Fukushima Remembered: March 11 Anniversary Rally / Protest at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS)
Citizens Oversight (2012-03-09) Ray Lutz
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Ray Lutz / RayLutz@CitizensOversight.org
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Carol Jahnkow / firstname.lastname@example.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Fukushima Remembered: March 11 Anniversary
Rally / Protest at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS)
Two Fukushima-area Residents to Tell their Story on the Anniversary of the Meltdown
Celebrities, Activists, Engineers and Performers to Join the Event to Close SONGS EVENT DETAILS:
Date/Time: March 11, 2012. Gather at 12 noon. (Note: Time change this weekend)
- Music of Charlie Imes starts at 12:30pm Rally 1pm to 3pm.
- Rally: 1/8 mile south of SONGS facility and 1/8 mile north of San Onofre State Park
- Directions: I-5 to Basilone Rd exit, ~2 miles south.
- Available at San Onofre State Beach, $15 day use fee. (Cash, correct change appreciated).
- State park passes honored. Your pass is good for the entire day.
Buses: Two buses filled. Sorry no more seats available on buses.
- Car pool from San Diego area from Balboa Park (Park Ave. at Presidents Way)
RSVP at http://sanonofreprotest.eventbrite.com
Details: See http://citizensoversight.org
, click "M11 San Onofre Protest"
Bring: Blankets or Chairs, Water, Food, Hats, Signs, Banners, tables, etc.
- Keynotes: Two Residents flown in from Fukushima-area of Japan:
- Ms. Kyoko Sugasawa of Sendai City near Fukushima and
- Mr. Hirohide Sakuma, who was born in Fukushima.
- Progressive Democrats of America Chair and Motion Picture Actress Mimi Kennedy
(Recently seen in Academy award winner "Midnight in Paris")
- Nuclear Activist Ace Hoffman and author of Code Killers: Why DNA and Ionizing Radiation are a dangerous mix
- Electrical Engineer and National Coordinator of Citizens' Oversight Projects Ray Lutz
- Cori Schumacher, #1 women's international surfer
- Pro-surfer and Environmentalist Kyle Thiermann
- Gene Stone, San Clemente resident and of Residents Organizing for a Safe Environment (ROSE)
- Charlie Imes and Occupella Choir to entertain.
- ... and many others!
March 9, 2012 (SAN ONOFRE) – Activists from San Diego to Eureka will converge at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS,) just south of San Clemente, on the first anniversary of the devastating Fukushima disaster, March 11, 2012. The peaceful protest will occur a short walk from San Onofre State Beach about 1/8 mile south of the SONGS facility.
The objective of the event is two-pronged, both to commemorate the ongoing disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Power plant that started one year ago -- with three reactors still in full “level 7” meltdown -- and to push for closure of the dangerous San Onofre plant. No attempt will be made to encroach on the secure boundaries of the facility.
The program will include two honorable guests from Japan who have had to endure living near the Fukushima disaster, Ms. Kyoko Sugasawa of Sendai City near Fukushima and Mr. Hirohide Sakuma, who was born in Fukushima. These speakers will address the assembly using an interpreter.
“In the devastation of earthquakes, people rushed to my deli to get their food,” Ms. Sugasawa explained. “Because I did not know anything about radioactive contamination at that time, I led my customers and myself exposed to radioactive contamination. …[Later,] I organized measurement of radioactive contamination in school yards. We found out that our school grounds are as contaminated as the soil in Fukushima.”
Mr. Sakuma said, “my mind is constantly debating whether we should evacuate from Sendai.”
Motion Picture Actress and Progressive Democrats of America Chair Mimi Kennedy, who appeared in Oscar-winning production “Midnight in Paris,” will address the crowd. “I am happy to take part in such a worthy cause,” Ms. Kennedy said. “The risks and costs of nuclear energy are just too high, and many other alternatives are now available.”
Many events are planned throughout the U.S. on March 11 to commemorate the Fukushima disaster and to bring to light risks at many of the 65 power plants and the 104 nuclear reactors in the U.S., and to stand in solidarity with the San Onofre event.
“The similarity between Fukushima and San Onofre is stunning,” said Raymond Lutz, former congressional candidate, engineer and National Coordinator of Citizens' Oversight Projects. “The two plants are not identical, but San Onofre -- originally built to withstand only a magnitude 6.0 earthquake -- was retrofitted to withstand only a 7.0 earthquake. The seawall at San Onofre is only 14 feet tall from high tide (30 feet from low-low tide). But the real danger is stark: the Japanese earthquake was a magnitude 9.0 and tsunamis peaked at 133 feet. It is only a matter of time before San Onofre is also in a full meltdown, just like Fukushima, and will devastate this area, force evacuation of millions of people, and lead to many untimely deaths. We can't let that happen.”
Despite the earthquake, tsunami, and terrorist risks, the undoing of the San Onofre plant may be due to internal problems. After spending $640 million to replace the steam generators just 18 months ago, operators thought the plant would run for another 10 to 20 years. Instead, hundreds of heat transfer tubes are exhibiting untimely thinning, baffling experts. The public only found out about the thinning tubes after the unexpected radioactive steam release last month forced management to explain why the entire plant was shut down.
“At some point, the San Onofre plant must be decommissioned. We believe that time is now,” said Gene Stone, of Residents Organized for a Safe Environment in San Clemente. “While the plant is shut down for maintenance, we believe this is the right time to start the decommissioning process for the safety of the workers at the plant and the community at large. We must do the right thing now and not put the California economy at risk. Let's not spend one dime more on any more retrofits."
Problems at the plant are not all technical in nature. Workers know they will lose their job if they blow the whistle to the public about any safety concerns. This culture of fear at the plant does not improve safety, and to top it off, there is no labor contract with nuclear engineers who have the responsibility to operate the plant safely.
"Despite all the threats, we are happy to see that workers did the right thing and shut down the plant after the steam release," said Carol Jahnkow, an activist from Encinitas. "We're not here to hurt the workers. We're on their side."
Supporters of plant shutdown say power companies like Edison and Sempra Energy should actually guarantee workers jobs just to make sure workers won't continue operating a plant like San Onofre that should be shut down for safety reasons.
Although management says workers will be left jobless if the plant is decommissioned, just the opposite is more likely the case. Many people will continue to be employed for decades during decommissioning, and studies show that the renewable energy sector provides five times more jobs than traditional fossil fuel or nuclear energy plants.
Many people support nuclear energy as a viable carbon-free alternative to fossil fuels. “We hear all the time that nuclear plants are 'carbon neutral', but just the opposite is the case when you consider the entire fuel cycle, which also has severe impacts to the environment during mining, purification and disposal," Lutz said. "Disposal is perhaps the most problematic with no clear solution at hand and spent nuclear fuel piling up at nuclear plants across the country. The fact that we continue to operate these plants with the knowledge that they can devastate the area, kill many thousands of people, contaminate the soil, ocean and air is quite remarkable.”
Each nuclear plant has to be paired with a large fossil-fuel plant to provide power when the plants are shut down for frequent maintenance. The net result is a solution that is far from carbon-free.
Event promoters say that we should follow the example of Germany and work to decommission all nuclear energy plants nationwide and move immediately to renewable energy sources.
Endorsers to date:
- Mimi Kennedy, Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) national Chair and Actress
- San Diego Sierra Club Conservation Cte.
- Congressman Bob Filner (CA-51)
- Citizens Oversight Projects (COPS)
- Peace Resource Center of San Diego
- Residents Organized for a Safe Environment (ROSE)
- San Onofre Safety (SOS)
- San Clemente Green
- San Diego Coalition for Peace and Justice (SDCPJ)
- Talk Nukes
- Ocean Fall
- Green Party of Orange County
- Green Party of San Diego County
- San Diego Puppet Insurgency
- APRL Animal Protection and Rescue League
- Activist San Diego
- North County Forum
- San Diego Artivistas
- San Diego Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft (COMD)
- San Diego Veterans for Peace
- Occupy San Diego at Children's Park
- Occupy Encinitas
- Occupy Vista
- Occupy Oceanside
- The Party for Socialism and Liberation
- Orange County Peace Coalition
- Dick Eiden for Congress 2012
- Jerry Tetalman, Candidate for Congress in the CA 49th
- Kevin Keenan
- Jeoffry B. Gordon, MD, MPH
- Ray Lutz, Former Candidate for Congress in CA 52nd
- Bryan Pease, Esq., San Diego City Council District 1 Candidate