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JOHN DOBKEN, public information officer for SONGS

The response to Richard Warnock’s op-ed by Bart Ziegler of the Samuel Lawrence Foundation is short on both facts and data.

Ziegler writes, “(Warnock) argues that radiation levels in seawater, sediment and crops near San Onofre are being monitored (he does not say by whom) and that radiological releases follow government guidelines.”

The levels are being monitored by SCE, as well as state and federal agencies. SCE has been carefully monitoring the environment surrounding the plant for decades, making it one of the most continuously studied coastal areas in the U.S. In fact, the data is readily available on the SONGS Community website, including monthly reports.

Annual reports dating back many years are also available on the SONGS Community website and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission website. All show regulatory compliance.

Ziegler mentions “possible cancer clusters” around San Onofre without evidence or data. Numerous studies have shown there is no link between nuclear power plants and local or regional cancer rates.

One of the more comprehensive reports on the subject (1985-2007) is a Canadian study, which concluded in part, “Our study shows no evidence of childhood leukemia clusters around the three (nuclear power plants) and that the incidence of all the cancers investigated for all age groups is within the natural variation of the disease in Ontario.” The State of Illinois came to the same conclusion.

Why is this? The main reason is the small amount of radiation dose the general public receives from a nuclear power plant. The dose from a decommissioning plant is even smaller. The National Academies of Sciences estimates the annual dose to the general public from living within 50 miles of a nuclear power plant is 0.009 millirem.

You receive more dose from a granite countertop (.5 to 18 mrem a year). The dose from natural sources, such as radon in the ground, is 300 millirem a year. Add in other manmade sources, such as dental X-rays, and the amount is more than 600 millirem per person per year.

SCE is committed to the safe storage of spent nuclear fuel on-site, and to environmental stewardship during the decommissioning of the plant. We value openness and transparency. We invite readers to visit our website and join in a Community Engagement Panel meeting, which are being held virtually, to learn the latest about the dismantlement work now taking place.

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