Frequently Asked Questions

State and county emergency planners, supported by hundreds of highly trained safety experts (police, firefighters, medical personnel and other officials) have developed extensive procedures for an emergency that might occur at Indian Point.

If an emergency were to occur, the county executives would receive information directly from the nuclear plant operators as well as from emergency planners and staff from all county departments. At the same time, each county executive would be in immediate and continuous communication with the county executives from the three other counties surrounding Indian Point. The county executives would also be in direct communication with state and federal officials.

Together, government officials would decide what protective actions, if any, the public should take. Their decisions and instructions would be communicated to the public through the Emergency Alert System (EAS) broadcasts as well as through other news media.

Sheltering-in-place and evacuation are two possible protective actions that you may be instructed to take during an emergency. The goal of protective actions is to minimize the public’s exposure to a radiological release. Elected officials will decide what specific protective actions are best for the public to take after considering a wide range of expert advice and information, including data on the amount and duration of the release, wind direction and weather conditions. The actions of sheltering or evacuation each have advantages depending upon the situation.
Police are highly trained in evacuation procedures and traffic control techniques. The counties have performed traffic studies of roads both within and outside the EPZ, and have extensive control systems in place to facilitate traffic flow during any emergency.

In most instances, only people living in specific Protective Action Areas would be told to evacuate. Therefore, it is most important for people to follow directions from public officials carefully to ensure a successful evacuation.

Shadow evacuation should be avoided as it causes unnecessary congestion on the roads needed by people in those Protective Action Areas that are being instructed to evacuate. County emergency plans take the possibility of a “shadow” evacuation into consideration. These plans have factored it into their procedures and training. Public awareness of the dangers of unnecessary evacuation is one way to reduce the problem.

No. Radioactive fuel in a nuclear plant has very low levels of the type of element that could cause a nuclear explosion. It should be noted that even at low concentrations, precautions must be taken so that radioactive materials produced by the uranium do not reach the environment.

All nuclear power plants in the U.S. are designed with containment buildings of concrete and steel. The 1986 accident in Chernobyl, Russia occurred in a nuclear plant that did not have a containment building.

Nursing homes, hospitals, hospices, etc., within the EPZ have included emergency procedures in their emergency plans. Staff is trained in these procedures to keep these people safe in the event of an emergency.
You should fill out the enclosed postcard at the end of this booklet for people with special needs and drop it in the mail. You need to do so even if you did so last year. You should arrange for a neighbor to assist you in an emergency.

If you choose to go to a friend or a relative’s home outside the EPZ, ask them if they will accept your pet, or arrange to have it boarded elsewhere. Pets, except for service animals such as seeing-eye dogs are not allowed inside the General Population Reception Centers.

For more information about preparing your pet for emergencies, review the the Humane Society of the United States website at

Radiation is energy, such as heat, light and radio waves, that moves at high speed through space or matter. One type of radiation is produced by so-called radioactive materials.

Radiation is part of nature, and humans are exposed to radiation all the time. It comes from rocks in the earth, from the sun and stars. Radiation also comes from common man-made sources, such as many building materials, smoke detectors and medical X-rays.

Radiation has been very well-studied for a hundred years. It can be very useful when properly controlled for peaceful purposes such as for medical X-rays and the production of electricity. But radiation can be dangerous. In too large a dose, radiation can cause harm by damaging living cells. Excessive doses of radiation need to be guarded against.

At every one of our country’s more than 100 nuclear power plants, every safety precaution is taken to isolate, shield and prevent radioactive materials from escaping to the environment.

Radiation can be easily measured with various instruments, including Geiger counters.