Friday, March 28, 2014

Where to Live IV - Nuclear Plants

Nuclear Plants in the United States

In Part IV of the Where to Live series, we're going to take a brief look at one often-overlooked threat to consider when choosing a home or a bugout location: nuclear power plants.

With the 2011 cracking of Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant and its leaking of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean, the world is once again reminded of the potential dangers of nuclear power. Nuclear power has tremendous advantages when compared to coal-powered and even natural gas powered plants.* Their prices are more stable than those that burn petroleum, they emit less atmospheric junk, and overall, they're pretty freaking safe.  When you look at all those red dots and realize that America's biggest brush with nuclear disaster took place a quarter century ago, it's obvious that nuclear accidents are not as large a threat as hurricanes, earthquakes, and tsunamis.

But still, Fukushima.  The problem was not just the plant as much as it was the earthquake-generated tsunami that crippled it.  Nuclear power plants, when impacted by that kind of event, make a nasty, nasty mess. The result can be so toxic for so long that, as I mentioned before, nearly the only conceivable circumstance under which I would be forced to bug out rather than stay put in an SHTF scenario would be if the only plant within 100 miles of my home had a similar problem.  I don't foresee one, but it's possible nonetheless.  My bugout location is 300 miles from the nearest plant, and it's a different one.

So as part of your threat assessment, take a look at the nuclear power plants near your area.  Especially pay attention if those plants are near known fault lines or in areas where severe weather could have an impact (low-lying areas, coastlines, etc.).  Are you downwind from a plant? Are you downstream from one? 

The probability that a nuclear meltdown will impact you is low.**  But as the impact of an event can be so catastrophic to the area surrounding the plant, the wise prepper will be aware of the potential dangers and plan accordingly.

* I don't know that anyhing will ever be better than good old hydropower, though.
** Still, 400-lb carrots, FTW!

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