Over the past few weeks, as more and more U.S. citizens move back here from Japan, we’ve been wondering about the possibility of a nuclear emergency like the one at Fukushima. Could something like what’s going on in Japan happen at one of our nuclear facilities? The answer is a plain and scary – YES.
As you probably know, earthquakes happen all over the world. It is virtually impossible to relocate to a region that doesn’t have some sort of tectonic activity. So, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission calculates the odds of an earthquake causing serious failure to plants all over the U.S. Want to know what the risk is? 1 in 74,176. To give you perspective, that is about ten times more likely than you wining the lottery.
Curious to know where some of the most serious risk is? Don’t pack up and move away from California so fast! In fact, the nuclear plant with the highest risk is not on the west coast – it’s about 24 miles north of New York City in Buchanan, New York.
The Indian Point Energy Center is situated along the eastern banks of the Hudson River and it’s Number 3 reactor is at the highest risk of becoming damaged by an earthquake in the entire United States. In fact, the risk is 1 in 10,000. The risk is so high that it verges on requiring immediate protection should any failure occur. With so many people moving in and out of New York City every day, failure of this reactor would definitely be catastrophic.