From the Ecological Options Network
A timely and urgent story with global implications
Filmed over eight years, SHUTDOWN (90 min.) documents how a Southern California community empowered itself to force the closure of a leaky nuclear power plant only to face an even more daunting challenge – what to do with the tons of high-level nuclear waste the plant generated – a major safety concern for all of America as dozens of aging nuclear reactors are decomissioned.
Alarmed by the 2011 Fukushima disaster, an urban planner with young children, an environmentalist couple, a university professor, and a retired systems analyst team up to convince the communities surrounding San Onofre to demand that Southern California Edison (SCE) put safety first at its nuclear reactors. Whistleblowers anonymously provide them information about serious safety violations at the plant.
The communities battle the giant utility and ultimately win the fight to close the ocean front nuclear power plant, located in a densely populated earthquake and tsunami zone between San Diego and Los Angeles. But they soon discover the lethal threat isn’t over. Just yards from the rising sea, over 3 million pounds of high level nuclear waste created on the site is being dumped into thin, damaged canisters, each containing roughly a Chernobyl’s worth of radioactivity.
After the shutdown, another brave whistleblower comes forward and confirms continued horrendous mismanagement of the waste. He reveals that a 54-ton container of intensely irradiated fuel was almost dropped 18 feet onto cement below, which many believe could have caused a major radioactive disaster in the area, home to 8.5 million people.
SHUTDOWN chronicles the persistent efforts of these five people to grapple with a reckless utility inattentive to the severe perils of the lethal waste it must manage, a Federal regulatory agency (NRC) that is in the pocket of the nuclear industry, state agencies that permitted the radioactive dump to be on the beach, shady waste contractors looking for profit, and a government push to move all nuclear waste to another site across the country and dump it on low income communities of color.
Documenting this critical, but little-known struggle, SHUTDOWN will inform and inspire others faced with aging reactors in their communities, and challenge those now advocating a whole new generation of nuclear power plants.
We’re in the editing studio now, however to complete the film and screen it widely, WE NEED YOUR FINANCIAL SUPPORT. As with other successful mass movements, permanent historical changes only happen when large numbers of people like you realize their involvement is essential to the cause.
To donate, go to https://www.shutdownfilm.com/donate