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March 14, 2011

Are You Prepared for the Coming Nuclear Accident/Dirty Bomb?

Well the good news is that a Chernobyl-style accident could never happen here. Different reactor designs, different failure modes, and the presence of a containment dome make that impossible.

About the worst we could ever expect to happen here would be a full core meltdown along with a relatively large release of radioactive steam. This partially happened during the Three Mile Island accident in 1979. But also note that in the 30 years since TMI not a single death or case of cancer has ever been connected to it. the event of a 9.0 earthquake here in the US it's always possible that reactors could fail in way that we can't predict. So then who should be most worried about that kind of situation?

Well here's a USGS map of earthquake danger zones in the US:


And here's the location of nuclear power plants in the US and their ages:


So if you're in Southern California, Illinois, or South Carolina, then maybe you should be worried prepared. And even if you aren't in one of these earthquake prone areas, it can still pay to be ready for a radioactive dirty bomb.

You can get your potassium iodide tablets here and gas masks here. And duct tape - you always gotta have duct tape.


I've had all of these since 9/11. Not because I realistically expect to ever really need them, but as an engineer I always feel better if I've got Plans B through K ready to go.

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posted by Maetenloch at 08:41 AM

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