The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) is located in San Diego County next to the San Onofre State Beach on the Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, approximately 10 miles south of the City of San Clemente.
SONGS Unit 1 was licensed for commercial operation in 1968. Units 2 and 3 started operations in 1983 and 1984 respectively and are capable of producing enough power to serve 2.3 million households. While Unit 1 was retired in 1992, Units 2 and 3 remain in service.
The safety of the public is the primary concern of the Office of Emergency Services (OES). OES has been working closely with Southern California Edison, MCB Camp Pendleton, State Parks, Orange County and the Cities of San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano and Dana Point to coordinate response plans and actions, train response personnel and procure the equipment necessary for a successful response to an event at SONGS even prior to Unit 1 becoming operational. These jurisdictions and agencies have formed the Inter-jurisdictional Planning Committee (IPC) which meets monthly to ensure full coordination and cooperation between all members.
While each jurisdiction has their own response plan for SONGS, we have worked together to develop joint standard operating procedures (SOP) and policies that we will all follow during a response to an event at SONGS. These plans, SOPS and policies are based on requirements established by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). These plans are tested every other year during a full-scale exercise designed to have the nuclear power plant and all off-site jurisdictions respond to a major emergency at the plant. During these exercises the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) evaluates our ability to:
• deploy radiological monitoring teams,
• make decisions on how to best protect the public, and
• provide emergency public information
Every six years we are evaluated on our ability to open up a facility known as a Reception and Decontamination Center. During these drills our ability to receive evacuees from San Onofre State Beach just south of the plant, monitor them for potential radioactive contamination and then properly decontaminate them is evaluated by FEMA.