If you think of nuclear reactors as something far away, or as much safer than Fukushima, you're in for a surprise. The most notorious reactors are the ones not yet built, units 3 and 4 at Plant Vogtle near Augusta and their famous financial boondoggle. But others are closer, older, and more numerous than you may know.
Here's a map by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).
That map's not clickable, so here's a table, selected from an NRC table by distance from Valdosta:
|Hatch 1 & 2*||SNOC||11 miles N of Baxley, GA||100 miles|
|Farley 1 & 2||SNOC||18 miles SE of Dothan, AL||125 miles|
|Crystal River 3||PGN||80 miles N of Tampa, FL||160 miles|
|Vogtle 1 & 2||SNOC||26 miles SE of Augusta, GA||200 miles|
|Summer||SCEG||26 miles NW of Columbia, SC||300 miles|
|Saint Lucie 1 & 2||FPL||10 miles SE of Ft. Pierce, FL||325 miles|
|Oconee 1,2,3||Duke||30 miles W of Greenville, SC||330 miles|
|Robinson 2||PGN||26 miles NW of Florence, SC||350 miles|
|Sequoya 1 & 2||TVA||16 miles NE of Chattanooga, TN||360 miles|
|Catawba 1 & 2||Duke||18 miles S of Charlotte, NC||390 miles|
|McGuire 1 & 2||Duke||17 miles N of Charlotte, NC||410 miles|
|Browns Ferry 1,2,3*||TVA||32 miles W of Huntsville, AL||410 miles|
|Turkey Point 3 & 4||FPL||20 miles S of Miami, FL||440 miles|
|Brunswick 1 & 2*||PGN||40 miles S of Wilmington, NC||480 miles|
|Waterford 3||Entergy||25 miles W of New Orleans, LA||495 miles|
|Shearon Harris 1||PGN||20 miles SW of Raleigh, NC||498 miles|
|* GE Mark I; Duke: Duke Energy Power Company, LLC; Entergy: Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc.; FPL: Florida Power & Light Co.; PGN: Progress Energy; SCEG: South Carolina Electric & Gas Co.; SNOC: Southern Nuclear Operating Company; TVA: Tennessee Valley Authority|
Five operating nuclear power reactors are closer to us
Of the 132 areas tested, 22 were above 37,000 becquerels per square meter, the level at which zones were considered contaminated at Chernobyl.
Not to worry, Southern Company has an emergency plan for Plant Hatch. For the ten-mile area nearby. With notification on radio in three nearby counties. Lowndes County? Nope, not in the plan.
The Hatch reactors were designed and licensed for 40 years. According to Greg Land 8 July 2000, Plant Hatch relicensing draws fire,
Although the current 40-year licenses expire in 2014 and 2018, the NRC last month began holding hearings on the company's request to extend the license another 20 years.
According to the NRC map, at least ten other reactors within 500 miles of here are 30-39 years old.
Within 500 miles of Valdosta, there are 32 operating nuclear power reactors. That's approximate land miles. What really matters is air miles, since that's the way the wind blows. Radioactivity from Chernobyl was first detected near Stockholm, about a thousand miles away.
Turkey Point near Miami, for example, is less than 500 miles from here. You may recall those reactors as the ones Ed Asner was talking about.
I usually write about the boondoogle economics of nuclear power, especially compared to the faster and less expensive economics of solar and wind power, because economics will be the end of nuclear and the cause of the quickening shift to renewable energy. But sometimes it's worth mentioning the physical dangers of nuclear power. That's not something far away. It's quite near here.
You have an opportunity tomorrow, Tuesday, November 6th, to vote for Georgia Public Service Commissioners and legislators who can imagine solar power in south Georgia.