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August S. Carstens Collection
MSS 0042  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Acquisition Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Publication Rights
  • Historical Background
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Creator: Carstens, August S., 1900-1988
    Title: August S. Carstens Collection,
    Date (inclusive): 1958 - 1984
    Extent: 62.00 linear feet (61 records cartons, 1 archives box, 1 flat box)
    Abstract: Materials related to the social movement that opposed the construction and operation of nuclear power generating plants in California. The bulk of the collection, dating from the late 1970s and early 1980s, consists of materials collected by August S. "Bill" Carstens (1904-1988) concerning opposition to the licensing of Units 2 and 3 of the San Onofre nuclear power plant in San Diego County, and materials dealing with the attempt to construct the Sundesert nuclear power plant. The collection consists mostly of photocopies. Included are transcripts of hearings before various state and federal regulatory commissions, along with supporting documents; transcripts of court actions; environmental impact reports; miscellaneous reports relating to nuclear power; and copies of correspondence.
    Repository: University of California, San Diego. Geisel Library. Mandeville Special Collections Library.
    La Jolla, California 92093-0175
    Collection number: MSS 0042
    Language of Material: Collection materials in English


    Collection is open for research.

    Acquisition Information

    Not Available

    Preferred Citation

    August S. Carstens Collection, MSS 0042. Mandeville Special Collections Library, UCSD.

    Publication Rights

    Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.

    Historical Background

    The August S. Carstens Collection documents individuals and organizations involved in the social movement that opposed the construction and operation of nuclear power generating facilities, chiefly in California.
    The materials were collected by August S. "Bill" Carstens (1904-1988), a successful East Coast insurance executive prior to his retirement to La Jolla in the early 1970s. Beginning in 1973, Carstens began to take an active interest in issues surrounding the safety of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) in northern San Diego County. Using his own substantial financial resources and drawing on the legal expertise of Richard J. Wharton of the University of San Diego, Carstens mounted an effort to impede the licensing of Units 2 and 3 at San Onofre. Carstens also participated in a successful campaign to block the construction of the San Diego Gas and Electric Company's Sundesert nuclear power plant. Of special concern to Carstens and his associates was the location of nuclear plants on or near active earthquake faults. Carstens provided the UCSD library with much of the documentation surrounding his anti-nuclear efforts. This documentation included court evidence, transcripts of hearings, environmental impact reports, and information relating to the energy needs of Southern California residents.
    Additional materials regarding the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant were subsequently acquired.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The August S. Carstens Collection contains materials related to the construction and licensing of three California nuclear power plants: San Onofre (SONGS), Sundesert and Diablo Canyon. The materials mainly document the legal battles that surrounded these plants and include transcripts of court sessions, regulatory commission hearings, court exhibits, and supporting documents. Although the collection spans the years 1958 to 1984, the bulk dates from the late 1970s and early 1980s. Most of the materials are photocopies or near-print reports.
    The collection is arranged in four series: 1) SAN ONOFRE, 2) SUNDESERT, 3) DIABLO CANYON, and 4) MISCELLANY. Within these series the materials are arranged by subject.
    SAN ONOFRE is the largest series and includes the following subseries: A) Emergency Preparedness, B) Environmental Impact, C) Financial Impact, D) Miscellaneous Reports on the Impact of San Onofre, E) Materials on Other Nuclear Power Plants, F) Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and G) Miscellaneous.
    The subseries Emergency Preparedness relates to the Atomic Safety Licensing Board hearings on Units 2 and 3 of the San Onofre plant. This subseries includes hearing transcripts and filings, testimony of witnesses, and documentary evidence presented by the power companies and the intervenors. Other emergency planning reports are organized alphabetically by author.
    The subseries Environmental Impact largely concerns the Atomic Energy Commission hearings on the construction permits for Units 2 and 3 of the San Onofre plant.
    The subseries Financial Impact consists mostly of financial reports from the cities and counties surrounding San Onofre.
    The subseries Nuclear Regulatory Commission includes "NuRegs" (regulations for all nuclear power plants), rules and regulations and copies of correspondence with various nuclear power plants, including San Onofre. Also included is information about nuclear plants across the United States.
    The Miscellaneous subseries includes a report of the Second Pugwash conference of nuclear scientists in 1958, and transcripts of addresses delivered at the 24th Pugwash conference.
    The series SUNDESERT deals primarily with the planning of this nuclear power plant, which was never built. A most of the materials relate to the siting and environmental impact of the plant. Groups of reports are organized under topics such as "Cooling Systems" and "Safety." Materials concerning California Assembly Bill 1852, a bill to exempt Sundesert from regulation, include hearing transcripts, documentary evidence, and memoranda. Also included in the SUNDESERT series is a large collection of material about the plant's Notice of Intention, the hearings that followed and six volumes of copies of correspondence and comments about issues surrounding the plant.
    The DIABLO CANYON series consists mostly of newspaper clippings, organized chronologically. Also included are materials relating to the Atomic Safety Licensing Board (ASLB) hearings concerning the Diablo Canyon plant.
    Included in the series MISCELLANY are handwritten notes by A.S. Carstens regarding the licensing process for the San Onofre plant.
    Elizabeth Apfelberg Papers MSS 111
    Committee for Nuclear Responsibility Records MSS 156
    Mothers for Peace Records MSS 137

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (Calif.)
    Sundesert Nuclear Project (Calif.)
    Diablo Canyon Nuclear Powerplant (Calif.)
    U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
    Nuclear industry -- California
    Antinuclear movement -- California
    Nuclear power plants -- California
    Nuclear power plants -- Environmental aspects -- California
    Disaster relief -- California
    Environmental impact statements -- California


    Carr, Peter, -- collector
    Silver, Sandy, -- collector
    U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
    Mothers for Peace