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Surfrider Foundation Joins with Our Radioactive Ocean Project to Measure Beach Water Radiation at San Onofre

San Clemente, Calif., November 24, 2020 – Today, the Surfrider Foundation announced a new collaboration with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s Our Radioactive Ocean campaign to test the liquid radioactive effluent at San Onofre State Beach. The purpose of this independent water quality testing is to gain a better understanding of how radioactive wastewater from the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) impacts the ambient water quality and beachgoer exposure.

This project will give community scientists and organizations the rare opportunity to test the waterways before, during, and after a wastewater release to measure how nuclear effluent alters the local water quality. While the levels released by SONGS are reportedly very low as measured by Southern California Edison, the plant majority owner and operator, the new testing will provide an additional layer of public transparency into water quality levels for nearby local communities.

As a result of community-based efforts, SONGS is currently the only nuclear plant in the U.S. to give liquid batch release notifications and post details on the volume, radiation dose and time of release 48-hours in advance. The Surfrider Foundation worked with state agencies to convince Southern California Edison to publicly notify the local community and beachgoers of planned batch releases of radioactive effluent into the Pacific Ocean. 

To increase public awareness, the Surfrider Foundation will coordinate with volunteers to collect water samples in both the surf zone and at the outfall site located 1.1 miles offshore before, during, and after a planned release of radioactive effluent from the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. Samples will be shipped to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution for testing and processing. While there are multiple isotopes of interest, this sampling effort will mainly help to measure levels of the radioactive isotope, Cesium-137. 

The Surfrider Foundation and Our Radioactive Ocean are making a donations appeal to cover supplies, lab processing and shipping. Donations can be made on the San Onofre page of the Our Radioactive Ocean website. All results will be made public and will further contribute to global knowledge about radiation in the ocean. Learn more about Surfrider’s campaign to get nuclear waste of the California Coast

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About the Surfrider Foundation 

The Surfrider Foundation is a nonprofit grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our world’s ocean, waves and beaches, for all people, through a powerful activist network. Founded in 1984 by a handful of visionary surfers in Malibu, California, the Surfrider Foundation now maintains over one million supporters, activists and members, with more than 170 volunteer-led chapters and student clubs in the U.S., and more than 700 victories protecting our coasts. Learn more at surfrider.org

About “Our Radioactive Ocean” 

Our Radioactive Ocean (ORO) is a citizen scientist campaign launched in 2013 to respond to concerns on the North American west coast regarding the arrival of radioactive contamination from Japan originating from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plants in 2011. ORO is housed at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. More than 250 samples have been collected for ORO supported by the donations of over 300 individuals and groups.  For more on how to propose a new sampling location, see results, and find information about radioactivity and the oceans please visit http://OurRadioactiveOcean.org.