The partial nuclear meltdown in Fukushima has made it very clear that nuclear facilities are NOT 100% safe. Approximately 3 million people within the USA live within 10 miles of a nuclear power plant and if you’re one of them, it would be wise to make preparations for the small chance that you may one day experience a nuclear emergency. Please consider that in the event of a global catastrophe, or large nationwide disaster that the resources used to maintain nuclear facilities will be at jeopardy, which could lead to complete meltdowns of facilities. If you’re an urban survivalist preparing for a TEOTWAWKI event, you must consider that there are over 400 nuclear power plants on the planet and therefore protecting you and your family from radiation should be a top priority.
Nuclear power plants use nuclear fission (the breakdown of unstable atoms) to generate massive amounts of heat. The heat is used to turn water into steam that will turn massive turbines and generators to produce electricity. A nuclear power plant requires a lot of water and systems to cool down the reactors, the problems occur when the coolant system malfunctions and the nuclear material starts to overheat. If the heat becomes great enough, the barrier protecting the nuclear material from the outside can literally melt away, thereby releasing nuclear particles into the air. The radioactive particles can potentially travel a great distance if the conditions are right and cause massive damage.
The government has taken many precautions to warn you in the event that a nuclear emergency occurs, and they have plans in place to immediately deal with nuclear emergencies. But you can’t always rely on the government and so we suggest you take the following actions now so you can be better prepared for if/when it happens:
- Make a plan with family/friends/close neighbors: discuss local and long distance emergency contact information of relatives/trusted people/emergency services (phone numbers/addresses/names/etc.). Also discuss evacuation routes, rally points, and ways to communicate in the event that a disaster occurs. Be sure to have several backup plans for everything you do.
- Create an emergency urban survival kit: a minimum of 3 days’ worth of food and water is essential along with basic urban survival gear such as flashlights, knives, extra clothing will be needed. To protect yourself from nuclear radiation you’ll want Potassium Iodide pills, duct tape, dust masks, disposable coverall suits, plastic sheeting, and scissors. Your urban survival kit should also contain copies of important documents so that you can get your life back on track after the disaster.
- Stay up to date with local emergency plans: if you live within 10 miles of a nuclear facility, your local government will likely have written material containing information about local emergency shelters, evacuation procedures, and basic information to better understand the dangers of a nuclear emergency.
- Purchase a radiation detector: You can’t always rely on the government to give you proper information, by having your very own Geiger counter, you can see for yourself what the radiation levels are in your area and you can make the decision to stay or evacuate yourself. Also keep in mind that in the event of a large enough nuclear disaster, there may not be any authorities standing to give you warning information, you may be on your own. If you’re going to purchase a radiation detector, be sure to study what levels of radiation are acceptable and what levels warrant an evacuation.
What to do During a Nuclear Power Plant Emergency
Depending on the severity you may be told to stay indoors, or evacuate immediately. If you’re asked to stay indoors, turn off your air conditioning and spend the majority of your time in the inner most room of your building (whatever area has the most walls between you and the outside). If you’re asked to evacuate, quickly gather your BOB (bug out bag) and travel away from the radiation. Know the wind currents in your area and travel sideways away from the wind direction (as oppose to downwind or upwind). If you’re traveling in a car, keep your car windows and vents close until you get enough distance between you and the incident area. During a nuclear incident you want to minimize exposure to radioactive material as much as possible, this will mean using a dust mask, and wearing disposable clothing that covers the majority of your skin. If you have Potassium Iodide, start taking the recommended dosage until the emergency is over.
What to do After a Nuclear Power Plant Emergency
The severity of the crisis could vary, it could end up a small problem or it could end up into something worse than Chernobyl. The following steps are some simple guidelines you could take to prevent radiation sickness, and ensure the health of your family:
- Once in a safe place, remove all clothing and take a thorough shower to remove all radioactive dust/particles from the surface of your body.
- Listen to radio/news networks to get the latest information on the emergency. HAM radio would be another excellent resource if available.
- Seek medical treatment immediately if you exhibit signs of radiation sickness (nausea, fatigue, rashes/burns, hair loss).
- Return home ONLY when you know it’s 100% safe.
- Once home, throw away any food that was either not in the fridge or wasn’t in a sealed container.