Despite San Onofre nuclear plant shutdown, sirens to blare Wednesday

Warning sirens
Despite the San Onofre nuclear plant being permanently retired, the law required an annual test of 50 warning sirens in the surrounding communities, which is slated for Wednesday.
(Don Kelsen / Los Angeles Times)

The San Onofre nuclear plant may be permanently retired, but on Wednesday, the sirens were scheduled to sound as they have every year for an annual test.

The test -- a regulatory requirement that hasn’t been suspended despite the nuclear plant’s shutdown -- will involve 50 sirens and include the cities of Dana Point, San Clemente and San Juan Capistrano, as well as other areas of southern Orange County, nearby state parks and the Marine Corps base Camp Pendleton, officials announced.

The siren system would alert residents in a real emergency to turn on their radios or televisions for emergency response information from public officials.

Fifty sirens will sound several times for about three minutes each from 10 a.m. to noon. The sirens sound a continuous, steady tone, unlike those used by fire and police officials.


Fliers explaining the test were distributed to residents, businesses and schools in the area. Before and during the siren test, broadcasts on Orange County’s primary Emergency Alert System radio station, KWVE 107.9, will inform the public of the test, according to the announcement from the city of San Clemente.

Southern California Edison announced in June that it was permanently shutting down the troubled San Onofre nuclear plant, ending the region’s four-decade venture into nuclear energy production.

The closure capped a 16-month debate about San Onofre’s future but left the utility and state regulators grappling with who will ultimately pay more than $1 billion in costs.



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