ACE Report Blog Series
Alliance For A Clean Environment www.acereport.org
Minimizing Chaos and Reducing Radiation Exposure By Improving Limerick
Nuclear Plant’s Flawed And Inadequate Emergency and Evacuation Plans.
Part #2 January 2013
Calls For Immediate Notification and Expanded Evacuation and Ingestion Pathway Zones
Many expressed concerns and are calling for more precautionary emergency and evacuation planning, including the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Union of Concerned Scientists, Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Associated Press Investigative Report, Pottstown Mercury, The Alliance For A Clean Environment (ACE), and many residents living around Limerick Nuclear Power Plant.
National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) filed an appeal in 2011, related to Limerick Nuclear Plant’s Outdated Severe Accident Mitigation Alternatives, Including Assessing Consequences of a Limerick Accident or Terrorist Attack.
NRDC won in the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia.
Due to Limerick’s location, the potential impact of a severe accident would be far greater than at most other U.S. nuclear plants (NRDC research). Over 8 million people live within 50 miles of Limerick, the radius NRC told Americans to evacuate in Japan during the Fukushima accident. There are 1,914 Public Schools and 176 Hospitals within 50 miles. (See NRDC Plume Map www.nrdc.org)
Evacuation planning for health risks from radiation exposure are being ignored, even though up to 1.4 million additional people now living downwind in the Philadelphia-Wilmington-Newark metropolitan area need to be addressed also.
In spite of the court ruling, NRC is refusing to consider increased population and health risks associated with a Limerick Nuclear Plant accident / meltdown.
NRC displayed a grotesque dereliction of duty when they joined Exelon in appealing the court’s decision.
During the hearing NRC made no pretense of being a neutral arbitrator, much less the public’s advocate and protector.
NRDC’s director of the nuclear program said, “After Fukushima, it seems just plain nutty not to require a new study. It’s hard to believe that after the severity of the Fukushima disaster, involving BWR reactors similar to Limerick’s, that Exelon and NRC blithely maintain they have no reason to take another look at Limerick’s Severe Accident Mitigation Analysis.”
The Union of Concerned Scientists senior scientist said, “…they have not taken into account the issues associated with uncontrolled population growth very close to [nuclear] plants.” (ABC news 6-27-11)
U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) urged immediate review of Nuclear Evacuation Zones in a March 2012 letter to NRC. Senator Casey Said, “My Constituents Are Deeply Concerned About The Emergency Evacuation Plans. They deserve to know that all aspects of our preparedness plans have been re-evaluated in the wake of the disaster in Japan. One year after Japan’s disaster, it is time that millions of Pennsylvanians living in close proximity to nuclear power plants know that unique characteristics of each plant are taken into account in the development of evacuation plans.” Population densities and transportation infrastructure changed since these plants were first built. Such changes must affect how NRC determines appropriate evacuation distances.
The Associated Press 2011 Investigative Report (PART III by Jeff Donn) “Populations Around US Nuke Plants Soar” has direct implications for Limerick Nuclear Plant Evacuation Plans. (See entire summary in ACE Blog at www.acereport.org). Highlights below:
Despite all that happened since nuclear plant radiation accidents at TMI, Chernobyl, and Fukushima, evacuation zones have remained frozen at a 10-mile radius since 1978.
Increased dangers and mounting risks have NOT resulted in more protective preparations.
AP reported that NRC, working with the nuclear industry, repeatedly weakened or failed to enforce safety standards.
1998 federal regulations show low-population areas were “preferred” for siting nuclear plants to limit exposure to radiation accidents as part of accident safeguards.
Limerick, about 21 miles from Philadelphia, was not a low-density population area in the 1970s and population has increased dramatically since then.
Radiation releases happen within the first 1/2 hour of an accident, a fact acknowledged by NRC and FEMA.
NRC has allowed profits to outweigh public health and safety.
NRC minimizes and rubber stamps evacuation plans, even though they are symbolic, rather than functional, just to keep nuclear plants operating.
NRC is playing with numbers to minimize presumed impacts of accidents.
Partial drills every two years, with limited accountability for effectiveness, is woefully inadequate.
If NRC required meaningful standards for evacuation emergency plans, there would be no nuclear power plants in populated areas. Population booms near nuclear reactor sites like Limerick minimally call for stronger evacuation standards, but little has been done. Compliance with comprehensive evacuation plans based on current demographics would necessitate closing nuclear plants in densely populated regions like Limerick.
Pottstown Mercury Articles and Editorials Identify Concerns Related To Limerick Nuclear Plant Emergency Planning and Evacuation http://www.pottsmec.com
“Population Soars Near Limerick Plant” Big population spike causes headache for any emergency plans. 6-27-11
“Casey Not Sure 10-Mile Evacuation Zone Around Nuclear Plants Is Enough”
“License Review Should Consider Evacuation Plan” 7-3-11
“…I’m Not Saying It Doesn’t Look Absurd, But Have You Looked At The Evacuation Plan?” Cartoon
“Casey Urges Immediate Review of Nuclear Evacuation Zones” 3-12
“Nuke Plan Evacuation Plans Need to be Realistic” Editorial 3-20-12
“Limerick Nuke Evacuation Plans Need An Update” 3-20-12
“GAO Examines Limerick Nuke Plant’s Evacuation Plan, In Response to Senator Bob Casey’s Request for a Study of Evacuation Plans” Limerick is 1 of only 4 of the nation’s nuclear plants profiled examining disaster evacuation plans. 7-18-12
“Limerick Nuclear Evacuation Study Must Eye Growth” Editorial 7-26-12
The long list of those concerned validates risks and cause for action.
ACE Calls On All Citizens and Elected Officials To Speak Out For Immediate Notification And Expanded Evacuation and Ingestion Pathway Zones.