Duke Energy’s nuclear fleet prides itself on safely operating each nuclear facility to provide clean, reliable energy to power homes, businesses and communities for more than seven million people. In the highly unlikely event of an emergency at one of our nuclear plants, there are comprehensive plans in place to help ensure the health and safety of every individual whose life we touch, whether young or old, at home or school, in need of special assistance – or even four-legged.
Duke Energy partners with federal, state and local emergency management agencies in emergency preparedness planning. The following is a brief overview of how ensuring the safety of specific groups is a top priority in our emergency planning process.
All Plant Neighbors
All neighbors that live within 10 miles of a nuclear plant receive emergency planning information each year that explains what to do in the event of an emergency. Sirens are the primary outdoor warning system for alerting the public of an emergency. There is a network of pole-mounted sirens located within a 10-mile radius of each nuclear plant. Hearing a siren does not mean you should evacuate; rather, you should go inside and tune to a local radio or television station, which will stop regular programming to provide information from county and state emergency officials to the public. Keep in mind, if there was an emergency at the nuclear plant, it is unlikely everyone within this 10-mile emergency planning zone (EPZ) would be affected.
Neighbors with children
If your children attend schools within the 10-mile emergency planning zone, do not try to pick them up at their school during an emergency evacuation. Schools will follow their procedures to protect your children’s health and safety. If a relocation is ordered, all students attending school within the EPZ will be moved to designated relocation centers/schools. Your children will be cared for at the facility by school and county officials until you arrive.
Elderly neighbors and those with special needs
If you or a family member have a special need or situation, let someone know before an emergency. During an emergency, county emergency management officials will assist people who need transportation or who have special/functional needs – in other words, those needing any type of special assistance during an emergency. A Request for Special Assistance card is located in the emergency planning information that is sent to plant neighbors each year.
Neighbors with pets
Pet owners are responsible for the care and well-being of their pets. The best way to protect pets from exposure to radiation is to bring them inside as soon as possible. If evacuating with your pets, be aware that special arrangements may be needed to safely accommodate them. Counties may arrange alternate holding facilities for pets that may be away from human shelter sites. If you must leave pets at home, place them indoors with food and water.
Neighbors with livestock
Specific recommendations for the protection of farm animals and agricultural products will be issued by appropriate state and county officials in the event of an emergency. Farmers should be prepared to remove all dairy animals from pastures, shelter if possible and provide them with stored feed and protected water. Special information is published by the state to provide additional guidance concerning livestock, crops and gardens. You may download or request a copy by contacting your state or local Cooperative Extension office.
Be sure to visit our nuclear emergency preparedness website for much more on our nuclear fleet’s uncompromising commitment to your continued health and safety.