If you live in the Bay Area, chances are you live in a nuclear neighborhood. Just around the corner are nuclear weapons arsenals, naval and research reactors, plutonium labs, and scores of other facilities which handle radioactive materials.
Large quantities of these materials are secretly and routinely transported by air, sea and land. Barges carrying nuclear weapons and radioactive waste plow through the bay harbors. Trains used to haul highly radioactive spent fuel rods from Mare Island, and trucks carry wastes and weapons through Oakland, Livermore and Fairfield. Oakland now serves as the country’s official port on the West Coast for shipping nuclear materials to Europe and the Far East.
Unfortunately, some of this radioactive poison escapes and ends up close to home. Naval vessels sometimes leak coastal waters. Other wastes were secretly dumped in three locations near the Farallon Islands, only 30 miles from San Francisco beaches. Sixty miles inland, the Rancho Seco nuclear power plant [decommissioned]—a twin of the disastrous Three Mile Island reactor—reported more than 40 mishaps. Nuclear research centers in Sunol and San Ramon handle enough plutonium to cause local epidemics of cancer and leukemia.
Just 25 miles east of Oakland, scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory are responsible for conceiving and designing the nation’s nuclear weapons arsenal. At least 12 nuclear accidents have hit the lab since 1960. And Livermore, like all nuclear facilities in the Bay Area, was unwittingly built next to powerful, active earthquake faults.
As if this wasn’t enough, these facilities have made the Bay Area a prime target for a nuclear attack by American enemies’ submarines, laden with nuclear warheads.
Everyday, we face the deadly prospect of radiation escaping from these centers of nuclear research and weaponry. But there is a way out: responsible people are organizing now to create a Nuclear Free Zone in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Berkeley has a historical connection with the world nuclear renaissance through academia, labs, and corporations. But the city also has a history of winning, where people contested the danger of nuclear power and weapon making. They created Nuclear Free Zone, for example in 1986. Yet the city of Berkeley has been trying to repeal part of this, and trying to be more pro-nukes.
The Peace and Justice Commission recently adopted the following recommendation:
Adopt a Resolution to Petition Governor Brown to Direct the PUC to Decommission Diablo Canyon and San Onofre nuclear power plants and to initiate renewable power generation.
Its time to decommission California Nuclear Power Plants (Diablo Canyon and San Onofre) and never restart any nuclear reactor again. Its time for the bay area and the planet to be protected as Nuclear-Free Zones, and its time for people to reconsider their priorities and put the health of their communities over profits, cheap energy, and the poisoning of our futures.
Hope to see you all out at the Occupy Hiroshima National Day of Action Nuclear protest at PG&E August 6th:
“Shut down, not Melt down.”