The Surfrider group recently posted a blog about the ocean water samples they took during and after the last radioactive effluent water release from SONGS. The samples were sent to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution for testing, under the guidance of Dr. Ken Buesseler.
The results show the levels of Cesium-137 off the San Onofre coast are extremely low, especially when compared to the Environmental Protection Agency's drinking water standard.
As an example (in Becquerels per cubic meter of water, about 264 gallons):
EPA Drinking Water Standard: 7,400
Surfrider "After" Sample at the Outfall: 3.2
We will continue to help Surfrider in their project by notifying them of future batch releases so they are able to mobilize their sampling team.
From their blog:
Additional testing of future effluent releases would help clarify if a measurable increase (and subsequent decrease) in Cesium-137 levels occur in the coastal environment after a known SONGS radioactive effluent release.
“Given variations in tides and upwelling along the California coast, such small differences cannot be attributed to any local sources” according to Dr. Buesseler.
In March 2019, Dr. Buesseler wrote:
Today, levels above 2.0 Becquerels per cubic meter (Bq/m3) in the surface ocean, indicate additional cesium from the Japanese (Fukushima) releases...
By our calculations, even if levels increase to 10 Bq/m3, swimming eight hours every day for an entire year, would only increase one’s annual dose by an amount, 1000 times less than a single dental X-ray.
We conduct ocean water sampling each month as part of a robust environmental monitoring program. Those samples are analyzed by an independent lab. We also test, at various intervals, ocean bottom sediment, shoreline sediment (beach sand) and marine life. All of this data can be found on our website.
Ocean water samples (and other media) are split with the California Department of Public Health – Radiologic Health Branch, providing a cross-check of the sampling results.
Interested readers can find out more information about our environmental monitoring program here. Information about batch releases is available here.
Read the San Diego Union-Tribune article here.