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"Nuclear Refugees"

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Our Mission

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Picture by Cate Woolner

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Bessie, the CAN Cow

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Citizens Awareness Network (CAN) a grassroots environmental organization working to replace nuclear power with sustainable energy solutions.

CAN is a regional group, with thousants of supporters throughout New England.

We have:

• Had a major role in forcing the closure of 4 New England reactors—Yankee Rowe in Massachusetts, Connecticut Yankee, Millstone Unit 1 in Connecticut and Vermont Yankee.

• Won lawsuits against the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and nuclear corporations, on issues concerning decommissioning, public participation and high-level waste storage. The rulings stated that the NRC violated its own regulations in permitting the illegal decommissioning of the Yankee Rowe reactor. Our lawsuit against Boston Edison stopped the utility from shipping its high level waste to the Skull Valley Goshute Reservation in Utah.

• Intervened in NRC hearings on the cleanups of Yankee Rowe and CT Yankee and license transfer proceedings on Indian Point in NY, Fitzpatrick in New York State, and Vermont Yankee. Our interventions resulted in a more thorough cleanup of decommissioning reactors and increased oversight and awareness concerning the financial vulnerability of merchant nuclear corporations.

• Worked with other organizations, to organize a grassroots campaign to support Act 160, empowering the Vermont legislature to decide Vermont Yankee's future.

• Organized a Citizen Health Study with the MA Department of Health on radioactive waste releases into the Deerfield River Valley in MA from the Yankee Rowe reactor. The purpose was to examine the health effects on the neighboring community. In the process, CAN organized a team of epidemiologists, meteorologists, and organizations to do the research needed for a full investigation. The results of the study confirmed an epidemic of disease including statistical significance in cancers and increases in children with Down syndrome.

• Engaged in a series of waste tours, called “Caravan of Conscience and Waste Tours”, because of our concern with the issues of environmental justice, alerting people to nuclear waste transport through their communities in the northeast, southeast, midwest and west regions of the US. We found that many communities were not fully aware of the risks of transporting nuclear waste through their towns. We organized a high-level waste summit, bringing reactor and waste communities together to create consensus on a waste siting and transport policy.

• Organized “Action Camp’s” in Vermont with Nuclear Information and Resource Service. Over 1,000 people participated in camp activities. The goal of the camps was to create a group of competent and effective organizers who would return to their reactor communities better able to advocate and mobilize opposition to their local nuke. Skill building workshops included organizing 101, nukes 101, waste 101, media training 101, training in non-violent civil disobedience as workshops on environmental justice and nuclear power.

• Organized and coordinated with other impacted groups a 2.206 enforcement petition to NRC to revoke Vermont Yankee, Fitzpatrick, and Pilgrim reactors license to operate based on Entergy’s financial vulnerability and how it impacted the safe operation of these reactors. NRC accepted our petition for review and staff has requested financial information from the corporation. The New York, Vermont and Massachusetts Attorneys General submitted letters of support for our requested investigation and within two years all three reactors announced closure.

• Worked with the state of Vermont to create a citizens advisory panel to ensure that the decommissioning of Vermont Yankee is as democratic and transparent as possible. CAN prepared a white paper on Decommissioning andPublic Participation. Using CAN’s experience in participating in utility driven Citizens Advisory Boards, it was important to share what we have learned in creating a process that is transparent and democratic, providing essential information about what people can expect at different stages of cleanup and how it can affect their communities.


CAN is committed to supporting the green revolution evolving in the New England. We will work to support energy legislation that advances the development of renewables including solar and efficiency.

CAN supports energy equity to ensure that the advancement of a renewable energy includes low income communities.

Decommissioning and nuclear waste are a vital concern to our communities. It is essential that the decommissioning of Vermont Yankee is accomplished safely and responsibly. CAN is committed to ensuring that this process is as democratic and transparent as possible.

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Organization Information


(413) 625-6177



Citizens Awareness Network (CAN) a grassroots environmental organization working to replace nuclear power with sustainable energy solutions.

EIN: 043135668

Reports: Guidestar

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