The Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER) began work in 1987. Our focus has been mainly on two areas: the paths to emissions-free energy systems, including energy equity, and energy democracy; and environmental, energy, and security aspects of nuclear weapons production, nuclear power technology, and nuclear waste. To that end, IEER has:
- completed the first analysis of the technical and economic feasibility of a fossil fuel-free and nuclear-free energy system in the United States;
- published two detailed studies, including hour-by-hour modelling, of renewable electricity sectors in Utah and Minnesota with the same reliability as the present-day grid;
- prepared a comprehensive report on energy equity in Maryland, including the damage done by high energy burdens in relation to income and the ways to structurally make energy affordable and solar energy accessible for low-income households;
- evaluated releases of radioactive materials into the environment near nuclear weapons plants;
- assessed the global health and environmental effects of nuclear weapons and testing;
- provided technical support to grassroots groups concerned with the effects of nuclear weapons production;
- conducted many technical training workshops on nuclear weapons-related issues as well as energy- and climate-related issues for grassroots activists;
- initiated national and international outreach and education on plutonium disposition.
In 2006 we launched the Healthy from the Start campaign to include women, children, and future generations in environmental health standards. Since 2008 IEER has worked with state and local-level efforts to implement Carbon-Free, Nuclear-Free through technical reports, testimonies, and technical comments. The Renewable Maryland Project is the latest in this series of efforts. Finally IEER works to prevent the development of proliferation-prone technologies such as reprocessing and breeder reactors. IEER is in the process of completing a comprehensive roadmap for an emissions-free, affordable, democratized, and resilient energy sector in Maryland, including identifying major obstacles along the way and they methods by which they can be overcome.
Other highlights of IEER’s work include:
- the first independent re-estimation of releases of radioactive materials from a nuclear weapons plant;
- the first ever reassessment of internal radiation doses to nuclear weapons plant workers;
- the successful effort to add carbon tetrachloride to the list of chemicals banned due to their effect on ozone depletion;
- the technical evaluation of the repository program of the French nuclear waste management agency for the disposal of high level waste;
- the evaluation of selected stress tests carried out in France on all the nuclear facilities in the wake of the Fukushima disaster;
- several technical reports highlighting the fact that radiation standards apply to “reference man” and are not protective for other members of the public;
- many technical reports on the feasibility of various aspects at the national, state, and local levels of an energy system without fossil fuels and nuclear power by promoting renewable energy, efficiency, and a new electricity grid;
- many technical reports addressing the dangers of proliferation arising from certain kinds of technologies, such as reprocessing, and proposed new reactors;
- the publication of numerous books and publications on nuclear and energy issues, including Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free, and Nuclear Wastelands, and Mending the Ozone Hole. (See Publications.)
Our non-proliferation efforts have included an international program centered on a goal to have plutonium declared a liability. In 1995 we hosted an International Symposium on plutonium and highly enriched uranium focusing on fissile materials and the Non-Proliferation Treaty, fissile materials in Russia, and the civilian plutonium programs of Japan, Britain, France, and India. In 1996 we began our global outreach project, “Nuclear Materials Dangers,” covering nuclear material dangers and sustainable energy. That same year we began publishing our international newsletter in Russian, French, and English (the first 4 issues), as well as Chinese and Japanese. This Web site now includes links in some of these languages. This program is now closed but many aspects such as addressing security and environmental aspects of nuclear waste and fissile materials continue.