Nuclear power plants, like many sorts of industrial facilities, involve the use of hazardous materials. But unlike other facilities, the nation’s 103 nuclear power plants are required to have detailed emergency plans to protect the public in the event of an accident that could result in the release of radioactivity. Emergency plans for nuclear power plants are regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which supervise graded exercises of those plans. The Bureau of Emergency Management is responsible for maintaining New Hampshire’s nuclear plant emergency plans. Those plans are reviewed and updated annually.
New Hampshire has one nuclear power plant, Seabrook Station in Seabrook, located within its borders and another plant, Vermont Yankee, located nearby in Vernon, Vermont. Both plants have 10-mile Emergency Planning Zones around them where emergency planning is concentrated.
The Seabrook Emergency Planning Zone (EPZ) includes 17 New Hampshire towns, all in Rockingham County: Brentwood, East Kingston, Exeter, Greenland, Hampton, Hampton Falls, Kensington, Kingston, New Castle, Newfields, Newton, North Hampton, Portsmouth and Rye. There are also six Massachusetts towns in the Seabrook EPZ.
The Vermont Yankee EPZ includes five New Hampshire towns, all in Cheshire County: Chesterfield, Hinsdale, Richmond, the Westport Section of Swanzey and Winchester. There are also seven Massachusetts and five Vermont towns in the Vermont Yankee EPZ.
Emergencies at nuclear power plants are classified at four levels (from least serious to most serious): unusual event, alert, site area emergency and general emergency.
For details on New Hampshire's emergency plans for Seabrook Station and Vermont Yankee, please refer to the following:
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