John Reuwer, a nuclear disarmament leader and veteran of unarmed civilian peace teams, lives in Maryland.

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Enacting a ‘Miracle’ at a Ukrainian Nuclear Power Plant

by John Reuwer 08-02-2023
"It’s one of the most amazing stories in nonviolence history.”
A man in a yellow hazmat suit simulates checking radiation levels on a Ukrainian boy by holding a black device out in front of him. Red-and-white striped tape keeps them separated from an onlooking crowd in the background.

A Ukrainian emergency service team simulates checking radiation levels on a boy during training drills held in the Zaporizhzhia region. / Elena Tita / Getty Images

I WAS CONCERNED about the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant because of my background in things nuclear. Europe’s largest nuclear plant was sitting in frontline combat. It has hundreds of times more nuclear material than Chernobyl. When I read about the International Atomic Energy Agency sending in unarmed inspectors, I thought, here are 14 guys risking their necks to save what could be tens of thousands of people if this plant goes up. Those guys probably have never heard of nonviolent action or unarmed protection — everything you do to keep yourself and others safe once you take violence off the table. The least we, who practice this stuff, could do is support them.