UPDATE, APRIL 30, 10:01 A.M.: About 100 people marched to the gate of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station Sunday to demand the facility be shut down.
They were led by Irvine Mayor Larry Agran, who said nuclear power is an unsafe option for communities surrounding such plants.
Video from the rally follows after the jump . . .
ORIGINAL POST, APRIL 27, 7:39 A.M.: Hey, hey, ho, ho, that nuclear power plant has gotta to go!
Expect to hear a lot of that, or some variation of it, Sunday afternoon near the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS), where activists and concerned folks will hark back to 1970-era "no nukes" rallies.
These are strange days indeed at SONGS. Heading into the power-sucking summer months, the plant is offline until operator Southern California Edison can convince the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) it has addressed and corrected problems with steam-generator tube wear in units 2 and 3. Just as Edison was telling the media SONGS will be good to go for summer, a small fire broke out, with the cause at least initially unknown.
Meanwhile, radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi meltdown a year ago was recently detected near SONGS. The city councils of Irvine and Solano Beach have formally come out opposed to the plant's continued operation, citing critical safety concerns. The issue is brought up at just about every San Clemente City Council meeting these days.
"A major disaster at the plant would put 8.4 million residents at risk and create a no-mans-land out of Southern California," reads a statement from organizers of Sunday's "Shut Down San Onofre" rally, which comes just after the 26th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, the 33rd anniversary of the Three-Mile Island accident and the first anniversary of the Fukushima meltdown.
Larry Agran, the Irvine council member who along with other community members met privately with NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko on April 6, and who has consistently led the drive to oppose SONGS, will be among a dozen speakers at the rally endorsed by San Onofre Safety, San Clemente Green, Occupy Escondido, Citizens Oversight Projects, Peace Resource Center of San Diego, Residents Organized for a Safe Environment and San Diego Coalition for Peace and Justice.
Other scheduled speakers include nuclear industry expert Daniel Hirsch, Gene Stone of Residents Organized for a Safe Environment in San Clemente, Libbe Halevy, who will share her experiences evacuating from the Three-Mile Island accident, and Suzanne Smith, who lost her mother to cancer five years after the Chernobyl disaster.
"At some point, the San Onofre plant must be decommissioned," says Stone in the rally announcement. "We believe that time is now. 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."
As was the case at the no nukes rallies of the '70s and '80s, there will be entertainment, only this time it will be provided by Liquid Blue, whose 2009 album Supernova was awarded Pop Album of the Year at the Los Angeles Music Awards, and
Charlie Imes, whose album from the same year On an Island was a San Diego Music Award nominee for Best Americana or Country Album.
Rally participants will gather at noon in front of the San Onofre State Beach gate at Basilone Road and then march about an eighth of a mile to the SONGS gate. The rally runs there from 1-3 p.m. Parking is available with a $15 day use fee at San Onofre State Beach, and shuttles to the rally site are in the works. Visit http://ShutDownSanOnofre.org or call 619.501.1031 if you have any questions.
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