That metallic taste? It’s possible you’ve been irradiated. 

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.”

4 thoughts on “That metallic taste? It’s possible you’ve been irradiated. 

  1. This is disheartening. I love swimming in the ocean, and now I’m afraid to do that. Isn’t there some law to protect us from Edison deliberately (even diluted) dumping radiation into the ocean?

  2. Federal law trumps State laws, and unless the Federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission decides to enforce the law, nothing will be done. Recently, SONGS, under pressure from the community, agreed to provide at least 24 hours notice before it “dilutes and discharges” irradiated water into the ocean. It is a step in the right direction.

  3. A little bit of BS here. Water will act as a biological shield as hydrogen molecules will absorb radiation. So even if they were “discharging” radioactive water from pools into the ocean you would not taste metal, and I doubt they are. Spent fuel rod pools themselves you could actually swim in with no threat to yourself. The only way you would “taste metal” is If you were exposed to airborne radionuclides or hot ionizing radiation. Relax people, your imaginations and lack of knowledge is amazing here. So it goes with the fear and consumption nation we now live in.

    1. David P: You are correct that water is an excellent shield for radiation, and it is true, you could probably swim in a spent fuel pool without dramatically shortening your life, but that’s only part of the story. The reason for this is that the SNF pools at SONGS are 65 feet deep, and the assemblies at SONGS (about 18 feet high) are more than 40 feet below the surface of the water. However, if you get to close to them, you will die almost instantly (see article at https://what-if.xkcd.com/29/ ). When Three Mile Island melted down, local victims tasted metal. In the event of a major radiation release at SONGS, local residents should be aware that if they taste metal, it is time to either get out, or get indoors.

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