Nuclear energy, according to the Sierra Club’s official position, is “a uniquely dangerous energy technology for humanity” and “no solution to Climate Change.”
The Sierra Club is far from alone. There may be as many as 1,000 groups in the United States with an agenda that includes opposition to the nation’s largest source of carbon-free energy. More than 200 have recently been identified in the Capital Research Center’s InfluenceWatch database. The combined annual revenue of the groups identified, as measured by recent filings with the IRS (where available), exceeds $2.3 billion.
This calculation is a deliberately conservative estimate of the financial firepower of the American anti-nuclear movement. It includes only nonprofit groups with a known anti-nuclear position, and within that subset, only some of the anti-nuclear nonprofits. The real dollar figure is likely far higher, for the reasons explained below.
The groups are listed below, along with hyperlinks to their InfluenceWatch profiles. Each profile provides explanations of the group’s position against nuclear energy and citations for same.
Next to each group in the list below, where applicable, is the most recent reported revenue taken in by that group, along with hyperlinks to each nonprofit’s most recent IRS Form 990.
Some groups are too small to have filed recent IRS reports, are not listed as nonprofits, or otherwise did not have reliable revenue to report.
The handling of the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) provides a good example of the methodology. The $2.3 billion estimate of total anti-nuclear revenue includes only the $114.6 million LCV revenue for 2021 that the LCV’s 501(c)(4) political advocacy group reported to the IRS.
However, 501(c)(4) advocacy groups such as LCV frequently work in tandem with legally distinct, though mission-aligned 501(c)(3) educational nonprofits. In this case, the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund (LCVEF) reported $54 million in revenue for 2021.
This creates a double-counting concern because funding is often transferred from one group to the other. To steer as far clear of this concern as possible, all of the funding to one of the two groups has been totally excluded from the $2.3 billion calculation of anti-nuclear nonprofits. Where there is an education and an advocacy nonprofit, the $2.3 billion estimate includes either the 501(c)(3) or the 501(c)(4), but never both of them.
As such, the $54 million from LCVEF was not counted.
Another double counting could occur from local affiliates. In this example, the 2021 League of Conservation Voters’ IRS report shows more than $35 million in grants, almost all of which went to the LCV’s state and local affiliates.
Even though state-level affiliates may in many cases raise additional local revenue that could be counted, the safe assumption taken for the $2.3 billion estimate was to exclude all revenue reported by all state-level affiliates of large national groups such as LCV.
As another example, all state and local affiliates of the anti-nuclear League of Women Voters have been excluded from the estimate.
Additionally, all political committee money given to anti-nuclear political committees and politicians has been excluded from the $2.3 billion estimate. This also includes political committees that are affiliated with nonprofits such as LCV.
During the 2022 election cycle, according to the Federal Election Commission, the League of Conservation Voters Victory Fund political action committee raised more than $58 million and spent more than $33 million of it in federal independent expenditures.
None of this was included in the $2.3 billion estimate.
Researching and adding other political committees that have anti-nuclear positions would obviously increase the $2.3 billion total estimate. Current Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has a history of opposing the use of nuclear energy. So does former Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders.
Finally, many of the largest anti-nuclear nonprofits counted toward the $2.3 billion estimate have given grants to some of the smaller ones. The recent IRS report for the World Resources Institute (WRI) shows a total of nearly $1 million given in grants to other anti-nuclear nonprofits, such as the Rocky Mountain Institute and the Environmental Defense Fund.
This was a minority of the WRI’s recent grantmaking. However, out of a severe abundance of caution, all $47.1 million in grants from WRI’s recent IRS report have been deducted from the $2.3 billion total. One example of what was removed from the total estimate is a $2.1 million grant to the University of Maryland, which is not one of the anti-nuclear groups in this analysis.
Identical deductions of total grantmaking were made for the five other largest anti-nuclear groups: the Environmental Defense Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Rocky Mountain Institute, and World Wildlife Fund. Combined, total grants from the recent IRS reports of the six groups added up to $225.3 million.
The raw total annual revenue of the anti-nuclear nonprofits was initially nearly $2.6 billion. Deducting the grantmaking from the six biggest groups reduced the revenue estimate to just over $2.3 billion.
Because of this overly safe deduction and the other aforementioned conservative assumptions (i.e., excluding all political committee revenue), the $2.3 billion annual revenue estimate for supporters of the American anti-nuclear movement is only a modest estimate of what is likely a far higher number.
As to the claim from the Sierra Club that nuclear energy is a “uniquely dangerous technology,” consider a 2020 analysis by Our World in Data that calculated the historic death toll from all forms of energy production. The tabulation included mining of raw materials, drilling, and all other factors unique to each energy system. Because this included premature deaths from air pollution, the burning of brown coal (at 32.72 fatalities per terawatt hour) reigned supreme as the most deadly energy option of all.
Nuclear (0.03 deaths/TWh) and solar (0.02) were revealed to be the two safest means of keeping the lights on.
On a non-safety level, there is no remote comparison. Nuclear ranks as one of the most reliable power sources we have, while the sun reliably fails to shine for many hours every night, everywhere on Earth. Nuclear is the largest source of zero-carbon energy produced in the United States—kicking out far more electricity each year than solar and wind combined.
This production occurs despite a multi-decade drought in the deployment of new American nuclear reactors and the subsidizing of weather-restricted, landscape-polluting wind turbines and solar panels. A lot of the blame for each of these shameful developments belongs to the following groups, their donors, and their membership.
Anti-Nuclear Nonprofits in InfluenceWatch
Action for a Progressive Future ($1,117,382)
ActionAid USA ($6,196,724)
Alliance for a Green Economy ($502,592)
Alliance for Climate Education ($8,049,901)
Alliance for the Wild Rockies ($209,707)
Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments
Amazon Watch ($6,232,655)
American Family Voices ($436,264)
American Friends Service Committee
American Sustainable Business Council ($332,951)
Animals Are Sentient Beings
Anthropocene Alliance ($991,028)
Arise for Social Justice ($514,248)
Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education ($1,869,289)
Aytzim: Ecological Judaism
Backbone Campaign ($457,893)
Be the Change
Berkshire Environmental Action Team ($354,384)
Beyond Extreme Energy
Beyond Nuclear ($520,914)
Big Reuse ($3,522,565)
Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation ($8,489,062)
Blue Frontier Campaign ($169,839)
Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League ($819,201)
Breast Cancer Action ($802,390)
Buckeye Environmental Network ($218,119).
Campaign for America’s Future ($2,337)
Carbon Disclosure Project ($35,828,788)
Care About Climate ($105,799)
Cascadia Wildlands ($1,425,478)
Catskill Mountainkeeper ($1,555,001)
Center for a Sustainable Coast ($224,157)
Center for Biological Diversity ($36,653,414)
Center for Ecological Living and Learning ($12,326)
Center for Environmentally Recycled Building Alternatives
Center for Food Safety ($4,782,800)
Center for International Environmental Law ($10,375,096)
Center for Popular Democracy ($29,210,184)
Center for Story-based Strategy ($1,981,299)
Center for Sustainable Economy ($446,033)
Citizens for Responsible Oil and Gas (CFROG) ($434,742)
Citizens’ Environmental Coalition ($189,932)
Clean Energy Action ($15,174)
Clean Water Action ($5,749,311)
Climate Action Now – Western Massachusetts
Climate Defense Project ($320,750)
Climate Generation/Will Steger Foundation ($1,834,107)
Climate Hawks Vote Civic Action ($130,317)
Climate Justice Alliance ($9,557,146)
Climate Mobilization ($120,745)
Climate Reality Project ($26,022,257)
Climate Xchange ($1,879,934)
Code Pink ($1,538,229)
Collaborative Center for Justice ($158,586)
Communities for a Better Environment ($4,750,010)
Community Alliance for Global Justice ($147,026)
Community Ecology Institute ($557,981)
Corporate Accountability International ($9,885,924)
Corporate Ethics International ($53,000)
Courage Campaign ($1,177,591)
CREDO Victory Fund (CREDO Action)
Delaware Riverkeeper Network
Democracy Collaborative ($2,304,413)
Dogwood Alliance ($2,653,922)
Don’t Waste Arizona
Dream Corps ($57,812,679)
Earth Day Network ($3,828,196)
Earth Ethics, Inc.
Earth Island Institute ($23,677,718)
Elders Action Network ($335,629)
Elders Climate Action
Emerald Coastkeeper, Inc
Endangered Habitats League ($1,057,051)
Endangered Species Coalition ($1,091,649)
Environment America ($14,910,441)
Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) ($284,762,302)
Environmental Health Trust ($567,748)
Environmental Integrity Project ($6,222,840)
Environmental Law and Policy Center of the Midwest ($16,217,821)
Environmental Protection Information Center ($376,839)
Environmental Working Group (EWG) ($16,093,379)
Extinction Rebellion (XR)
Family Farm Defenders
Feminists in Action Los Angeles (FIA-LA)
Food and Water Watch ($21,548,788)
For Love of Water (FLOW) ($840,118)
For The Generations
FracTracker Alliance ($1,114,121)
Franciscan Action Network ($371,237)
Free Press Action Fund ($788,443)
Friends of the Bitterroot
Friends of the Earth ($17,950,451)
Gas Free Seneca
Geos Institute ($332,438)
Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives ($4,680,505)
Good Jobs Nation
Good Work Institute ($1,831,903)
Government Accountability Project ($3,332,490)
Grassroots Environmental Education ($353,870)
Grassroots Global Justice Alliance ($5,014,834)
Great Old Broads for Wilderness ($949,107)
Green America ($8,579,763)
Green Education and Legal Fund
Green for All
Green Party of the United States
GRID Alternatives ($37,598,833)
The Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy (GCCLP)
Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah (HEAL Utah) ($977,413) HealthyPlanet
Heirs To Our Oceans ($325,353)
Higher Ground ($4,135,308)
Hip Hop Caucus ($4,085,297)
Hispanic Access Foundation ($5,925,392)
Howling For Wolves
Hudson River Sloop Clearwater
Hunger Action Los Angeles ($1,255,327)
In the Public Interest
Indigenous Environmental Network ($5,330,726)
The Indivisible Project (Indivisible) ($14,268,782)
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy ($1,549,281)
Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development ($6,894,670)
Institute for Local Self-Reliance ($5,615,395)
Institute for Policy Studies ($7,298,646)
Iroquois Studies Association.
Jewish Climate Action Network
Justice Action Mobilization Network
Labor Network for Sustainability ($1,106,621)
Leadership Conference of Women Religious
League of Conservation Voters ($114,796,662)
League of Women Voters ($8,464,065)
Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution
Long Island Progressive Coalition ($517,939)
Los Alamos Study Group ($115,156)
Los Padres ForestWatch ($878,987)
Mission Blue ($1,830,629)
Mothers Out Front ($3,274,134)
Mountain Association for Community Economic Development ($8,576,709)
Movement for a People’s Party
Movement Strategy Center ($57,326,783)
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People – NAACP ($103,738,054)
National Parks Conservation Association ($48,480,006)
Natural Resources Defense Council – NRDC ($186,185,838)
New Energy Economy
New Hampshire Audubon ($3,024,550)
North American Climate
Conservation and Environment
North Carolina Waste Awareness and Reduction Network (NC-WARN) ($2,687,799)
The Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York (NOFA-NY) ($2,600,227)
Nuclear Age Peace Foundation ($283,542)
Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) ($623,640)
Oceanic Preservation Society ($1,617,995)
Oil Change International ($5,655,295)
Olympic Climate Action
Organic Consumers Association ($2,480,677)
Our Climate Education Fund ($794,158).
Pacific Environment and Resources Center ($5,258,651)
Partnership for Policy Integrity ($497,015)
Partnership for Southern Equity ($13,586,243)
Peace Action ($1,020,919)
Pelican Media ($19,191)
People Demanding Action
People’s Action ($2,030,704)
Physicians for Social Responsibility ($2,230,088)
Planting Justice ($5,197,320)
PowerSwitch Action ($13,398,955)
Progressive Democrats of America
Public Citizen ($7,987,999)
Public Justice Foundation ($9,549,497)
Publish What You Pay United States (PWYP-US)
Rachel Carson Council ($735,615)
Rachel’s Network ($1,486,003)
Rainforest Action Network (RAN) ($11,682,993)
Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association ($380,027)
RESTORE: The North Woods ($181,019)
Right to the City Alliance ($12,252,091)
Rocky Mountain Institute ($116,983,377)
Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center ($305,321)
Rogue Climate ($1,199,394)
Sacramento Climate Coalition
Sanford-Oquaga Area Concerned Citizens
Scenic Hudson, Inc. ($14,869,807)
Science for the People
Seneca Lake Guardian ($147,524)
Sierra Club ($152,093,074)
Snake River Alliance Education Fund ($250,403)
Southern Alliance for Clean Energy ($4,579,602)
Sunrise Movement ($4,132,790)
Surfrider Foundation ($13,558,022).
Tikkun & the Network of Spiritual Progressives ($93,081)
Toxics Action Center ($804,351)
Toxics Information Project
Transition US ($212,854)
Turner Endangered Species Fund
Turtle Island Restoration Network ($3,485,198)
U.S. Climate Action Network ($4,246,141)
U.S. Public Interest Research Group (US-PIRG) ($1,577,136)
Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Earth ($243,226)
Veterans for Peace ($517,035)
Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility
Waterkeeper Alliance ($15,198,182)
Western States Legal Foundation ($171,165)
Wild Nature Institute ($174,682)
WildEarth Guardians ($4,580,150)
Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND) ($206,296)
Women’s Earth and Climate Action Networ (WECAN)
Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom US Section ($514,575)
World Resources Institute (WRI) ($289,669,226)
World Wildlife Fund ($381,636,162).
 The unorthodox capitalization of “Climate Change,” which implies a proper noun (perhaps even a sentient and malevolent being or group of same?), was copied as it was displayed by the Sierra Club on their “Nuclear Free Future” webpage on August 3, 2023.