Frontier Group


Which U.S. Reactors Are Located Near Population Centers?

The unfolding nuclear emergency in Japan is a sobering reminder of the dangers of nuclear power. Should a similar accident occur in the United States, it could have dire consequences. More than 100 million Americans live within a 50 mile radius of a nuclear power plant.

Frontier Group and U.S. PIRG have calculated the number of  individuals living within 50 miles of a reactor in the United States. Today (March 16), the U.S. Government recommended that its citizens in Japan evacuate to this distance — which is what the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission would recommend “‘in a comparable situation in the U.S.,’ its chairman, Gregory Jaczko, said on Wednesday.

The data can be found in the Microsoft Excel files linked below. There are three tabs, compiling the information nationally, by the state in which the reactor is located, and by the individual power plant site. The data may be underestimated, because they rely on the 2000 U.S. Census.

Source: Frontier Group calculations using reactor location data, 2000 U.S. Census population data compiled by ESRI as part of their Data and Maps package (represented by points at the center of each census block, the smallest unit of Census data collection), and active reactor information from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The active reactor information link above also contains a field for the nearest city to each reactor, which may prove useful for advocates attempting to provide local information. See Column D.