NRC: Emergency Planning for Kids

The friendly cartoon mascot doesn't have a name, which seems like poor planning, but this Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) site for students (and teachers) does offer basic information about nuclear energy, reactors, emergency planning, decommissioning, and radioactive waste. The NRC's Students Corner, last revised in July 2003, is meant to educate and reassure students about nuclear energy, its production and disposal, and the measures in place to protect kids and their families (aka public health and safety) in the event of a serious accident. "Do you know what to do when the Alert siren sounds? Turn on your radio or TV!" A brief text asserts how owners of nuclear power plants maintain emergency evacuations plans and drills to practice how to handle emergencies. "Since Three Mile Island, many changes have increased safety in the nuclear industry. Reactor operators must be trained to handle emergencies, using computer simulators. Our emergency operations center is now staffed 24 hours a day. And more information is required from owners of plants, so that NRC can make sound safety decisions."

Visit the NRC's Students Center - Emergency Planning

Under Games there's an atomic crossword puzzle but perhaps understandably it neglects challenging students to differentiate between the four classes of emergency at nuclear power plants: Notification of Unusual Event ("A minor problem has taken place... You will not have to do anything"), Alert ("This is also a minor problem... It is not likely you will have to do anything"), Site Emergency ("Small amounts of radioactivity may be released in the area right around the plant... All officials will be ready to help you, if needed"), and General Emergency("You may have to help yourself... The officials will tell you what you need to do").

In the teachers' lessons plans there's a print-friendly diagram (scissors, glue or tape required) of a Nuclear Waste Cube to help students visualize the volume of "one person's share of high-level radioactive waste from nuclear power plants for a 20-year period" leftover after recycling.





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