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Nuclear Power/Is it safe to live near nuclear plant or dump site?

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Question
Is it safe to live in an old house that is one block from a former nuclear plant site (torn down over 20 years ago)?

Also, there is a nuclear dump site 5 miles away that has not been cleaned up.  How dangerous is that?

Thank you so much.

Answer
Hi Alex,

It might be dangerous so, I advise you to ask a constructor to check the old house structurally. As far as the old nuclear plant is concern rest your mind in peace. Joke aside, I do not see any problem living near a nuclear power station, old or operating. Nuclear power plants are designed and operated according to very strict norms set by the licensing authority, NRC.  Even in accident conditions public is protected, and a very good example is the Three Mile Island accident in your state.  A reactor accident similar to Chernobyl happened and no radiation above the allowable limits  escaped from the site. When a nuclear power plant is decommissioned all radioactive substances like fuel elements, resins etc., are taken from the site. After 20 years the site would be reclaimed by now. I am sure NRC monitors the site and there is no need to worry about the safety of the area. If you like the area and the house, enjoy life.

Nuclear waste is categorized to mainly three levels of radiation it emits. Used nuclear fuel or high level waste is extremely dangerous.   They are kept in special mines and as far as I know US still did not approved a nuclear waste site, the Yucca mountain. So most of the high level waste is stored in the nuclear power plants. Intermediate nuclear waste is less active but again it is stored in specific sites. Low level waste, like clothing used in nuclear industry, is usually buried  in deep trenches. Chances are the dump you are talking about is something like this. Again all nuclear dumps are monitored by NRC and public safety is assured. Lived in the era of Love Canal, I am not too confident about dump sites as I am as confidant as with nuclear sites.  You can always direct your inquires to NRC I am sure they will put your mind at ease.

Best regards

Nuclear Power

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Osman Kemal Kadiroglu

Expertise

Nuclear Engineering, Nuclear Engineering Education, Nuclear Reactors, Pebble Bed Modular Reactors, Engineering Education

Experience

Has been teaching Nuclear Engineering for more than 20 years and been in this field for more than 30 years

Organizations belong to
American Nuclear Society
Society of Nucelar Engineers of Turkey
Emeritus Prof. Nuclear Engineering Department, Hacettepe University Ankara Turkey

Extra-ordinary Prof. Nuclear Engineering Department, North-West Uni. Potchefstroom South Africa

Education/Credentials
(Mak. Y. Müh.) MS in Mech. Eng. Istanbul Technical University '68
MS in Nuclear Eng. MIT'72
Sc.D. in Nuclear Eng. MIT'76

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