General Question

flutherother's avatar

Where is the nearest nuclear power station to where you live?

Asked by flutherother (29518points) 2 weeks ago

Assuming there was a very bad accident at this power plant and a large release of radioactivity what, if anything, would you do?

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50 Answers

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

There are a few nearby. If a Fukushima like event happened I would have to leave permanently.

dabbler's avatar

Indian Point is notoriously close to New York City, fifty miles.
It would be utter mayhem to try to get out of here in a panic.
Stay inside and hope for the best would be the best option for a few days at least.

ragingloli's avatar

about 300km.

JLeslie's avatar

I just googled and there is one about 50 miles from me. I guess they don’t evacuate you if you are 50 miles away? I am east of the plant, and our air movement tends to run west to east, so I guess I would get some of the radiation, I don’t know how much. I’d be more like more affected than areas 50 miles north or south I think.

elbanditoroso's avatar

150 SE of me, in east-central Georgia near the coast.

If it blew up, it wouldn’t affect me, because prevailing winds go to the east – over the Atlantic ocean – and wouldn’t affect Atlanta.

There is a decommissioned nuke in northeast Alabama about 100 miles NW of me.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Correction to my note above, The one in Northeast Alabama was never completed, so it was never commissioned, and therefore is not decommissioned.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Belefonte^^^

You have two more north of you just past Chattanooga

gorillapaws's avatar

I’m about 50mi from the Lake Anna Nuclear plant in Virginia. If there was and accident I’d get my wife and drive south.

Darth_Algar's avatar

There are three within, perhaps, 25 miles of me. In the event of a large radioactive event I suppose I would do as officials instruct. I dunno. I’ve never really given it much thought, I’m much more concerned about tornados than I am about nuclear accidents.

LadyMarissa's avatar

I have 3 with which I should possibly be concerned. There are 2 here in Georgia & 1 not far over the SC border. The one in SC is only about 40 miles north (as the crow flies) of me & is the one I need to feel most concerned. The 2 in Georgia are about 125 & 200 miles south of me. With the 2 in Georgia, I should possibly have time to drive up to NC or Virginia or maybe even W Virginia. The one in SC is more of an immediate concern with very little time to get out of the area. To get to the Interstate, I’d have to drive north toward the plant before being able to head south toward Atlanta. All other roads heading out of town toward a safer area are narrow 2 lane roads. I doubt that there would be a safe route that wasn’t bottlenecked with other panicked people trying to escape.

I’ve never heard a report about any problem at the 2 Georgia sites; however the SC site has had several problems. To make it more concerning, there was NO warning put out at the time they were having the problem. Instead, they chose to report it AFTER they knew everything had turned out OK. The way I see it is that by the time they have a disaster, decide to alert the general population, get the word out, I’d barely have time to bend over & kiss my ass goodbye!!!

Demosthenes's avatar

I believe there’s one on the Central Coast of California. That’s the nearest to Reno. There are only a few in the entire Western U.S.

Brian1946's avatar

The San Onofre plant is about 77 air miles southeast of me.

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission recommends a 50-mile evacuation zone. I’d stay where I am, but I’d be continuously monitoring the news for any relevant updates concerning our safety.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@Brian1946 I thought San Onofre closed.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Harris Shearon in North Carolina, about 50 miles away.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

There are a couple in Washington state a few hundred kilometres south of us, the ones here in Canada are all back east about five thousand kilometres east.

Brian1946's avatar

@elbanditoroso

It’s no longer generating power but it has yet to be decommissioned.

Per Wiki: “Controversy continues over Edison’s plans for on-site dry cask storage of the considerable amount of nuclear waste created during the facilities decades of operation”.

The 50-mile radius I mentioned is for ground ingestion, not aerodynamic distribution, which is 10 miles.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I’m about 30–40 miles west of the Ginna Nuclear Power Plant on the south shore of Lake Ontario.
I’d figure the prevailing winds would keep the radioactivity away.

filmfann's avatar

482 miles to San Luis Obispo for Diablo Canyon, and 562 miles away in Olympia Washington. Too far to worry about.

KNOWITALL's avatar

About 3 hours away in Fulton, MO.

I wouldn’t do anything, more than likely.

Caravanfan's avatar

The risk of coal, oil, or natural gas power plants far outweigh the minuscule risk of living near a nuclear power plant. I would FAR rather live near a nuclear power plant than one of those other ones, and if we had invested in nuclear power years ago as opposed to kowtowing to the coal and oil lobbies then the world would be a much safer place.
\

stanleybmanly's avatar

Does decommissioned count?

Tropical_Willie's avatar

No @stanleybmanly, Still has radioactive stuff.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@Caravanfan I have mixed feelings about both nuclear and fossil power. If people want to get serious about controlling emissions then we had better start to be ok with nuclear. I have yet to see a protest at a coal fired plant but nuke plants are protested all the time. Personally I think nuclear is the energy bridge we need before we have enough renewable capacity. That said, I would much rather live 20 miles from a fossil plant than a nuke plant and living just a few miles from a fossil plant is not a consideration.

seawulf575's avatar

I have a nuke plant about 20 miles away. I really don’t worry about it. I used to work there. Anyone really want to know how a nuclear power plant works and what the potential hazards are and how they are mitigated?

SQUEEKY2's avatar

^^^ Sure how do they dispose of the nuclear waste ,that is environmentally safe?
Everything a person hears is that it is extremely harmful for around a thousand years.
So what do they do with it, that isn’t a risk to humans or the environment?

Caravanfan's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 It’s certainly safer than CO2 emissions going to the air from fossil fuel plants. That will kill us all eventually.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Yeah that stuff has a thousand year shelf life as well.
Still doesn’t answer the question about disposal does it?

ragingloli's avatar

Maybe you could stash it at one of those subduction zones, so eventually it gets sucked into the mantle.

Caravanfan's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 No, of course it doesn’t answer that question. But if we continue on our present course of pumping out CO2 it won’t matter where it is stored because of the sixth extinction event. The problems to nuclear waste disposal are not scientific—they are political.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

But what do they do with it that doesn’t harm humans or the environment??
We can deflect to whatever, you say it’s safe,ok but what do they do with the waste that is safe for all of us?
And I am not saying Co2 isn’t harmful as well, great strides have been made to filter them with automobiles.

flutherother's avatar

There are two nuclear power stations in my vicinity, Torness which is 70 miles to the east and Hunterston which is 27 miles south west. The latter is plagued by cracks in the graphite bricks which have caused one reactor to shut down completely as the operational limit of 350 cracks had been exceeded. The operator has come up with a solution – extend the operational limit to 700 cracks! Both reactors were due to go offline in 2023 but Torness has had its life extended to 2030.

seawulf575's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 There were disposal sites where all US nuclear power plants sent their waste. There were very stringent rules about what could be sent and how it could be sent. Most of these closed up for receiving high level radioactive waste, i.e. spent fuel. Most US nuclear sites have started creating what they call dry-cask storage. New fuel for a nuclear plant is generally good for three refueling cycles. until it has to be removed because it no longer has enough fissionable material to be of use. That doesn’t mean it isn’t radioactive, it means there isn’t enough U-235 to maintain a fission rate that will allow steady production of power. When that fuel is removed from the core, it is sent to what they call a “fuel pool”. This is a deep tank with holes for the spent fuel bundles to sit in while the heat generated by the spent fuel (decay heat) fades away,. After a few years, it is not producing enough heat to be a huge problem so it is moved to what they call a dry-cask. Effectively, the spent fuel bundle put into a lead lined cask, put into a vault in a storage facility that is basically a concrete pit with storage compartments for bundles and concrete walls that are many feet thick (and is in the ground), and the bundles are allowed to decay for the next thousand years. There is leak detection built into these vaults so that if anything were to leak out of one of the casks or if groundwater were to leak in, actions could be taken to correct the issue.
The term “radioactive waste” is a bit misleading. Every nuclear power plant deals with radioactive waste. But in a nuclear power plant, there is what they call a “radiologically controlled area” or RCA. Anything that goes into the RCA is potentially contaminated, though most of the RCA is clean…not contaminated. But to be safe, anything that goes into the RCA has to be considered contaminated until it is proven to be clean. For trash, many things go into trash cans that are clean. Some plants actually sort the trash, using monitors to determine is something is contaminated or clean. Some plants find that to be very expensive so they just treat everything as contaminated. This waste is generally sent to incineration locations where everything is turned to ash. These incineration sites have to be licensed to receive radioactive material and they have criteria they have to meet before they dispose of any waste.
Did I come close to answering your question?

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Yeah ,thanks I just want to know does incineration burn off the radiation that the waste has and if so super great.
Thanks.

flutherother's avatar

Incineration doesn’t destroy radiation it just reduces the bulk of contaminated material. Uncontrolled incineration of nuclear waste is disastrous as it spreads radioactive particles everywhere.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

That is rather scary and not the answer to get rid of it either.
Thanks.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Also, nuclear fuel, even when spent, is recyclable. It can be enriched and used again. With the nuclear material the United States currently has in stock we could power ourselves at current levels for at least a century. Could, but don’t. As someone above said: the problems with nuclear energy are political (and emotional), not scientific.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

If recycling would be able to reuse spent fuel, and keep radiation down why would anyone have a problem with that?
Unless of course it really doesn’t.

dabbler's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 The simple answer is politics and money.
The companies that mine and process nuclear fuel in the U.S. are tightly associated with the companies that design and build reactors and at a point early in the U.S. nuclear program they got a law passed that nuclear ‘waste’ cannot be re-processed.

The French, who produce a majority of their electricity using fission reactors, re-process their fuel as much as possible. They have been doing that successfully and safely for several decades.

The U.S. nuclear energy program has also always been dominated by the military and its needs. Bombs and power for aircraft carriers have been the main research directions in the U.S.
Early research into powering aircraft with nuclear power actually produced an interesting type of reactor: molten salt. They were not able to make a reactor that was safe enough and/or was light enough to power an aircraft but the type of reactor has some interesting properties.
Molten salt reactors are inherently very safe compared to any of the designs currently used, if anything goes wrong it just stops generating heat instead of melting down into a toxic mess.
Molten salt reactors can use thorium instead of uranium. Thorium is relatively plentiful and its toxic half-life is about 100 years instead of 10,000.
Molten salt reactors can ‘burn’ all the leftover fission waste we have lying around and not only get energy out of it but render it way less harmful.

Why don’t we have thorium molten salt reactors? Politics and money.
(India and China both have thorium molten salt reactor programs.)

Caravanfan's avatar

Greenpeace has done more harm in destroying this planet than practically any other organization.

(gets under a desk and yells “Incoming!”)

stanleybmanly's avatar

And if the shells are whistling?

Caravanfan's avatar

@stanleybmanly I’m whistling under my desk. :-)

stanleybmanly's avatar

To drown out the sound of the incoming rounds?

Caravanfan's avatar

No pot shots. I guess everybody agrees with me. :-)

stanleybmanly's avatar

Yes of course. I’m sure of it.

Caravanfan's avatar

Here it comes! I can’t wait!

JLeslie's avatar

Anyone who is interested a man who lives where I live, George Erickson, wrote a book about nuclear power and why it’s the greenest energy. He was completely against my lead until he started researching it. This link is to our science club, and if you scroll down to Jan 9, 2017 you can see the topic and the link to his slide show. http://www.villagesst.com/presenters. The topic was called “Why Solar sucks, Wind blows and Nuclear shines: The Evidence.”

I’m still against nuclear, but I’m not necessarily right. His information was interesting.

If you google him you’ll get a bunch of links to articles. He has written about climate change, and I think is fairly well known in some science circles. You can write him with questions, he gives out his email. Nice guy.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@Caravanfan yes, I agree. Greenpeace is a perfect example of why conservatives (or at least the conservatives in my circles) cast an evil eye to many liberal ideas and movements. While it’s all good and well meaning on the surface there are deeper consequences that are often overlooked.

jca2's avatar

I live about 50 minutes north of Indian Point. It’s going to be shut down in a year or two. About 15 years ago, they gave out pills that were supposed to stop your thyroid from working, which you would take in the event of some kind of disaster. I don’t know where those pills are. The roads would be a total parking lot if there were a nuclear event, so I guess I’d have to try to stay in the house for as long as possible and hope for the best.

seawulf575's avatar

@jca2 Those pills were not to keep your thyroid from working. They were Potassium Iodide tablets (KI). The idea is that your thyroid will absorb iodine. In the event of a nuclear disaster, large quantities of radioactive iodine are released. Your thyroid cannot tell the difference between radioactive and non-radioactive iodine…it all reacts chemically the same. The radioactive iodine would be absorbed into your thyroid and held there, giving you dose (radioactive exposure) as it decayed. The KI you take would basically flood your thyroid so it wouldn’t absorb any more iodine, thus protecting you from the radioactive iodine.

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