"Last Friday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that he wants to see the Indian Point nuclear power plant, located 38 miles from New York City, shut down. 'This plant in this proximity to the city was never a good risk,' he explained. Cuomo was hardly the first person to express concerns about the plant, which supplies power to New York City and its suburbs. A day before the governor's statement, the nearly four-decade-old site was one of 14 US nuclear plants cited for safety 'near-misses' in a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists. Which raises the question: What should New Yorkers do if a Japan-like emergency were to hit Indian Point?
Recently that question got a lot more complicated. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) currently sets the evacuation zone around American nuclear power plants, also known as the 'Plume Exposure Pathway Emergency Planning Zone,' at 10 miles. Japanese authorities have evacuated residents living within about 19 miles of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. But US officials have urged all Americans within 50 miles of the troubled Japanese reactors to get out of the way. Does this contradictory advice mean that our 10-mile emergency plans need to be revisited?"