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Are We at Risk from the Calvert Nuclear Power Plant in an Emergency?

Although Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Plant is located in Calvert County, its geographic proximity means that St. Mary’s County could be affected during the unlikely event of a nuclear plant emergency.

Given the fact that St. Mary’s County is in the process of redistributing Potassium Iodide tablets to those that live within 10 miles of the nuclear facility and a test of the warning system was conducted on Monday, April 6, TheBAYNET.com decided to do some research and to find out how risky living in close proximity to a nuclear power facility might actually be during an emergency.
 
Potassium Iodide tablets are distributed to prevent contamination of the Thyroid should there be a radiation leak that escapes into the atmosphere. TBN talked with the Health Officer for Calvert County, Dr. David Rogers about Potassium Iodide and how it works.
 
Dr. Rogers stated that the tablet when taken prior to contact with radioactive Iodide, which is released during a nuclear emergency saturates the Thyroid gland so that no other forms of the important nutrient can be absorbed by the body. “Iodine is important to the formation of the enzymes produced by the thyroid which regulates growth and many other functions in the body. By saturating the thyroid, the radioactive iodides cannot be absorbed and there is no danger of cancer development,” said Rogers. He went on to explain that children are the most susceptible to the danger of developing cancer from radioactive iodides released.
 
Potassium Iodide will only protect the thyroid gland from damage caused by radioactive iodine that may be released from the nuclear plant during a radioactive emergency. Because its protective effect is limited to the thyroid gland, taking the medication is not a substitute for other protective actions such as evacuation or taking shelter, which protect the entire body. Should a radioactive emergency occur, official recommendations to the public for protective actions, including taking the drug will be released by the media.
 
There are four levels of incidents in the nuclear plant system: 1). Unusual event – A small problem has occurred within the plant, and there is no radiation leak. No action is required; 2).
Alert – A small problem has occurred, and small amounts of radiation could leak inside the plant. No action is required; 3) Site Emergency –  Area sirens may be sounded; and 4). General Emergency – Area sirens will sound.
 
For citizens who live near enough to hear the warning sirens should they be activated the first order of business is to stay calm and to check with TBN, local radio and/or TV to find out the facts as authorities release them.
 
The news media will pass along information provided from county officials as part of its coverage of a breaking event such as a nuclear accident; Offici

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