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A coalition of environmental groups, with financial backing from Friends of the Earth, has launched an ad campaign calling for the continued shutdown at northern San Diego County’s San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

The ad, which accuses plant operator Southern California Edison of “covering up evidence” of reactor defects, is slated to run during cable news broadcasts throughout the San Diego and Los Angeles markets.

Entitled “Down,” the clip attempts to draw parallels between radiation leaks at San Onofre and the nuclear disaster at Fukushima.

“Demand that the safety of your family come first. Keep the San Onofre nuclear reactors shut down,” intones a voice in the closing seconds.

The media buy comes while groups are making a final push to gather signatures to place the California Nuclear Initiative on the November ballot. The proposal would effectively end the bids to extend operating licenses at California’s two remaining nuclear plants at San Onofre and Diablo Canyon, near San Luis Obispo.

The shutdowns would be accomplished by placing a requirement that long-term plans for the storage and disposal of high-level nuclear waste be established before licensing or re-licensing nuclear facilities within the state. Since the plants’ opening, nuclear waste has been piling up in temporary storage facilities along the coast, including at a third plant in Humboldt Bay, which has been shuttered since 1976. For years a permanent disposal site had been discussed at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, but that proposal was shelved in 2009 and no new ideas have since come forth.

Also of relevance recently is the announcement by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that the San Onofre shutdown, previously termed “voluntary” and “precautionary” by SoCal Edison officials, is now by mandate of the Commission.

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