Wednesday, April 13, 2011

How close is the next nuclear power plant and are you living within a seismic zone?

The worldwide distribution of nuclear power plants shows, many of them are related near seismic zones, potentially exposing them to the forces that damaged the Fukushima plant in Japan.  
Now a lot of people what to find out how close the next nuclear power plant is to their home location. This is a classic query of Spatial information systems and can visualized on maps. ESRI has published an interactive map where you can find out how close a nuclear plan is to your location by entering an address or using the browser geolocation functionality.
Users can also determine whether they live within 10-mile or 50-mile U.S. evacuation zones of any nuclear plants.
"All of the earthquakes on this map are significant," said ESRI analyst Bronwyn Agrios, noting that the analysis was eye-opening for those on ESRI's staff. "We found that we're just on the cusp of the evacuation zone of the San Onofre plant, just down the coast on the ocean side. Right around our area there have been three earthquakes. We're in a highly dense area for faults. We can feel that. We can feel tremors every week."William Leith, acting associate director for natural hazards at the USGS, said it's impossible to predict the precise timing, location and magnitude of an earthquake, in part because quakes have been measured in the USA only for a century.Although most nuclear plants are in the central and eastern USA, where earthquakes are rare, the USGS ranks 39 states as having a high or moderate earthquake risk, Leith said. New studies have shown that at least 20 magnitude-9.0 earthquakes have struck off the coast of Northern California, Oregon and Washington in the past 20,000 years, most recently in 1700, he said."We don't want to alarm anybody," he said, "but it can happen here."


Following map is also great: http://opendata.zeit.de/nuclear-reactors-usa/#/en/fullmap

It answers the question - How many people in the US live near nuclear power plants? 

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