Nuclear Emergencies


Nuclear power plants are designed to rigorous standards, have many redundant safety features, and are carefully regulated and monitored; however, problems and accidents can happen. If a nuclear power plant emergency did occur, it could result in danger­ously high levels of radiation in your area, especially if within 10 miles of the plant. Exposure to high levels of radiation is extremely dangerous to you and your family. Radiation also can contaminate the water and soil within a 50-mile radius. 



How to prepare

Basic Information
  • Verify and update official contact information in the Marine Corps Enterprise Mass Notification System (eMNS), and register all cell phones, home phone, email addresses, etc. in eMNS. 

  • Be aware of local emergency plans should an emergency occur, especially if you live within 10 miles of a plant.

  • Make a written family emergency plan that includes evacuation routes.

  • Make a written emergency communication plan in case family members are separated.

  • Build an emergency kit.


  • Notification of Unusual Event—There is a small problem at the plant that did not result in the escape of any radiation. There is no immediate danger, and you are not required to do anything in response.

  • Alert—There is a small problem at the plant where a small amount of radiation could have leaked inside the plant. There is no immediate danger, and you are not required to do anything in response.

  • Site Area Emergency—Listen for possible area sirens. Stay tuned to the radio or TV for safety information.

  • General Emergency—There has been an emergency at the plant in which radiation could leak outside the plant. Listen for sirens. Stay tuned to the radio and TV for instruction and information reports. Promptly follow any instructions given.



What to do if there is an emergency

  • Stay tuned to the radio or TV and follow Emergency Alert System instructions.

  • Keep as much distance or shielding between you and the source of the radiation as possible.


If told to evacuate
  • Bring your emergency kit.

  • Follow the designated evacuation path.

  • Keep windows and vents closed to minimize exposure to radiation.

  • Once you are in a safe place, follow your command’s protocols for personnel accountability and contact your command’s designated Point of Contact to check-in and report your location and situation.


If not told to evacuate
  • Turn off air conditioners, ventilators, furnaces, and any other air intakes.

  • Do not go outside. 

  • Try not to use the telephone unless it is absolutely necessary.

  • Stay in a basement or underground room if at all possible.

  • Keep food covered at all times.

  • Uncovered food should be washed and covered or discarded.



If you have been exposed to radiation

  • Remove clothes and seal in a plastic bag.

  • Place the sealed clothing in a separate room.

  • Take a very thorough shower.

  • Seek medical treatment for unusual symptoms, such as nausea.



After an emergency

  • Do not return until you are told to do so.

  • Water can be contaminated, so listen for reports about its safety.


Set your own course through any hazard: stay informed, make a plan, build a kit. Live Ready Marine Corps.