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SAN CLEMENTE (CBSLA.com) — Residents in the communities surrounding the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in southern Orange County will hear fifty sirens on Wednesday ahead of an annual test.
KNX 1070′s Ron Kilgore reports the test comes as the plant – which has been shuttered since January due to equipment problems – has been selected for a study on cancer risks for people living near U.S. nuclear power plants.
The $2 million study by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will focus on San Onofre and five other plants nationwide and will specifically examine cancers in children living near those facilities.
“The first is gonna look at multiple cancer types in populations that are near the facilities, and compare that group to a control set of people that don’t live near nuclear power plants,” said NRC spokesman Scott Burnell.
Federal officials were expected to begin the study by December and could pave the way for a future study of all 65 U.S. nuclear plants.
The study aims to address public concerns about radiation released by San Onofre, where a hydrogen leak that was detected in a pipe in a non-nuclear area of the facility proved to be the latest in a series of public health scares surrounding the plant.
Southern California Edison officials said the leak was small and presented no health risk to employees or the public.
Edison will conduct Wednesday’s test from 10 a.m. to noon, when each of the 50 sirens will sound for three minutes over a two-hour span, according to officials, who described the sound of the sirens as a steady tone noticeably distinct from those used by police and fire personnel.
“In a real emergency the siren system would alert residents to turn on their radio or TV for emergency response information from public officials,” said Edison’s senior vice president and Chief Nuclear Officer Pete Dietrich.
Residents in San Clemente and surrounding communities will be in range of the sirens.
(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)