safe distance - nuclear plant : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Could you tell me what would be a safe distance from a nuclear plant in case of Y2k problems. what would be the minimum safe distance and max. you would need to go.

-- Sheila LaPoint (, October 28, 1999


Depends on which way the wind is blowing, at least partially anyway.

-- the answer my friend... is (blowin@in.the.wind), October 28, 1999.

Yeah, remember that Chernobyl was first reporte publically from reports in Sweden.

-- Larry (, October 28, 1999.

Sheila..Our friends at Three Mile Island did a case study on that very question...Answer 1200 miles from the center of the problem. If that troubles you, get some KI...Potassium Iodate. It will make you think your safer...---...

-- Les (, October 28, 1999.

typo.... reported

-- Larry (, October 28, 1999.

We live less than 1 mile from Iowa's only nuclear power plant. The facility is operated by Alliant Energy and we know a few of the people who work there.

A little more than a year ago we made the decision to stay in our home based upon our own analysis of Y2K issues as they related to the facility. Be advised, I am not a nuclear engineer, nor am I intimately familiar with the operation of the facility.

We know that Alliant has been treating this issue seriously for at least the past year. We also know that some workers at the facility are making personal preparations based mostly on more global concerns related to Y2K (rather than on concerns specific to the plant). We believe Alliant got a late start but has been about as forthcoming as possible.

We believe that the most likely scenario is continued operation - at least initially. The second most likely scenario (we believe) is a safe shutdown of the plant. In discussions with the people we know who work there, no one has indicated that there is any reason to believe that the facility could not be shutdown safely.

One of the chief engineers at the plant lives just up the road from us. He has not moved. We think that's a good sign.

There is a lake, Pleasant Creek, just north of Palo that serves as a source of emergency cooling water for the facility. The lake was created at the same time the the plant was built. It sits higher than the plant so water from the lake can be fed to the plant by gravity alone.

For a satellite view of the facility, click here

In short, there are no guarantees but we believe that Alliant is operating the facility in a responsible manor and we are not terribly concerned about a containment breach or meltdown. Before you ask, yes, we are stocking potassium iodide (KI) but if I thought the risk of having to actually use it were great, we would have moved a long time ago.

Even so, we believe that the overall risk from Y2K remains high and that preparations remain prudent. We don't see Y2K as TEOTW but neither do we see it as a non-event. In the end all disasters are local. I don't suppose the folks in Lockerbie, Scotland even dreamed a jumbo jet would fall on their heads.

You will need to assess the risk for yourself but I thought you might like to hear from someone would already had to. Good luck and regards...

-- Arnie Rimmer (, October 28, 1999.

Where can you get some KI??

-- Jim (x@x.x), October 28, 1999.

PS. Pleasant Creek lake, which provides a source of emergency cooling for the Duane Arnold nuclear facility is visible to the north and west of the plant in this satellite photo.

-- Arnie Rimmer (, October 28, 1999.

Jim..Lots of folks are buying Potassium Iodate, same as the Iodine from

-- Les (, October 28, 1999.

I bought 20 bottles of Potassium Iodate (K103) from it was sent very fast.



-- plonk! (, October 28, 1999.

Slightly over 2,000 miles (except for the odd submarine reactor) seems about right for me...

-- Mad Monk (, October 28, 1999.

I'm thinking about 238,900 miles :-'

-- spider (, October 28, 1999.


I've lived comfortably about 15 feet away from the reactor for long periods of time.

In the US, Canada, UK/NZ/OZ, France and Germany, you are most likely to be safe literally at the fence line.

In other places, particularly in Eastern Europe and China, you'd probably want to be about 50-80 miles (downwind) or (10-20 niles upwind.) Basically, since you aren't overseas, you will be okay here.

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Marietta, GA) (, October 28, 1999.

You are deceiving yourselves if you think that KI will help.

Sure, it may prevent or slow radioctive isotoope absorption BY THE THYROID, but that is only one of the SEVEN endocrine glands!.

Can you name the other six?

Also, there are NINE major physiological systems in the body. Can you name them?

Since when will KI protect any/all of these???

Best advice I heard 15 years ago...if you see a big glowing mushroom rising up from the ground, run TOWARDS it. You won't want to be around for the aftermath.

-- profit of doom (, October 28, 1999.

I agree with Robert Cook. American reactors have containment vessels.

If you are still worried, read "Life After Doomsday" by Bruce Clayton Chapter 3 tells how to calculate fallout risk "To Flee or Not to Flee", Chapter 4 "Home Sweet Hole" describes shelters. For example if you live in a one-story house with a basement, these are the numbers. Ground floor edge divide outside radiation by 2. Ground floor middle of house divide outside radiation by 4. Basement middle of house divide by 10. Basement against outside wall divide by 20

The people who shout "1200 miles from 3 Mile Island" are a bunch of anti-nuclear nuts. I offer some numbers from Robert A. Heinlein.

Half a mile from the plant during the incident 83 millirems

At the plant during the incident 1,100 millirems

Inside his body while undergoing heart catheterization angiogram medical procedure 45,000 millirems

The people who live in Denver,CO get more radiation in a year than a nuc plant worker in the same time.

-- woody (, October 29, 1999.

Jim, the best site on KI, and the best price, is

-- Joe (, October 29, 1999.

Gee-wiz Sheila I thought I would Help you out and answer your question and along comes Woody appearently referring to me as a ANTI- NUCLEAR NUT, simply because I gave you infomation that his eyes have never seen. This is the general Poly approch. I cant recall read-ing Heilein, but I can recall were I got the 1200 mile radius. If you go to( ) You will get a very informative 94 page doc on lots of neat Gov. type stuff. On or about the 39th page just above the Statement from Congressman Ed Markey, you will see a very interesting Map. Read what it says below the red and orange map of america as far as Nuke Accidents are concerned. Oh-Ya and dont foget to read the whole doc. Then you tell me if live-ing down the street from a Nuke plant Oke-Do-ke...---...

-- Les (, October 29, 1999.

Les -

Rep Markey (D-MA) is not a credible reference with respect to anything nuclear-power/nuclear-warfare related.

He merely repeats verbatim what is spoon-fed his office from such technically-prejudiced, visciously anti-nuclear groups as NIRS, UCS, and GreenPeace.

On this issue, his words are simply not reliable, not trustworthy. They are self-serving exaggerations to further his (the anti-nuclear activists') agenda of shutting down the world's power plants.

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Marietta, GA) (, November 01, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ