Delaware maintains a watchful eye on four nuclear power plants within 50 miles of its borders.
Thousands of Delawareans, in fact, are within the ten-mile emergency planning zone of New Jersey’s Salem / Hope Creek nuclear facilities. Warning sirens in Delaware and New Jersey are tested monthly. Delaware’s State Police, National Guard and various agencies such as Health and Social Services also take part in extensive quarterly exercises, according to Rosanne Pack of the Delaware Emergency Management Agency.
“This also involves schools, and special populations in rehabilitation centers and nursing centers,” Pack says. “Those populations are included in the ones we want to give special attention to, and make sure they have plenty of warning.”
The quarterly exercises are carried out under a plan approved and evaluated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Corresponding agencies in New Jersey and PSEG, the owners of the Salem nuclear complex, also take part. The most recent exercises took place March 2nd.
Pack says the preparation plans are frequently updated to reflect census data and demographic changes.
Additionally, each October the state distributes potassium iodide tablets for Delawareans living within ten miles of the plants. The over-the-counter medication protects the thyroid from radioactive iodine.