complete my e mail of this morning “consequences of DE’s
action on nukes”
thought you might like to know.
following is a column I had written and was published by the News
Journal on 8/28/2000
waiting for some action.
Delawareans some say before emergency
I recently spoke before the New Jersey Emergency Management Agency concerning an evacuation plan in case of a nuclear power plant accident at
Even though more people live in the shadow of these plants on the
The Delaware Emergency Management Agency is responsible for a 10-mile radius, called the Emergency Planning Zone.
DEMA has plans for three options, depending on the severity of the accident: access control, sheltering, evacuation.
- All access to the emergency zone would be closed. With enough police, that could be accomplished.
- People would be ordered to stay in their homes with doors and windows closed. How that is to be accomplished is not clear, particularly since most people I have talked to are not familiar with the possibility of such an order and its grave importance. Whether this order even could be enforced and how many police it would take are open questions.
- Evacuation. Here is where the plan seems to fall apart. A recent study reveals serious flaws.
Spontaneous evacuation is not taken into account. Should DEMA order the evacuation of the emergency zone, mass exodus also will have taken place outside the zone by the time emergency personnel arrives. That will prevent those who have been exposed to nuclear effects from getting to designated shelters.
That occurred during the Three Mile Island accident in 1979 in
Also not taken into consideration is role conflict. For example, emergency personnel assigned to evacuate students, the elderly, hospitals and prisons might give priority to their families.
Researchers studying the now closed Shoreham nuclear power station questioned bus drivers and volunteer firefighters as to what they would do if evacuation of a 10-mile zone was ordered; 68 percent of 291 firefighters and 73 percent of 264 bus drivers indicated family obligations would take precedence over emergency duties.
A nuclear power plant accident is considerably different from a natural disaster, such as a hurricane. People often have to be prodded to leave scenes of natural disasters. The stakes are much higher after a nuclear accident, and the passage of time does not make the estimates of danger more palatable.
A study recently completed by the Sandia National Laboratory concluded that a worst-case accident at
The officials for the New Jersey Radiological Response Plan were courteous, attentive and met with us privately before the official hearing. There is no provision in
Frieda Berryhill, of