Archive for the Nuke Plant Category

‪AMS: Nuclear Public Health Emergencies‬‏

Posted in Disasters, Nuke Plant, Radiation Poisoning with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 30, 2011 by saynsumthn

Talk given by a member of the CDC at the recent American Meteorological Society’s annual conference.

Broadcast Meteorologists and Pre-event Messaging for a Nuclear Public Health Emergency

Charles W. Miller, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA; and M. C. McCurley

Research sponsored by the Radiation Studies Branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicated that the American public might very well look to their local broadcast meteorologist for help and direction in the event of a terrorist attack involving radiation, such as a an explosive radiological dispersal device, i.e. a “dirty bomb,” or an improvised nuclear device, much as they currently do for natural disasters (such as tornados and hurricanes). The public indicated they are familiar with their local broadcast meteorologist and they trust the information they receive from this source. In response to this research finding, CDC has partnered with the AMS Committee on the Station Scientist to provide public health messages and training materials that will allow broadcast meteorologists to provide life-saving information to the public during a public health emergency involving the release of radioactive materials (see http://www.ametsoc.org/stationscientist/radiological_dispersion.html). These materials can prepare broadcast meteorologists with answers to many of questions they and their audience will have in the event of a nuclear or radiological emergency.

Effective communications with the public will be especially critical in the event of an attack involving an improvised nuclear device. In the immediate vicinity of the attack, accurate information must be available as quick as possible to help save lives in the aftermath of the massive explosion, fires, and dangerous fallout. As the fallout from the detonation moves downwind, levels will quickly become too low to be immediately life-threatening. However, measureable levels of radiation from the blast will be found many kilometers downwind, and people will be very concerned about the potential long-term adverse impact on their health.

A group of agencies from within the Federal government is working together to develop a coordinated, multi-agency set of messages for the public that can be used in the immediate aftermath of a nuclear detonation. These messages are being designed to be applicable at a time when hard data are often lacking. They are based on the best scientific information available, including the latest atmospheric dispersion modeling, which can be used to predict the range and magnitude of the effects of such a detonation. Any information that is available immediately following a detonation will be highly uncertain, and, as a result, public messages will likely have to be modified as new information becomes available. This uncertainly will increase the challenge of communicating effectively with the public throughout the event.

In addition to these pre-event messages, the Interagency Modeling and Atmospheric Assessment Center (IMAAC) is developing templates for briefing products that can be provided to State, local, and tribal decision makers to assist them in making appropriate decisions for protecting the health and welfare of impacted people. These proposed briefing products will include maps forecasting the location of the various levels of destruction and the movement of the fallout cloud. These briefing products could potentially be made available to broadcast meteorologists for use on the air during an emergency.

Broadcast meteorologists have two important activities they should become involved in concerning both the pre-event messages and the IMAAC briefing products that are being developed. First, they must become familiar with these products so they can effectively use them during a nuclear or radiological emergency. Second, they should review all of these products for clarity and usability, and provide appropriate feedback to the product developers so all of the products will be as useful as possible. These activities will significantly strengthen our nation’s ability to provide life-saving information to the public during a public health emergency involving the release of radioactive materials.

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‪AMS: Nuclear Public Health Emergencies‬‏, posted with vodpod

Irwin Redlener from the National Center for Disaster Preparedness: How to survive a nuclear attack (TED Conference)

This 2008 report from the GAO is interesting to read: First Responders’ Ability to Detect and Model Hazardous Releases in Urban Areas Is Significantly LimitedClick Here

Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station Berm Collapses, Two Buildings Flooded

Posted in News, Nuke Plant with tags , , , , , on June 27, 2011 by saynsumthn

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Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station Berm Collapses, Tw…, posted with vodpod

ABC News 6/26/2011: A berm at a nuclear power plant in Fort Calhoun, Neb., collapsed early this morning, allowing Missouri River flood waters to reach containment buildings and transformers and forcing the shutdown of electrical power.

Tonight, backup generators are cooling the nuclear material at the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station.

The plant has not operated since April, and officials say there is no danger to the public.

A spokesman for the Omaha Public Power District, Jeff Hanson, told The Associated Press that the breached berm wasn’t critical to protecting the plant, though a crew will look at whether it can be patched.

“That was an additional layer of protection we put in,” Hanson said.

Nevertheless, federal inspectors are on the scene, and the federal government is so concerned the head of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is headed to the plant.

There was no protecting thousands of homes in Minot, N.D., where massive flooding of the Souris River hit its peak today, flooding more than 4,000 homes, including Leslie Dull’s.

“When you actually see your house,” Dull said, “and you know it’s not just your basement, it’s your whole house, it’s–

“I’m sorry,” she said, as she broke down crying.

There is some good news: The river in Minot, N.D., peaked two feet lower than expected. However, it is nearly 13 feet above flood stage and it is expected to stay near that level for days.

“It could be two to four to six weeks, or more, before the water actually goes back into it’s banks … [and] before [residents] get to come and see their houses,” Brig. Gen. Bill Seekins of the North Dakota National Guard told ABC News during a tour through the flooded areas.

Sgt. Dave Dodds of the North Dakota National Guard said heavy rains on Saturday will keep the river at its historic crest for longer than expected.

“Authorities were hoping for maybe a day or two before it started to recede, but you can add maybe an additional 24 hours onto that,” Dodds said.

Minot Mayor Curt Zimbelman said the devastation may be even greater than expected.

“I think we’re going to reach probably 4,500 [homes] before this is all done, where we’ve got a lot of water on these homes,” Zimbelman said.

Randy Nelson and his wife just bought a camper, knowing their house is flooded. They currently are living in a shopping center parking lot, powerless to do anything but wait.

He said the hardest part is “patience … not knowing where you are going to live. It’s tough.”

But there have been victories. ABC News watched Koni Aho race to build a berm around her restaurant down river from Minot. Twenty-four hours later there was still no water in the restaurant.

“I was bound and determined,” she said. “I don’t care. I said, ‘It’s just dirt. We can move it.'”

Forecasters said scattered storms were in today’s forecast, but the worst part of the storm will likely to be south and east of the Souris River Basin.

Neighbors Helping Neighbors

Officials were building and re-enforcing levees in the towns of Sawyer and Velvenau in fear that all the water that has been coming through Minot will swamp the two towns.

As residents and officials brace for the worst, acts of generosity were seen throughout the community.

Garages were turned into storage units for flood victims and families and churches opened their doors to other displaced community members.

“For the rest of the country, that is kind of mind-boggling. But … that’s how we are in North Dakota,” Sen. John Hoeven told the Associated Press.

Evangelical Lutheran pastor Mike Johnson said he was too preoccupied with helping other people that he wasn’t sure the condition of his belongings after being evacuated from the flood zone the previous week.

But Lutherans in a neighboring town stepped in and took care of his files and equipment in his office.

“They just showed up on Tuesday and carted stuff off for us,” Johnson told the Associated Press.