San Onofre Nuclear Plant holds demonstration to determine radiation emitting from plant

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – It’s been shut down for several years now, yet the worries about radiation coming from the San Onofre Nuclear Plant are never going to go away.

“There is no danger to the public. I’ve been working here 40-years and the amount of radiation I’ve been exposed to has not hurt my health. In order to make sure people understand, we’re now putting out real time information,” says Nuclear Engineer Jerry Stephenson of So Cal Edison, the majority owner of San Onofre.

Starting today, radiation levels will be posted to a couple of web sites for people to read and understand. Both the California Department of Health and San Onofre will have links.

“These monitors will be reading radiation levels everyday all day and they will be posted so people can see for themselves,” says Stephenson.

San Onofre now becomes only the second nuclear plant in the country to monitor and keep such detailed records of radiation levels. The first was in Minnesota.

“So our job is to keep the spent fuel as safe as possible and keep close track until we can move it off the coast,” says Stephenson.

That could be a long wait. At this stage, there is not one permanent facility in the U.S. to store old nuclear fuel. U.S. taxpayers spent $15-billion to build a permanent depository at a place called Yucca Mountain in Nevada.

However, after it was finished, it was immediately shut down by Nevada politicians and President Obama. They decided they didn’t want nuclear waste after all, so they wasted $15 million of our hard earned money.

“As soon as there is a place, we will move it. Yucca Mountain was not funded in this years budget, so that’s purely a political issue.”

At this stage of the game, it’s all a political issue. After a nuclear plant is closed down, that spent nuclear fuel is the property and responsibiliy of the Federal Government, the Department of Energy.

“The Department of Energy has dropped the ball. We will keep it safe until they come up with a plan.”

Until then, radiation levels are under close watch. As demonstrated at the plant, sometimes naturally occurring radiation in the environment is more powerful than the radiation emitting from the nuclear storage on site.

Categories: Local San Diego News