From: "Russell D. Hoffman" <email@example.com>
Subject: Who's really screwing Califonia?
September 7th, 2003
To: "San Diego 10 Viewer Talkback" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Each night you ask for our opinion. Here's mine.
I believe this whole California recall thing is a filthy sham to gain power. It should be opposed on principle.
Gray Davis didn't create the problems in California, especially not the energy problems. But he certainly let them happen, and in all likelihood, so will the next Governor.
What really happened in California in the past few years which has cost us all so much money is that there was a fire at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, and other problems at Diablo Canyon, and together, we almost lost our taste for nuclear power in California. This would have been a good thing, but the energy companies, who ALL work in collusion (Coal, Oil, AND Nuclear (CON) all work together to prevent RENEWABLE ENERGY solutions from being adopted) didn't want it to happen.
The so-called deregulation of energy prices was a failure, of course, because it allowed the collusion to happen. Instead of allowing the price of energy to be driven by a free and fair open market, where all the costs would be taken into account (including the costs of accidents and waste management for nuclear), energy suppliers were given a free hand to make back-room deals with other energy companies to jack up prices at will. This wasn't the type of "deregulation" California needed.
If you look back at the timeline very carefully, you'll see that it was while two of our four nuclear power plants were down for extended periods that the whole energy "crises" was engineered by the energy companies. We weren't using too much energy. It was being CUT OFF FROM US to force us to turn those nukes back on, and stop thinking "hey, if we can run with two of them off, then we could undoubtedly ramp up other energy sources so we could run with all four of them off!". In fact, three were off for a brief period. Somehow, no one noticed. Nuclear power was delivering less than 4% of our electricity in California, and our lights were staying on. So they manufactured an energy crises. Now it's being blamed on Gray Davis, which is preposterous.
The question of shutting down that last nuke was purposefully drowned out by the energy companies in a massive fraud perpetrated on the State and the people of California.
Now, Gray Davis is being made the fall guy for this crime, but the biggest crime of all -- keeping the nuclear power plants running, creating another half a ton a day of High Level Nuclear Waste (the most costly and dangerous stuff on Earth) -- goes on, and will continue whether Gray Davis keeps his office or Arnold takes it, or whatever happens in the election next month, because THIS topic isn't being discussed.
What does Arnold know about San Onofre's history of near-catastrophes, including dropping heavy equipment, fires, leaks, spills, threats against the plant by angry, insane, well-armed ex-employees with a Rambo-style collection of weaponry, and a thousand other problems INCLUDING a complete lack of fiscal responsibility, namely, it operates under an Act of Congress known as the Price-Anderson Act, which says that the utility company will NOT pay 99.9% of the costs of a major accident which could kill HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF CALIFORNIANS in a matter of hours, days, and weeks after the accident, and MILLIONS MORE over the coming centuries as the released radioactive particles poison our water, our air, and our soil (and those are CONSERVATIVE estimates of the health effects!)? What does Gray Davis know about all this?
Has he put two and two together, and seen that when asked, Californians CAN and DID cut their energy use -- by MORE than our four nuclear power plants produce! So we CAN solve Problem #1 in our Energy Gluttony Puzzle. But will we? There is no reason to believe our nuclear power plants can REALLY survive a 7.0 or, ten times worse, an 8.0 earthquake. There is no reason to think terrorists would be incapable of causing a meltdown if they tried. There is no reason to think that ANY large plane -- accidental or on purpose -- smashing into a Dry Cask would not cause a breach, a fire, and a scar upon our golden land. There is no reason to think that the nuke plant workers will never have the bad luck of goofing up when it really matters -- they goof up with regularity, but so far, they haven't screwed up "the big one".
All the EMT training in the world won't make a bit of difference. The horror of the event will be indescribable -- even the best reporters will be beyond words. Infants will be born hideously deformed, fetuses will be spontaneously aborted, everyone's friends and loved ones will drop around us, and we will die, too. California will be nobody's dream vacation anymore. And it won't matter what the gas tax was, and it won't matter what the car tax was, and it won't matter whether driver's licenses are given to illegal aliens living here under a "live and let live" policy (a policy which has worked for many generations, because Mexicans who come here are not terrorists, just poor). None of that will matter after San Onofre or Diablo Canyon has a meltdown or spent fuel fire.
Even the government figures are astonishing as to how many would die. And there is every reason to believe those same figures are a gross UNDERESTIMATION of the true dangers. These plants are UNSAFE and they've proved it time and again.
ANYONE who is willing to look at the record without prejudice can only conclude that we are dooming ourselves, and our progeny, because while we bicker and fight about the next barrel of oil, in the background, unnoticed by most people, we are poisoning our biosphere, creating mountains of nuclear waste which is so deadly, that properly containing it is the most important thing on Earth. And the most difficult.
The less of it there is, the better. It's time to accept that fact, and move on to renewable energy solutions. They can't possibly cost more than a single spent fuel fire in one single Dry Cask, let alone, if an entire "farm" of them were to catch fire and destroy our countryside.
If the California Governorship special election isn't really about shutting of the nukes and turning on the sun, then it isn't real at all. It won't save California. It won't solve our energy problems.
Please visit my web site where more information is available:
My list of U.S. nuclear power plants:
List of 300+ books about nuclear power in my collection:
Glossary of nuclear terminology: