Nuclear Power Plant Meltdown – 50 Mile Radius


Have you wondered where the safest or safer place would be from a nuclear power plant?

What if there was a disaster leading to a nuclear meltdown?

You better be at least 50 miles from a nuclear power plant, and preferably not in a downwind location based on the prevailing winds (which are typically and generally west to east across the U.S. – with variations thereof)…

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(Full size map below)

Here’s the thing…

IF we were to experience a disaster which brings down our electrical power grid, or even a region thereof (‘Carrington’ Event?), (an EMP?), those who are living near a nuclear power plant will be at high risk due to the potential for nuclear meltdown.

All you have to do is look back at what happened at Fukushima Japan following the earthquake, tsunami, and core meltdown. An enormous region of land surrounding that power plant became uninhabitable.

Nuclear power plants need electricity to keep their enormous water cooling pumps working. Without their cooling pumps, a nuclear meltdown will be assured.

While nuclear power plants do have backup diesel power generators, there are circumstances whereby these generators could be rendered useless.

How long can a nuclear power plant operate with their generators? Until they either run out of fuel or until they break down.

I have built the following map which indicates the location of all the operating nuclear power plants in the United States. I have added a 50 mile radius (100 mile diameter) circle around each one.


Full Size Map

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I have chosen a 50-mile radius as a reasonable distance factor, given that generally speaking – any radioactive fallout will dissipate according to the inverse-square-law.

Wind patterns WILL affect this however, and the method of fallout will also affect the spread pattern (explosion and altitude versus meltdown, etc..).

That said, I believe this is a reasonable guideline to consider as a minimum and perhaps somewhat safe distance from a nuclear power plant – for starters…


  1. We are in Kansas. The evacuation planning at our nuclear plant has just expanded to cover even more counties. The expansion is close to the 50 mile radius. The expansion covers testing equipment, establishing a testing center and training. Not a word was mentioned about what would happen to the poor souls that arrive in town that are HOT. All of this was in our local paper (Iola Register). You can inspect all you want. The first serious earthquake and it will be ugly.

  2. If there is an EMP of some sort generators may not work. could be disastrous very quickly. so relying on any Gov emergency plans is STUPID (caseyjones)

    I live near Hanford In Washington state and it is already leaking. Planning to head south if I have to. Let hope this never happens

    1. If a military grade EMP was detonated at cruising height above Missouri/Kansas, it would wipe out the majority of our countries Power grid. While some back up generators would be ok “depending on location, depth, and covering” it would certainly cause at least one massive meltdown. Also, modern cars “with ECU” wont work. Only cars with with non ECU starters would be drivable. Which would leave roads cram packed, people stranded, and death imminent.

      1. if you were to release a medium sized EMP blast inside the power plant. it would cause a nuclear meltdown and shouldn’t effect the surrounding area, depending on the strength of EMP.

  3. Interesting, They have the power plants but not the storage facilities with nuke rods in them. There is one about 2 hours from where I live in Idaho

    1. The rods, in proper storage, aren’t an issue without power. Someone would have to unseal the containers. Even then you are dealing with very short range gamma radiation. Of course, you could always make a bomb out of it but at that point, it isn’t an “accident”

  4. Great ! I live right on the edge of the 50 mile radius. The plant in New Brunswick, Canada. Good thing it’s just been refurbished. oh and btw it sits on a fault line beside the ocean. LOL

  5. If there’s a worst place to be on this map other than where I live by the Philadelphia area, I can’t find it.

    1. North/South Carolina border has the “worst” I think with a 4 plant overlap..

  6. Turns out they are, in fact, plans in place and being improved daily. Currently the Navy uses plants with natural circulation. Look it up. Civilian plants are researching how to implement this.

    Diesel generators are designed to operate sufficiently to remove decay heat in WCS’s. Typically there are multiple generators on civilian plants for redundancy.

    Civilian plants (all but 3 I believe) are designed to sustain an earthquake that has never even been experienced. Also designed to sustain 911 scenarios.

    EMP power knockouts last minutes. Not nearly enough to make a reactor have a complete failure for meltdown. Reactor physics vary somewhat but peak potential risk occurs approximately 3-5 hours after reactor shutdowns. A scram is what happens on most reactor safeguard trips, including a loss of all AC.

    Power generation after shutdown, called decay heat, is only 10% after the power history. So if the plant was at 100% power for a few days (not probable) during this SHTF event, heat generate is 10%.

    1. Many civilian reactors have used natural circulation for cooling in a total loss of power event.

    2. It’s not the EMP that will be a real problem, it’s the propagation of electromagnetic waves coming from a major solar CME that will cause the most havoc.

      Many vehicles and a lot of electronic equipment is protected by simple Faraday cages. ( a metal desktop computer case is an example).
      It will be the induced voltages into cables and transformers by electromagnetic waves from a CME which may last for several days that will do the damage to the electrical grid etc.

      Don’t forget that the CME of July 23rd 2012 was the bullet that missed the earth by just a week. There were actually 4 CME’s emitted and even NASA has gone so far as to evoke the phrase “Would have returned earth’s civilization to the stone age” if this event had struck the earth.

      The explosion of plant three at Fukashima as depicted in image shown in the main text is slowly being likened to a Nuclear “Dirty Bomb”. There are some reports that minute radioactive particles are being found up to 110 miles away from Fukashima.

    3. i read recently that nuclear plants keep 1-2 weeks worth of diesel fuel on hand for the generators in case of an interruption of electricity. after that fuel is gone, you have fukushima. remember the (2003?) northeast blackout? the one that was caused by a tree branch falling on an electrical cable in ohio? some areas were blacked out almost two weeks that time, and the grid hasn’t been upgraded since then, either. i live downwind of half a dozen plants, and i don’t find any of that very reassuring.

    4. If anyone is still reading this thread, from my experience… As someone else said, these plants are designed to take a lot of stress, the buildings you see are just the Outer Containment. The Inner Containment is solid steel.

      Also something people don’t think about. For instance like in “The 100” or “The Last Man on Earth”, more so with “The 100”. If these plants need to be re-fueled then they would run out of fuel long before they could melt down if left unattended.

  7. Ken,

    Great map for planning get home routes and bug out routes even for those of us living outside the immediate danger zones.



  8. I live minutes away from Chattanooga, TN. We have two TVA stations here. Last year the sludge from one of the plants backed up spilling thousands of gallons of waste into the Tennessee River. There was no ” warnings” this was going on it just happened. I actually went by it on my pontoon boat and seen the “sludge”. To this day they still have not cleaned that up. Sludge from that spill is still going on as I type. I’m expecting to catch my first three eyed fish any day. I certainly would not consider eating any fish from that river. There is no telling what is in that sludge. As far as a “Fallout” 50 miles is being overly generous. I myself would not live any closer.

      1. Yeah, I was confused for a second. Nuclear plants don’t produce “sludge”. Discharge water is usually distilled water made from condensing steam.

  9. don’t suppose you have similar maps re the nuclear and food centers for Canada?

  10. Plants don’t explode and like the navy guy said if they lost power they would just extract the core and stop producing heat with it. Problem solved. Also there is nothing except god that could damage every plant and cause the harm that people who watch the china syndrome to much fear

  11. Looks like Montana is pretty much safe. Wait a minute…..we have all those missile silos.

  12. Anyone who feels unsafe being within 50 miles of a nuke plant should move.
    Move to where you will feel safe, and please no crap about jobs, kids in school, etc.

    1. So where is SAFE. I gotta get out of Boston/NH, I’m a sitting duck. Would like to head south, but it seems the entire east coast is riddled with Reactors. Do i really need to head west in order to stay safe??? Isn’t there someplace in florida that might be safe?

  13. Map is incomplete. Google ‘idaho nuclear plant’. About 50 have been there. Mostly decommisioned.

  14. Map tells me I am gonna be toast…the “glow in the dark” kind….

  15. Ken might want to add navy bases where submarines and carriers are stationed. They usually have reactors.

  16. I’m a physician assistant in Pittsburgh. I’ve been looking for a location to have a retreat, away from the downwind fallout and dense population. Looking at this map, seems like I should be thinking mountains of WV. Anyone set up with a retreat in that vicinity in need of a prepper minded medical professional? If so, I’ll give an alternate email as a contact.

    Sorry Ken, if this is not proper decorum for your blog. I thought I’d give it a shot. I am struggling to find like-minded people while still using OPSEC. It takes a village… just have to find that darn village…

    1. arizona high desert great place to be lots of like minded people here

      1. @ miss burt

        Susssssshhhhhhhhhh please do NOT tell those Snowflakes in CA…. OK?? LOLOL


    2. PA JES

      There has to be a more settled, civilized place to escape to. I am a 61 year old female, not looking for mountain living really. I was thinking of northern maine? I just don’t know, but it would sure be nice to have your company while we chart this new course as survivalists. Keep in touch

  17. What if a melt down has already happened in the US? What could we learn? Oh wait, there was a core melt down– at three mile island.

  18. I sorry to say Ancona is spot on about the “These power plants operate purely on a profit motive, nothing more and nothing less. If the plant is taken down or de-certified, the utility is stuck with endless shut-down costs which they do not want to spend…”

    More red tape in the nuclear power industry then just about anywhere.

    Check it out for yourself!

    Be afraid, be very afraid!

    1. That idea was probably passed around because it’s already ‘okay’ to recycle toxic waste into common items. There’s a brick plant not too far from me, I know a couple people who work there. They tell me they get toxic waste in barrels that they mix with the bulk materials to make bricks with. The companies that produce the waste pay the brick plant for recycling it for them, and this is evidently common practice everywhere.

      Makes you wonder what’s inside anything you buy when ingredients are not listed. I mean, who knows or cares what bricks are made of, right?

  19. Nuclear power + grid down event = global extinction for humanity

    “(NaturalNews) If you think the Fukushima situation is bad, consider the fact that the United States is vulnerable to the exact same meltdown situation, except at 124 separate nuclear reactors throughout the country. If anything should happen to our nation’s poorly protected electric power grid, these reactors have a high likelihood of failure, say experts, a catastrophic scenario that would most likely lead to the destruction of all life on our planet, including humans.”

  20. Pretty amazing how most of the danger surrounding nuke plants is related to the spent fuel, and so little attention paid toit. Who ever thought it was a good idea to store spent fuel at fourth floor level at Fukishima? What about the “casks’ designed to transport spent fuel? Is the fuel ever cooled enough to stop circulation of cooling water?

  21. Thats me fooked then! I live in Jersey (original) which lies 30 miles from Flamanville on the French Normandy coast!
    ….and they went ahead with construction despite carbon weak spots in the recycled steel used to build it!?!?! HELP!

  22. Why does the chart not show the former nuclear power plant in Los Angeles County in the Santa Susana area around Simi Valley and Chatsworth? Why don’t they also show that there was a meltdown far worse than 3 mile island there, that nobody seems worthy of mentioning?

    1. You must have missed this sentence early in the article. “I have assembled the following map which illustrates all of the operating nuclear power plants in the United States”. Key word being “operating”.

  23. I live very near prairie island in redwing Minnesota. A couple years back a man I know blew his dumptruck up with 100 pounds of tannerite, he set the alarms off at the plant and the casino. That’s also the reason tannerite is being governed.

  24. Cannot believe that nuclear plants were ever allowed. How mindless are states and U.S. Government. The so called leaders know how vulnerable we are and could care less. We will be moving due to house being 36 miles from one of these dangerous plants. Facts are: Plant closest to me has had incompetence to point where there was a close call; tornado came within a mile of this plant several years ago. Citizens should be up in arms, but as usual something catastrophic will have to happen first. So typical. So long home sweet home.

  25. Manchester Ohio DPL Nuclear Plant Stuart
    Has just expolded

  26. @Connie:

    “Manchester Ohio DPL Nuclear Plant Stuart Has just expolded

    — Say what? (!!) Nothing on the news yet.

    1. This from RT. The plant is not nuclear.

      Five people were hurt in the explosion, according to WCPO.

      None of the injuries are life-threatening, Adams County Sheriff Kimmy Rogers said, WLWT reported. However, medical helicopters have been dispatched to the area.

      There are at least 300 employees at the plant. The explosion reportedly occurred in Unit 1 of the plant, which stores equipment. It also has a turbine generator which could be one of the possible sources of the explosion, officials say.

      1. BTW… RT is the first Russian 24/7 English-language news channel which brings the Russian view on global news. CNN did not pick up on this when I searched.

        Makes you wonder

  27. I worked at a Nuclear Power Plant during construction and at the beginning of operation. We always joked around LAGNAF “Lets All Go North After Fueling”. I’m curious if this is also something you have to consider.

  28. Well I live in South Carolina we have four I think I see it this way if god wants the plants to melt down they will if it’s my time to die I’ll die nothing’s going to happen unless it’s gods will we got to have them plants to have power so thanks to all the nuclear power plants and for the men and women who work there if it’s your time to go there’s nothing you can do to stop it

  29. I dont know if anyone is on here still. However, with the coming of Hurricane Florence about to directly hit a bunch of nuclear power plants, I would imagine the 50 mile radius safety zone would go out the window, correct? I’m just wondering how far those hurricane winds could carry the radiation. Any thoughts?

    1. I wonder if the people that lived close to 3 mile island, Chernobyl and Fukashima feel the same way? Not to mention the toxic. ” leftovers” from everyday ‘Clean’ energy production. I believe there is a site WIPP over in the southwest that they had to come up with warning signs that even extra terrestrials could read that that area is contaminated virtually forever.

      1. My name has nothing to do with it. Re read my post. Never mentioned a leak. You can google WIPP and get the facts. Try not to get worked up over nothing. I said nothing that disagreed with you.

  30. Seeing all the plants laid out on a national map also conveys an interesting point. Because most electricity use is in cities, a nuclear plant (unlike wind or solar) can be built pretty much anywhere, and transmitting electricity over great distances causes some of the energy to be lost to friction, most of the plants are logically located near large urban areas. For better or worse, of the country’s biggest 20 metro areas by population, at least part of 14 of them lies within 50 miles of a nuclear plant. Overall, about a third of Americans live within one of the 50-mile radiuses. If you’re reading this article somewhere in the U.S., there’s a good chance that a nuclear plant is relatively closeby.

  31. The Tsar Bomba has a heat wave blast radius of almost 50 miles. Are you sure in the worst case scenario of a nuclear plant suffering some catastrophic failure, sabotage or enemy attack and it’s entire stockpile reacting, that the explosion will be less than 100 megatons?

  32. Hydro electric power is safer and works well. We should replace the nuclear power plants, not enough security to protect against foreign sabotage.

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