Residents of North County beach communities are concerned by reports of high radiation readings near the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS). But an expert questions the accuracy of the readings.
Japanese visitors from Fukushima – who participated in an anti-nuclear rally on March 11 – reported high Geiger counter readings on the San Clemente beach. The results of the readings have been shared with many North County residents by email, the Internet and social media, alarming some.
But Murray Jennex, an associate professor at the San Diego State University Homeland Security Program, disputed those findings.
“I’ve been monitoring background radiation and radiation in Oceanside off and on for the last year since Fukushima, and I’ve never seen anything above background,” Jennex said. “So I don’t believe the readings they get were correct.”
Gene Stone of the group “Residents for a Safe Environment” brought the Japanese visitors from Fukushima to San Clemente. He admitted their Geiger counters may have been faulty. But Stone, who lives in San Clemente, does not trust plant operator Southern California Edison to communicate the results of radiation monitoring. He added they do not routinely share the results of radiation readings near the plant with the public.
“We think it’s imperative that the people living around these plants have a real time monitoring system,” Stone said. “We as citizens deserve true, accurate information from an independent source.”
Stone says the nearest federal radiation monitoring system is 50 miles away in San Diego.