PUBLICATIONS > Articles > 1970s > Graham Nash’s concerted effort to stop nuclear power

Graham Nash’s concerted effort to stop nuclear power
Author: Salley Rayl
Journal: Rolling Stone
Date: March 22 1979

IF WE CAN STOP the Vietnam War, then we should be able to stop the madness of nuclear power,” said an angry Graham Nash the day before he and Jackson Browne played the first of three antinuke benefits in California. “I really believe the Eighties will see a mass rising by the people against nuclear power once they find out the horror stories I know – how radiation can destroy the ocean, land and life of this planet. We’re fighting them [supporters of nuclear power] with the truth, and we’ll fight them with people.”

About 46,000 people attended the Nash and Browne benefits on January 26th, 27th and 29th in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco, respectively. The shows raised about $125,000, which will be distributed by the Pacific Alliance to grass-roots antinuke groups in California. Nash and Browne are expected to appear in a New York City antinuke benefit in September at Madison Square Garden, with John Hall, James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt, Carly Simon and the Doobie Brothers.

The Pacific Alliance’s main goal right now is to halt the opening of two nuclear power plants – one of which is almost ready to begin operation – in Diablo Canyon, an area halfway between L.A. and San Francisco once known for its forests of pygmy live oak trees. Pacific Gas & Electric, the company building the plants, claims that, on the basis of a seismic test, the nearly completed facility could withstand a shock of 6.7 on the Richter scale. Midway through construction, however, an active fault, the Hosgri, was discovered about two and a half miles off-shore. Geologists believe this fault was the cause of a major earth-quake in 1927 that rocked Lompoc, California, and that the Hosgri is capable of causing a quake that would be larger than PG&E says the Diablo plant could withstand.

The final phase of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission hearings on the earthquake safety issue began February 7th. Groups opposed to the plants are contemplating an appeal if the hearings result in a license for the plant.

“If an earthquake happens, if the plants get fractured and the radiation and water to the cooling system is stopped, then the plant will heat up and melt down,” Nash said. “It’ll create an incredible steam explosion that could spread radioactivity in a wide path across California.

Meanwhile, Nash will return to the studio this month to record an album with partner David Crosby. The LP is due to be released June lst, and then in August, Nash and Crosby will tour. Nash is also planning a solo album after the tour. As for Crosby, Stills and Nash, Nash said: “I’ve got more important things to do.”

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