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Medical Consequences of a Nuclear Plant Attack or Accident around Chicago. Andrew S. Kanter, MD MPH Physicians for Social Responsibility/ Chicago Chapter. Agenda for Today. Introduction The World Today: Fear and Opportunity Nuclear Power Plant Security

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Medical consequences of a nuclear plant attack or accident around chicago

Medical Consequences of a Nuclear Plant Attack or Accident around Chicago

Andrew S. Kanter, MD MPH

Physicians for Social Responsibility/Chicago Chapter


Agenda for today
Agenda for Today

  • Introduction

  • The World Today: Fear and Opportunity

  • Nuclear Power Plant Security

  • Fissile Materials as Targets for Attack

  • Medical Consequences of Attacks on Braidwood


The splitting of the atom changed everything, save our modes of thinking, and we thus drift towards unparalleled catastrophe.-Albert Einstein, 1946


The single greatest danger
The single greatest danger… modes of thinking, and we thus drift towards unparalleled catastrophe.


Nuclear power plants in the us
Nuclear Power Plants in the US modes of thinking, and we thus drift towards unparalleled catastrophe.

  • 104 operating nuclear power plants and 36 non-power reactors in the US

  • 11 operating plants in Northern Illinois

  • Produce 8% of the nation’s energy


Common reactor types

Boiling Water modes of thinking, and we thus drift towards unparalleled catastrophe.

Pressurized Water

Common Reactor Types

Images from NRC


Spent fuel storage
Spent Fuel Storage modes of thinking, and we thus drift towards unparalleled catastrophe.

  • After 12-24 months in the reactor, fuel is offloaded into cooling ponds

  • Must remain until cool

  • More than 10x the radioactive material than the core (20-50 million curies Cs-137-Chernobyl released 2 million curies)


Nuclear plant security
Nuclear Plant Security modes of thinking, and we thus drift towards unparalleled catastrophe.

  • Core protected by containment dome

  • Coolant supply critical (20,000-500,000 g/m)

  • Spent fuel pools vulnerable

  • Security strengthened after 9/11

  • Force-on-Force tests woefully inadequate

    • Small group of terrorists with one insider

    • Lone insider

    • Four-wheel drive vehicle bomb


Accident attack at braidwood
Accident/Attack at Braidwood modes of thinking, and we thus drift towards unparalleled catastrophe.

  • PWR producing 2500 MW at full power

  • 50+ mi SW of Chicago

  • Two scenarios:

    • Reactor vessel breach

    • Spent fuel pond fire


Analysis tools
Analysis Tools modes of thinking, and we thus drift towards unparalleled catastrophe.

  • HPAC- Hazard Prediction and Assessment Capability from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency

  • CATS- Consequences Assessment Tool Set from the Federal Emergency Management Agency


Braidwood scenario 1
Braidwood Scenario 1 modes of thinking, and we thus drift towards unparalleled catastrophe.

  • Catastrophic coolant failure

  • Core exposed causing fire and breach

  • 4% of core/hr burned

  • Summer Day

  • Normal Temperatures

  • Broken Clouds


Radiation sickness
Radiation Sickness modes of thinking, and we thus drift towards unparalleled catastrophe.

The signs and symptoms of radiation sickness include:

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Diarrhea

  • Skin burns

  • Weakness/Fatigue

  • Loss of appetite

  • Fainting

  • Inflammation of tissues

  • Mucosal bleeding

  • Low red blood cell count/anemia

  • Hair loss


Biological effects of radiation rem
Biological Effects of Radiation (REM) modes of thinking, and we thus drift towards unparalleled catastrophe.

  • 0-20 Potential for genetic consequences

  • 20-100 Temporary decrease in white blood cell count.

  • 100-200 Acute radiation sickness - nausea, vomiting, longer-term decrease in white blood cells.

  • 200-300 Vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, death in some cases.

  • 300-600 Vomiting, diarrhea, hemorrhaging, deaths occurring in 50% of cases at 350+ REM

  • Above 600 Eventual death in almost all cases


Braidwood total effective dose equivalent
Braidwood Total Effective Dose Equivalent modes of thinking, and we thus drift towards unparalleled catastrophe.

Joliet

South Bend

Fort Wayne


Braidwood evacuation area
Braidwood Evacuation Area modes of thinking, and we thus drift towards unparalleled catastrophe.

Grand Rapids


Medical consequences
Medical Consequences modes of thinking, and we thus drift towards unparalleled catastrophe.

  • The number of acutely ill people would overwhelm all available care facilities

  • Many facilities will not be available due to contamination:

    • 113 hospitals would fall within the occupational exposure zone (including two VA hospitals) affecting more than 32,000 potential beds.

    • Nearly 20,000 physicians in five counties would receive greater than occupational maximums for radiation exposure from the plume itself, let alone that from contaminated patients.


Medical consequences1
Medical Consequences modes of thinking, and we thus drift towards unparalleled catastrophe.

  • First responders, like firefighters would also be badly affected. The 25 firefighters of Essex Fire Department would possibly receive lethal doses, and the 67 firefighters of Braidwood and Herscher departments would be suffering from radiation sickness.

  • Another 10,500 firefighters in 355 other departments would have exceeded occupational exposures from the plume itself and would be unavailable to respond within the highly contaminated area. Police departments would also be hard hit in Essex, Braidwood and Herscher with the 38 police officers receiving potentially lethal doses of radiation.


Braidwood scenario 2
Braidwood Scenario 2 modes of thinking, and we thus drift towards unparalleled catastrophe.

  • Spent Fuel Pond (SPF) Fire--Loss of coverage causing Zirconium fire

  • 3 assemblies destroyed, releasing Cs-137

  • Cs-137 half-life of 60 years, potent gamma emitter. 50% of 10-y.o. fuel is Cs.

  • Summer Day

  • Normal Temperatures

  • Broken Clouds


No security plans for sfp
No Security Plans for SFP modes of thinking, and we thus drift towards unparalleled catastrophe.

The NRC has denied petitions by citizen groups seeking enhanced protections from terrorist acts against reactor spent-fuel pools.

In its decision, the NRC has asserted that “the possibility of a terrorist attack . . . is speculative and simply too far removed from the natural or expected consequences of agency action . . . ”


Sfp total effective dose equivalent
SFP Total Effective Dose Equivalent modes of thinking, and we thus drift towards unparalleled catastrophe.


Sfp evacuation area
SFP Evacuation Area modes of thinking, and we thus drift towards unparalleled catastrophe.


Sfp thyroid dose protection
SFP Thyroid Dose Protection modes of thinking, and we thus drift towards unparalleled catastrophe.


Indian point comparison
Indian Point Comparison modes of thinking, and we thus drift towards unparalleled catastrophe.

  • 3,500-44,000 immediate deaths

  • 100,000-500,000 long term deaths due to cancer

  • Economic damages within 100 mi range from $1.1-2.1 trillion


What you can do
What You Can Do modes of thinking, and we thus drift towards unparalleled catastrophe.

  • Speak out and educate

  • Write to your leaders, newspapers, friends

  • Stop producing more nuclear materials

  • Secure all existing nuclear materials

  • Shut down nuclear power plants and transition to renewable sources

  • Transfer waste from wet pools to dry storage casks

  • Develop long term storage for waste on site


For more information
For More Information modes of thinking, and we thus drift towards unparalleled catastrophe.

  • R. Alvarez et al., “Reducing the Hazards from Stored Spent Power-Reactor Fuel in the United States,” Science and Global Security 11 (2003): 1-51.

  • D. Hirsch, “The NRC: What, me worry?,” Bulletin of Atomic Scientists58(1): 38-44.

  • E. Lyman, “Chernobyl on the Hudson?,” Union of Concerned Scientists, September 2004: 1-54.

Visit PSR’s website at:

http://www.psr.org

or contact PSR at:

1875 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 1012Washington, DC, 20009Telephone: (202) 667-4260Fax: (202) 667-4201

Chicago PSR:

4750 N. Sheridan Road #439Chicago, IL 60640(773) 989-4655 info@psrchicago.org


Cask accident on train line
Cask Accident on Train Line modes of thinking, and we thus drift towards unparalleled catastrophe.


Cask accident on train line1
Cask Accident on Train Line modes of thinking, and we thus drift towards unparalleled catastrophe.


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