Anti-Nuke Power Initiative Taking Flack via Santa Barbara Independent

Legislative Analyst Trashes Measure, Local Activists Dubious

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A statewide initiative that would effectively shut down the Diablo Canyon Power Plant in San Luis Obispo County and the San Onofre plant in San Diego was cleared last week for signature gathering by the secretary of state’s office. But in almost the same breath, the state’s Legislative Analyst’s Office warned the measure could potentially cost the state economy billions of dollars, state and local governments billions of dollars, and California ratepayers billions of dollars. While the initiative’s author, Ben Davis of Santa Cruz, insists the analyst’s doom-and-gloom report relied upon unsubstantiated allegations made by unnamed members of a state agency dominated by retired utility industry executives, even some longtime anti-Diablo Canyon activists are having second thoughts. “We have our doubts,” said David Weisman of Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility, a group fighting Diablo Canyon in Sacramento.

The initiative, known as “The Nuclear Waste Act of 2012,” was hatched by Davis, a longtime anti-nuclear activist who drafted the ballot language that shut down Sacramento’s municipally owned Rancho Seco nuclear power plant in 1988. Currently, Davis works as a delivery driver for a dog newspaper known as Bay Woof. Davis said he was moved to act by the devastation caused by the near meltdown of Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plants after the country was hit by an earthquake and tsunami this March. If approved, Davis’s measure would stop any nuclear plants from operating in California until a permanent storage solution for spent fuel rods and other nuclear wastes was provided. Currently, no such national repository exists, and none are on the drawing boards. Now that he’s been given the green light from the secretary of state, Davis has until April 16 to collect 504,000 valid signatures of registered voters to qualify for next November’s statewide ballot. That’s roughly 3,800 signatures a day.

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