Tag Archive for nuclear power plants

Nuclear Power Plant Emergency Information – An Example of Good Plans

We are currently assisting a company in preparing for certain risks that could impact its employees and/or their ability to work from certain strategic geographic locations.  One of their facilities lies in the Phoenix, AZ area.  Their facility lies within the 50 mile “ingestion pathway” of the Palo Verde Nuclear Generation Station.  Although their facility is outside the 10 mile “plume exposure pathway”, which could be evacuated during a “General Emergency”, some of their employees may live within 10 miles and, they are aware, that panic and confusion could result in many more employees not being available to work during a significant Palo Verde emergency.

This webpage from the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (US NRC) provides a good explanation of the two pathway zones and nuclear power plant emergency classifications.

During the course of our engagement we reached out to the Arizona Division of Emergency Management for a copy of the information packets they send to residents within 10 miles of Palo Verde.  Each year, the ADEM, sends out Palo Verde emergency information in the form of a new calendar with instructions and information for residents to follow in the case of emergency.

Without getting into the discussion of “real” risks versus “perceived risks”, I applaud ADEM for compiling this information and making it available to the public.  I think the calendar is well done and is a good example of keeping the plan short, concise and useable at time of need.  Putting the information in a calendar format with appealing and creative content, helps increase the probability that the calendar is actually posted in an accessible and remembered location.

I have not looked at the information provided for residents of other nuclear power stations in the United States, but am sure that the respected offices of emergency management do an equally impressive job at educating the public of the dangers and plans in place to respond to an emergency.

If you are an emergency planning professional, or, if you happen to live near a nuclear power plant (either in the plume exposure or ingestion pathways), I encourage you to take a look at the information provided through the links in this blog.  I think business continuity planners could benefit from trying to keep their plans simple and creative as shown in the calendar example.

Thanks goes out to the folks at the Arizona Division of Emergency Management who so willingly worked with us on behalf of our client.  Their responsiveness in providing us the information through links and in hard copy is much appreciated.

Disaster Preparedness: A Risky Combination

At the risk of having a bunch of folks attack me for being an alarmist and pointing out how uninformed I am about the real vs. perceived dangers from nuclear power plants, I am going to go ahead and post this blog any way.

I am working on a couple of unrelated projects with tabletops and risk analyses.  One company is planning a tabletop exercise around an incident at a nuclear generating plant near one of their campuses and another is concerned about potential risks from earthquakes.  Just as a hoot, I thought I would combine the two risks and do an Internet search on “nuclear power plants near earthquake fault lines”.  And, I thought I would pass along what I found and let you decide if this is worth losing any sleep over.

Now, I am going to post a few links to stories I found that suggest there might be a concern with nuclear sites near fault lines.  I do recognize many of these websites as being those that others have told me are “whackos with an agenda” – but, then again, perhaps some of those folks who are just as adamant that this is all a bunch of hyped up fear mongering, have a bit of an agenda themselves?  I’m sure it’s probably somewhere in between; maybe not as bad as some of these sites might suggest, but, maybe a bit more risky than some nuclear specialists are willing to admit.  Anyway, I am not an authority on either side of this argument, just passing on some information I found.  I will let you be the judge.

STORIES ON NUCLEAR PLANTS NEAR EARTHQUAKE FAULT LINES

Like I said, I just did this out of my own curiosity.  The one thing I did learn from my quick research is, I am not the first one to ask this question.  Those who wish to accuse me of unnecessarily alarming others, I want to assure you I have not passed these findings on to any clients indicating they have a risk to be concerned about.  I am simply posting links here in the blog for other professionals to take a look at and come to their own conclusions.

I do welcome, however, comments from anyone who wishes to refute the reports, chastise me for passing the links along, or to, heaven forbid, thank us for thinking about looking into this possible threat.

Risk Analysis: The Nuclear Power Plant Threat

I am in the process of creating an Emergency Response Facilitated Exercise for one of Safe Harbor Consulting’s prestigious clients who has elected to simulate a nuclear power plant crisis near one of their strategic corporate locations.  My research on this topic has uncovered some rather disturbing information.

Currently, the US standard is to establish an evacuation zone of 10 miles, yet in the wake of the Fukushima, tsunami induced crisis, the US government ordered the evacuation of US citizens within 50 miles of the site.  The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) suggests that they would do the same should a similar event happen in the US.  Then why not expand the standard evacuation zone that nuclear sites currently are told to plan for?

Furthermore, my research suggest that information concerning the expected time to evacuate from nearby nuclear power plants is based on old and outdated population figures.  This is disturbing to me – what are your thoughts on this?

This web site shows the active nuclear power plants and the population counts nearby.  Realizing how many plants were in the path of Hurricane Irene is pretty scary.  Sure these facilities are hardened and built to withstand most weather and geological threats, but still – a breach at any one of these plants could be devastating.

Now, I do not want to come across as a fear monger – just wondering how many of you include the possibility of evacuation caused by a nuclear power plant compromise as part of your risk analysis?  If doing so, I would use the 50 mile radius precedent established by the Fukushima catastrophe as my measuring stick and not the official 10 mile radius established by the NRC.

Now back to planning the exercise.  Maybe in a future blog I can relate how it went.