Welcome to my blog. I hope you enjoy reading about my artwork and things that are important to me. Please check out my website at www.maryloudauray.com.

Thursday, April 7, 2016


The Rods of Nuclear--They Melted!  24" x 24" Acrylic on Canvas
by Mary Lou Dauray

This artwork illustrates radioactive rods immersed in water inside a nuclear reactor.  The painting is part of my series relating to nuclear energy and especially to the alarming radioactive situation at the Fukushima Daiichi triple nuclear meltdowns in Japan. This disaster is the worst industrial accident ever, according to Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds.org.   In Fukushima the radioactive nuclear rods have apparently melted through their containers and quite likely have reached groundwater.   From what I understand the leaking from the damaged facilities will continue for more than a century!  It is frightening to know that an unprecedented release of radioactive contamination continues to flow every day into the Pacific Ocean from the damaged plants. According to many news sources, the melted fuel rods are inaccessible. The intense amount of radioactivity actually destroyed sophisticated robots trying to access the meltdown areas.  The Japanese are going to be wrestling with the cleanup from radioactivity for decades to come and will spend a quarter of a trillion dollars in the related activities according to Mr. Gundersen. 
During the process of working on this painting, I sometimes had to just stop and smell the roses.   I cannot explain how difficult and heart wrenching it is for me to create art about this topic of increasing man-made radioactivity encircling our beautiful planet.   It would be far easier to hide my head in the sand and just not think about it.  Nevertheless I am compelled to continue this art series in order to hopefully raise awareness about  the dangers of nuclear-based energy.  There is no clean nuclear.  All nuclear power plants need to be shut down and no new ones built.  Renewable energy is safer.

An artist’s note: 
While doing my painting, I painstakingly coated my stretched canvas with numerous layers of fluorescent green and blue acrylic paint in an attempt to mimic a feeling of active radioactivity within a nuclear reactor.   Admittedly, the glow, called Cherenkov radiation, is challenging to create. 

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Thursday, March 10, 2016


A CRY FOR FUKUSHIMA  Acrylic 24" x 24"
by Mary Lou Dauray

I have asked myself what can I do, as an artist, about the worst industrial calamity in human history * ---the triple meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plants.  I am overwhelmed by the unprecedented scope of this disaster.  I become paralyzed by the information that is now coming forth—five years after the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami-caused destruction.
When I decided about 15 years ago to begin making art about events in the world that concerned me, I did created work on a variety of topics.  Eventually I started painting about global warming and climate change.  Then last fall I decided to do art about nuclear energy because I do not believe nuclear power should be considered a reliable source of alternative energy.  How to begin?  It took a while, but I felt that the disaster at Fukushima would be my entry into the complicated world of nuclear energy.  I started with a drawing of the black plastic bags that are filled with radioactive waste from the Fukushima Daiichi area.  Apparently there are now 30 millions of these one ton bags scattered all over the prefecture in an unsuccessful effort to make the land livable again.  It was determined that  by cleaning out the contamination the soil would be free from radioactivity.  However, when it rains or snows, the radioactivity returns.
My picture, “The Cry at Fukushima”, evolved through many days and numerous layers of paint.   At one point, a tragic face, encapsulated in the storage bag, appeared. It seemed appropriate and I kept it because approximately 160,000 people have been displaced from their homes and the disruption has caused suicides, loss of communities, and intense despair.  In addition, a governmental cover-up has lead to a lack of information as to exactly what is happening.  There has not an answer yet as to how to even find the core that melted down in one of the plants. A “Secrets” law has been enacted that forbids journalists to write about the situation.  Apparently thyroid cancers are beginning to appear at a higher rate than average among children. Tons of radioactive waters pour into the Pacific Ocean daily.  No one knows exactly what to do and there does not seem to be an end in sight.   The world has never experienced any situation like this.

*A quote by Arnie Gundersen, Board of Directors, Fairewinds Organization.  Gundersen has had more than 40 years of nuclear power engineering experience and he is currently in Japan doing podcasts about the situation. www.fairewinds.org

Monday, February 22, 2016


"The Little Black Bird"  Acrylic  24" x 24" 
by Mary Lou Dauray

This is the fourth blog in my series of artwork about nuclear energy.  My painting depicts only one of 30 million plastic storage bags stuffed with radioactive waste in the Fukushima area in Japan.  These bags are part of a seemingly futile effort to clean up contaminated soil in the area. According to Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Energy Education Organization and who has more than 40 years of nuclear power engineering experience these filled millions of plastic bags are spread all around the area—in parking lots, in people’s back yards and in rice paddies, among many other places.  Each bag holds 1 ton of radioactive waste.  He notes that despite these massive efforts remove the radioactive soil, every time it rains or snows contamination reappears.  Ultimately, the cost to Japan for the entire radioactive clean up (if that is even possible) will reach one half a trillion dollars. 
In the corner of my painting you can see a little black bird.  It refers to what appears to be a diminishment of the bird population as a direct result of the triple nuclear power plant meltdown. There is now a dead zone in area. The disaster has had huge impacts as there are dramatically fewer species, according to Dr. Timothy Mousseau, Department of Biological Sciences, University of South Carolina.
In doing research for my artwork about nuclear energy, it is clear that there is no solution for the disposal of tons of waste from shuttered as well as existing nuclear power plants.  To pretend otherwise is appalling. I am shocked about the leaking of radioactivity into groundwater.  I strongly oppose the construction of any new nuclear power plants and the closing of all existing plants.

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"Mother Earth is a source of life, not a resource".  
Spoken by Sioux Chief Argol Lookinghorse

Thursday, February 11, 2016


                                           "Person/Robot?"  24" x  24" acrylic on canvas
                                                               by Mary Lou Dauray

    The third painting in my art series about the dangers of nuclear energy took a direction of its own as the work developed.  I started the 24” x 24” canvas by creating an image of a plastic storage bag filled with radioactive waste from the Fukushima meltdown.    However, as I continued to work, a person/robot emerged from the shadows.  I felt it was a direct reference to the many workers who have gathered radioactive wastes on the ground in the Fukushima prefecture and put the debris into nine million plastic bags.  The figure in the painting could also symbolize an experimental robotic machine being used to enter the Fukushima Daiichi plant because exposure to the existing levels of radiation, even five years after the meltdown, would be lethal for humans.  Efforts by robots to navigate the debris-strewn interior have proven to be hit and miss with the robots disintegrating upon radiation exposure.
    Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco), the plant operator, believes that cleanup will take at least another 40 years to complete!  "It is difficult to estimate, but I would say that we have achieved around 10 per cent of decommissioning," said Akira Ono, superintendent of the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant, 140 miles northeast of Tokyo.
    The manpower and money dedicated to just the house-to-house land cleanup effort is staggering.  In the last four years, the government has spent $13.5 billion on decontamination efforts outside the nuclear plant, and the budget request for the fiscal year starting in April is another $3.48 billion, said Seiji Tsutsui, director of the international cooperation office for radioactive decontamination at the Environment Ministry.  Think about this--now necessary but--incredible waste of money which could have been used to launch wind, solar and hydroelectric power development and production in Japan.
    I am very concerned about the worldwide dangers posed by nuclear disasters including Chernobyl and Fukushima; by the continuing radioactive leakage into the waters surrounding the Fukushima plants; and by the inability to safely store the growing pile of nuclear waste, not just in Japan but elsewhere, including the United States.  As mentioned previously in my earlier blogs, I have been doing art relating to climate destruction with series about plastic pollution, melting glacial ice and the burning, transporting, and mining of coal.  Until this week’s Supreme Court's politicized ultimatum to halt implementation of a positive climate decision by President Obama which would have helped to stop coal plant emissions and construction I felt the momentum of the UN climate talks in December 2015 would help speed a lowering of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. Now, with this Supreme Court unwise decision, I fear that this climate agreement is jeopardized.

   Please read the February 11, 2015, New York Times article entitled “Let’s End the Peril of a Nuclear Winter” by Alan Robock and Owen Brian Toon     http://nyti.ms/1V5IJAj

     My website:  www.maryloudauray.com