Evacuation is the primary aspect of many plans for emergency response to a
nuclear power plant accident, including US plans. The intent is to reduce
citizen radiation exposure by removing people from the source of
radiation. Evacuation can be an effective and desirable way to reduce the
population's radiation exposure, and citizens should be prepared to obey
evacuation instructions promptly.
Evacuation: what are its strengths and weaknesses?
This method, however, has some flaws, such as:
- Authorities may call for evacuation many hours or even days and weeks,
after an accident occurs (as happened at Three Mile Island and
- Evacuation is not an immediate option in some situations (for example,
during a blizzard or for a large population);
- All evacuation plans may not be realistic. For example, the escape
plan for the Maine Yankee nuclear power plant in the United States was
unfeasible. The large summer tourist community on the end of a
12-mile-long peninsula "in downwind Boothbay Harbor would face a
terrifying drive up one winding little road toward the plant, where they
would have to turn onto the pandemonium of U.S. 1 right next to ground
zero..." A local attorney and former state senator Stanley Tupper stated
that "Nothing short of a wide-scale evacuation by sea could have saved all
these people." (The full
text of the article is available from the website of the Bulletin of
Therefore, it is crucial that citizens be prepared to protect themselves.