‘Songs for S.O.N.G.S.’ event at Belly Up to protest oceanfront nuclear waste storage

“Songs for S.O.N.G.S.” will be held Oct. 8 at the Belly Up in Solana Beach.
(A. Victor Goodpasture)

At 7 p.m. Oct. 8, the Belly Up will be transformed into a 1960s-style protest rally with music, speakers and a call to end to the unsafe storage of nuclear waste at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (S.O.N.G.S.).

The free event, “Songs for S.O.N.G.S.,” will entertain, inform and inspire the audience to demand safer alternatives for storing 3.6 million pounds of high-level radioactive material. The plant’s operator is moving the waste to a location that is footsteps from the beach where we surf and play.

The Belly Up is located at 143 S. Cedros Ave., Solana Beach. Doors for the event open at 6 p.m. Arriving early is recommended as seating is limited. The event is open to anyone 21 or older. RSVPs are available on a first-come, first-serve basis through a Facebook invitation. A live stream of the event is planned on Facebook.

“I cannot think of a worse place to store spent nuclear fuel than on the beach,” said Bart Ziegler, director of the Samuel Lawrence Foundation, which is organizing the event. “For decades, the nuclear industry has excluded the public from every meaningful decision. Let’s change that at ‘Songs for S.O.N.G.S.’”

The musical lineup includes Iron Sage and Wood with special guest Rob Machado; The Shift, a band of rockers from Oceanside, who wrote the event’s theme song, “San Onofre Blues;” Karlos Paez of B Side Players, and a special solo performance by emcee and local surf dignitary Chris Cote. Several more performers will be announced in the upcoming days.

Speakers will address the dangers of the current storage plans as well as alternative strategies. Confirmed speakers include: Jim Bunch (chairman, U.S. Green Chamber of Commerce); Ian Cairns (former pro surfer); Cathy Iwane (Fukushima evacuee); Becky Mendoza (action sports attorney, Changing Tides Foundation); Pam Patterson (city councilwoman, San Juan Capistrano), and Adam Salkin (documentary filmmaker). More speakers will be announced in the days leading to the event.

About 30 miles north of the Belly Up, the oceanfront nuclear power plant closed in 2013 after massive equipment failures. The plant’s two, dome-shaped reactors are a landmark and highly visible from Interstate 5 near the Orange County line and just south of San Onofre State Beach.

High-level radioactive waste -- 3.6 million pounds of it -- produced during the station’s 45 years of operation today is being stored just 108 feet from the ocean.

“That’s about the distance from the front door to the back door of the Belly Up,” said Chris Goldsmith, president of Belly Up Entertainment.

If the storage system fails from corrosion, an earthquake, tidal activity, terrorism or an accident, the health and safety of an estimated 8.4 million people within a 50-mile radius would be put at serious risk, experts say.

“How can anyone think that storing nuclear waste next to the ocean is a good idea?” Goldsmith asked. “Anyone who lives in Southern California, or plans on visiting here any time in the next 250,000 years, should start speaking out against this insanity now before San Onofre becomes the next Fukushima.”

Learn more at www.samuellawrencefoundation.org. — Submitted press release