1) Irreparable harm:
San Onofre has a current payload of over 3,000,000 lbs of spent fuel located on-site. If this fuel is released by a terrorist act, act of God, or sloppy procedures, it would be a catastrophe. The content of "spent fuel" is a rainbow of radioactive materials, including literally hundreds of radioactive "daughter products" of the original Uranium and Plutonium. It is basically "the most hazardous stuff on Earth" and remains so for tens of thousands, even millions (or billions!) of years. During the first few years after removal from the reactor it must be kept under water. After that, it still should be kept under water, but instead is sometimes transferred to so-called "dry cask storage" (not yet used at San Onofre, but will be soon -- easy targets for 747s). Each day, each reactor creates an average of about 250 lbs of NEW HLRW (High Level Radioactive Waste, aka spent fuel). Each gram of it is enough "dirty bomb" material to force the evacuation of a typical small town in America.
2) Immediacy of the harm:
After 9-11, U.S. officials claimed that documents which relate to attacking our nuclear power plants were found in the caves of Afghanistan. It is believed by some that the "fourth plane" on 9-11 was in fact heading for Three Mile Island -- and may have been shot down (try getting the flight data!). There were reports, soon after 9-11, of a training camp for Al Qaeda very close to Three Mile Island. Also, Iraq right now is being dusted with radioactive material -- of a type far, far less potent than "Spent Fuel", but will the terrorists draw a distinction, and if they do, will that distinction stop them from attacking our nukes in return? (It is only less potent in dose rate -- the full spectrum of illnesses -- cancer, leukemia, birth defects, heart problems, etc. -- are all caused by D.U..)
3) The likelihood of the harm:
The plants are not very well protected. San Onofre is passed near by hundreds of thousands of vehicles every day on I-5. Mortars could be lofted into it from San Onofre State Beach. A hang-glider could get over the perimeter fence in seconds. A group of three or four or more car bombers in a row would be unstoppable (these are just SOME of the ways San Onofre could be "taken out"). But how likely is it? Well, let's put it this way -- it's probably actually a lot easier than bringing down the Twin Towers was -- less planning would be needed, and fewer terrorists. It's a vastly juicier target if the goal is death, suffering, financial losses, fear, and panic.
4) How the power supplied by the plant will be replaced -- a critical argument:
In one fourteen-month period ending last spring (2002), California added 4100 Megawatts of generating capacity – MORE than our four nukes produce. That's without even turning to wind, wave, tide, solar, geothermal, biomass, OTEC (Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion), or other renewable energy sources. It is a complete LIE and a fallacy to think the nuke plants are vital. They are just vital to our enemies, because they make us vulnerable.
5) Why a shutdown is needed vs. other options, for instance beefed up security -- another big argument:
Even if it were POSSIBLE to protect the plants from some "typical" forms of terrorism, there is NO WAY the plants AND THEIR WASTE can be properly protected AND cost-effectively produce electricity for the masses. Also, they are financial boondoggles from the start, making money for their owners for a few years while at the same time saddling California, America and the world with nuclear waste for millennia to come.
These responses are just the tip of the iceberg!
STOP SAN ONOFRE!
NO NUKES IN SPACE: (New FLASH animation):
Internet Glossary of Nuclear Terminology / "The
Demon Hot Atom":
List of every nuclear power plant in America, with history,
activist orgs, specs, etc.:
List of ~300 books and videos about nuclear issues in
my collection (donations welcome!):
Learn about The Effects of Nuclear War here:
Contact Mr. Hoffman via emial: email@example.com