Thursday is the 30th anniversary of the vote that permanently closed down the
"The plant was an enormous liability for
In 1985, operators lost control of the plant during an "overcooling" event, which forced an automatic shutdown. The resulting 27-month outage cost SMUD
SMUD also paid
Chernobyl is getting renewed attention this year with the release of an
In light of these major disasters, accidents at the
Just days after the
More than 100 other demonstrators cheered with cries of "shut down now, no meltdown later" as 13 protestors climbed the main gate of the plant. The 13 people were arrested for trespassing, and some demonstrators vowed to go on a hunger strike until the 13 were released from jail.
But some say that it wasn't a fear of nuclear power that led residents to rebel against SMUD, but frustration with the plant's inefficiency, which caused rates to rise by 25 percent each year for the four years prior to the vote. Over its 14 years of operation,
Mulholland remembered polling Sacramentans and discovering that people mostly didn't want to make a decision about nuclear power. "They felt it was above their pay grade," Mulholland said.
But the bad economics of the situation caught people's attention, according to Mulholland.
"We ran the campaign on performance," Mulholland said. "Don't keep spending money on something that's breaking down."
Mulholland recalled a TV advertisement Campaign California ran before the vote that showed a baseball team striking out. Each time a batter swung for a strike, a message about the problems at the plant appeared on the screen. When the last batter struck out, the advertisement said "Vote 'no' on Measure K," Mulholland said.
The situation reached its breaking point in 1988 when a citizens' initiative called Measure B that would force
But when Measure K again asked voters in 1989 whether to keep
After the plant shut down, SMUD diversified its energy supply and increased investment in energy efficiency programs that have resulted in customer savings of more than
While the plant was still running, SMUD built one of the first utility-scale solar plants at
SMUD is now constructing the
SMUD converted the land near the decommissioned nuclear power plant into the
Still, the shutdown process for the plant was long and arduous. It took 20 years for the plant to be fully decommissioned by the federal government, costing ratepayers
Disposal of the radioactive waste at the plant hasn't yet been settled, either. SMUD spends
The materials have been in dry storage at
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