PBS Special on 3 Mile Island Prompts This Y2k Question About Evac Routes

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First, let me state that I have seen no evidence to indicate that nuclear safety systems are in danger from y2k, BUT, for the sake of nothing else to worry about right now, if there were multiple reactor failures, where would be the safest place to go from Raleigh, NC. Would Winston Salem be a relatively safe location? Would Winston be in the fallout footprint of some other reactor? Any useful links?

-- Puddintame (dit@dot.com), February 22, 1999


The typical windflow patters over the continental US are west-to-east in a more-or-less sense. I'd prefer to be a good distance east of nuclear plants if I suspect they'd belch nasties into the air... Perhaps the west coast of the US would be good if you can find a spot a sufficient number of hundreds of milles from all nukes...

OddOne, who once lived within ten miles of a nuke and now lives within that distance from one of the largest US military bases on Earth... A bad thing by any other name...

-- OddOne (mocklamer@geocities.com), February 22, 1999.

Another crap shoot. If you are east of the Mississippi, and north of Georgia, you are basicly in trouble. Fallout falls where the wind blows it. Go the opposite way. Don't worry to much about a meltdown.

-- Scotty (BLehman202@aol.com), February 22, 1999.

OddOne, I certainly hope that "rather be a good ways east" was a typo and you meant "West"?


-- Chuck, night driver (rienzoo@en.com), February 22, 1999.

There is interesting information at this site: Nuclear War Survival Skills regarding fallout and evacuation. http://oism.org/nwss/ Found this on Gary North's site.

-- Carol Dufrene (jdufrene@laci.net), February 22, 1999.

United States Nuclear Plant Locations and Data

-- Chris (catsy@pond.com), February 22, 1999.

The location of every operating reactor in the U.S. is given on this site: Nuclear Site Locations

When I was mapping the fallout from nuclear tests at the Nevada Test Site (Teapot series, 1955-56) the winds carried the clouds generally eastery, but the track usually ran a bit north of east. There were exceptions. The cloud from one shot got into an unexpected upper-level flow and turned back to the southwest, toward L.A. I don't know if the Angelenos ever heard about that one.

This PBS show on Three Mile Island really brought home the critical importance of secure communications. And of rational evacuation plans, too, as noted earlier. And the ever-present chance of operator error.

It's always the truck you don't see coming that runs over you.

-- Tom Carey (tomcarey@mindspring.com), February 22, 1999.

Thanks Carol, looks interesting.

Wow! Chris.

I had no idea the eastern areas were so nuke heavy. Oregon is looking better and better. Except I know they have one that isn't on that map. It's East of Mt. Hood on the dry side of Cascadia.

Diane, prefer a "fair" earthquake to a foul nuke

-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), February 23, 1999.

PBS: The American Experience:
Three Mile Island
In 1979, America experienced its worst nuclear accident in history. < br>

http:// www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/amex/three/index.html

Enhanced Transcript
The broadcast program transcript with additional information

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/amex/three/filmmore/ transcript/index.html

-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), February 23, 1999.

Seems to me the fallour from Chernobyl ended up in the milk of European cattle which had to be destroyed. I seem to recall, too, that radiation levels in Welsh cattle were unacceptable too. That's west of the "mishap," by the way. I live a tiny bit west of the Raleigh area nuke, but that doesn't make me feel any safer.

-- Glowing Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), February 23, 1999.

"Oregon is looking better and better. Except I know they have one that isn't on that map. It's East of Mt. Hood on the dry side of Cascadia."

Diane, try this link on the NRC's website it lists all the nuclear plants by state. Oregon is listed as having "no commercial nuclear power reactors are located in this state". Are you certain it's within Oregon's borders? Or perhaps it's not a "commercial" one but a government one? (who knows!)

This is the same map as I posted above, but directly from NRC's website.

Tom's link is very handy to pinpoint exactly where a plant is located on a map.

-- Chris (catsy@pond.com), February 23, 1999.

BTW, on the NRC link, if you click on the little triangle that designate the location of the plant(s) in your state, it will give you all the specific data about this plant, and an Evacuation Route map.

-- Chris (catsy@pond.com), February 23, 1999.

"Diane, prefer a "fair" earthquake to a foul nuke"

How about combining nuclear plants and earthquakes?? Is that the reason there are fewer nuke plants on the west coast? Probably a dumb question.

Just made me think since I'm only 45 minutes from TMI and the east coast is not impervious to earthquakes.

-- David (David@BankPacman.com), February 23, 1999.

Earthquakes in the East Coast are centered down the St Lawrence Seaway through Lake Eire - then kinda of bend North - almost none ever (R. mag 1-2 even) in Superior or Michigan. St Lawrence get two-three a week, probably beginning a new Rift Valley as Novia Scotia/Newfoundland/Maine move around.

Small group of regular earthquakes start again near central TN, north GA - probasbly part of the "big" central US fault that generated the New Madrid quake back in the 180-20's. That was mag 8+, rang church bells all the way into Boston. Charleston had a big one later in the century - but there are almost no "routine" earthquakes otherwise.

Practically speaking - worry more about your local power, ocal utilitites - nukes are not the concern for Y2K that the media portrays. They are taking the problem seriously, but aren't done yet, and are approaching it much more professiionally than oil, gas, coal, utilitity an in general, most water districts, and the vast majority of the petrochemical industries. Can you imagine packaging and shipping and making things with no plastic?

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.R@csaatl.com), February 23, 1999.

This has a hourly-updated display of the US and world earthquakes from the US Geo. sites, includes detailed maps of CA/LA/SFO/US etc. Now, after watching CA for a while, I'm just as glad they are more common (by several hundred a month) than over here..... I had enough quakes while in the Valejo area to last.


-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.R@csaatl.com), February 23, 1999.

Thinking about your original question strictly from the NC/SC location, I'd recommend first finding out the status of the storage facilities and old reactors at the DOE site in Aiken SC. (Hanford too for youse guys in Washington/Oregon) Those are furthest behind the more modern safeguards of the power producing nuclear reactors - and the DOE overall is woefully behind in Y2K repairs.

If anything were to cause problems, I'd bet on the DOE causing problems first. Not commercial nuclear plants. Not Navy reactors at Charleston, Kings Bay.

If you are real concerned, and again, I've to emphasize I'm not - and I've lived under these plants, over them, and with them, get a Geiger counter, learn how to use it, learn your area natural background and wind direction.

Then evaulate very carefully even leaving your house (and water and preparations) for the uncertainity of the road. It is wrong to pretend that radiation is not dangerous - but a little radiation won't kill you at all, and a lot of readiation in the short term. A one night outdoors in wet, freezing weather - if you flee a perceived radiation area - could. Also, the house itself, with closed doors and windows, will provide shielding and a barrier.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.R@csaatl.com), February 23, 1999.

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