Four hundred forty nuclear reactors are operating worldwide, representing about 14 percent of global electricity generation. Sixty power plants are under construction, and many older plants slated to be decommissioned may be given new operating licenses. Which country has the greatest number of nuclear reactors (want to guess)? We do; in the U.S. there are approximately 100 plants currently operating. Now imagine a map of the United States, taking a ruler and drawing a straight line from the northern border with Canada, which would head south through the edge of Minnesota, continue through the very edge of western Iowa. the very eastern portion of Kansas, eastern third of Oklahoma, with the southern portion of the line entering the Gulf just west of Houston. We now have a east and west designated portion of the U.S. The western designated portion contains approximately 15 operating reactor sites with one or more reactors. The eastern designated portion of the U.S. contain the balance of approx 85 operating reactors. This is the situation, as I thought about this and wondered where can a person live and be relatively safe from nuclear fallout from a total power failure caused by nature or man-made catastrophe in the U.S. Please note there is and are additional factors that would exponentially increase nuclear fallout e.g. nuclear war and privately- or government-owned/operated nuclear reactors.
So my next task was to mark the locations of each of the 100 operating reactors by state, and then with prevailing wind patterns highlight those clouds of radioactive particles given the approximate size of each area to be 150 miles by about 80 miles in a egg-shape pattern. The results are approximations, but the overlap of the debris field first of all in the eastern portion of the location map indicate there are few areas that will be spared contamination of any degree. Southern Alabama, southern Arkansas, western Missouri, western Iowa, and northern Wisconsin as an example may be only partially effected. Other portions of the eastern half of the U.S. will have the entire states blanketed, due to the density and overlap of the fallout. As an example, Indiana has no nuclear power plants, but because Illinois has 11, the entire state of Indiana will suffer due to the drift pattern from the Illinois facilities. Looking at real time maps of prevailing wind patterns over the U.S. It is uncertain at best to try and map accurately on any given day what the saturation effect might be, but let’s use Indiana as an example of a state that has no nuclear reactors but regardless of wind direction, whether east, west, or north, they will receive a blanket effect of radiation.
In the western designated portion of the U.S., there are the approximate 15 nuclear sites, so the contamination areas are much less and can be navigated around given enough warning, unlike the eastern portion where they will have very little option for driving clear of contamination areas and where it would be more likely continuous. Approximately seven reactor sites are located in areas of California– four south from Los Angeles through Southwestern Arizona’s three areas. Likely to be spared are the northern half of California and northern half of Nevada (even though there are no facilities in Nevada, the contamination from the four California sites will most likely effect a southern third or more of Nevada, including Los Vegas). Major cities in Arizona will be, I believe, in such an event hard hit; Phoenix, as an example, has the newest and largest nuclear site just 30 miles west/southwest of Phoenix and would receive the full effect from that site. In the northern part of the western map, there is only one nuclear power plant– in the southeast portion of Washington state, which might effect the northeast tip of Oregon, west central Idaho, and at an extreme portions of west central Montana.
The logical questions are: 1) Do we not have time to shut down the reactor cores in case of a “catastrophic power failure”? I do not have an answer in the real world if everything electrical is not working, including trucks and cars, and most people are going to be “family first” types. In this scenario, who is left to respond? 2) Well, they have portable backup systems they could fly in, right? The answer is “yes”. There is one, repeat one, emergency standby system available. Who gets the one system, and do they, after a grid shutdown, EMP, or a natural event, have the means to deliver it? If ever we needed to plan and relocate, it is now. I have read the stories of the world wide effect of a 1859 worldwide solar event named the Carrington Event, which was estimated power of 10 billion atomic bombs. That type of event would in any event put us back 200 years, and realize not only all electronics would be a target but likely all electronics in space would also be dead. This is not a pleasant topic, but I believe it may be one of the most important topics to include in our overall survival plans. Myself, I am including no electronic devices into my preps, unless they are given some measure of survivor ability by use of a Faraday cage.
I am not an expert nor an electronics engineer, but I’m using some common sense along with information available online. It is apparent to me for the approximately 35 million (and growing) preppers in this country to have better information that makes for better choices. We all cannot move to the Redoubt States, but once again this area (and a few others) would be one of the safer areas to reside in case we have that catastrophic event take place with a massive power-grid failure and/or a nuclear plant failure. Trust in God and bless you in your survival efforts. – John in Nevada