Clamshell Overview


The Clamshell Alliance was the New England model for a national movement that forced the nuclear industry to shelve its plans for new nuclear plants for 30 years. The Clamshell Alliance fulfilled Albert Einstein’s plea to take the issue of atomic energy to the village square. Petitions, town referendums, workshops, informational pickets, alliances with social justice movements such as labor, Native Americans, and women’s groups, lectures, brochures and flyers all helped inform and mobilize people. And music, buttons, posters, films, alternative energy fairs, rallies, sit ins, and massive, nonviolent citizens’ occupations of the Seabrook, NH, nuclear plant site gave color and drama to the movement. Taking its name from the clam beds of the marshes where the Seabrook, NH, nuclear power plant was to be built, the Clamshell Alliance lasted from 1976 until the early 1990s. Its legacy lives on in movements for social justice and in the lives of the people who joined together in the Clamshell and other antinuclear alliances to demand “No Nukes!”

The Clamshell Alliance was formed in Rye, NH, at a backyard picnic table in July 1976 by New England activists who adopted the Founding Statement and the Declaration of Nuclear Resistance (hyperlink here). This was shortly after the federal government issued a construction permit to Public Service Company of New Hampshire (PSNH) for twin 1150-megawatt reactors on the marshes of Seabrook, NH, and within sight of the heavily-populated beach resort of Hampton, NH. PSNH, one of the smallest utilities in the nation, undertook one of the country’s largest nuclear power plant projects.

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