San Onofre Nuclear Plant Targeted in Ballot Proposal That Can Start Collecting Signatures

Categories: Politics
Signatures can be collected for a state voter initiative that would effectively shut down San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

California's only other operating nuclear power plant in Diablo Canyon would also be mothballed should such a measure pass.

Ben Davis Jr., the Santa Cruz activist who fought to close Rancho Seco and came out of retirement to back this new initiative, does have a couple sizable hurdles in front of him.

He and his minions must collect signatures from 504,760 registered voters-or 5 percent of the total votes cast for governor in 2010-by April 16, 2012, for the initiative to make the ballot. Then there will come the inevitable lawsuits from the power industry to stop the measure.

It would extend preconditions required of new nuclear power plants to San Onofre, the plant south of San Clemente run by Southern California Edison, and Diablo Canyon, which Pacific Gas and Electric operates near Avila Beach.

Specifically, the California Energy Commission would have to declare that the federal government has approved technology for permanent disposal of high-level nuclear waste from the plants. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission already concedes there are no facilities for permanent disposal of high-level radioactive waste.

California's Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance say that if such an initiative is approved, and the plants shutdown, loses would total $4 billion. State and local governments would lose revenue from fees, and government-mandated closures would likely require the power companies' losses to be covered, the agencies claim.

Meanwhile, disruptions to the state's electricity system--including rolling blackouts--and ongoing spikes in electricity prices would hit ratepayers in the wallet, the offices say.

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Torgen Johnson
Torgen Johnson

A mega quake triggered the Fukushima nuclear disaster and Southern California is over due for a mega quake (USGS, Cal-Tech, USC).  San Onofre sits near 3 active fault systems and has the worst safety record of all 104 U.S. nuclear power plants (NRC).  Radioactive fallout makes land uninhabitable for generations reducing property values to $-ZERO but you can not insure your property against a nuclear disaster.  There are 7.4 million Californians living with 50 miles of San Onofre and radioactive fallout from a nuclear disaster results in cancers and other diseases in downwind populations, with children the most susceptible. You can't evacuate downwind populations since radioactive fallout can travel 900+ miles per day. Fukushima's radioactive fallout via rain reached California 5,500 miles away in approx 6 days at 181 times safe levels for drinking water (UC Berkeley Nuclear Engineering Dept). We have other options for producing electricity more safely (Bloom Energy). San Onofre is a huge irreversible public safety risk yet it produces only 7% of California’s power and thus should be shut down now.

Bendavis54
Bendavis54

The fiscal analysis noted in this article is a nuclear industry dream come true. It is also false. The analysis suggests that, if the nuclear power plants are closed by an initiative it will cause rolling blackouts. However, the analysis suggests that if the power plants are closed because of a nuclear accident, it will not cause rolling blackouts. The nuclear industry itself would never think it could get away with such nonsense. To have the state's Legislative Analyst's Office sign such a statement... the analysis should have been gift wrapped and place under the nuclear industry's Christmas tree. Luckily, the average voter in California is educated enough to see through such a smoke screen. It simply and graphically demonstrates that the energy industry and our state and federal governments are too closely allied. When we closed the Rancho Sec...o Nuclear Power Plant, they said there would be rolling blackouts. They said there would be rolling blackouts for years to come in Japan. There were suppose to be rolling blackouts in California during the energy crises in 2000. These blackouts didn't occur and they won't when we close California's nuclear power plants. The facts of the matter show that the fiscal analysis that claims we will have blackouts if the initiative passes but not if we have a nuclear accident is exactly and obviously the opposite of the truth. The state has an entire year to prepare for this initiative. A nuclear accident doesn't announce itself so you can prepare a year ahead. Ben Davis Jr. Initiative Proponent

Donna Gilmore
Donna Gilmore

The Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) provided impact analysis if these nuclear plants are shutdown, but no financial or other impacts if any one of California’s four nuclear reactors or their waste pools go into nuclear meltdown.  These plants have serious safety issues that were not address in the LAO's analysis.  See this website for details on San Onofre safety issues: http://sanonofresafety.org/.  The information on this website is all sourced with government documents. A nuclear meltdown would devastate California and other areas.  Large areas of California would become a permanent wasteland, similar to what is happening in Japan after the Fukushima meltdown (which is continuing with no end in sight). Also, during the September 8th Southwest blackout, San Onofre was down.  However, power eventually was restored and San Onofre was still down. This brings into question how much we are really reliant on this nuclear plant.  Both CEC and California Public Utilities data show we currently have an excess of power.  And California utilities are required to convert to 33% renewable sources.  San Onofre provides less than 7% of California’s nuclear energy supply.  Is 7% worth Southern California being Fukushima USA?  The radiation from Japan has traveled to the United States – UC Berkeley found trace amounts of radiation in milk in their area and identified it came from Fukushima.  This means the meltdown of a California plant will affect the nation, not just part of California.  As one of the largest economies in the world, it would impact financial and other markets worldwide.  Where is this in the LAO’s report?

There is nothing "clean", "safe" or "green" about nuclear energy and we don't need it here. Are we going to wait until it's too late, like the people in Japan did? If you lived near the American designed Fukushima Dai-ichi plant in Japan, would you vote to shut it down? Or will you do what the Japanese did and wait until it's too late?

Real Comment
Real Comment

This is a great initiative and we should all be backing it.  These power companies aren't going anywhere.  Make them create jobs and a clean industry(nuclear is not clean) with the service fees WE ALL pay.

909Jeff
909Jeff

Your service fees pay for the status quo... Any effing with the system and they are undoubtedly going to go up. 

Harvey from Berkeley
Harvey from Berkeley

We are told that the "Big One" is coming to California.  We know that "fracking" for oil and methane causes earthquakes. We know that California’s San Onofre and Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plants are both built "on and around" several major fault lines.  What a recipe for disaster! 

Better safe than sorry!  "Just Say No" to a Fukushima-like, California-wide nuclear holocaust!  Shut down both nuclear plants now!  Let's get solar!

Davelv
Davelv

The nuclear waste is piling up because Obama has illegally and unConstitutionally stopped the nation's nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain as payola to Senator Reid. Fight for the repository, not against these zero greenhouse gas powerplants!

MJ
MJ

Nuclear Power plants are NOT zero greenhouse emitters - when you calculate the greenhouse emissions from fuel processing, builidng the plant, disposal etc they are actually very high.

Davelv
Davelv

They are more green than coal or gas power plants.  Further, solar cells produce infinitely long lived wastes in the form of arsenic and gallium, and further destroy the environment by changing energy deposition on the earth.  Nuclear can be the greenest form of energy that allows economic prosperity.  Being green without jobs will kill far more Americans. 

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

The bigger problem is SCE is piling up the radioactive waste on-site.  Aint got nowhere to put it.

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

We need (clean) reliable sources of electricity...but there's also a pretty hefty, long-term price to pay when there's an accident at a nuclear power plant! There must be a better way to produce clean power...but research and development to find that alternative is expensive, too. It's a conundrum. No easy answers, I know. :-(

909Jeff
909Jeff

There is with Wind and solar... But as you can see by doing a little research my city has been suing SCE for the last 4 years over high voltage transmission lines from the Tahachapi renewable energy program cutting right through the middle of the city.  SCE claims the lines are "Safe" and within the legal distance from residents 75 feet. However power lines with half the voltage would have to be 900 feet away from a school.  And all of the houses that back up to the right of way space where the lines are going in will lose any qualification for HUD or FHA financing.  For a city with median prices  for detached homes at $630K this really will have a detrimental effect on housing prices and cause a hardship on over 300 families that live adjacent to the right of way space

tylerh
tylerh

Rather shutting these down, we should be REPLACING them.

Newer reactors are much safer.  We could use more reliable, carbon-free power.

909Jeff
909Jeff

 loses would total $4 billion

disruptions to the state's electricity system--including rolling blackouts--and ongoing spikes in electricity prices would hit ratepayers in the wallet.

Yeah... Screw you dude... I say we build 4 more of these badboys! 

MJ
MJ

Do you see these rolling blackouts when SONGS is shut down, which it is quite often?  No, you don't.  Because SONGS and Diablo combined only provide, at the most, 20% of our electrictiy supply.  At a hugs cost to the consumer by the way.  Nuclear power is the most expensive and most dangerous way on the planet to boil water.  You like nukes?  Move to Japan.

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