"Populations Around US Nuke Plants Soar"

"BUCHANAN, N.Y. – As America's nuclear power plants have aged, the once-rural areas around them have become far more crowded and much more difficult to evacuate. Yet government and industry have paid little heed, even as plants are running at higher power and posing more danger in the event of an accident, an Associated Press investigation has found.

Populations around the facilities have swelled as much as 4 1/2 times since 1980, a computer-assisted population analysis shows.

But some estimates of evacuation times have not been updated in decades, even as the population has increased more than ever imagined. Emergency plans would direct residents to flee on antiquated, two-lane roads that clog hopelessly at rush hour.

And evacuation zones have remained frozen at a 10-mile radius from each plant since they were set in 1978 — despite all that has happened since, including the accidents at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima Dai-ichi in Japan."

Jeff Donn reports for Reuters June 27, 2011.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011