“On May, 22, Entergy and Phelps Memorial Hospital conducted a mock drill to treat a supposedly radioactively contaminated Indian Point worker. Entergy and the hospital are to be commended for practicing for an event that can occur when working with a nuclear power plant.
However, what type of drills are conducted to practice for a major release event, and how would any hospital be able to handle it? We know that accidents can happen. That is why every nuclear plant has to have an evacuation plan. According to the report in this newspaper, 65 members of the staff were trained to respond to radiation exposure victims, and 22 of those medical professionals, one-third of the trained staff, were involved in treating the single victim in this drill. What would have happened if 10 workers were exposed simultaneously, or if there were the type of event that required evacuation and only 50 local residents were exposed, but many more run to the hospitals because they think they might have been exposed?
The point is, in the event of a large release, all medical facilities will be overwhelmed and, as the Witt Report pointed out, the evacuation plan is doomed to fail. That is why the Nuclear Regulatory Commission now discusses sheltering in place as its solution. Are these the types of risks that we want to live with for another 25 years if the plants are relicensed? I, for one, do not want that.
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