Nukewatch Quarterly Summer 2015
Towns located within 50 miles of US nuclear reactors are not required to develop emergency evacuation plans in the case of reactor disasters. The federal Nuclear Regulatory Agency (NRC) requires that communities within only a 10-mile radius of operating reactors plan for evacuations in the case of radiation disasters.
The discrepancy was highlighted in April by the nonprofit organization Disaster Accountability Project, which called on communities inside the larger area to prepare for a reactor accident, citing the NRC’s 2011 recommendation to US citizens in Japan. When the Fukushima-Daiichi disaster began March of that year, the NRC advised people within 50 miles to evacuate, the Wall Street Journal reported April 15.
The Disaster Accountability Project study notes that a 50-mile radius around the Indian Point reactors in Westchester, New York includes the New York City metropolitan area and parts of New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.
In May last year, the NRC told the owner of the Indian Point reactors to re-evaluate how prepared the facility is to withstand an earthquake. The NRC listed Indian Point reactors 2 and 3 among 10 reactors in the eastern US that have the highest need to renew its emergency preparedness plans. In 2011, after evaluating all 100 operating US reactors, the NRC named Indian Point’s Unit 3 the reactor most vulnerable to severe earthquake damage.
—The Wall Street Journal, Apr. 14, 2015; (Lohud) Journal News, May 9, 2014; NBC News, March 17, 2011