LA Times asks, “How safe is the water off SONGS?”

December 3, 2020, 6:46AMANS Nuclear Cafe

A California surfer. Photo: Brocken Inaglory/Wikicommons

The Los Angeles Times published an article on December 1 about a recent collaboration between the Surfrider Foundation and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to determine how safe the water is off the coast of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS).


The article infers that there is a lack of informational transparency regarding the release of wastewater from SONGS into the Pacific Ocean, even though a link is provided for the SONGS community website, which gives 48-hour notice of wastewater discharges. The article, however, does provide good information about the wastewater discharges, including that the plant “has reached just a fraction (0.226 percent) of the dose rate limit set by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.”

Expert input: Ken Buesseler, a senior scientist from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, is quoted as saying, “You could still swim or surf every single day for an entire year, and the dose effect of the additional radiation is about a thousand times smaller than a dental X-ray.” Buesseler adds that he’s never seen evidence of an increase in cesium related to reactor operations at San Onofre.


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