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San Diego Advocacy Group Releases TV Ads Warning About Nuclear Waste

Power lines make their way over a freeway toward the San Onofre nuclear power...

Credit: Associated Press

Above: Power lines make their way over a freeway toward the San Onofre nuclear power plant, June 7, 2013.

A San Diego advocacy group called Public Watchdogs has released a 15 second TV commercial claiming Southern California Edison is burying deadly radioactive nuclear waste at San Onofre State Beach.

"Our biggest concern is that 99 percent of the people are unaware that there is deadly nuclear waste on the beach in San Onofre, and there is no plan to remove that nuclear waste. As far as we know, it's going to be there for the next several hundred years," said Charles Langley, the group's executive director.

RELATED: As Residents Debate Safety Of Spent Nuclear Fuel, Power Company Awaits Decision On Storage

Public Watchdogs has filed a lawsuit against SoCal Edison to remove nuclear waste from the beach.

SoCal Edison shut down the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station after a small nuclear leak in 2012 led to the discovery of excessive wear on hundreds of steam generator tubes that carried radioactive water. Now they are putting that nuclear fuel into dry cask storage at a site on Camp Pendleton. The process is currently on hold because of an August incident, but they expect to resume operations soon. They say Public Watchdogs' advertisement is wrong.

"If you want to use their analogy, spent nuclear fuel is the exact opposite of a ticking time bomb," said John Dobken, media relations manager at Southern California Edison. "The radioactivity of spent nuclear fuel is actually slowly decaying, in effect becoming less radioactive over time, not more, in that regard, they get the basic science wrong."

RELATED: NRC Questions SoCal Edison Over Corrective Actions At San Onofre Power Plant

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the agency overseeing the process, told KPBS in a statement that the ad's claims have no basis in fact.

Public Watchdog disagrees. The group filed a lawsuit against SoCal Edison to stop the dumping. They hope that the TV advertisements will generate public interest to sign a petition to stop the process.

Public Watchdogs, a non-profit dedicated to public transparency, said the ad is intended to shed light on the potential risks of nuclear waste from the defunct San Onofre nuclear plant.

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