Activist Mary Olson to speak at the University of Evansville

Posted: Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Activist Mary Olson will be speaking at the University of Evansville on November 12 at 6:00 p.m. in Room 203 in the Bower-Suhrheinrich Library. Her topic will be “A New Global Treaty for Nuclear-Free Nations: How One Woman Made a Difference.” This event is free and open to the public.

Olson is acting director of gender and radiation and director of the southeast office for Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS), a non-government organization. She has an undergraduate degree in evolutionary biology and history of science. Olson has worked for 27 years on radioactive waste policy with NIRS, which is located in the Washington, DC, area. She is based in NIRS’s satellite office in North Carolina, where she founded the Gender and Radiation Impact Project in 2017.

Olson has written and organized on radioactive waste and was a registered lobbyist in the US Congress from 199-2004-1999, working to stop bad legislative proposals for changes in radioactive waste law. She leads the successful Stop Mobile Chernobyl Campaign which prevented legislation that would have mandated the shipment of highly radioactive waste to the disputed Yucca Mountain site when it was under study (not yet approved). For many years Olson worked with the No Dumps on Native Lands project to keep nuclear waste off the lands of Indigenous Peoples, including Yucca Mountain, which is on traditional lands of the Shoshone Nation.

Olson has been a student of radiation’s impact on living cells and organisms since her own contamination while working in a research lab. She has done an analysis of A-Bomb survivor data published by the US National Academy of Sciences in order to answer questions from the public about gender differences in radiation harm. Olson’s paper “Atomic Radiation is More Harmful to Women,” published in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi meltdowns helped diplomats at the UN bring nuclear weapons under humanitarian law, embodied by the new Convention on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

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