Nuclear Emergency

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San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station – Decommissioning

On June 7, 2013 Southern California Edison (SCE) announced that it will permanently retire Units 2 and 3 of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS). On June 12, 2013 SCE submitted a Certification of Permanent Cessation of Power Operations to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) which opened the door to begin preparations for decommissioning.

Decommissioning Process

The decommissioning process is regulated by the NRC and involves the removal and disposal of radioactive plant materials and components, removal and safe storage of spent fuel and eventually the termination of the plant’s operating license.

Emergency Planning Changes at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station

On Monday, June 8th, 2015 as part of the decommissioning process, the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station has implemented the Permanently Defueled Emergency Plan (PDEP), a revised emergency preparedness plan that is appropriate for a decommissioning nuclear power plant. This change in emergency planning has been implemented because most potential accidents related to an operating plant are no longer possible at nuclear power plants that have shut down and where fuel has been removed from the reactor. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission conducted a year-long review of the plan and approved it on June 5, 2015.

For the surrounding communities, emergency preparedness remains the same. The SONGS Interjurisdictional Planning Committee (IPC) is responsible for nuclear emergency planning in the region. IPC jurisdictions, including San Clemente remain committed to the protection of the public’s health and safety and will maintain nuclear specific emergency response plans and procedures that will align with Southern California Edison’s Permanently Defueled Emergency Plan.  Additionally, the IPC will continue to maintain the following emergency planning elements:

  • Dedicated and trained emergency response personnel
  • Radiological and environmental monitoring capabilities
  • Integrated emergency plan and policy revisions approved by the IPC
  • Emergency preparedness exercises and communications drills
  • Ongoing public education and informational awareness campaign

Community Siren System

Southern California Edison will continue to maintain the Community Siren System for use by the surrounding jurisdictions. A siren testing schedule will be maintained to ensure the system remains operational. The schedule will be posted on the City of San Clemente calendar. 

SONGS Community Website

Visit the SONGS Community website at for detailed information about decommissioning activities.

Community Engagement Panel

Councilman Tim Brown is representing the City of San Clemente on the Community Engagement Panel (CEP). The CEP is an advisory panel that brings together all the different stakeholders of the decommissioning process and serves as a conduit of information between the SCE owners and the public. CEP meetings are open to the public and create an opportunity for all key interests to be voiced. CEP meetings will be recorded and aired on Cox Channel 30.

You can also view the meetings live via webcast or watch previous meetings on Southern California Edison’s website

SONGS Decommissioning Questions, Comments, Concerns

Telephone: (800) 332-3612


Mailing Address:

San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station
P.O. Box 128
San Clemente, CA 92674-0128

Community Relations Manager: Viet Tran, 949-368-3365



What is Radiation?

Everything on earth is made of tiny particles called atoms. Some atoms in our environment naturally give off energy in the form of waves or particles. This energy is called radiation. You cannot hear, see, feel, taste or smell radiation. We receive small amounts of radiation every day from natural and manmade sources such as the air, the sun, minerals in the earth, the food we eat, the building materials in your house, x-rays used by dentists and doctors and our television sets. Even our bodies give off small amounts of radiation. The amount of radiation that a person gets is measured in millirems. The average U.S. citizen receives about 360 millirems per year from these types of natural and manmade sources. Information from detailed monitoring shows that nuclear power plants expose the public to less than one millirem per year.

How Will I be Notified if There is an Emergency?

You will be notified of an emergency by community alert sirens, roving public address systems, and/or emergency phone calls. The sirens are a signal for you to turn your radio or television to a local Emergency Alert System (EAS) station for important information from local officials. Please do not call 911 if you hear the sirens, unless you have a life-threatening emergency. The following radio stations will broadcast emergency information:

  • KWVE FM 107.9 - Santa Ana
  • KOGO AM 600 - San Diego

  • For more information about the Community Alert Siren System,Click Here.

    What will I be asked to do?

    The EAS messages and news broadcasts will tell you more about the situation, and may ask you to evacuate or to Shelter-in-Place.

    Evacuation: If you are directed to evacuate, please stay calm. Get in your car and proceed to I-5 N. Be sure to follow the directions of local law enforcement officers, as traffic patterns will likely change. If you know someone in your neighborhood who is without transportation, please give them a ride. Those without a ride can go to a public Transportation Assembly Point. If you are directed to evacuate while your children are at public school, do not attempt to pick them up. Children in the public schools will be pre-evacuated by Capistrano Unified School District to a safe location. You may contact your child's school to find out their evacuation location.

    A Reception Center at the Orange County Fairgrounds will be opened for persons coming from Southern Orange County, if necessary during an emergency. (U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton and San Diego County will open their own, separate Reception Centers.)

    Shelter: Sheltering in Place is the process of staying where you and taking special precautions. If asked to take shelter, stay indoors, close off all ventilation, windows and doors, turn off air conditioners and close fireplace dampers. Listen to news reports to determine when it is safe to leave your shelter and evacuate the area.

    What is a Reception Center?

    A reception center is a meeting place for evacuees to check in and register, get assistance from the American Red Cross, and reunite with family members. The Orange County Reception Center is located at the Orange County Fairgrounds at 88 Fair Drive in Costa Mesa. At the Reception Center, evacuees will be provided with a place to sleep, meals and medical attention, if needed. Government health and fire department personnel will be available to monitor evacuees for exposure to radiological contamination.

    What Should I Take With Me?

    You should take necessary items for three days including prescribed medication, a small amount of cash, credit cards, toiletries, baby supplies and bedding.

    What is Potassium Iodide?

    Potassium iodide, or KI, is a chemical compound that contains iodine and can protect the thyroid gland from exposure to radioactive iodine. KI is only effective against exposure to radioactive iodine and only protects the thyroid gland. It does not protect against other types of radioactivity that might be released during a nuclear emergency. Radioactive iodine is a fission product produced within the fuel of an operating reactor. Unit 2 was defueled in July 2013 and Unit 3 was defueled in September 2012 so no fission has occurred in more than a year. Since fission has not occurred in more than a year and the plant is now decommissioning, potassium iodide (KI) distribution is no longer necessary as a supplemental protective action. If you have some on hand you may dispose of it. All KI distributed by the City of San Clemente to residents will expire  July 2015. For more information click here

    What do I do if I need special assistance?

    You may need special help if you have a physical or mental disability or medical condition preventing mobility; are elderly or need life support systems. You can get assistance by registering with Orange County by calling (714) 828-7055 and request a special assistance card. (The card is addressed and postage has been paid for your convenience.)

    For more information about SONGS, please visit


    For more information contact:

    Stephen Foster, Emergency Planning Coordinator, (949) 361-6109

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