Where are the nuclear reactors in your neighborhood?

I don’t even know where the nuclear power plants are near me.

There’s a Wikipedia list of all the nuclear reactors in the US, and the page contains the list of all of them in the world.

The World Nuclear Association*, (“Representing the people and organizations of the global nuclear profession”) has a nice map

which unfortunately shows that the plants are heavily concentrated in populated areas, although in less tectonically active areas, which is moderately comforting. The WNA also say “While there are plans for a number of new reactors (see section on Preparing for new build below), the prospect of low natural gas prices continuing for several years has dampened these plans and probably no more than four new units will come on line by 2020.”

This is particularly interesting as there have been several recent reports that older plants were designed for 30 or 40 years of use and now require major improvements. Furthermore, following the meltdown at Fukushima, there is greater awareness that nuclear reactors must have improved safeguards against earthquakes and floods. The NYTimes has an article about the Tennessee Valley Authority’s work in this regard, and there’s also the plants that were shut down in Virginia following this year’s unexpected earthquake on the east coast, although aren’t they all. On October 21, Matthew L. Wald wrote in the NYTImes that the Virginia plants will likely come back on line in the next few weeks.

In another tangent:
In all of the discussion since the earthquake in Japan and the Fukushima melt down, I’ve been stunned by how much casual radiation we are exposed to. The average American is exposed to 620 millirem a year from all sources, including medical X-rays. According to The Health Physics Society,*:

What radiation doses do people receive from flying commercially?
We have summarized the following information from the articles referenced:
Friedberg W et al. Radiation exposure during air travel: Guidance provided by the FAA for air carrier crews. Health Phys 79(5):591-5; 2000.

  • Seattle to Portland: 3 mrem per 100 block hours
  • New York to Chicago: 39 mrem per 100 block hours
  • Los Angeles to Honolulu: 26 mrem per 100 block hours
  • London to New York: 51 mrem per 100 block hours
  • Athens to New York: 63 mrem per 100 block hours
  • Tokyo to New York: 55 mrem per 100 block hours”from FAA

I discovered there is a calculator to measure “galactic radiation in flight called the FAA’s Galactic Radiation Calculator. When was the last time you used the word ‘galactic’? Sweet.

*I’m not familiar with these organizations, so I can’t endorse or recommend their information, but it’s the best I could find in a few minutes. I’m very happy to take corrections.

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