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Ask your local officials to support larger nuclear evacuation zones; better planning

January 2014,

It's time to turn up the heat on the NRC's resistance to bringing its emergency planning and evacuation regulations into the 21st century.

Those regulations were implemented following the Three Mile Island accident in 1979 and established 10-mile Emergency Planning Zones around each reactor site in the U.S. Annual exercises (later changed to once every two years) are required to practice emergency procedures, including steps necessary to effectively evacuate the entire zone if necessary.

Since then, as we all unfortunately know, real-life has intervened to show the woeful inadequacy of these regulations. First Chernobyl, then Fukushima demonstrated clearly that in real life, evacuations beyond--sometimes far beyond--10 miles can be necessary to protect public health and safety from real nuclear disasters.

And can you believe that even in the wake of Fukushima--a disaster initiated by an earthquake and tsunami--the NRC requires no exercises at all that include a scenario of a natural disaster initiated nuclear accident?

It's time to change that; to bring emergency planning into the 21st century and to reflect real-life situations rather than someone's computer models--which is what NRC regulations currently are based on. You can start by contacting your local officials below and asking them to support NIRS' initiative to expand emergency planning zones and improve emergency training and exercises. We have prepared a sample letter for you to send to your officials, although we encourage you to edit it to reflect your own communities and situation.

Improving emergency planning is a necessity as long as nuclear reactors continue to operate and pose the threat of a nuclear meltdown. It is obviously not a substitute for closing reactors and we are continuing to press with nuclear shutdown campaigns this year--that's our highest priority for 2014. But current NRC emergency planning regulations are irresponsible and negligent, and must be changed until we can close every nuclear reactor.

To learn more about nuclear emergency planning issues, please visit NIRS' Nuclear 911 page here.

Notes: You must be a U.S. resident to participate in this action. Because this is the first time we have used this local officials database, please let us know if your officials are not included, or if you experience any glitches. If you do, please send an e-mail to If you would like to share this action page on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, please use the icons to the top right BEFORE sending your message. Thank you.