UNSUNG HERO: Johnsrud Award to Wally Taylor


Beyond Nuclear will award the 2024 Dr. Judith H. Johnsrud “Unsung Hero” Award to Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based environmental attorney Wally Taylor. The award will be presented by the inaugural recipient of the Johnsrud Award in 2014, Diane D’Arrigo of NIRS. Johnsrud, D’Arrigo, and Taylor share the special connection of working very hard for many decades to advance the anti-nuclear cause within the Sierra Club. Taylor has served as legal counsel for Sierra Club, and co-counsel to a national grassroots environmental coalition, opposing high-level radioactive waste dumps in Texas and New Mexico. He also serves as co-counsel for Beyond Nuclear opposing the zombie reactor restart at Palisades in Michigan, as well as High-Assay Low-Enriched Uranium processing at Portsmouth, Ohio.

Taylor has also watch-dogged such atomic reactors in his area as Duane Arnold in Iowa, and Fort Calhoun in Nebraska. Both reactors were — most thankfully — shutdown for good, after narrowing averting radioactive catastrophes amidst climate chaos-driven extreme weather events (namely, the summer 2011 historic flood on the Missouri River in Nebraska that dangerously inundated the Fort Calhoun site, combined with a fire there that smoldered for days unaddressed; and the August 2019 straight line wind damage at Duane Arnold, that led to a 1% risk of a meltdown — such risks are supposed to be kept at 1 in a million, or at worst 1 in 10,000, but it was 1 in 100 that day in Iowa!).

Wally’s anti-nuclear lawyering is in addition to many other environmental causes he advocates for, such as opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), as but one example.

The Johnsrud Award has been presented at the annual Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA) DC Days Award Reception for the past decade. Beyond Nuclear has been a member organization of ANA since our founding in 2007. Beyond Nuclear’s radioactive waste specialist, Kevin Kamps, currently serves as ANA’s board of directors president.

This year’s ANA Awards Reception will be held on Tuesday, May 21st, from 6:30 to 8:30pm ET, at Busboys and Poets in the nuclear-free zone of Takoma Park, Maryland, bordering D.C., where Beyond Nuclear is headquartered. The formal program will begin at 7pm ET. The event is watchable online via Zoom, at this link.

See this post about evening events during DC Days, including more information about the Awards Reception, including the other award recipients.

For more information about Beyond Nuclear co-founder Judy Johnsrud, the award dedicated to her memory, and past recipients, click this link.

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