Tuesday, June 14, 2005

LADWP Nuke Site Still Draws Fears in Malibu

Luckily, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power never decided to build a nuclear generator in Malibu. Nonetheless, the property where it was planned remains a liability for ratepayers.

Call it fallout from Malibu's nuclear era.

Playwright Charles Marowitz is suffering from it, he says as he points into a ravine beneath his home of more than two decades.

It has nothing to do with the mysterious building hidden near the bottom of the mountain — where he says local legend has it that an eccentric billionaire once secretly tried to build an atom bomb.

Marowitz's problem involves the ill-fated atomic power plant the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power tried to construct four decades ago in rugged Corral Canyon.

The DWP reluctantly shelved plans for its nuclear station after experts argued that the isolated canyon three miles west of the Malibu Pier was geologically unstable and unsafe for an atomic reactor.

But the city retained ownership of part of the 305-acre nuclear site. And now a slow-moving landslide at the edge of the DWP parcel threatens to undermine multimillion-dollar ocean-view homes owned by Marowitz and his neighbors.