The San Diego Anti-Nuke Resurgance: the Timing Couldn’t be Better

by on February 4, 2012 · 22 comments

in California, Energy, Environment, Health, Organizing, Popular, San Diego

Anti-nuke demonstrations, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan. Photo: midorisyu Creative Commons

It’s time, folks.

We can no longer get by with our awkward avoidance of the ongoing nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan.  Not only should we be discussing the Pacific waters and gyres bringing (or not bringing) contaminated debris & particles from the March 11th earthquake/tsunami last year, we should consider our proximity to San Onofre, just 48 miles from Ocean Beach.

This fine blog is no newcomer to discussing the dangers and outrageous costs associated with nuclear power here in California, so I want to try and contribute to the dialogue and go a few steps further.  I want to share stories of the struggle taking place across Japan now to overcome the nuclear nightmare they have tip-toed into, with over 50 power plants across an island nation the size of California. As a newcomer to the anti-nuke movement, I want to share my story.

I want to challenge you to take action, too.


Because the timing is beyond ripe: with the accidents at San Onofre this week, actions and organizing in the works to mark the 1-year anniversary of Fukushima on 3/11/2012 and the rising stakes of living with nukes, this can no longer be a conversation relegated to the fringe “peace activists” or town nut (on our street, I am that nut).  This needs to be something we talk about as casually as the Superbowl, our fears about losing Social Security, our anxiety about SOPA and our precious Internet.

This is about spewing radiation into our environment, about the world we’re leaving future generations, who are going to read our words and wonder: how did you let that happen? This is about nuclear weapons stockpiling and corporate greed in monopolized energy. It’s about cognitive dissonance; our slumber and inaction.

Over my next few posts I will share what I’ve learned through the Talk Nukes! art project I’m working on, and I’ll share a few stories from the anti-nuke movement in Tokyo and Kyushu, Japan – where I lived from 2004-2006.

I will gather as much information as I can, and do my best to articulate it here in a way that promotes dialogue – I don’t aim to alienate or fear-monger, though with headlines like the ones I’m seeing today, it’s difficult not to!

Worker at San Onofre fell into reactor pool last week! (North County Times 2/3/2012)

San Onofre radiation leak, worn tubes raise concerns ( LA Times 2/3/2012)

This is the best time to begin working together – anti-nukesters, peace activists, environmentalists & people generally happy with living healthy lives – we have to TALK NUKES!

If we leave it to news sources like KPBS, we’ll be stuck humming and hawing about the cost and availability of “replacement energy”  [ San Onofre shutdown costing up to $1 million a day – KPBS 2/2/2012]–with their claims that if any radioactivity leaked this week, “It would have been very, very small, low level, which would not pose a danger to anyone,”  There is no such thing as a ‘harmless’ release of radiation. 

Today I’m wondering two things:

What effective demonstrations against nuclear energy have you  seen or participated in?

With San Onofre reactors currently shut down, what do you think we could do to keep them from starting back up?

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Dave Chase February 4, 2012 at 6:53 pm

Nuclear power is a giant lie and a disaster for for planet. Stop it and fossil fuel burning (oil and coal) now and get on with clean energy, such as solar power, geothermal, etc.


CaptD February 5, 2012 at 7:44 am

Yet more TEPCO-type Nuclear Baloney (NB)…
No leak, nothing radioactive escaped!
Very Tiny Leak, no problems
Some leakage, can’t be measured
More Leakage, very small amount could have escaped.
Contract worker fell into radioactive pool
What is next?

You realize that your home owners policy does not cover ANYTHING like radioactive contamination


john February 6, 2012 at 12:59 am

It’s no surprise even blatant, wide scale disasters have coverups of their true costs.

The UN agency which conducted a comprehensive study on the effects of Chernobyl, the WHO, has a written agreement with the IAEA: (this is REAL ugly)

A 1959 Deal Between WHO and IAEA:

This potential conflict between those who wished to exploit the new nuclear technology for both profit and military power, and the custodians of the public health, was superficially resolved by an Agreement (Res. WHA 12-40, 28 May 1959) stating that the IAEA and the WHO recognize that …”the IAEA has the primary responsibility for encouraging, assisting and coordinating research on, and development and practical applications of atomic energy for peaceful uses throughout the world without prejudice to the right of the WHO to concern itself with promoting, developing, assisting and coordinating international health work, including research, in all its aspects.” If the reader is confused, so is the writer. To understand this, one needs to know that the health effects of radiation were classified as secret under the U.S. Atomic Energy Act for national security. The “international health work” assigned to the WHO was taking care of the victims. While technically the IAEA and WHO are “equal” in the U.N. family, those agencies which report directly to the Security Council, as does IAEA, have more status.

In Article I (3) of the WHO/IAEA agreement, it is stated that “Whenever either organization proposes to initiate a programme or activity on a subject in which the other organization has or may have a substantial interest, the first party shall consult with the other with a view to adjusting the matter by mutual consent”. This clause seems to have weakened the WHO from investigating the Chernobyl disaster, and gave the IAEA a green light to bring in physicists and medical radiologists to assess the damage relative to their limited knowledge of the health effects of radiation. (Note: while radiologists use ionizing radiation in their work, they deal with health damage only after the patient receives therapy levels of radiation.) This first evaluation used a different epidemiological protocol in each geographical area and with different age groups, eliminated all concern for cancers as not having sufficient latency periods and failed to note the extraordinary epidemic of thyroid diseases and cancers. From the point of view of Medical Epidemiology they failed miserably to deal with the reality. The director of this 1991 Epidemiological study, Dr. Fred Mettler, is a Medical Radiologist. There were no Epidemiologists, Public Health professionals or Toxicologists on the IAEA Team.

So the agency which reports the full long term effects of Chernobyl has as part of its charter the requirement to sit down with an agency which exists to promote nuclear power, and make sure nothing it does can harm them.

Just in case anyone didn’t know.


CaptD February 5, 2012 at 7:45 am

Why nuclear is on the way out:
1. Radiation is dangerous to man
2. Expensive to build compared to Competitive Power Sources.
3. Creates long lasting radioactiv­e waste
4. Risky because Nature can destroy any land based nuclear reactor,
… Any place anytime 24/7/365!
5. No insurance for radioactive damages to property or people!


CaptD February 5, 2012 at 7:48 am

We now are being ruled by those in Nuclear Denial*; instead of by Leaders that demand an end to the Trillion Dollar Eco-Disast­er RISK that Nuclear poses to mankind! The nuclear industry is fighting tooth and nail to maintain it’s market share; yet NOW Solar (of all flavors) is far less costly to construct, faster to construct and carries with it N? Nuclear radioactiv­e baggage that can kill a Countries economy and or those living nearby!
Ask The Japanese!

*Nuclear Denial
The illogical belief that Nature cannot destroy any land based nuclear reactor, any place anytime 24/7/365!


Doug Beacom February 5, 2012 at 12:51 pm

CaptD– thank you for such prolific participation on this topic!
Since we’re so well positioned now with San Onofre currently shut down, how can we keep it that way!?
we’ve got an initiative proposed for the Nov. ballet (but needs 500,000 signatures by April)–but surely there is something we can do now– a viral online campaign, phone calls, demonstration?


Guest February 5, 2012 at 7:45 pm

The California Nuclear Inititiave to shut down nuclear power plants seems like the BEST opportunity there is!

Spend the time working hard to get those signatures needed!

It’s such a rare opportunity!


Doug Beacom February 6, 2012 at 12:49 pm

great! I’m glad you shared this link– I’ve gotta point out that this petition CAN NOT be done online–you’ve gotta print out a sheet, get it signed, follow all the rules, and get it mailed in. and we need 500,000+ signatures by April!

so this is one action we can take…what else?!


CaptD February 5, 2012 at 8:04 am

The NRC gave the Nuclear Industry a “PASS” on the tube wear issue before on San Onofre and other reactors around the Country
They are realizing that they have a much bigger problem than they first “imagined”; metal erosion cannot be tolerated when the radioactive leakage is not only high in temperature but also high in amount of radiation!

Would you use a dangerous leaking pressure pot day after day,
… or would you be smart and replace it with something safer?


CaptD February 5, 2012 at 8:20 am

Nuclear in France set to Exceed cost of Wind!
According to EWEA analysis on the true costs of electricit­y, nuclear will cost €102 /MWh in 2020 – the average price across Europe taking into account the fact that nuclear plants take a long time to build which pushes up the initial capital cost. Onshore wind energy meanwhile will see a price drop by 2020 falling to €58 /MWh and offshore wind will cost €75 /MWh.

Nuclear will require significan­t investment in the short and medium term at a rate of at least double the current level of investment­, the Court says. Moreover, new plants are likely to be much more expensive to construct.


CaptD February 5, 2012 at 8:22 am

Many, many more would install Solar if the Utility paid those that installed Solar for the energy they put INTO the grid, at the very same rate that the Utility charges for that same Energy to folks that take Energy OUT of the Grid! By not paying the same amount, the Utility shareholders receive additional money they do not deserve and the folks that have installed solar end up with a much longer payback period!



john February 6, 2012 at 1:13 am

what a scam, isn’t the “demand” part stuff like transmission lines that bring the energy from distant sources sometimes? If you’ve got solar panels on your roof that’s not necessary.

China’s manufacturing development has made efficient solar panels more affordable, too bad storage batteries are the only way to really get off the grid and their life isn’t all that long.

I know of one building in OB that is on Bacon (a block or so south of brighton maybe)that’s an apartment (2 story) and a single home in front. The apartment’s roof is lined with solar end to end.

I imagine all those panels barely power the house.

As for climate change effects I hear the manufacturing process still harms as much as it saves, like hydropower’s methane problems when you build a dam, it’s not the win win you’d think it is.


DEB STONE February 5, 2012 at 3:51 pm

…….seems to me, that solar is OBVIOUSLY a better choice, but as someone mentioned above SOMEONE’S pockets are getting lined quicker with nuclear. Hey—- we are back to square one—-…………….isn’t this all sounding VAGUELY FAMILIAR?


Doug Beacom February 6, 2012 at 12:51 pm

this does sound pretty familiar, Deb. Like I said, I’m trying to find an interesting and creative way to chip away at cognitive dissonance…we all know it’s going on, we all know it’s wrong…what has us paralyzed and frozen still?


Doug Beacom February 5, 2012 at 9:27 pm
C. Burkey February 6, 2012 at 7:02 pm

What I cannot understand is how these reactors can be sitting on or near fault lines that seismologists say are overdue for major quaking, and NOTHING is being done to insulate them against being damaged by shaking. Why isn’t something being done yesterday? And don’t tell me they can’t be protected from shaking, if they can make skyscrapers safe, then they can do it for reactors too! Pack them in sytrofoam peanuts? Apply a system of shock absorbers? Don’t tell me the technology isn’t there to make these thinks quakeproof. If it isn’t, then we have no business using this poisonous, extremely dangerous technology, period end.

But state regulators are so busy with their thumbs up their butts making rulings for their friends at PG & E saying they can charge ratepayers who want to use the old analog meters, even though ratepayers already paid out the nose for wifi meters that pose health safety concerns, and customers were not allowed by the utility to opt out of the new meters. They added billions to bills to pay for the new meters….billions. Installed them before the public even knew it was happening.

What I’m saying is, none of our government reps are on this, not even the ones who should be. It’s not brain surgery. Quake proof the damn things or shut them down period, because it’s clear that even when the earth isn’t shaking, we cannot rely on this equipment. What the hell.


john February 8, 2012 at 4:32 pm

Styrofoam peanuts, are you mad? Ever see what happens when a box of that horrible stuff gets in the wind, or worse, all over the floor inside? A million fingers on tiny chalkboards!
I’d rather deal with the fallout myself. :-)
(that was in jest of course, but I do hate those things. I purchase from ebay frequently, and nothing so impressed me than a seller who used a new kind of packing made of recycled cardboard- you put multiple sheets of it in a machine which punches it like expanded metal, you then stretch it.)


CaptD February 7, 2012 at 10:39 am

Notice this was done in 2000 and since then the rate of “wear” has increased dramatically especially at San Onofre and a few other reactors!

This is very bad news for the industry because the replacement of these will be very expensive and may actually be cause to shut the reactor down for good!

More here + Great diagrams and Metal fatigue info!:


john February 8, 2012 at 4:39 am

Someone has been tirelessly blogging on this issue:

I invite the author of this piece to keep the iron in the fire on this!


Doug Beacom February 8, 2012 at 7:09 am

john– thanks for the encouragement– I’m in the process of gathering activist stories across the globe–NYC & Japan for now– KPFK ran a story yesterday about action plans in NYC– may be good food for thought as we plan here in SoCal


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