Nuclear Plant Incidents – Vulnerability Assessment

Nuclear Plant Reactor[2]

Local and state governments, federal agencies, and the electric utilities have emergency response plans in the event of a nuclear power plant incident. The plans define two “emergency planning zones”:

  • The first inner zone covers an area within a 10-mile radius of the plant, where it is possible that people could be harmed by direct radiation exposure.
  • The second outer zone covers a broader area, usually up to a 50-mile radius from the plant, where radioactive materials could contaminate water supplies, food crops and livestock.[1]

Nuclear Plant Incident Vulnerability Assessment Questions

To assess your vulnerability to the threat of a Nuclear Plant Incident to your family and property, perform an assessment to determine if you have knowledge of, are prepared and/or have a plan by answering the following questions:

General All-Hazard Questions:

  • Have you determined the disaster risks in your locale and the hazards that accompany them?
  • Do you know the emergency warning signals and alert notifications used in your community?
  • Have you instructed family members how to shut off water, gas and electricity to your house?
  • Have you made the necessary property preparations to reduce the damage from the hazard?
  • Do you have a backup generator in case of a prolonged power failure?
  • Have you purchased insurance (property, health, life, and/or hazard type)?
  • Have you made the necessary financial arrangements in case of a sudden evacuation and power outage that shuts down local ATMs and banks?
  • have you organized important documents and records and stored them in a portable lock box or safe-deposit box?
  • Have you performed a home inventory video taping the contents stored them in a portable lock box or safe-deposit box?
  • Does your family have an established Emergency Communication Plan and evacuation plan in place and asked an out-of-state person to serve as the “family contact”?
  • Have you assembled a shelter-in-place Emergency Supplies Kit in case you have to shelter at home and you are without power?
  • Have you assembled a mobile Emergency Supplies Kit that can serve as a “grab and go” bag?
  • Are you or someone in your family trained in first aid and CPR?
  • Have you made they necessary preparations and arrangements for pets, seniors, and the disabled?
  • Have you familiarized yourself with the emergency plans of your family member’s employment building, school, day care center, or nursing home?

Hazard Specific Questions:

  • Do you understand the term Shelter In Place and know how to make that happen?
  • Have you added plastic sheeting, duct tape and scissors to your Emergency Supplies Kit?
  • Have you obtained public emergency information materials from the power company that operates your local nuclear power plant or your local emergency services office? If you live within 10 miles of the power plant, you should receive the materials yearly from the power company or your state or local government.

Nuclear Power Reactor Location Map

This map indicates the active nuclear power reactors in the U.S.[3] To find out more information about a particular nuclear power reactor that the NRC regulates, view:



  2. Image Source: [Accessed July 24, 2013]
  3. U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission –