Answer to Question #11168 Submitted to "Ask the Experts"
The following question was answered by an expert in the appropriate field:
We are considering relocation and the development we are looking at is located about 6 kilometers (km) northeast of a nuclear power plant. What safety concerns should we be aware of? I believe the plant has nuclear waste ponds on site. What concern should we have with these?
As someone who has worked inside nuclear power plants, I can say that the plant workers have the front-row seats in this industry. If the plants are safe for the workers—and I believe they are—they are safe for the neighbors. Any safety concern I would have relates to radioactive releases from the plant. Routine releases are limited to a small percentage of natural radioactivity in the environment. This comes from naturally radioactive minerals in the soil and other sources. Accidental releases can be a concern, but fortunately they are rare (in the United States) and have never been large enough to cause harm.
Regarding nuclear waste ponds, these are not permitted in the United States. You may be thinking of storage of used nuclear fuel, which is in the form of solid uranium rods. You might ask the operator of the plant about these.
I hope this allays your concerns. If you have other questions, don't hesitate to ask.
Joel I. Cehn, CHP