GAO calls for evacuation plans beyond 10-mile radius for nuclear accidents

The Government Accountability Office warned this week that evacuation plans following a nuclear plant accident beyond a 10-mile radius should be considered by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

"Clearly, this is a common sense recommendation after the nuclear disaster in Fukushima," Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), the chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, said. "After this tragedy, the Japanese government evacuated people within 19 miles of the damaged nuclear power plant, while the American government recommended that those within 50 miles evacuate.

"It is of great concern to me that the NRC apparently plans to ignore GAO. I urge them to follow the reasonable recommendations made in this report."

Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) echoed Boxer's concerns.

"It is clear from this report that more needs to be done to know what residents who live outside of a ten mile radius understand regarding appropriate emergency procedures and what they would do in the event of an emergency at a nuclear power plant," Casey said. "Over 10 million Pennsylvanians, which is 80 percent of the population of the State, live within 50 miles of a nuclear power plant. Strong emergency plans are critical to make sure constituents remain safe in the event of an emergency and that shouldn't stop at a 10 mile radius."