Misinformation in letter about San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station

Letter to the Editor - Del Mar Times

Below is a letter to the editor published Sept. 16 by the Del Mar Times in response to a previous letter in the Times that contained misinformation about SONGS.

It is unfortunate that the readers of the Del Mar Times were so misinformed by the recent letter submitted by resident Alice McNally about the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

In the letter, several assertions are completely untethered from the truth. For instance, McNally claims “There are no armed guards or security in place to deter terrorists.” Our current security plan, put in place after all the spent nuclear fuel was placed in dry cask storage last year, goes above and beyond what is required by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and it includes security officers who are equipped and trained to neutralize threats to the facility.

McNally claims the “emergency plan is now nonexistent.” The same week her letter appeared we were performing a dry run for one of our regularly scheduled emergency preparedness drills that are part of our very real emergency plan. The plan includes written agreements with offsite emergency responders, including Camp Pendleton, and meets NRC requirements. (Learn more about emergency preparedness during decommissioning here.)

EP drill 3

The SONGS Emergency Planning team conducts a practice run Aug. 31 for an upcoming Biennial Emergency Plan drill.

Regarding waivers and exemptions, nuclear plants that are retired and in decommissioning are much different from operating plants. The NRC regulations are geared toward operating plants, so decommissioning plants apply for certain exemptions to regulations that are no longer applicable. Think of it this way: should electric vehicle owners be mandated to get smog checks like cars with combustion engines or should they be exempted? Reasonable people recognize the differences.

Southern California Edison is dedicated to the safe storage of spent fuel at San Onofre, while working to relocate the fuel to a federally licensed facility, a goal generally shared by the community. Misinformation only makes the task that much harder.

John Dobken

Public Information Officer

San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station