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Vicinity to nuclear power plants and choosing a homestead spot?  RSS feed

 
jamie michelle
Posts: 15
Location: Verona, NY
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I'm partial to NYS, simply because I know it well, and I anticipate having to take care of my Mom in her older years...

... so in land hunts regions boil down to this:

The western and souther tiers are spoilt with mineral rights reserved for the fracking $$$ (not to mention the water and health threats).

The northern tier is cheap, but I cannot come to terms with the shorter growing season and any wintertime commuting. It's not necessarily that I'm afraid of snow--I think the Central region where I am currently located is actually the highest snowfall in the state, but we're flat, and hills and ice are likely too much for my trusty Corolla to handle.

The Catskills are out of my price range because they're heavily frequented by NYC residents.

And the Capitol district is also pricey and nearing a longer commute when you might have to travel through the ADK park system.

The central region, where we are currently, is heavily farmed. I haven't actually in four months looking, found one parcel I can afford and am excited about.

What this leaves us, is the northern central region. It's got the largest ratio of state owned parks to personal property in the whole state---but it's also encroaching on the military base (Ft. Drum) and getting closer and closer to the nuclear power plant.

SO (at last?) I ASK -- how concerned are others about their vicinity to nuclear power plants? It was at the top of my list originally, until I came down to reality. What mileage buffer would make you feel more comfortable?

I've got two spots in mind, but they're only 40 miles away from an operating reactor, and historically WITHIN the wind patterns. : /


 
Larry Bartel
Posts: 19
Location: PA
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not an expert by any means, so take it for what it's worth...

Distance from a plant is (very) likely far less important than the prevailing wind direction - while you might be safe 10 mi. away if upwind after an "event", you may not be at 1000 mi. if downwind.

It would appear (and i would say very likely) that some amount of radiation from Fukushima has reached at least the western shore of the U.S.. Certainly the radiation from Chernobyl traveled thousands of miles and, even at that distance after dilution, was apparently at unsafe levels.

With that said, i would posit that your concern is less relevant than you probably think simply because we're all in danger, no matter where we live, and attempting to minimize the risk is largely dependent on the scale of the next accident, especially if you want to remain on the E. coast. I watch a couple of news feeds and, on average, i see about 1 to 1.5 events each week. Of course almost all of them "pose no threat to your safety", right?



http://thewatchers.adorraeli.com/category/nuclear-events/

http://fukushimaupdate.com/

http://hisz.rsoe.hu/
 
John Elliott
pollinator
Posts: 2392
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I can't be concerned about proximity to a nuclear power plant, even though there is a new one going in 40 miles down the road. It's just a risk I will have to run, hoping that they run it well for the rest of the years I have allotted to be on the planet.

There are two kinds of risk, one that you can't do anything about -- that would be a Three Mile Island or Chernobyl type of accident, where plant operations goofed up -- and you just have to be upwind far enough that you aren't drawn in some new type of exclusion zone. That's the category I'm in, it would have to be a monumental type release, worse than Fukushima, for me to get caught up. If it did happen, I'd just have to evacuate and start over.

The other kind of risk, one that you have some discretion over, is not to get near any reactors that are poorly sited. Fukushima is the classic example, but in that same category are San Onofre (how much is sea level rise supposed to be this century?), the reactor in Nebraska that was within inches of getting flooded by the Missouri river back a couple years ago, and any others that are in a coastal location.

If you really want a no-nukes permaculture spot, better look in the Southern Hemisphere. Of the 400 or so nuke plants on the planet, less than a handful are in the Southern Hemisphere.
 
Angelika Maier
pollinator
Posts: 985
Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
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The hint with the poorly sited reactors is good and I would as well ask which type? Did it have problems before?
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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bee books chicken forest garden fungi trees
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The northern tier is cheap, but I cannot come to terms with the shorter growing season and any wintertime commuting. It's not necessarily that I'm afraid of snow--I think the Central region where I am currently located is actually the highest snowfall in the state, but we're flat, and hills and ice are likely too much for my trusty Corolla to handle. 


You'll want a truck on your homestead anyway, I say go for the northern tier.
 
Michael Cox
Posts: 1667
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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If you are concerned about radioactive isotopes carried to your land then you need to be far more concerned about coal fired than nuclear plants. Coal contains trace amounts of many different isotopes, however "trace" becomes a relative concept when you consider a coal fired plant that will burn millions of tonnes of coal over it's life time. A nuclear plant monitors these emissions and strictly controls them, a coal plant just sends it up the chimney with the flue gases.

http://www.epa.gov/rpdweb00/tenorm/coalandcoalash.html

Key snippets from that link:
Around 10% of ash products are radioactive
68 million tonnes of ash were produced in the USA last year
Lots of that ash is collected and used (eg in concrete) but lots is also vented to the atmosphere
 
jamie michelle
Posts: 15
Location: Verona, NY
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Thanks everyone, super nuggets of info to consider.

With some reflection, I can't help but agree with Matu -- what's the difference with changing my car out and getting some more greenhouses!?


Larry - 1-1.5 incidents a day? I'd love to watch whatever media sources you're on. Al Jazeera can only cover so much.

Michael - I had no idea to watch for coal, and I'm not sure how to locate sites, but I'm on it. I had a sense that it's still used, but I figured rarely. And is this one of the reasons permaculture tends to avoid concrete? Growing up with a Dad who was in post WW2 construction employment, a lot of things around my house are concrete. Just from an aesthetic preference I was hoping to avoid it, but had no idea I should be doing it for health reasons. Will simmer on that too!

 
Larry Bartel
Posts: 19
Location: PA
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1-1.5 events per week, not per day
many of the events are very minor (fire breaks out in a trash can or some such nonsense), but every once in a while it's something bigger, like a leak

the sources i watch on occasion are linked in my post
 
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