The other night, as news from Japan took a turn for the worse, I stayed up late and wrote about Nuclear Power Madness. I hope you'll read the article and pass it on.
My opposition to nuclear power is longstanding. In the late 1970s, while advocating for solar and wind energy as well as conservation, I devoted two years to public education and nonviolent civil disobedience that aimed to shut down a large nuclear power plant operating just forty miles from Portland, Oregon.
Later, I served as director of the National Citizens Hearings for Radiation Victims and co-authored Killing Our Own: The Disaster of America's Experience with Atomic Radiation. (The book is now online; if you'd like to take a peek, click here.)
Despite the latest in a long line of presidential assurances, the nuclear facts are dire. As the director of Public Citizen's Energy Program wrote this week, "There are alternatives. Had Japan invested in rooftop solar and wind turbines to the degree it spent maintaining and building nuclear reactors, the country wouldn't be grappling with the potential of a full-scale nuclear meltdown."
The ominous power of the nuclear industry extends from Sacramento to Washington, D.C., where an atomic lobbying force throws buckets of money at Capitol Hill.
Elected officials routinely offer doubletalk or remain silent. Meanwhile, as the New York Times reported on Monday, "most of the nuclear plants in the United States share some or all of the risk factors that played a role at Fukushima Daiichi: locations on tsunami-prone coastlines or near earthquake faults, aging plants and backup electrical systems that rely on diesel generators and batteries that could fail in extreme circumstances."
As I move toward running for Congress in the North Bay, I fully intend to challenge the conventional energy wisdom that enables nuclear-invested outfits like PG&E and General Electric -- and their tacit allies in elective office -- to impose a nuclear shadow on future generations. Willingness to confront the nuclear establishment is crucial.
A few days ago, when Marin IJ political columnist Dick Spotswood wrote that Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey "is expected to announce her retirement by midsummer," he noted that "Solomon's positions are virtually identical with that of Woolsey." The North Bay must continue to have strong progressive representation in Congress.
I want to invite you to one of the house parties and related events where I'll be speaking over the next few weeks in Mill Valley, Bolinas, San Geronimo, San Francisco and Sebastopol. For details on those upcoming events, please click here.
The winter has dealt us some grim setbacks. But spring is arriving -- and with it, new possibilities.
We can make grassroots democracy work!