“Right now, there is a petition…for a ballot initiative that would effectively shut down the two nuclear power plants in California. I believe we will see more of that across the country if America doesn’t have confidence in the NRC. — If the NRC does not do its job, the American people will demand the ultimate protection – the shutdown of old nuclear power plants that have similar characteristics as the Fukushima plant.”— Senator Barbara Boxer to NRC Commissioners – 12/15/2011.
The California Nuclear Initiative is back! This initiative, which would close our state’s remaining operating nuclear power plants, was re-filed January 7 triggering a new 30 day public comment period. Our initiative is the first filed after a change in state law concerning initiatives took effect New Year’s Day. Besides a 30 day public comment period, the new law also contains an important legislative hearing clause. Initiative law now provides that legislative hearings on an initiative are automatically triggered when an initiative has gained 25% of the signatures needed to put it on the ballot in an allotted time period. Such hearings before the state legislature would be an excellent opportunity for activists to demonstrate to our representatives that the risks of nuclear power to California far outweigh the benefits. There have been no such legislative hearings since the tragic nuclear accidents in Japan.
The change in this benefit/risk balance has been exemplified by the fiscal analyses done for past filings of this initiative. When the initiative was first filed immediately after Fukushima, a fiscal analysis done by the Legislative Analyst’s Office stated that closing our nuclear plants would cause rolling blackouts costing the state tens of billions of dollars annually. A more recent LAO fiscal analysis, compiled after we challenged those conclusions in a petition before the State Supreme Court, not only rescinded all language of rolling blackouts costing tens of billions, but now suggested that it is questionable whether closing our nuclear power plants would have any negative effect on state finances.
In recent Energy Commission proceedings, it has been shown that for the first time since Diablo Canyon opened the state is in a position to completely end our use of nuclear power while still maintaining a mandated 15% surplus of energy during peak hours.
However, this information covering the dramatic change in our state’s reliance on nuclear power was completely omitted from the Energy Commission’s annual report to the legislature, governor, and voters. We now know that closing nuclear power would not cause blackouts and would cost the state little if anything, and that we can maintain our mandated 15% surplus without nuclear. Now is the time to put the issue of nuclear power before the Legislature, the Governor and the Voters. These new initiative laws allowing for Legislative Hearings is our perfect opportunity. Now is the time for this initiative!
New initiative laws in California require us to gather less than 100,000 signatures for our binding statewide initiative to put the issue of nuclear power before our state legislature. That is our fist goal. At about $1 per signature that is $100,000. We need slightly more for administrative costs. Please consider donating at our CrowdRise page.
To put this issue before the voters in the 2016 Presidential Election we will need about 300,000 more signatures and will need to do additional fund raising. We hope to use these legislative hearings as a spring board to accomplish that extra fund raising.