Are you prepared for a nuclear accident?

I appreciate the Dec.19 article, “Tomorrow Never Knows,” for reminding us not every disaster can be predicted or prepared for. Yet, our stalwart professionals in emergency response, disaster relief and meteorology, among others, strive to protect us as much as possible.

I was relieved to hear Red Cross’ Brian Scoles voice concerns of a possible nuclear power accident and how important it is for Asheville to be prepared. This is the type of disaster most of us do not want to think about, much less learn how to prepare for. But the reality is there are three nuclear power plants with a total of seven reactors operating within 100 miles of Asheville, carrying the risk of a wide variety of potential accidents. And two more reactors may go online if Duke Energy’s proposed WS LEE Nuclear Plant (62 miles away) is issued a license. Utilities, local governments, emergency responders and citizens need support to prepare and respond if the unthinkable becomes reality.

Our volunteer organization, SAFE Carolinas, is lobbying Asheville City Council to pass a resolution expanding emergency planning zones around nuclear power plants. It follows a petition filed to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission by 36 national organizations. One of the demands is to include a 100 mile “Ingestion Pathway Zone.” This would alert Asheville concerning our water, soil and food.

We have learned from the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear accidents, which both required safety actions beyond the current rules for Emergency Planning Zones.

You can read the resolution at http:///www.safecarolinas.blogspot.com. It will help you write Asheville City Council asking them to pass the resolution. FEMA wants public opinion on EPZ’s by Jan. 31. Write: FEMA, Regulatory Affairs Division, Office of Chief Counsel, 500-C St. SW., Room 840, Washington, D.C. 20472–3100.

— Anne Craig
Asheville

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