Brightly lit boards proclaiming “NO RESTART” glowed at the base of the stage in the San Clemente Community Center Auditorium Saturday, where local anti-nuclear activists rallied against the proposed restart of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.
Featured in the slate of speakers and entertainers was actor and activist Ed Begley Jr., who discussed energy conservation and made clear his opposition to nuclear power.
“People ask me if I’m in favor of nuclear power, and I say ‘yes,’ ” he said. “There’s a very safe nuclear reactor sited 93 million miles away. It’s called the sun.”
The San Onofre plant has been closed since January 2012 because of a leak of radioactive steam that revealed widespread wear and tear on tubing used in the plant’s steam generators. San Clemente Green organized the anti-nuclear event to help support the use of alternative energy sources and commemorate the one-year anniversary of the plant’s shutdown.
Begley spoke about how he began to incorporate green energy into his home and urged citizens to focus on conservation so that problems like the San Onofre plant could be prevented in the future. One example he used was his home energy audit and how he realized its importance. He encouraged the audience to make doing a home energy audit a priority.
Conserving energy, he said, is one way to show the government and utilities that the power generated by the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station is unnecessary.
Gary Headrick, co-founder of San Clemente Green, and Steve Bender, the president of U.S. Green Chamber of Commerce, were also speakers at the event.
“We have a huge opportunity to find alternative ways to create energy: through conservation and new advancement in technology makes for a promising future,” Headrick said.
Naomi Chianese, a resident of San Clemente for the past 35 years, was one of those that attended the event.
“I’m really concerned about the power plant," she said. “I feel like it’s unsafe and an unnecessary risk when there are so many good alternatives.”
Information tables lined the room with posters, brochures and handouts for people to learn more about the plant, the effects of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan—“Will San Onofre be the next Fukushima?”—and local resources.
Pizza, beer and wine were served at the event, with the Kalama Brothers and Tom English providing entertainment.