The world’s eyes are on the nuclear scare verging on disaster in Japan. It’s easy to forget that we here in Miami-Dade also live close to a nuclear power plant, and that the nice people at FPL who run them are working hard to install two more reactor cores.
Eye on Miami reminds us, in two related blog posts, Nukes: In Japan and Turkey Point and Japan nuclear plant disaster: rescuers should include the Miami Dade County Commission … that there are real risks here.
Let’s start by admitting that there are at least two important differences between Japan and South Florida. First, unlike with earthquakes, you can usually see a hurricane coming, so it ought to be possible to shut a reactor down in advance of a disaster; I don’t know that this is how they operate, but I sure hope so. Second, the prevailing winds around here tend to be out towards the ocean, but even so, you can’t rely on that after a hurricane strong enough to knock out the power and create a Japan-like situation here. (There’s a third issue about the extent to which our design is like Japan’s; I’m sure there are at least some differences given the age of the Japanese plants, but I’m not sure how significant those are to the problem of coping with unexpectedly large disasters not to mention expected but unspeakable ones like water levels rising from global warning.)
There are some things you can do to protect yourself and your family, and crazy as it may sound, one of the greatest is to lay in a small stock of iodide tablets. In the event of a release of radioactive gas, one of the greatest risks of even a limited exposure is thyroid cancer. In an emergency (don’t take them otherwise!), taking pills like Iostat can play a major role in protecting any people downwind of a radioactive release from this danger.
There may be a national stockpile of Iodide pills with plans to rush them to the scene of a disaster, but I never heard of it, and somehow I rather doubt it. And if the stockpile does exist I’m sure either Governor Voldemort or the the Republicans in the House are planning to defund it any minute now. So it may make sense to get a small number of these pills to have around.