Mass Notification for Nuclear Power Plant Preparedness and Emergency Response

Mass Notification for Nuclear Power Plant Preparedness and Emergency Response

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Mass Notification for Nuclear Power Plant Preparedness and Emergency Response

The ongoing crisis in Japan has heightened awareness of nuclear plant safety, preparedness and emergency response. In one news story after another, nuclear plant officials are being asked to detail their “worst case scenario” emergency procedures. In each of these “scenarios,” notifying emergency officials, employees and citizens is required by the federal government.

In a recent TV news story titled Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Plant Prepared in Case of Crisis, CodeRED is shown on a list as one of the strategic methods used to keep citizens and employees informed. Following are five key ways to use mass notification for nuclear power plant preparedness and emergency response:

Deliver Disaster Preparedness Information to Citizens

The use of a Mass Notification System (MNS) as a part of your annual Public Education and Awareness Program will prove to be one of the greatest technological assets you have. Periodic disaster preparedness information delivered to citizens residing in the 10 Mile EPZ (Emergency Planning Zone) can be specifically targeted. This will allow you the opportunity to let citizens know they are residing in one of the EPZs, make them aware of the location of evacuation shelters, and share information on how to shelter in place if advised to do so. This communication can also provide citizens with a sense of security that comes from knowing local Public Safety officials are prepared and have an individual concern for their well-being.

Provide Response Notification to Emergency Workers

During a nuclear incident, time is of the essence. You need the support of a reliable and rapid Mass Notification System to activate or alert your critical responders. This can be accomplished by pre-populating notification lists and individual response groups within your MNS for easy access in an emergency situation. Your statistics page will allow you to see who is able to respond, so you can make contingency plans for staffing. Testing these lists monthly will help ensure updates are being captured and awareness is high among your responders.

Deliver Protective Action Recommendations to the Public

The most effective form of emergency notification is the live voice of an authority figure delivered to a citizen’s telephone. Providing information to the public in response to an event is critical. In the case of a nuclear incident, it is equally important to provide continuous Protective Action Recommendations (PAR) during the recovery phase. A Mass Notification System will prove to be the best and most reliable form of targeted information delivery. It is possible that citizens will be sheltering inside their residences leaving phones, text and email messages and mass media as the most effective forms of message delivery.

By creating pre-established EPZs geographically within your MNS mapping component, you will have the option to send PARs to your entire evacuation area or to an individual EPZ as required. Again, through the use of your statistics page, you will be able to see who received the message and who did not, so you can plan for contingent route alerting. Adding text and/or email notifications can also be included in the process as additional communication methods. Periodic testing of your MNS will allow citizens to become accustom to this form of notification and encourage them to add additional contact devices to enhance your system database.

Work in Tandem with Alert and Warning Sirens

A Mass Notification System is the perfect compliment to any outdoor warning device. Sirens may be used for several different alert scenarios so the public will need to know why they are being alerted each time. Therefore, it is extremely important to provide simultaneous information when activating sirens. The most efficient way to do this is to follow the siren warning with a MNS call with the reassurance of a live voice providing the information citizens need to hear.

Siren testing is a requirement, particularly when they are installed for the purpose of warning in case of Nuclear Power Plant incidents. Your MNS should be used to announce siren testing in advance, as well as while the test is being conducted. Your citizens need to be accustomed to the fact that they will receive a voice message when sirens sound. It provides credibility for you and reassurance for them.

Meet and Exceed FEMA / NRC Redundancy Requirements

The addition of a Mass Notification System to alert the public will prove to be a favorable approach to satisfying the current FEMA evaluation requirements to employ multiple notification methods. Adding the use of a MNS to your Radiological Response Plan will significantly enhance your ability to reach a larger portion of the public with your critical message. Working in concert with the present Outdoor Warning Sirens, Route Alerting and Media Announcements, the added use of a MNS will provide a much needed level of credibility to the emergency message.

Used with permission by Emergency Communications Network

World Nuclear News

Energy News

Map of the United States Showing Locations of Operating Nuclear Power Reactors

Find Operating Nuclear Power Reactors by Location or Name

To find information about a particular operating nuclear power reactor that NRC regulates, select that reactor from the following:

You can also Find NRC-Licensed Facility by NRC Region or State.

Map of the United States Showing Locations of Operating Nuclear Power Reactors

Select a triangle showing the location of an operating nuclear power reactor from the map below.

Map of the United States Showing Power Plant Locations

Note that Region IV oversees the Grand Gulf plant in Mississippi (MS), which is part of Region II.

To top of page

Alphabetical List of Operating Nuclear Power Reactors by Name

A - CD - LM - QR - W

Arkansas Nuclear 1
Arkansas Nuclear 2
Beaver Valley 1
Beaver Valley 2
Braidwood 1
Braidwood 2
Browns Ferry 1
Browns Ferry 2
Browns Ferry 3
Brunswick 1
Brunswick 2
Byron 1
Byron 2
Calvert Cliffs 1
Calvert Cliffs 2
Catawba 1
Catawba 2
Columbia Generating Station
Comanche Peak 1
Comanche Peak 2
Crystal River 3

D.C. Cook 1
D.C. Cook 2
Diablo Canyon 1
Diablo Canyon 2
Dresden 2
Dresden 3
Duane Arnold
Farley 1
Farley 2
Fermi 2
Fort Calhoun
Grand Gulf 1
Harris 1
Hatch 1
Hatch 2
Hope Creek 1
Indian Point 2
Indian Point 3
La Salle 1
La Salle 2
Limerick 1
Limerick 2

McGuire 1
McGuire 2
Millstone 2
Millstone 3
Nine Mile Point 1
Nine Mile Point 2
North Anna 1
North Anna 2
Oconee 1
Oconee 2
Oconee 3
Oyster Creek
Palo Verde 1
Palo Verde 2
Palo Verde 3
Peach Bottom 2
Peach Bottom 3
Perry 1
Pilgrim 1
Point Beach 1
Point Beach 2
Prairie Island 1
Prairie Island 2
Quad Cities 1
Quad Cities 2

River Bend 1
Robinson 2
Saint Lucie 1
Saint Lucie 2
Salem 1
Salem 2
San Onofre 2
San Onofre 3
Seabrook 1
Sequoyah 1
Sequoyah 2
South Texas 1
South Texas 2
Surry 1
Surry 2
Susquehanna 1
Susquehanna 2
Three Mile Island 1
Turkey Point 3
Turkey Point 4
Vermont Yankee
Vogtle 1
Vogtle 2
Waterford 3
Watts Bar 1
Wolf Creek 1

Nuclear Prep Video

Estimated Fallout Pattern from Nuclear Air Burst Estimated fallout pattern from nuclear air burst Source: Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute's Medical Effects of Ionizing Radiation Course on CD-ROM (1999) Delayed ionizing radiation dose (fallout) * Produced by fission products and neutron-induced radionuclides in the area around the explosion, especially downwind * Dispersed downwind with the fireball/debris cloud. * As the cloud travels downwind, the cooling and falling radioactive material settles on the ground creating a large swath of deposited material (fallout). * Fallout creates large areas of contamination and the ionizing radiation coming off the fallout which can damage tissues and penetrate through thin walls and glass. * Fallout can also contaminate the soil, food and water supply o Prohibitions against eating food and drinking water from affected areas will be issued

World Health Organization Statement

FAQs: Japan nuclear concerns

14 March 2011

Public health actions

Which public health actions are most important to take?

  • In the case of a nuclear accident, protective actions may be implemented within a radius around the site.
  • These actions depend on the estimated exposure (i.e., the amount of radioactivity released in the atmosphere and the prevailing meteorological conditions such as wind and rain. The actions include steps such as evacuation of people within a certain distance of the plant, providing shelter to reduce exposure and providing iodine pills for people to take to reduce the risk of thyroid cancer).
  • If warranted, steps such as restricting the consumption of vegetables and dairy products produced in the vicinity of the power plant can reduce exposure.
  • Only competent authorities who have conducted a careful analysis of the emergency situation are in a position to recommend which of these public health measures should be taken.

How can I protect myself?

  • Keep you and your family informed by obtaining accurate and authoritative information (for example, information from authorities delivered by radio, TV or the Internet) and following your government's instructions.
  • The decision to stockpile or take potassium iodide tablets should be based on information provided by national health authorities who will be in the best position to determine if there is enough evidence to warrant these steps.

What are potassium iodide pills?

  • In the setting of a nuclear power plant accident, potassium iodide pills are given to saturate the thyroid gland and prevent the uptake of radioactive iodine. When given before or shortly after exposure, this step can reduce the risk of cancer in the long term.
  • Potassium iodide pills are not "radiation antidotes". They do not protect against external radiation, or against any other radioactive substances besides radioactive iodine. They may also cause medical complications for some individuals such as persons with poorly functioning kidney and therefore taking potassium iodide should be started only when there is a clear public health recommendation to take this step.

Can pregnant women take potassium iodide pills?

  • Pregnant women should take potassium iodide pills only when instructed by the competent authorities because the thyroid of a pregnant woman accumulates radioactive iodine at a higher rate than other adults and because the thyroid of the fetus is also blocked by giving potassium iodide pills to the mother

Explosions, Military Helicopters Near Blacked Out Radiation Zone

Eyewitnesses on the ground near the media-blacked-out elevated radiation zone near the border of Indiana and Michigan, where radiation levels hundreds of times higher than normal were quickly removed from public viewing by the EPA, are now sending in a large number of photos and videos documenting massive explosions accompanied by unmarked helicopters, A-10 Thunderbolts, and military personnel. These reports come after a Department of Homeland Security hazmat fleet was sent out to the location after ‘years’ of inactivity.

Explosions, Military Helicopters Near Blacked Out Radiation Zone

Pictures: Top Ten Nuclear Nations' Quake Hazard

The bulbous chambers of the San Onofre nuclear power plant in 

1. United States: Coastal Concern

Emory Kristof, National Geographic
This story is part of a special series that explores energy issues. For more, visit The Great Energy Challenge.
Annual U.S. nuclear generation: 798.7 billion kwh (kilowatt-hours)
Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi crisis has raised questions around the world on the earthquake hazard in countries that rely heavily on nuclear power. As it turns out, the seismic threat varies widely in the top ten countries generating electricity by fission.
Although the United States has not built a new nuclear power station since the 1979 accident at Three Mile Island, it is far and away the world’s largest nuclear power producer. Its 104 reactors produce more electricity than all the nuclear plants in the next two nations—France and Japan—combined. But because U.S. electricity use is so prodigious, all those nuclear plants provide only 20 percent of the total.
Given the map of U.S. earthquake hazard, it’s no surprise that California’s two nuclear power plants are the ones that have raised the most political concern in the wake of Japan’s crisis. San Onofre, in San Clemente, and Diablo Canyon, in Avila Beach, are located right on the coast, near active faults.
Earthquake hazard in this area of the West, where the North American tectonic plate meets the Pacific plate, is about five times greater than the earthquake hazard in the eastern half of the United States, says seismologist Seth Stein, of Northwestern University’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. He is author of the recent book, Disaster Deferred, on how new science is changing views of earthquake hazards in the Midwestern United States. As the book explains, there is some seismic hazard in the central and eastern part of the country, where the vast majority of U.S. nuclear reactors are located. Damaging earthquakes have occurred near Charleston, South Carolina; Boston, Massachusetts; and New Madrid, Missouri.
Long before the Fukushima crisis, U.S. energy and nuclear regulators and the Electric Power Research Institute—the industry nonprofit group—were working on a new seismic source characterization for the central and eastern United States. It’s expected to be completed later this year.
There are no nuclear plants in Alaska, the U.S. state that has the most earthquakes.

Read the entire article on National Geographics webiste. Click here.

During a Nuclear Power Plant Emergency

The following are guidelines for what you should do if a nuclear power plant emergency occurs. Keep a battery-powered radio with you at all times and listen to the radio for specific instructions. Close and lock doors and windows.
If you are told to evacuate:
  • Keep car windows and vents closed; use re-circulating air.
If you are advised to remain indoors:
  • Turn off the air conditioner, ventilation fans, furnace, and other air intakes.
  • Go to a basement or other underground area, if possible.
  • Do not use the telephone unless absolutely necessary.
If you expect you have been exposed to nuclear radiation:
  • Change clothes and shoes.
  • Put exposed clothing in a plastic bag.
  • Seal the bag and place it out of the way.
  • Take a thorough shower.
Keep food in covered containers or in the refrigerator. Food not previously covered should be washed before being put in to containers.

Maps of Nuclear Power Reactors: WORLD MAP


Information for you and your family from FEMA

Nuclear Power Plant EmergencyNuclear power plants use the heat generated from nuclear fission in a contained environment to convert water to steam, which powers generators to produce electricity. Nuclear power plants operate in most states in the country and produce about 20 percent of the nation’s power. Nearly 3 million Americans live within 10 miles of an operating nuclear power plant.

Although the construction and operation of these facilities are closely monitored and regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), accidents are possible. An accident could result in dangerous levels of radiation that could affect the health and safety of the public living near the nuclear power plant.
Local and state governments, federal agencies, and the electric utilities have emergency response plans in the event of a nuclear power plant incident. The plans define two “emergency planning zones.” One zone covers an area within a 10-mile radius of the plant, where it is possible that people could be harmed by direct radiation exposure. The second zone covers a broader area, usually up to a 50-mile radius from the plant, where radioactive materials could contaminate water supplies, food crops, and livestock.
The potential danger from an accident at a nuclear power plant is exposure to radiation. This exposure could come from the release of radioactive material from the plant into the environment, usually characterized by a plume (cloud-like formation) of radioactive gases and particles. The major hazards to people in the vicinity of the plume are radiation exposure to the body from the cloud and particles deposited on the ground, inhalation of radioactive materials, and ingestion of radioactive materials.
Radioactive materials are composed of atoms that are unstable. An unstable atom gives off its excess energy until it becomes stable. The energy emitted is radiation. Each of us is exposed to radiation daily from natural sources, including the Sun and the Earth. Small traces of radiation are present in food and water. Radiation also is released from man-made sources such as X-ray machines, television sets, and microwave ovens. Radiation has a cumulative effect. The longer a person is exposed to radiation, the greater the effect. A high exposure to radiation can cause serious illness or death.
How can I protect myself from a nuclear power plant emergency?