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Getting Realistic About Evacuation Zone for Nuclear Plant Disaster

By       Message Karl Grossman     Permalink
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Ms. Star (Email address removed) said the coalition would "stand for truth about radiation by demanding that evacuation plans increase to 50 miles from 10." She said: "If the U.S. government is now on record of having demanded a 50-mile evacuation zone for U.S. citizens in Japan, it's the least our elected officials can do for U.S. citizens here."

In fact, U.S. government officials have known for many years that a 10-mile nuclear plant evacuation zone is unrealistic. Government studies have projected death and damage miles beyond that.   "There could be deaths out to 150 km," states a report titled "WASH-740-update" done at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory. An earlier report, "WASH-740," also done at that government laboratory, states "the possible size of the area of such a disaster might be equal to that of the State of Pennsylvania."

  However, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is an avid booster of nuclear power. It has never denied a construction or operating license for a nuclear plant anywhere, anytime in the U.S. The commission seeks not to do anything that would discourage the development of atomic energy--so it has kept to an evacuation zone artificially low, as is being tragically demonstrated by the nuclear power disaster in Japan.

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Karl Grossman is a professor of journalism at the State University of New York/College at Old Westbury and host of the nationally syndicated TV program Enviro Close-Up.

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