Emergency Resources

Emergency Planning and Evacuation (10 mile zone)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) only requires a 10 mile evacuation from San Onofre, even though they recommended a 50 mile evacuation from the on-going March 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.

The NRC assumes the radiation plume will be diluted, so won’t impact people beyond 10 miles of San Onofre. However, they assume a 50-mile radiation contamination zone (e.g., ground and food contamination).

The emergency plan is to shelter in place or evacuate to a reception  center.  Freeway on-ramps will be blocked. Only those within the 10 mile evacuation zone will be able to enter the freeways, according to Jen Tucker, San Clemente’s Emergency Planning Officer.

    • A reception center is a meeting place for evacuees to check in and register, get assistance from the American Red Cross, and reunite with family members. At the Reception Center, evacuees will be provided with a place to sleep, meals and medical attention, if needed. Government health and fire department personnel will be available to monitor evacuees for exposure to radiological contamination. No pets allowed.
      Evacuation Center Map - OC and SD County

What About My Pet?

2012-2013 Emergency Preparedness Information for San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station brochure

CDC tips before taking shelter

    • If you are outside when the [nuclear] alert is given, get inside a stable building as soon as you can.
    • Remove clothing, shoes, and accessories before entering your shelter area. During severe weather, such as extreme cold, remove at least the outer layer of clothes before entering the home to avoid bringing radioactive material into your shelter. Leave clothing and shoes outside. Shower and wash your body with soap and water. Removing clothing can eliminate up to 90% of radioactive contamination.
    • Before entering the shelter, turn off fans, air conditioners, and forced-air heating units that bring air in from the outside. Close and lock all windows and doors, and close fireplace dampers.
    • Use duct tape and plastic sheeting to seal any doors, windows, or vents for a short period of time in case a radiation plume is passing over (listen to your radio for instructions).
    • Suffocation could occur if you keep the shelter tightly sealed for more than a few hours. You should remove the plastic and duct tape and ventilate the room within a few hours.  [If the radiation leak lasts more than a few hours, there is no viable safe plan. If the radiation plume passes, the ground will probably still be contaminated].
    • Keep your radio tuned to an emergency response network at all times for updates on the situation. The announcers will provide information about when you may leave your shelter and whether you need to take other emergency measures.
    • [Cell and land line phones may be out, electricity may be out. Radio should be battery, hand crank or solar. Phone should not be dependent on electricity].

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

FEMA has consistently certified to the NRC that there are “adequate” emergency plans in case of a San Onofre radiation disaster.  Anyone traveling on Southern California highways knows otherwise.

The following documents include FEMA’s signed certification that we have adequate emergency plans.  This NRC website contains reports from 1999 to present:  FEMA After Action Reports and Communication Related to Specific Emergency Exercises.  Here are some of the more recent reports.

Roles and Responsibilities

This document defines the federal, state and local roles and responsibilities in case of a nuclear power plant disaster as well as an overview of the nuclear emergency response program.

EPA Protective Action Decision Guides

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Protective Action Guides (PAGs) help state and local authorities make radiation protection decisions during emergencies. EPA developed the PAG Manual to provide guidance on actions to protect the public.

EPA Protective Action Decision Chart

Decontamination of land and property is not feasible after a major nuclear disaster.

Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)

FEMA’s CERT training is provided to emergency responders.  The CERT Training Manual section on Nuclear Power Plant Emergencies contains misleading information [in red].It states exposure can be minimized by:

    • Time. Limit your time exposed to radioactive material. Most radioactivity loses its strength fairly quickly. In a nuclear power plant accident, local authorities will monitor any release of radiation and determine when the threat has passed.
    • Distance. The more distance between you and the source of the radiation, the better. In a serious nuclear power plant accident, local authorities will call for an evacuation to increase the distance between you and the radiation. (Evacuation also reduces the period of time of exposure.)
    • Shielding. The more heavy and dense material between you and the source of the radiation, the better. This is why local authorities could advise you to remain indoors if an accident occurs. In some cases, the walls in your home would be sufficient shielding to protect you.

Other Emergency Planning Resources

There is no safe plan for a nuclear disaster

As you can see from the above information, there is no safe plan if there is a nuclear disaster.  The federal government has a history of providing inadequate solutions for nuclear disasters, as seen in this 1951 Civil Defense film,  Duck And Cover – Bert The Turtle.

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