In 2008, I attended a seminar where a very senior Shell analyst dismissed the possibility of nuclear energy as an option for S’pore. He said that if a nuclear plant was sited on the NE side of S’pore, the safety or protection zone would stretch somewhere to the SW side of S’pore, in Jurong.
So with all the recent talk of building a nuclear power plant, I was surprised that there doesn’t seem to be anything said or written on safety issues.
For example what are safety zones and their extent?
Googling brought me to the website of the US Dept of Homeland Security: Local and state governments, federal agencies, and the electric utilities have emergency response plans in the event of a nuclear power plant incident. The plans define two “emergency planning zones.” One zone covers an area within a 10-mile radius of the plant, where it is possible that people could be harmed by direct radiation exposure. The second zone covers a broader area, usually up to a 50-mile radius from the plant, where radioactive materials could contaminate water supplies, food crops, and livestock.
So a 10-mile (16-km) zone is needed to prevent us from being exposed to direct radiation. To give you an idea of the distances involved, Changi Airport is 20 km from Orchard Rd. So if the plant were at Changi Airport, the zone would include Toa Payoh, AMK, Bishan, Marine Parade and some pretty posh places along Dunearn Rd and Bukit Timah Rd. And although the Istana is not within the 16 km radius, radioactive particles don’t know where the 16-km mark is. It all depends on weather conditions how far they will travel. Hence the wider zone given by the analyst from Shell: he added a margin just to be cautious. Read the rest of this entry »