A Nuclear power plant uses heat generated from nuclear fission. Water is converted to steam, which powers generators to produce electricity. The operation of these facilities are closely monitored by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. An accident could result in dangerous levels of radiation that could affect the health and safety of the public.

Nuclear power plants operate in most states in the country. They produce about 20 percent of the nation’s power. Nearly 3 million Americans live within 10 miles of an operating nuclear power plant.


Before an Emergency

The following are things you can do to protect yourself and your family.

  • Build an Emergency Supply Kit with plastic sheeting, duct tape and scissors.
  • Make a Family Emergency Plan
  • 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. But, you can Get public emergency information materials from the power company or your local emergency services office.

During a Emergency

If an accident at a nuclear power plant were to release radiation in your area, local authorities would activate warning sirens or another alert method. They also would instruct you through the Emergency Alert System.

  • Minimize your exposure by increasing the distance between you and the source of the radiation.
  • Keep car windows and vents closed and use recirculating air.
  • If you remain indoors, turn off the air conditioner, ventilation fans, furnace and other air intakes.
  • Shield yourself by placing heavy, dense material between you and the radiation source. Go to a basement or other underground area, if possible.
  • Stay out of the incident zone. Most radiation loses its strength fairly quickly.

After a Nuclear Power Plant Emergency

  • Stay tuned to local radio or television stations for the latest emergency information.
  • If you have been told to evacuate or you feel it is unsafe to remain in your home, go to a designated public shelter.  To find the nearest open shelter in your area, text SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362
  • Follow instructions from local authorities.
  • Change your clothes and shoes. put clothing in a plastic bag; seal it and place it out of the way.
  • Seek medical treatment for unusual symptoms, such as nausea, as soon as possible.
  • Help a neighbor who may require special assistance
  • Return home when authorities say it is safe.
  • Keep food in covered containers or the refrigerator.