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

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Legislators pass renewable energy bills

DOWNTOWN — Landmark legislation aimed at boosting renewable energy production within California was approved by the Legislature during the weekend but is destined for a veto, said a spokesman for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The package of energy bills includes a sweeping proposal from Democratic Assemblyman Paul Krekorian that would force power companies to produce a third of their energy from renewable sources by 2020.

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News Release | Environment California

Governor Should Sign RPS Bills

Governor Schwarzenegger should sign AB 64 (Krekorian) and SB 14 (Simitian). Together, these bills would create the nation’s largest mandate for renewable energy, putting California on track to getting 33% of its electricity from clean renewable resources by 2020.

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Headline

Schwarzenegger to veto renewable energy bills

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's office said Saturday that he would veto legislation requiring a third of California's energy to come from renewable sources by 2020, choosing instead to mandate the change through an executive order.

The Democratic bills that passed the state Legislature just before the end of the legislative session Friday would have set up the most aggressive renewable energy standards in the nation.

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News Release | Environment California

Renewable Energy Legislative Wins in 2009

The California State Legislature took another giant step toward building a clean energy future with the passage of five significant clean energy bills that will continue California’s leadership in promoting clean renewable energy.

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News Release | Environment California

New Report: Strong Energy Efficiency Policies in Energy/Climate Legislation Would Save California Families $209 per Year, Create 66,200 Jobs

New national report finds that California households would save an average of $209 per year and 66,200 sustainable jobs would be created in the state over the next ten years if Congress acts now to include strong energy efficiency improvements in energy and climate legislation.

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