There is limited monitoring of radiation in the air, milk and water in California. And public access to the data is limited. Near real time radiation levels close to San Onofre are not available to the public. See California Radiation Monitors map.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides near real time radiation monitoring information to the public on their RADNET website. However, monitoring is inadequate.
- EPA does not have a radiation monitor within about 50 miles of the San Onofre nuclear plant. The closest monitors are in San Diego and Anaheim.
- EPA has refused our requests to add a monitor in San Clemente – the closest city to the San Onofre reactors.
- The South Coast Air Quality Management District operates three of the regional sites for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- The EPA provides inadequate radiation monitoring and attempts are being made to lower EPA radiation safety standards. See Dan Hirsch’s 10/31/2011 presentation to the EPA Concerns Regarding Radiation Protection Standards in a Post-Fukushima Era. The section about inadequate EPA monitoring starts on Slide 71.
- Glitches hampered radiation warning system in California – half of the 12 EPA detectors in California had problems that could delay alerts – LA Times 3/25/2011
- Weaknesses in EPA’s management of the radiation network system demand attention report’s EPA’s Office of Inspector General in their 04/19/2012 report.
Broken RadNet monitors and late filter changes impaired this critical infrastructure asset. On March 11, 2011, at the time of the Japan nuclear incident, 25 of the 124 installed RadNet monitors, or 20 percent, were out of service for an average of 130 days.
Until EPA improves contractor oversight, the Agency’s ability to use RadNet data to protect human health and the environment, and meet requirements established in the National Response Framework for Nuclear Radiological Incidents, is potentially impaired.
- The information is months old and is not posted with any regularity. And the data is very limited.
- Their current equipment does not have the capabilities to provide near real time data (like that of the EPA’s RADNET system).
Southern California Edison has monitoring stations at San Onofre, but they will only share annual reports with the public.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) allows San Onofre releases various types of radiation every year.
- See 2010 Annual Radioactive Effluent Release Report and the 2010 Annual Radiological Environmental Operating Report. For other radioactive effluent release reports and more information, go to the NRC Effluent Release Reports website section.
- The data is self-reported by the nuclear power plant.
- The NRC does not provide current radiation data to the public.
San Onofre Unit 3 had a radiation leak on 01/31/2012. NRC Management Directive 8.3 (2/16/2012) states the leak amount is an “estimate” (page 6 of Decision Document form). This brings into question the accuracy of the data we are receiving from San Onofre.
San Onofre releases radioactive tritium in the ocean and ground. For more information about tritium click here.
Radiation Types and Risks: For information on types of radiation and health risks, click here.
Fukushima Radioactive Fallout in North America
- These maps show government and scientific data of Fukushima radiation fallout into North America from March 8th, 2011 to April 5th, 2011. This represents less than one month of data and includes limited monitoring sites. Radiation fallout continues from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plants, yet there seems to be a lack of priority and resources dedicated to informing the U.S. public about the risks.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in collaboration with the National Atmospheric Deposition Program (NADP) monitored North American precipitation samples for the presence of nuclear fallout after the 3/11/2011 Japan Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Specifically, excess precipitation and filtrate (insolubles suspended in precipitation) from National Trends Network sites and selected Mercury Deposition Network sites were analyzed for the presence of radiological fallout for samples collected during the 3/8/2011 to 4/5/2011 sampling period. NADP samples were provided to the USGS’s TRIGA Nuclear Facility in Denver Colorado, where the radiological determinations were made.
The study found concentrations (activity) and fallout (deposition) of radioactive iodine and radioactive cesium in significant number of samples. Detectable quantities of Iodine-131, Cesium-137, and Cesium-134 were observed at 21% of the 167 tested locations. Concentrations of I-131 detected in 5 samples ranged from 29.6 to 1090 picocuries per liter (pCi/L). Concentrations of Cs-134 detected in 23 samples ranged from 0.4 to 55 pCi/L. Concentrations of Cs-137 in 33 samples ranged from 0.70 pCi/L to 39 pCi/L.
Detections and measurable fallout from wet deposition was observed primarily at NADP sites located along the West Coast of the US, the central Rocky Mountain region and northern Great Plains, the central and upper Mississippi River Valley and eastern mountainous regions ranging from Virginia northward through Vermont. Deposition was also observed at NADP sites in Alaska (see figure).
See NADP report: Measurement of Radioactive Fallout from the March 2011 Fukushima Nuclear Reactor Incident
- North America’s West Coast is projected to be the most contaminated by Fukushima cesium of all regions in the Pacific within 10 years — “An order-of-magnitude higher” than waters off Japan.