The first thing we can do is not build nuclear power plants—if they did not exist, there would be no risk of a nuclear plant meltdown. But since they do exist, there are a number of steps a nuclear plant can take to protect against meltdown. First is to ensure the safety and strength of the containment system in place around the reactor, so that even in the case of an event like the earthquake in Japan the containment system will hold. Another important step is to have sufficient alternative power available at the nuclear plant so that in the case of a power failure on the part of the plant, there is still electricity to circulate cooling water through the reactor to prevent a meltdown. And if all else fails, it’s important to have an effective and efficient evacuation plan in place to protect those living and working around the nuclear plant.
On an individual level, unfortunately, there is little that can be done to completely save yourself in the case of a nuclear explosion or radioactive fallout, as these are typically unpredictable. However, FEMA advises that taking shelter can help partially protect people who are far enough away from the explosion or event. Distance is key to survival; those living near a potentially hazardous location are under a greater threat than those who live far away from such places. Underground shelter is the most ideal way to protect yourself, though any place with thick, concrete walls or dense, heavy, building materials will help protect you from some of the effects of the radiation.
Tristin and Redbird are correct. On the individual level, you may want to avoid living near a nuclear power plant or disposal site. Also, take this into consideration when voting. Some candidates want to use your money to shape our energy future in favor of the nuclear industry…
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