Nuclear Shutdown News, December 2014

December 19, 2014 by Michael Steinberg
Thumbnail image for Nuclear Shutdown News, December 2014

by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the continuing decline of the US nuclear power industry. As nuclear power reactors approach or surpass their planned operating life of 40 years, they have become less and less reliable and more and more threatening. What to do about this? A complete and immediate shut down of them all! NO NUKES!

Here’s our December report.

On December 3 the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that central Missouri’s 30 year old Callaway nuclear reactor had experienced a sudden unplanned shutdown. As the Dispatch-Post stated,“Power in the [nuclear] core went from 100% to 0” right away.

The 1200 megawatt Calloway nuke plant supplies 20% of the electricity produced by its owner and operator, Amergen—when it’s at full power.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission commented, “No safety relief valves opened that would have exposed the [nuclear] core to the outside.” This means the nuclear fuel in the reactor supposedly didn’t release any of its radiation into the environment because of the accident.

Read the full article → 0 comments

Conversion to Renewable Energy is Going Too Slow to Avoid Catastrophe – Part 2

December 12, 2014 by John Lawrence

earthonfireBy Frank Thomas and John Lawrence

Part 1 can be found here

We are lucky to have advanced to a stage that scientists can determine the relationship between the rate of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions into the atmosphere, the absolute value in tons of CO2 already in and projected to be in the atmosphere, the rate of increase of CO2 emissions and the relationship between amount of CO2 in the atmosphere and the Earth’s surface temperatures.

If we didn’t have this science, we might go right ahead destroying the earth’s environment to the point of extinction of human life without even understanding what was happening to us.

Read the full article → 2 comments

Conversion to Renewable Energy is Going Too Slow to Avoid Catastrophe

December 11, 2014 by John Lawrence

By Frank Thomas and John Lawrence

Part 1 of a Multi-Part Series


climate x johnA facile denial of reality sits in the DNA of human nature – and climate change is no exception. The inbred fantasy-culture of endless growth, technology, and a throwaway consumeristic lifestyle fueled by exploiting pollutive fossil fuels has reinforced the illusion that we can do so without destroying the environment and even life itself.

The threat to human life and the planet seems to need to be truly imminent before we humans can change our course. By then, however, it will be too late …

Read the full article → 2 comments

Stand with Indigenous Peoples, Stop the Pipelines

November 17, 2014 by Source

As so often happens, Native Americans are leading the fight to save the world.

Moccasins on the Ground workshop where participants are trained in the skills, tactics, and techniques of nonviolent direct action.By Will Falk / San Diego Free Press

While half of the world’s species are disappearing, while the remaining 48 hunter/gatherer societies are literally fighting for their survival, while 32 million acres of rainforest are cut down a year, and while three hundred tons of topsoil are lost a minute, we are again at war with those who would destroy the planet.

There have been many wars fought on behalf of our life-giving land in North America. The overwhelming majority of those killed in defense of the land have come from peoples like the Sioux, the Cheyenne, the Nez Perce, the Sauk, and the Apache. Native Americans have long stood in the way of this destructive culture.

Read the full article → 0 comments

What’s Not to Like? Gas Prices Down, Solar Energy Production Up

November 5, 2014 by John Lawrence

Wikimedia photo circa 2006

By John Lawrence

Gas prices have dropped below $4.00 a gallon for the first time in several years.

Every one-cent drop in gas prices means a $1 billion annual decline in energy spending by Americans. Consumers can use the savings to eat out more often, buy more goods or pay down debt. That’s good for US motorists and consumers, but that’s not the whole story.

Part of the story has to do with the fact that …

Read the full article → 4 comments

Massive Dumping of Fracking Wastewater into Aquifers Shows Big Oil’s Power in California

November 4, 2014 by Source

california-fracked-315x288By Dan Bacher

As the oil industry spent record amounts on lobbying in Sacramento and made record profits, documents obtained by the Center for Biological Diversity reveal that almost 3 billion gallons of oil industry wastewater were illegally dumped into Central California aquifers that supply drinking water and irrigation water for farms.

The Center said the wastewater entered the aquifers through at least nine injection disposal wells used by the oil industry to dispose of waste contaminated with fracking (hydraulic fracturing) fluids and other pollutants.

Read the full article → 2 comments

One of the More Stranger Things that Happened During Tuesday’s Crazy Storm

September 18, 2014 by Staff
Thumbnail image for One of the More Stranger Things that Happened During Tuesday’s Crazy Storm

Check this out – this has got to be one of the most strangest things that occurred during Tuesday’s crazy storm: burning palm trees in Pacific Beach – hit by lightning.

Read the full article → 3 comments

Scientists Find ‘Direct Link’ Between Earthquakes and Process Used for Oil and Gas Drilling

September 18, 2014 by Source
Thumbnail image for Scientists Find ‘Direct Link’ Between Earthquakes and Process Used for Oil and Gas Drilling

By Emily Atkin / Climate Progress – News Investigation / Nation of Change / Sept. 17, 2014

The controversial technique of hydraulic fracturing is “directly linked” to the increase of earthquakes throughout the U.S. And the likelihood of these quakes getting stronger is in our future.

A team of scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey have found evidence “directly linking” the uptick in Colorado and New Mexico earthquakes since 2001 to wastewater injection, a process widely used in the controversial technique of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and conventional drilling.

Read the full article → 1 comment

Community Energy in San Diego Threatened by “Poisoned Chalice” Electric Rate Fix

September 15, 2014 by Source

By Jay Powell

This – below – was one of six parting observations offered by Public Utilities Commissioner Mark Ferron when he resigned from the PUC due to serious health issues in January of this year:

poisoned chalice “… with the passage of AB 327, the thorny issue of Net Energy Metering and rate design has been given over to the CPUC. … recognize this is a poisoned chalice: the Commission will come under intense pressure to use this authority to protect the interest of the utilities over those of consumers and potential self-generators, all in the name of addressing exaggerated concerns about grid stability, cost and fairness.

Read the full article → 3 comments

How OBGO brought back the OB Rag and the “California Energy Crisis”

June 10, 2014 by Marc Snelling

SDG&E customer burning bill - OB Rag July 1975

OB Group Brought Activism Back to the Streets of Ocean Beach

The original OB Rag published from 1970-1975. Twenty five years after the last OB Rag newspapers were circulated on the streets of Ocean Beach, OBGO launched an effort to bring the stories back into the digital realm.

The Ocean Beach Grassroots Organization (OBGO) was a group formed by local activists existing from 2000-2005. Through the group’s website the first story republished was in August of 2000. ‘SDG&E Wants 20% More’ was the title of the article republished from the Volume 5 Number 6 issue of the Rag of July 1975.

Read the full article → 0 comments

San Diegans Called on Obama to Reject Keystone Pipeline During La Jolla Visit

May 9, 2014 by Source
Thumbnail image for San Diegans Called on Obama to Reject Keystone Pipeline During La Jolla Visit

Rally along Torrey Pines Road with 50’ Keystone Pipeline Banner, signs, chants

From SanDiego350

On Thursday, May 8, 2014, over 100 San Diegans gathered along Torrey Pines Road in La Jolla to call on President Obama, who was in the neighborhood for a fundraiser, to reject a permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline. The “KXL”, which would carry dirty tar sands oil from Canada to Texas for refining and export, has been called “game over” for the climate by the nation’s foremost climatologist, Dr. James Hansen.

Participants held large signs, including a 50-foot cardboard depiction of the Keystone Pipeline with the words “Stop the Keystone Pipeline. Fight climate change” in huge letters on it, and a large banner with a quote from the President that participants want to see him keep:

“We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.”

Read the full article → 5 comments

Fukushima Meltdown – US Sailors Sue Japanese Electrical Company

April 14, 2014 by Source

050629-N-5060B-006By Kathleen Gilberd

Three years ago, a massive earthquake led to a triple melt-down and explosions at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. In the wake of the disaster, the US aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan was sent to Honshu Island, where the reactor is located, to render aid as part of Operation Tomadachi (Friendship). With the ship as close as a mile off shore, sailors worked 18-hour days to rescue civilians in the radiation area.

Now sailors from the Ronald Reagan have filed a one billion dollar class action suit against the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), owner of the nuclear plant, alleging that they were exposed to dangerous levels of radiation, far in excess of what TEPCO told the Navy to expect. There are over 100 plaintiffs in the class action, which was filed in San Diego on February 6

Read the full article → 1 comment

Extreme Weather Watch: March 2014

April 3, 2014 by Source

Winter Weather Made a $55 Billion Hit to US Economy

By John Lawrence / San Diego Free Press

weather5The winter of 2014 broke records and budgets. NBC News reported that the economy took a $55 billion hit because of the extreme winter weather. There was $5.5 billion in damage to homes, businesses, agriculture and infrastructure.

Cities had additional costs for salt for roads and asphalt for potholes. There were more than 30,000 potholes in Toledo, OH alone. The companies that supply salt and asphalt are making a fortune. This winter also saw 79.3 inches of snow falling in Chicago where there were 23 days below zero.

In California drought covers 99.8% of the state. The Sierra Nevada snowpack, which typically holds at least half of all the water that will flow to the state’s farms and cities each year, is at just one-fourth of its normal level.

Read the full article → 0 comments

San Diego Environmentalists Chartering Buses for Sacramento March 15th Anti-Fracking Protest

March 14, 2014 by Source

no frackingEnvironmental groups are mobilizing statewide for a big rally on March 15th in Sacramento to urge Governor Brown for a moratorium on fracking in California.

Organizers expect the March 15th event to be the largest mobilization against fracking ever seen.More than one hundred fifty environmental organizations will be represented at “Californians Against Fracking.”

Read the full article → 4 comments

Not one drop of water for fracking in California!

February 26, 2014 by Source
Thumbnail image for Not one drop of water for fracking in California!

by Dan Bacher / Daily Kos

Apparently responding to recent articles written by Adam Scow of Food and Water Watch and others about the insanity of using water for fracking during an unprecedented drought, the oil industry has fired back with its standard response claiming that the oil industry uses insignificant amounts of water for fracking and is going out of its way to conserve and recycle the water it uses.

Read the full article → 2 comments

Is the Drought Over in Ocean Beach?

February 26, 2014 by Judi Curry
Thumbnail image for Is the Drought Over in Ocean Beach?

By Judi Curry

So, is the drought over in OB? If you have driven down Sunset Cliffs Boulevard in the past three months you would sure think so. I stopped driving down this street months ago when there was construction going on and I had to take detours.

Guess what? There is still construction going on and the street is like a floating river.

Read the full article → 5 comments

Point Loma Kelp Forest to Be Tested for Radiation from Fukushima

February 3, 2014 by Source
Thumbnail image for Point Loma Kelp Forest to Be Tested for Radiation from Fukushima

The U-T San Diego is running an interesting story about locals testing the kelp off Point Loma and Ocean Beach for signs of radiation from Japan’s Fukushima disaster of 2011.

Local Matt Edwards and students from San Diego State University will test Point Loma’s kelp forest – which reaches 5 miles out – and includes the shores off Ocean Beach – for traces of radioactive material from the earthquake-generated tsunami damaged nuclear power plant. He is one of about 50 such scientists who will be testing kelp up and down the West Coast.

The fear is that the radioisotopes cesium-134 and cesium-137 may have gotten picked up by Pacific Ocean currents that possibly would result in trace amounts to the California coast in 2014. Edwards told the U-T:

“We don’t know if we’re going to find a signal of the radiation. And I personally don’t believe it’ll represent a health threat if there is one. But it’s worth asking whether there’s a reason to be concerned about a disaster that occurred on the other side of the planet some time ago.”

Read the full article → 1 comment

Nuclear Power Plant Shutdowns in 2013

January 15, 2014 by Michael Steinberg
Thumbnail image for Nuclear Power Plant Shutdowns in 2013

Announcements of US nuclear power plant permanent shutdowns in 2013 came seemingly in a flurry.

Crystal River in Florida on February 13. Kewaunee in Wisconsin on May 4. San Onofre in Southern California on June 13. And Vermont Yankee in the Green Mountain State on August 27.

Together this comprises five nuclear reactors with an electrical generating capacity of nearly 4300 Megawatts.

Yet the lights haven’t gone out, or even dimmed, in any of the communities these plants served.

The causes of these nuclear plant closures are multiple. Ultimately, however, they all add up to an industry in decline, desperate to squeeze as much profit as it can out of aging, increasingly

Read the full article → 4 comments

Global Warming: How to Kick the Fossil Fuel Habit – Part 2

January 10, 2014 by Source

Offshore Wind TurbineBy John Lawrence / San Diego Free Press

This series of articles is based on an excellent book by Tom Rand: “Kick the Fossil Fuel Habit- 10 Clean Technologies to Save Our World.” In Part 1 we dealt with all the possibilities for solar power generation. In this article we will consider wind. For centuries wind powered ships and windmills drew water out of the ground. We are now in a position to reconnect with this form of energy and convert it into electricity. How it works is very simple: As the wind blows, enough force is created to spin a turbine which in turn generates electrical energy. These days a single wind turbine can power a decent sized town.

Read the full article → 3 comments

Global Warming: How to Kick the Fossil Fuel Habit – Part 1

January 9, 2014 by Source

Source: BrightSource

By John Lawrence / San Diego Free Press

This article is based on an excellent book by Tom Rand: “Kick the Fossil Fuel Habit - 10 Clean Technologies to Save Our World.” It contains great information at a reading level that even an elementary school child can comprehend. And there are many superb pictures too. It is a wonderful resource in the numerous technologies that are in the process of ridding the world of fossil fuels – some of them hardly known to the literate public. At least I wasn’t aware of them, and I consider myself somewhat knowledgeable about global warming and what we can do about it. He identifies ten different technologies. We will devote an article to each of them. Part 1 will deal with solar.

Read the full article → 1 comment

California Legislators Call for Fracking Moratorium

January 9, 2014 by Source

172174_inglewood-fracking_ALS_By Dan Bacher

Nine California Legislators on January 7 sent a letter to Governor Jerry Brown asking that he issue an executive order to prohibit the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) within the Department of Conservation from allowing fracking in the state until health and environmental concerns are addressed.

Legislators signing the letter include Marc Levine, Assemblymember, 10th Assembly District; Das Williams, Assemblymember, 37th Assembly District; Adrin Nazarian, Assemblymember, 46th Assembly District; Richard Bloom, Assemblymember, 50th Assembly District; Loni Hancock, State Senator, 9th Senate District; Bonnie Lowenthall, Assemblymember, 70th Assembly District; Noreen Evans, State Senator, 2nd Senate District; Phil Ting, Assemblymember, 19th Assembly District; and Lois Wolk, State Senator, 3rd Senate District.

Read the full article → 1 comment

Hot Spots: Radioactive San Francisco

December 19, 2013 by Michael Steinberg
Thumbnail image for Hot Spots: Radioactive San Francisco

by Michael Steinberg /blackrainpress / Dec 12th, 2013

This story is important in and of itself, but also because it once again unearths the region’s role in the birth of the atomic age, and also highlights the radioactive legacy that continues to haunt us.

On November 13 the San Francisco Chronicle ran a lead story written by the SF-based Center For Investigative Reporting. The story was about the radioactive contamination of Treasure Island, a former US Navy base in the middle of the Bay.

The Chron article reported that 575 metal discs consisting of radioactive radium-226 had been found in the ground at Treasure Island as of 2011. The report did not mention that the radioactive life of radium-226 is millennia, over 16,000 years.

Read the full article → 1 comment

Santa’s Dreaming of a Green Christmas

December 16, 2013 by Source

From now on, naughty children will no longer receive coal in their stockings

green santaBy Jill Richardson / OtherWords

Santa’s changing some policies at the North Pole.

You see, he’s concerned about global warming. If the polar ice caps melt, his workshop will sink into the Arctic Ocean. He’d become a climate refugee.

What’s more, our changing climate is endangering our food supply. It’s not just the hotter average global temperatures. Climate change also triggers more extreme weather.

Read the full article → 0 comments

Elevated Rates of Thyroid Disease in California Newborn Linked to Fukushima Fallout

November 27, 2013 by Michael Steinberg
Thumbnail image for Elevated Rates of Thyroid Disease in California Newborn Linked to Fukushima Fallout

By Michael Steinberg

A new study indicates that rates of a thyroid disease in California newborn spiked after they were exposed to fallout from the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011.

The peer-reviewed study, “Changes in confirmed and borderline cases of congenital hypothyroidism in California as a function of environmental fallout from Fukushima,” appears in the November 2013 issue of the periodical Open Journal of Pediatrics.

In California all babies are tested at birth for congenital hypothyroidism, a rare disease that nevertheless can cause serious growth problems in children if it remains untreated.

Read the full article → 8 comments

Bamboo Bicyclist from OB Lives to Inspire “Earth-Friendly Lifestyles”

November 19, 2013 by Source
Thumbnail image for Bamboo Bicyclist from OB Lives to Inspire “Earth-Friendly Lifestyles”

OB Bike Advocate Rode Across Country

By Rob Greenfeld / Special to the OB Rag

This spring I left my comfortable beachside home in sleepy Ocean Beach to wake America up. On April 16th I hopped into a van with a stranger from a rideshare board, stopped in Santa Cruz to pick up a bamboo bike, and arrived in San Francisco a with a few days to prepare for a 4,700 mile bike ride across the USA.

The journey, coined Off the Grid Across America, was designed to inspire Americans to start living a more earth-friendly lifestyle for themselves, their community, and the earth.

To lead by example I followed a set of rigorous ground rules:

Read the full article → 1 comment

Cell Phone Tower Going Up on Newport Avenue?

September 20, 2013 by Matthew Wood
Thumbnail image for Cell Phone Tower Going Up on Newport Avenue?

By Matthew Wood

A potential new cell phone tower could be going up on the roof of the Newport Antique Center, at 4864 Newport Avenue.

Craig Gerwig, owner of the antique store between Sunset Cliffs Boulevard and Cable Street, confirmed that he had plans to add the tower, but said no contracts were in place. A group of men were seen on the rooftop of the building late last week, presumably scoping out the site.

Gerwig refused to answer any questions about the possible addition to his business, but did say he had no concerns about any health issues that might arise from having a tower so close to a residential area.

Read the full article → 8 comments

Should Ratepayers Pay SDG&E’s San Onofre Costs? Hearing October 1st in San Diego

September 6, 2013 by Source

From East County Magazine / September 4, 2013

On the heels of a hefty rate increase that took effect September 1st, SDG&E wants ratepayers to pay for costs of decommissioning the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Stations. Ratepayer advocates, meanwhile, say ratepayers should receive a refund for charges assessed when the nuclear facility was off-line for more than a year before being shut down permanently.

The California Public Utilities Commission will hold two hearings on Tuesday, October 1 at 2 p.m. and again at 6:30 p.m. Both will be held in the Al Bahr Shriners auditorium, 5440 Kaerny Mesa Road, San Diego 92111. The commission will consider whether or not ratepayers should be charged for the decommissioning costs, as well as whether ratepayers should receive refunds for charges assessed while the nuclear facilities were offline for more than a year before the shut-down decision.

Read the full article → 8 comments

Sempra Wants to “Fix” Your Energy Bill

August 29, 2013 by Source

By Jay Powell

sdge sempraHold on to your wallets, you are about to get walloped. International energy giant Sempra Energy, owners of SDG&E, have set up a front group called “Fix My Energy Bill” to promote a whopping $120 per year fixed charge on every electric customers bill in the State of California. It is pending in the State Senate in the waning days of this legislative session.

What started out as a bill sponsored by Assemblyman Perea from Fresno to ostensibly help poor elderly folks sweltering in the Central Valley heat be able to afford air conditioning, AB 327 has morphed into a full blown attack on working families ability to control their energy bills and to make homeowner investments in energy efficiency devices and improvements including roof top solar much more difficult.

The Sierra Club and local and state solar industry representatives are trying to blunt this latest proposal by the three huge investor owned utilities Pacific Gas and Electric, SoCal Edison and SDG&E to perpetuate their antiquated business plans that depends on them building more and more power plants and huge transmission lines.

Read the full article → 0 comments

Extreme Weather Watch July 2013: Floods, Fires, Drought and Heat Waves

August 8, 2013 by Source

weather5by John Lawrence

From coast to coast, we saw a variety of record-breaking weather in July 2013. Several cities recorded one of their hottest Julys on record. A heat wave that lasted a week in middle July helped propel Hartford, Conn., Bridgeport, Conn., and Providence R.I. to their hottest July and calendar month on record. In the west Salt Lake City, Utah, Reno, Nev., Elko, Nev., Medford, Ore., Roseburg, Ore. and Bend, Ore. all saw their hottest July and calendar month in history.

Although July is typically the driest month of the year in the Pacific Northwest, it was exceptionally dry in July 2013.

Seattle, Olympia, Wash., Portland, Ore., Eugene, Ore. and Salem, Ore. were among the slew of locations in western Washington and western Oregon that recorded no measurable rainfall in July 2013. Only four other Julys since 1890 have had no rain in Portland (downtown). For Seattle, it was the first time in more than 50 years with no measurable rain in July.

Read the full article → 2 comments

In Search of the Chariot Fire Burn on Mt. Laguna

August 5, 2013 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for In Search of the Chariot Fire Burn on Mt. Laguna

By Frank Gormlie

Like many San Diegans I watched images of the recent Chariot Fire that began on July 6th destroy sections of Mt Laguna with great concern. That mountain is one of my favorite spots in the county and I waited for the local media to give us an update on the damages that the fire caused to the natural habitat of the area along Sunrise Highway. Not satisfied with the paltry amount of news of the burn since the fire was put out, I decided to head out there myself and do a photo gallery of the destructive havoc wreaked by a wildfire.

On Friday afternoon, August 2nd, I drove east on I-8, heading for Sunrise Highway – the road that traverses Mt Laguna. With camera at the ready, I took notes in my search for the burn, holding my fears in check as I hurried towards the 6000 foot plus ridges that separated the mountains from the desert. There were sections of the mountain that I worried had been destroyed, as reports of the fire had it crossing Sunrise Highway, and eating its way west through pine forest.

Read the full article → 5 comments