What if the US had a nuclear leak?

First there was the tsunami. Then came the earthquake. Then thousands of Japanese citizens were forced inside because of radiation from a stricken nuclear plant. Japan has, without a doubt, had more than its fair share of disaster in recent days. 

But while witnessing the devastation in Japan and the subsequent nuclear crisis, U.S. residents are asking if we're ready for a nuclear disaster. The answer appears to be no.

In the past, hurricanes and tornadoes have damage nuclear plants in Ohio, Florida and Louisiana. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission requires that every plant be built to survive an earthquake larger than the strongest ever recorded in the are where it will be built. But that standard means they've failed to anticipate the "Big One." It would behoove the nuclear construction and engineering experts to study and adapt to what is happening at the nuclear facility in Japan.

So if we continue this line of thinking, we also must ask: What would we do if there was a radiation leak?

Run fast would be the obvious answer. But being proactive and educating the public about radiation and preparedness would be the better answer. Last summer, the Obama administration began making plans to educate citizens about radiation in the event of a nuclear attack, detonation or release. The advice given? Stay put if you are indoors. You'll get a tenth of the radiation you'd receive if you were outdoors, running.

Although it's somewhat decent advice, it doesn't offer much confidence. There's no doubt that committees will convene in the coming months in Washington to debate how to proceed on this subject matter. Stay tuned. 

In the meantime, you may want to dust off that bomb shelter and stock up on bottled water and canned tuna.

Published Wednesday, March 16, 2011 11:15 AM by bulldog
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