Limerick Nuclear Plant Is Not Protected Against Tornado/Wind Hazards

Limerick Nuclear Plant Is Not Protected Against  Tornado/Wind  Hazards

Heads should roll at NRC.  NRC is allowing Exelon to delay and even avoid costs for minimizing Limerick Nuclear Plant meltdown risks, despite the fact that the Greater Philadelphia Region could become a dead zone for generations and millions of us could lose everything if Limerick melts down.

NRC is negligently allowing Exelon to use stall tactics to avoid finalizing procedures to insure all Limerick’s emergency equipment can remain deployable after a tornado to minimize risk of meltdowns.  No strategies exist for deployment path debris removal at Limerick.  This is unacceptable.

NRC’s own 3-17-15 Audit Report states that Limerick’s equipment storage configuration is NOT considered to be reasonably protected against “tornado wind/missile hazards” and that Exelon still has “NO PLAN” completed for compliance.

To allow Exelon to get away with not immediately insuring Limerick’s access or use of necessary emergency equipment in a tornado wind/missile hazard is regulatory malpractice by NRC. Tornadoes occur in our region.  Risks are increasing.  Just within three weeks in 2015 (late June to early July),  three tornadoes occurred in our area.  Tornado watches and warnings have become frequent.

Examples include:

  • 7-10-15:  The National Weather Service confirmed that three tornadoes touched down in PA, including one that ripped off the roof of an elementary school in Berks County.
  • 7-1-15:  The National Weather Service confirmed an EF-1 Tornado touched down in Honey Brook, Chester County.
  • 4-20-15: A Tornado watch was in effect for Montgomeryand Chester Counties.
  • 7-27-94: A DEADLY TORNADO STRUCK PARTS OF LIMERICK TOWNSHIP (Near Limerick Nuclear Plant), killing an infant and her parents and destroying property.
  • It was reported that a tornado blew off the roof of the NRC building in King of Prussia.

FEMA’s website states that citizens should pledge to prepare for tornadoes, calling them nature’s most violent storms.   So why isn’t FEMA telling NRC to require Exelon to immediately prepare the Limerick site against tornado/wind hazards?   Tornadoes can develop so rapidly that there can be little, if any, warning.   FEMA states that a tornado damage path can be in excess of one mile wide and 50 miles long.  That could encompass most of Limerick Nuclear Plant’s 600 acre site.  FEMA says a tornado can cause fatalities and devastate a neighborhood in seconds.  Devastation could be catastrophic if a tornado triggers meltdowns at Limerick.

Four years after Fukushima meltdowns (March 2011), Limerick’s meltdown threats have increased dramatically, yet NRC has failed to require Exelon to complete any of NRC’s March 2012 Post-Fukushima orders to avoid meltdowns.  Examples:

  • No filtered vents to minimize radioactive fallout
  • No fuel pool instrumentation to immediately identify loss of vital cooling water
  • No way identified to minimize and/or eliminate growing risks for earthquake-triggered meltdowns Examples of Limerick’s unprecedented risks from earthquakes include:

Limerick’s reactors, fuel pools, rad-waste building, turbine building, and control room are all built directly on top of earthquake fault fractures

Four other earthquake faults within 17 miles of Limerick

Massive fracking in PA and surrounding states can trigger earthquakes.  This dramatically increased Limerick’s risk for meltdowns, especially from disruption in any of the miles of vital pipes and cables under Limerick needed to transport water and power to prevent meltdowns.

Given such extraordinary risks to the public’s health, safety, and financial interests, NRC should require Exelon to take immediate action to insure that all Limerick Nuclear Plant’s emergency equipment remains deployable during a tornado/wind hazard event and require Exelon to comply with all NRC’s 2012 Post-Fukushima recommendations to prevent meltdowns.

Every local, state, and federal official in the Greater Philadelphia Region should pressure NRC to require Exelon to take all immediate precautions to prevent meltdowns.   If you agree, contact ACE at  For more information on details about Limerick’s threats to our region, visit

Dr. Lewis Cuthbert

ACE President


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