Anti-nuclear ballot measure starts circulating

California’s nuclear power plants would be shut down under a proposed ballot measure that Secretary of State Debra Bowen cleared today for collection of petition signatures.

Here’s the Attorney General’s official title and summary for the measure:

NUCLEAR POWER. INITIATIVE STATUTE. Extends statutory preconditions, currently applicable to new operation of any nuclear power plant, to existing Diablo Canyon and San Onofre operations. Before further electricity production at these plants, requires California Energy Commission to find federal government has approved technology for permanent disposal of high-level nuclear waste. For nuclear power plants requiring reprocessing of fuel rods, requires Commission to find federal government has approved technology for nuclear fuel rod reprocessing plants. Both findings are subject to Legislature’s rejection. Further requires Commission to find on case-by-case basis facilities will be available with adequate capacity to reprocess or store power plant’s fuel rods. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Likely major impacts on state and local finances in the form of decreased revenues and increased costs, at least in the billions of dollars annually, due to disruptions in the state’s electricity system and electricity price increases. Potential major state costs to compensate utilities for investment losses resulting from the mandated shutdown of their nuclear power plants. Potential avoidance of future state and local government costs and lost revenues resulting from the unlikely event of a major nuclear plant incident. (11-0008.)

Proponent Ben Davis Jr. of Santa Cruz County has until Oct. 20 to collect valid signatures from at least 504,760 registered voters in order to qualify the measure for the ballot.

Davis has taken on this industry before: He apparently drafted what became a successful 1989 ballot referendum that shut down the Rancho Seco Nuclear Generating Station near Sacramento.

Davis’ request for a title and summary for his “Nuclear Waste Act of 2011” was filed March 30, a few weeks after the 9.0 earthquake and resultant tsunami that devastated Japan and triggered a crisis at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Common Tater

    Why don’t we just outlaw earthquakes and tsunamis?

  • The Antedote

    @ Common Tater: I’ll be the first to start a fund to send you on all expenses paid vacation to Fukushima!

  • Elwood

    Luddites are among us!

    They would have us all go back to living in trees and caves, foraging for firewood.

  • Common Tater


    20 percent of the power supplied to the U.S. is from nuclear power plants. Source: US Energy Information Administration.

    Why don’t you see what things would be like if the nukes were all shut down? Go exist without electricity for about 5 hours a day and no fair picking the middle of the night. Go without four five hours during the day. No lights, oven, TV, computer, gas station, frying pan, etc.

  • The Antedote

    I’d like to include Elwood in that all expenses paid trip to Fukushima.

    But, DO NOT subject me to their conversation on the oversees flight.


    5.24.2011 Please let me know if I may circulate a petition for this signature gathering to place this on the Calif Ballot. Thank you

    Melisa Moriarty
    San Diego, CA 92131

  • Elwood

    Better to have a couple of nuke plants than to curse the darkness.

  • angusmerlin

    We may not even be able to curse the darkness, if we leave a couple of nuke plants….