James Houle: Shut Down California Nukes NOW! (Updated)

The nuclear plant near San Clemente, run by Southern California Edison

Redwood Valley

It takes a disaster to wake us up to the vulnerability of life on this precarious planet. California has very large nuclear power plants at two locations: San Onofre (between LA and San Diego) and Diablo Canyon (near San Luis Obispo) which contain a total of four nuclear reactors.  They have operated for 30 years and will be obsolete in another 10. They have many similarities to the three units in Japan that have already gone into meltdown, and have released massive amounts of radioactivity to the atmosphere:

First, our nukes are located near active earthquake faults long overdue for a major shift in the earth’s crust.

[Update: I was taken on a tour of the cliffs below the San Onofre Nuclear power plant by a geologist in 1980. He showed us that the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant is sitting directly on a right face vertical earthquake fault line. ~Ed Oberweiser, Mendocino Listserv]

Second, they are located right on the shoreline and subject to the same dangers as in Japan, where tsunamis knocked out their emergency cooling water pumps, after their primary cooling systems were knocked off line by the earthquake itself.

Third, they are near major population centers.

Fourth, they were designed to withstand 7.5 Richter earthquakes but not the 9.0 quake that hit Japan. A 9.0 quake is more than 15 times as severe as a 7.5 Richter quake.

We call upon Governor Jerry Brown to order the immediate shutdown of these plants. There is little point in asking our increasingly indecisive President to take such bold action.  Our Governor just might do this if he felt that the majority of people in  California supported him. There is no point in asking for safety upgrades and redesigns: the vulnerability of these plants at San Onofre and Diablo Canyon is inherent in their design and  well-known since before their startup.  No quick-fixes can protect us now.  Write to Governor Brown today.  Tel. (916) 445-2841, Fax (916) 456-4633, Mail: Governor Brown, State Capital, Sacramento, CA 95814.


Probably you can get Big Oil anonymously to support your petition drive to shut down nuclear.

–Jim, your suggestion-wish is good, and based in your engineering smarts. But each of these large disasters all point toward the same 100-year temporizing in this twilight of our consumer gods: CONSERVATION.

Let the dead Soviets bury Chernobyl–we American Exxonians have the Valdiz, the gulfs (of Mexico, by explosion; Persian, by war and unholy alliances). They are all signs of the wonderment that we’ve reached peak oil and can see the 4 Horsemen: BP, Exxon-Mobil, Shell, and the petroleumized U.S. government.

The sane approach is, alas, governmental: tax petroleum the same way we tax tobacco, and for the same purposes: breaking dependence and caring for the sickened. The ’emergency’ funds raised (always need an ’emergency’) would go to JOB-CREATING programs of energy retrofits of houses, building of SUBSIDIZED mass transit, and government-supported safer/cleaner energy supplies: wind, solar, methane, and so on.

But that paragraph of sanity requires a different government.

So–in addition to enjoying vigorous outlines of programs that will not be adopted–what to do? Cut back, of course, conserve, buy as local as possible, support the recall of Republican senators in Wisconsin, and wipe your glasses on your shirt, to keep your vision sharp.

Hi, Jim I shared your blog via my Facebook. It is so important now that we get those plants shut down BEFORE the Ring of Fire earthquakes series shakes our ground. Calling and writing is a good start. A powerful grassroots movement must be started…..