May 16, 2024


This month, we spotlight our commitment to raising awareness about the often-overlooked issue of nuclear waste management. With the haunting legacy of sites like the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, where 3.6 million pounds of nuclear waste pose a critical threat to both environmental and public health, our advocacy efforts have never been more urgent.

In that spirit, SLF is excited to announce our upcoming symposium, "Radioactive Waste: Coastal Threat in Search of a Solution," taking place July 24. Read more on the symposium below.

If our community of investigative journalists, environmental scientists, politicians, advocates, and the public comes together, we can turn the tide on environmental neglect and ensure a legacy of stewardship for the planet we all call home.

Bart Ziegler, PhD

President, Samuel Lawrence Foundation


What To Do with Nuclear Waste?

When the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station was decommissioned in 2013, the radioactive waste it produced were stored in poorly designed thin-walled metal canisters, buried on a shoreline facing increasingly harsh King Tides. We should note that this terrifying scenario is taking place in the heart of a fault zone so tectonically active that it is known as Earthquake Bay.

Few nuclear power plants have as many threats stacked one on top of the other as San Onofre. But they all share one thing in common: there is no disposal plan — none — for radioactive waste.

That is why the Samuel Lawrence Foundation will host a live symposium on radioactive waste policy in San Diego this summer, to convene international experts on the subject and push for a path to address the nuclear-waste problem that poses a catastrophic threat to human and environmental health and security, particularly to the metropolitan area that 9 million people call home.

Stay tuned for more information about tickets and sponsorship for the symposium on July 24th.

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Islands Leading the Renewable Revolution

Did you catch our last episode of First Fridays?

Experts warn of irreversible environmental damage if we don't shift away from fossil fuels immediately. Nuclear energy is often hailed as a solution to our reliance on fossil fuels, but radioactive waste is a danger to human and environmental health, a toxic byproduct that lasts for hundreds of thousands of years.

So what is the solution to our climate-crippling reliance on fossil fuels?

Enter Blue Planet Alliance (BPA), founded by Henk Rogers, the man who brought Tetris to the world. BPA is a driving force behind the renewable-energy revolution sweeping the world's islands. BPA's goal is to guide at least 50 islands toward 100% renewable-energy mandates and advocate for environmentally responsible stewardship around the world.

Our latest episode of “First Fridays” assembled key members of BPA’s braintrust, including Henk himself.

Racquel Moses is CEO of the Caribbean Climate-Smart Accelerator, a coalition based out of Trinidad and Tobago.

Jeff Mikulina is Executive Director of the Hawaii Climate Coalition, and the former head of Blue Planet Foundation.

And Ramon Cruz, in addition to being the former President of the Sierra Club and a current Visiting Professor at Princeton, is also one of the experts representing Puerto Rico in the BPA Fellowship program.

This quartet will give you hope that we have solutions to our most pressing energy problems — as long as we take the necessary steps to get there.

  Watch Recording 
   Read Transcript   
    See Highlights    


Take Action to Extend RECA and Protect All Harmed by Radiation Exposure

The Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) has been a lifeline for individuals across the United States impacted by radiation from nuclear weapons production. RECA offers crucial health screenings, compensation, and essential support to countless people suffering from the effects of radiation exposure.

“When the government harms people, victims should receive compensation, as downwinders and others harmed by the nation's early atomic exposures,” says Senator Mike Lee. "Our government needs to take responsibility for the egregious harm that was done to American citizens, including children, when nuclear testing was taking place.”

However, RECA is due to expire on June 7th, jeopardizing vital health screenings and compensation for those in need. For decades, RECA has benefited individuals across all 50 states, providing transformative compensation that can make the difference between managing medical bills or facing financial ruin. Yet, downwinders and uranium industry workers have been unfairly excluded from the program, despite facing significant health challenges due to radiation exposure.

It's time for Congress to act. Last month, a RECA Expansion Bill passed the Senate, but now the House must call a vote to authorize an expanded RECA. Please contact your Representative and urge them to tell House Speaker Mike Johnson to bring RECA (RECA S.3853) to the House floor for a vote immediately.


Contact your Representatives Today!

Photo Credit: Solar Rights Alliance

We know we need to eliminate the use of fossil fuels to prevent the average global temperatures of the planet from soaring ever higher. That means we need more people to become more efficient in their energy usage and install solar panels on their roofs whenever possible. 

But the CPUC's new $24/month Utility Tax in California will make it much more difficult for consumers to do any of these things. The Utility Tax will increase bills on more than 4 million California households, specifically the households with the lowest per capita energy usage. This not only discourages environmentally beneficial behavior, but it also harms low and middle income renters and others who live in apartments and small homes.

The Utility Tax is totally uncapped, and utilities have noted that they intend to push it to $70/month or more. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) itself has indicated that $24 “is only the beginning,” and that the Utility Tax will steadily rise, along with rates.

But though the commissioners of the CPUC have approved the tax, there is still an opportunity for legislators to do the right thing by passing AB 1999. The bill would cap the tax at $24/month, limit increases to inflation, and sunset the tax in 2028. 

Please contact your Assemblymember and tell them to stop the Big Utility Tax and pass AB 1999.

Learn More About the Utility Tax


SLF Senior Fellow Steve Chapple interviewed SLF’s fiscal sponsoree Mohammed Rezwan, Architect of the Floating Schools project, in the latest post on his Substack Hot Globe.

Watch the powerful documentary First We Bombed New Mexico online for free between May 17th (8AM ET) and May 19th (11PM ET). This nuanced film highlights why an expansion of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act is urgently needed and why it must be approved before it expires on June 7th.

Register for the screening here..


Like these topics? Check out our "First Fridays" Series on YouTube or Spotify, where we bring together leading experts to discuss climate change, nuclear safety, environmental issues, energy solutions, and public health and wellness.


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