A scientific group is sounding the alarm in a new interactive chart that reveals how unstable the country’s nuclear power plants could become were something to happen to the power grid that provides them with the electricity they need to safely operate.
The Union of Concerned Scientists, in its interactive database, notes that the nation’s highest concentration of nuclear plants is along the U.S. east coast, which is also home to the highest concentration of Americans in the country. Areas around New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and most of the southeast are at the greatest risk.
Should a grid-down scenario develop, and last for more than a few days, a hundred million Americans will be at risk of dying a horrible, radiation-filled death. (RELATED: 28 Nuclear Reactors In The United States Could Suddenly Fail Due To Earthquakes… Most Are Located Along The East Coast)
In 2011, following the nuclear disaster at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi power plant, The Associated Press reported that a study showed U.S. plants were vulnerable to power outages:
It’s a nightmarish scenario: A days-long blackout at a nuclear power plant leading to a radioactive leak. Though the odds of that happening are extremely remote, an Associated Press investigation has found that some U.S. plants are more vulnerable than others.
Even before the Japan accident in March 2011, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission was concerned that a protracted power outage could lead to radiation leaks as the loss of power to plants’ cooling tanks would lead to overheating and spillage of dangerous atomic elements.
In fact, the NRC ran a simulation in 2009 at the Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station outside Lancaster, Pa., and discovered that it would take less than one day for radiation to leak if a flood, fire or other event caused the power grid to go down.