The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Bill Walker, Friends of the Earth, (510) 759-9911,
Shanan Alper, David Binder Research, (415) 621-7655,

Poll: Edison's Customers Want to Keep San Onofre Rreactor Shut Down

Many believe Edison puts profits ahead of public health and safety


Southern California Edison is expected to submit a plan any day to restart the crippled San Onofre nuclear power plant, maintaining that one of its ailing twin reactors can be run safely. But a strong majority of Edison's customers want to keep San Onofre shut down, and almost half don't trust Edison to put safety before profits.

In a telephone poll of 700 registered voters in Edison's service area, 58 percent of respondents said they oppose restarting the plant, shut down since a leak of radioactive steam in January led to discovery of extensive damage to tubes in the steam generators. Only 32 percent said San Onofre should reopen.

"Support for the shutdown is widespread, with voters across all counties in the Edison service area showing support for keeping the nuclear plant shut down and favoring replacing its power with renewable energy and conservation," said Shanan Alper, research analyst with David Binder Research.

Friends of the Earth commissioned David Binder Research to survey registered voters in the Edison service area Sept. 11-17. Binder used live callers to both cell phones and landlines. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percent.

More bad news for Edison: During the shutdown, Edison's often-repeated public position on restarting the plant has been that "safety is our number one priority." While customers surveyed almost unanimously said Edison should put safety first, nearly half believe the utility puts profits before safety.

"Edison's customers are not buying the company line," said Damon Moglen, energy and climate director for Friends of the Earth. "After a summer when the lights stayed on without San Onofre, a strong majority of Southern Californians know these crippled reactors can be replaced with clean and reliable sources of energy. And a significant number believe Edison's proposal to restart San Onofre is gambling with their safety. For Edison, regulators and elected officials, the message is clear: Keep San Onofre shut down."

Other key findings of the survey:

* A strong majority (58 percent) of respondents want California to reduce the use of nuclear power for its energy needs; only a third say California should use more nuclear power.

* Nearly three-quarters of respondents expressed at least some level of concern about an accident at San Onofre. But only ten percent know whether they are among the 100,000 Southern Californians who would be forced to evacuate in case of a major accident.

* San Onofre's public image is not pretty. More than 40 percent who have heard anything about the plant say they've heard mostly bad news; nearly half have heard a mix of good and bad.

Friends of the Earth fights for a more healthy and just world. Together we speak truth to power and expose those who endanger the health of people and the planet for corporate profit. We organize to build long-term political power and campaign to change the rules of our economic and political systems that create injustice and destroy nature.

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