A man-made disaster that could happen in California

With Japan’s nuclear disaster still unfolding, we know more than 100,000 citizens were evacuated from their homes, large quantities of food was dangerously contaminated, and radioactive water 7.5 million times the allowable levels leaked into the ocean near the Fukushima power plant. 

California has two aging nuclear power plants: Diablo Canyon Power Plant, located in San Luis Obispo and owned by Pacific Gas & Electric; and San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, located in Orange County and owned by Southern California Edison. Each of these plants is located on the coast, near fault lines, and each stores large amounts of nuclear waste on-site.   

The truth is that California’s nuclear power plants have many of the same vulnerabilities as the nuclear reactors in Japan. Even though California’s nuclear plants are not the same design as the plant in Fukushima, any combination of events that results in a loss of power to the primary and backup cooling systems for the reactors, or the cooling systems for the on-site spent fuel pools, could initiate the same kind of crisis as we are witnessing in Japan.

Even before the tsunami hit Japan, California officials were concerned that safety studies at both Diablo Canyon and San Onofre were more than ten years old and didn’t take advantage of modern assessment tools. Furthermore, according to the 2007 Working Group on Earthquake Probabilities, California faces a 99.7% chance of experiencing an earthquake of magnitude 6.7 or greater in the next 30 years. There is a 47% chance of a 7.5 earthquake or greater in the next 30 years.

California should stop the relicensing of its nuclear plants and shift to clean energy

In spite of the inherent dangers posed by nuclear power plants on California’s coast, both PG&E and Southern California Edison are actively seeking to extend the life of their plants — already over 30 years old — into the middle of this century.     

California should act immediately to stop this relicensing and instead begin phasing out the use of nuclear power in an orderly fashion. 

Fortunately, California has more than enough renewable energy and energy efficiency potential to replace the 12% of our electricity that currently comes from these two plants. What’s more, shifting toward a more diversified clean energy future is better for ratepayers and our economy at large.   

With your help, we can move beyond nuclear power 

We’re working to phase out the use of nuclear power in California and shift to a truly clean energy future. Our vision is to meet 100% of California’s future energy needs with clean energy like solar and wind power and by increasing energy efficiency.   

We’re testifying in Sacramento, educating lawmakers, and shining a spotlight in the media on the need for California to continue to lead the way on clean energy, while educating the public and decision-makers about the dangers of a continued reliance on nuclear power. 

Thousands of you have joined the fight too. Across the state, you’re emailing state and federal decision-makers, signing petitions, and spreading the word to your friends and family.

We need even more people to get involved if we’re going to truly shift away from nuclear power. If enough of us act, we can end our reliance on unsafe energy sources and transition to clean energy.

Clean Energy updates

News Release | Environment California Research & Policy Center

New Report Ranks Top U.S. Cities for Installed Solar – California Cities Lead the Way

Sacramento – Today, Environment California Research & Policy Center released a new report: “Shining Cities:  At the Forefront of America’s Solar Energy Revolution.”  The report ranks Los Angeles  #1 among major cities nationwide for the amount of installed solar power, and provides a first-of-its-kind comparative look at the growth of solar in major American cities.  Closely following Los Angeles is San Diego in the 2nd spot, San Jose - 4th,  San Francisco - 9th and Sacramento - 12th (Top 20 list below).

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News Release | Environment California Research & Policy Center

New Report: San Diego Ranks 2nd Nationally Among Major Cities for Installed Solar

San Diego – Today, Environment California Research & Policy Center was joined at the solarized Mission Bay Aquatic Center by San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and local renewable energy advocates and industry leaders to release a new report: “Shining Cities:  At the Forefront of America’s Solar Energy Revolution.” The report ranks San Diego second in the nation for the amount of solar installed and fourth for per capita solar installations, and provides a first-of-its-kind comparative look at the growth of solar in major American cities (see Top 20 list below).

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News Release | Environment California Research & Policy Center

New Report: San Jose Ranks 4th Among Major U.S. Cities for Installed Solar

San Jose – Today, Environment California Research & Policy Center was joined at the Tech Museum of Innovation by San Jose Vice Mayor Madison Nguyen, the California Solar Energy Industries Association (CALSEIA) and local renewable energy advocates to release a new report: “Shining Cities:  At the Forefront of America’s Solar Energy Revolution.”  The report ranks San Jose fourth in the nation for the amount of solar installed and second for per capita solar installations, and provides a first-of-its-kind comparative look at the growth of solar in major American cities (Top 20 list below). 

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News Release | Environment California Research & Policy Center

New Report: Los Angeles Ranks 1st Among Major U.S. Cities for Installed Solar

“The star with top billing in Los Angeles today is the sun,” said Michelle Kinman, clean energy advocate at Environment California.  “As the #1 solar leader in the country, L.A. is proving that by setting—and achieving—ambitious solar goals, cities can take critical steps towards a clean energy future.” 

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Report | Environment California Research & Policy Center

Shining Cities

Solar power is on the rise across America—increasing 200-fold in the United States since 2002—and major cities are helping to lead this clean energy revolution. Shining Cities: At the Forefront of America’s Solar Energy Revolution shows that cities from every region of the U.S. are driving solar development with strong public policies – reaping important benefits for the environment, public health, and the economy. By building local solar power, cities can keep more of their energy budget at home and create good local jobs.

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