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Are Nuclear Reactors In Southern California Safe?

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant sits on the edge of the Pacific in the heart of earthquake country.  With nuclear reactors in Japan melting down,  following last week’s earthquake and tsunami, reporter Melissa Maynarich investigates whether or not it is safe.

The reactor is situated close to the water which helps to keep it cool.  Southern California Edison says the best science shows the fault line that is nearest to the plant is five miles away under the ocean.  It is believed that the largest quake it could produce would be a magnitude 6.5.  Edison says Onofre is built to withstand a 7.0.

After a walk down the beach, the wall on the ocean side of the plant becomes visible to the public.  It is built to a height of 30-feet and is said to be able to withstand a 25-foot tsunami.  The whole wall may not look like it’s 30 feet tall, but that’s because it’s partially underground. Power plant officials say, it’s width and it’s depth is
what will keep the wall stable.  If there was a release of radioactive material, steam would dissipate quickly.

Emergency officials are gearing up to meet again in April to go over procedures.

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