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Nuclear power plants are closely regulated and monitored for safe operation. However, accidents are possible. The greatest danger for nearby residents is exposure to high radiation levels. The best ways to minimize exposure are to get away from the source

of radiation, stay away until levels are reduced and/or shield yourself by taking shelter.

If You Live Within 50 Miles of a Nuclear Plant

• Contact the power company that operates the nuclear plant for emergency information.

• Be familiar with your community’s warning system.

• Learn the evacuation plans for schools, nursing homes, or other places where family members may be.


• Pay attention to the warning system – not all incidents result in the release of radiation.

• Stay tuned to radio and TV for updates and instructions.

• Put food in covered containers or in the refrigerator.

• If ordered to evacuate, do so at once. Close and lock the windows and doors in your home. Keep car windows and vents closed and listen to the radio for evacuation routes.

• If evacuation is not advised, remain indoors. Close windows and doors, turn off air conditioning, and take shelter underground or in a central area on the lowest floor of the building.

Terms to Know

Notification of Unusual Event

A problem has occurred.

No radiation leak is expected.

No action needed.


A problem has occurred.

A small amount of radiation could leak from the plant.

No action needed.

Site Area Emergency

A more serious problem has occurred.

Small amounts of radiation could leak from the plant.

Alarms may sound.


General Emergency

A serious problem has occurred.

Radiation could leak from the plant and on the plant site.

Alarms will sound.


More than half of all Americans live within 100 miles of a nuclear power plant.


If You Have Been Exposed to Radiation

• Change your clothes and shoes. Seal exposed clothing in a plastic bag. Contact authorities for proper disposal.

• Shower thoroughly.



• Stay away from home until you are advised it is safe to return.

• If indoors, do not go outside until authorities say it is safe.

• Seek medical treatment for unusual symptoms, such as nausea, that may be due to radiation exposure.

Last Updated on Friday, 25 February 2011 11:29