlen - Volksabstimmung Zwentendorf 1978" dokumentiert, wie es dazu gekommen ist und wie es seither mit der Atomkraft weitergegangen ist.


Kernenergie en maatschappelijk debat
Omdat kernenergie als energievector een controversiële technologie is (en dit in de toekomst wel zal blijven), wil het viWTA de maatschappelijke discussie in kaart brengen tot aan de parlementaire beslissing tot een kernuitstap (2003), en een vergelijking maken met het debat over kernenergie in de jaren '70, '80 en '90. Het rapport is vooral gebaseerd op een literatuurstudie en, in een secundaire ondersteunende rol, op de bevraging van sleutelfiguren rond het thema kernenergie.
viWTA is een autonome instelling verbonden aan het Vlaams Parlement.
E. Laes, L. Chayapathi, G. Meskens, G. Eggermont (Rapport door SCK-CEN) November 2004

Czech Republic

Environmental protest in the Czech Republic: three stages of post-communist development
Environmental protest in the Czech Republic has changed quite considerably since 1989. In terms of the political influence and capacity of environmental NGOs, there has not been a linear progression towards increased efficacy and pluralisation. Rather, it is possible to discern three distinct stages: an initial phase of political prominence and apparent radicalism (1990-mid 1991); a period of political marginalisation and de-radicalisation (mid 1991-96); and a current phase (1996 onwards) in which a cluster of large professional environmental NGOs have regained a degree of influence.
Adam Fagin, School of Social and Historical Studies, University of Portsmouth, UK


Mobilization in La Hague : between expertise and the radical protest
In the space of a few months, the nuclear reprocessing plant became the symbol of nuclear pollution,. Yet, La Hague has existed for more than 30 years and has never provoked such emotion, with the exception of the glorious moments of the antinuclear protest. So, what are the factors which may explain that, owing to events of 1997, the plant in La Hague and its sanitary and environmental consequences became a public problem?
Olivier Baisnée, 1999, Centre de recherches administratives et politiques. Institut d'études politiques de Rennes.


The Profile of Recent Environmental Protest in Germany
Several observers have stated that the German environmental movement is among the strongest and most active in the world. Moreover, the movement is perceived as being fairly radical when compared to its counterparts in most other countries. According to more recent accounts, however, this picture has changed. Some analysts claim that the movement is in decline, or has virtually ceased to exist. Others maintain that the movement is still there, but has lost its zeal due to a gradual process of institutionalisation, in particular, to the co-optation of the movement's leadership.
By Dieter Rucht, Paper presented for the Workshop on "Environmental Protest in Comparative Perspective" at the 27th Joint Sessions of ECPR Workshops in Mannheim, 26-31 March, 1999.

Die Anfänge der Anti-Atom-Bewegung in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland
In der Bundesrepublik Deutschland wurde nach einer jahrzehntelangen Auseinandersetzung nun in diesem Jahr in einer Vereinbarung zwischen der Bundesregierung und den Energie- versorgungsunternehmen („Atomkonsens") ein Ende der zivilen Atomenergienutzung beschlossen. Inhalt dieser Arbeit soll es sein die Entstehung der deutschen Anti-Atom-Bewegung zu betrachten. Die Frage, die im Mittelpunkt der Arbeit steht, ist diejenige, wann, wie und warum die Bewegung entstanden ist.
Marco Rieckmann, Student der Umweltwissenschaften (Universität Lüneburg), 25.08.2000


Nuclear suppression
This article draws attention to a number of cases where it seems that scientists and technologists have been penalized in various ways for having views opposed to those of the nuclear industry. Publications may be suppressed, through to careers being destroyed. The examples come from many countries.
Brian Martin. Published in Science and Public Policy, volume 13, number 6, December 1986, pages 312-320.


The Nuclear Syndrome. Victory for the Irish Anti-nuclear Power Movement
A victory was won. And while that victory had more to do with economic questions and the international concern over nuclear power, the Irish anti-nuclear power movement had done an important job in conscientising people as to the dangers. It is good to be able to tell a success story, and you'll find it an exiting read. And if we are able to learn some lessons about organising present and future campaigns then the read will indeed have been a worthwhile one...
Simon Dalby's analysis of the way the Irish anti-nuclear movement in the 1970s dealt with organisation, strategy and tactics is an important one which will repay careful study and consideration.
Simon Dalby, First published in Dawn Train, No3, Winter 1984/85

The Netherlands (non-Dutch material)

Technology, risk and democracy: The Dutch nuclear energy debate (1981-1984)
Current debates about public participation in scientific and technological innovation may profit from a closer analysis of earlier attempts to involve the public in such matters. The Dutch public debate about nuclear energy in the early 1980s provides an interesting case. The debate was the first in its kind in the Netherlands and displays many of the issues, problems, antagonisms and dynamics that characterize current attempts to involve the public.
Rob Hagendijk & Arjan Terpstra, University of Amsterdam, June 2004


«Kein blinder Widerstand gegen den Fortschritt, aber Widerstand gegen einen blinden Fortschritt!»
Patrick Küper, 1997. "Die Auseinandersetzungen um die zivile Nutzung der Atomenergie. Der Aufsatz basiert auf meiner Lizenziatsarbeit an der Universität Zuerich: Patrick Kupper: Abschied von Wachstum und Fortschritt: Die Umweltbewegung und die zivile Nutzung der Atomenergie (1960-1975), Liz. Zuerich 1997. Das Titelzitat ist ein Leitspruch der Umweltbewegung der 70er Jahre."

Umweltbewegung und Anti-AKW-Bewegung in der Schweiz
Es war in der Schweiz kein Novum, als sich Ende der 60er und Anfang der 70er Jahre Leute für den Umweltschutz einzusetzen begannen, neu war aber die Intensität, die Motivation vieler Mitstreiter und die Dynamik einer Bewegung.
2004(?), Renato Steck & David Kieffer, Universität Bern, 16 Seiten

United Kingdom

A Chronology of Public Opinion on Nuclear Power in the United States and United Kingdom
Stephanie Dalquist, 29 April 2004


Origins, Goals, and Tactics of the U.S. Anti-Nuclear Protest Movement
By: Victoria Daubert, Sue Ellen Moran
This describes the origins, goals and tactics of the anti-nuclear-weapons and anti-nuclear-energy protest movements in the United States; characterizes American anti-nuclear protest activities of the past several years, and compares them with analogous protests abroad; and suggests some approaches for using this information to assess the potential for violent actions against U.S. nuclear-energy and nuclear-weapons installations. Appendixes include brief histories of the Clamshell Alliance and the Livermore Action Group, and a chronology of anti-nuclear protests from 1977 to 1983.

The Rise of the Antinuclear Power Movement 1957 to 1989
18 pages, Harry M. Cleaver, Jr.
The development and circulation of antinuclear struggles of the last 40 years. What we will see is a pattern of new sectors of the class (e.g., women, native Americans, and Labor) joining the movement over the course of that long cycle of struggles. Those new sectors would remain autonomous, which would clearly place the movement within the autonomist Marxist model. Furthermore, it is precisely the widening of the class composition that has made the antinuclear movement the most successful social movement of the 1970s and 1980s.

Splitting the Atom Industry
Nuclear power has been the single most important environmental issue in the West during the last decade. And with good reason. Harvey Wasserman charts the growth of the anti-nuclear movement in the United States and suggests that these new ecologically-aware citizens may be a future political force to reckon with.
published in New Internationalist, August 1982

Die Frauen von Harrisburg, oder »Wir lassen uns die Angst nicht ausreden«
Frauen berichten vom Reaktorunfall Three Mile Island (USA), wie 100.000 Menschen flüchteten, den psychischen Auswirkung und wie gegensätzlich Frauen und Männer reagierten.
Cristina Perincioli 1980, 55 seiten (pdf)

A Chronology of Public Opinion on Nuclear Power in the United States and United Kingdom
Stephanie Dalquist, 29 April 2004