San Clemente Green President Gary Headrick makes a point at a press conference held by anti-nuclear advocates at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. Photo by Jim Shilander
San Clemente Green Presidnet Gary Headrick makes a point at a press conference held by anti-nuclear advocates at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. Photo by Jim Shilander

By Jim Shilander

For anti-nuclear advocates, Friday morning’s news that Southern California Edison would close San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station meant the end of a long fight for the many prominent activists who came together for a celebratory press conference in front of SONGS, the mood was jubilant.

Gary Headrick, the leader of San Clemente Green, which has been fighting the effort to restart the plant, was ecstatic by the news.

“It’s a huge relief and very emotional,” Headrick said. “The only thing I can compare would be the days my children were born and there’s all that anxiety and stress, you want it to come out right. And then comes the moment where the reality is they’re healthy and they’re happy. It’s the same with this nuclear power plant. It’s incredible to think what was at stake and how incredibly important today is, not just for San Onofre, but Diablo Canyon and other nuclear power plants around the world that have this old technology.”

Laurie Headrick of San Clemente embraces Steve Nehterby and her husband Gary Headrick in celebration of the closure of San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. Photo by Jim Shilander
Laurie Headrick of San Clemente embraces Steve Netherby and her husband Gary Headrick in celebration of the closure of San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. Photo by Jim Shilander

Headrick said he was willing to see fuels like natural gas used as a stop-gap measure for power generation until alternative fuels could come online. Headrick expressed hope that current plant workers could be re-trained to work in renewable energy.

Gene Stone, of Resident Organized for Safe Environment, said activists had won a victory, but that the job wasn’t done.

“We’re very happy about this news today, but really the work is just beginning,” Stone said. “The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has this program to make every nuclear power plant a waste dump for 200 years. That’s totally unacceptable. Now our job moves from shutting down this dangerous nuclear power plant to getting it decommissioned and moved out. We’re committed to helping do that. We are not, in any way, going to allow this to become a nuclear waste dump.”

Stone said he wasn’t surprised that it was ultimately economic factors, not a regulatory decision, that closed the plant.

“That’s what we expected,” Stone said. “The NRC has never closed a nuclear power plant. They have failed as regulators to ever really do their job properly. Every plant that has been closed has been closed due to economics.”

Donna Gilmore, who runs watchdog website sanonofresafety.org, said the waste issue was her biggest concern going forward.

“I’m concerned about that nuclear waste, because Edison has shown it does not have the skill set to operate a nuclear plant,” Gilmore said. “I’m concerned they won’t have the skill set to manage the waste, that needs continuous water running over it so we don’t have nuclear meltdown.”

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comments (1)

  • “Closed due to economics?” Why do I always have problems with what I read? I don’t think SONGS was closed due to economics, else why would Edison still have been trying to extend its life. There may have been other factors, such as there was no egress for millions in the case of an accident, there was never an answer that I know of to the question who was to pay for the loss of your million dollar home if one speck of radiation destroyed its value, the earthquake problem where a devastating earthquake could be building up on the San Andreas fault to be released in the next 20 years. It ignores that the plant was run allegedly with the full knowledge of its operators that the plant was improperly designed and that damage was accruing as the plant was run, and eventually failed. Perhaps Senator Boxer revealing information to that issue worried some about potential prosecution.

    My complaint is that there was absolutely no discussion of any of this, our city councils’ ok’ed false safety pamphlets that implied there was safe egress on our freeways. When I tried to point these things out on the web site referenced above (sanonofresafety.org) I was censored. Neither the Times and nor the Register published (that I’m aware of) any of the data I just listed that gave any resident any idea of the magnitude of failure of SONGS, and the people who worked so desperately hard at getting SONGS restarted. My hope is that enough people become aware of the magnitude of the scam they’ve been subjected to in the name of big money.

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