Discussion of Water Supply Systems in Nuclear Incidents Utilizing Our Past Experiences


W. E. Potter


Nuclear incidents that range from a threat up to and including a fission bomb explosion are considered. This paper utilizes knowledge gained from our past experiences such as the building and detonation of nuclear weapons, research including Civil Defense research, and the operation of nuclear power plants including Chernobyl. If the cause of the incident is known, then it may be possible to predict the distribution of radionuclides in the environment. Otherwise measurements can be made to better understand the cause of the incident and predict the distribution of radionuclides. The radionuclides may not be uniformly distributed in the region of interest. Because fusion bombs have been excluded from discussion, the transport of radionuclides is mostly limited to the troposphere; any fallout generated will appear sooner than for the more powerful weapons. The water supply system can be "hardened" in anticipation of incidents by security measures such as restricted access and by engineering measures such as coverings and strengthened components. Good data acquisition and data analysis are necessary to make crucial decisions in a timely manner. Actions from the reliance on ground water, as opposed to surface water, to people processing water individually can be important. It may be necessary to take measures that protect health and water supply systems; the population needs to have confidence in the people making the decisions.


This abstract was presented at the 36th Annual Midyear Meeting, "Radiation Safety Aspects of Homeland Security and Emergency Response", Poster Session, 1/26/2003 - 1/29/2003, held in San Antonio, TX.

Index of Midyear Meeting Abstracts