Power Plant Preparedness

Is Your Community Prepared for a Nuclear Emergency?

I found this article on CNN that summarizes a poll they did about folks who live within 50 miles of a nuclear power plant.  Roughly 40% think it is "likely" that an accident or natural disaster at the nuclear plant near them will put their family in immediate danger.  About 15% believe it is "very likely."

I'm actually surprised that the numbers are that high.  I'm sure it's related to the Japan situation and they would have been far lower before the earthquake.

Eighteen percent of those within 50 miles of a nuclear power plant have an emergency kit, and 60% don't know the evacuation routes.  Sixty percent also believe that their local public safety organizations are not prepared for a nuclear emergency.

A couple of days ago, I took part in the first site visit related to an upcoming VOPEX (Va. Operations Plans Exercise) drill where I work.  Virginia Power has two nuclear plants in Virginia, and alternate regional drills between the two each year.  This year it is back to the Surry Power Station in Southeast Virginia.  Localities in the region are evaluated by FEMA, VDEM (Va. Dept. of Emergency Management), and Va. Power for their responses that include: schools inside the 10 mile radius, school outside the 10 mile radius that have students who live in the radius, sheltering operations, vehicle and individual radiation testing and decontamination, KI distribution, radiation measuring, and communications.

All of the localities take the exercises very seriously, and strive to ensure that their responses are effective and appropriate.  If you live within 50 miles of a nuclear power station (and especially within 10 miles), I encourage you to contact your local emergency management office and ask about their involvement in drills.  Offer to volunteer as a role player.  Doing so will get you a unique perspective on your community's readiness.

Our drill will be over several days in June.  After it's over and the evaluations are complete, I'll let you know how it went.

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