That metallic taste in your mouth? It could be brain damage.
People who surf near the failed San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) are rumored to occasionally report a metallic taste in their mouth while surfing.
Southern California Edison (SCE), the owners of the shuttered nuke plant, use a system called “Dilute and Discharge,” to dump radioactive water from its spent nuclear fuel pools into the Pacific Ocean. The spent fuel pools contain radioactive spent fuel assemblies that are deadly for tens of thousands of years.
A metallic taste in the mouth is a symptom of radiation poisoning at a high dose. It is common in those who have gone through chemotherapy. Radiation has been known to alter the “taste sensation” from radiation to the taste buds. The metallic taste effect is caused by radiation induced brain damage.
One survivor of the accident at Three Mile Island said, “the air smelled like metal. It was overwhelming. I could taste metal in my mouth. It seemed as though every tastebud in my mouth could sense the smell.”
Another survivor recounts, “I experienced a metal taste and queasy stomach. I felt funny.”
Since surfers near the decommissioned power plant are reporting similar symptoms in San Onofre, it could mean that Edison could be dumping mass quantities of nuclear waste right by San Clemente’s Wheeler North Reef, an artificial reef that is struggling to take-off. The “cloudy water” diluted by Edison blocks the light from the kelp beds and damages the reef.
Edison spent over $40 million to attempt to compensate for the environmental damages by building the reef and replacing the kelp beds, but the reef has become too harsh of an environment for aquatic life to truly to thrive.
Fish populations in there have yet to fully recover.
The struggling reef is a good indicator of the environmental damage that the “Dilute and Discharge” method used by SONGS may have caused, but what about the damage it can do to our bodies when we go in the water?
Wheeler is a known hotspot for divers, and there should be some way for them to know if the toxic nuclear waste is being dumped in the water while they are diving, which would expose them veto high levels of radiation.
As of now, Edison is not required to publicly disclose when they dump the nuclear waste into the ocean.
The public has the right to know when Edison dumps nuclear run-off from the SONGS spent fuel pools. That way, surfers and swimmers can choose to stay out of the water during the times this deadly waste is being “diluted and discharged.”