Feds Plan Ahead for Atomic Disaster


Fifth Estate # 277, October 1976

NEW YORK (LNS)—While fervently minimizing the danger of nuclear accidents, the federal government is busy making plans in case accidents do occur, according to a recent New York Times report.

A 43-page draft has been written by the Federal Preparedness Agency—a 700-member group within the General Services Administration. It details a plan to “cope with the casualties, property damage and loss of civilian control that might be caused by a serious accident at one of the nation’s 58 nuclear reactors.”

For example, the report directs the Environmental Protection Agency to cooperate with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to develop “guidelines for the disposal of the dead, removal of solid wastes, animal carcasses and other debris…that might contaminate the environment.”

More remote than the consistent malfunctioning of existing nuclear power plants or the leaks of stored radioactive material, is the possibility of “an explosion of a homemade atomic bomb,” but nevertheless, the draft report deals extensively with this subject. The FBI is called upon to draw up plans to deal with thefts of nuclear bomb-making materials and nuclear extortion threats.

And the Federal Preparedness Agency calls on all government agencies to direct their efforts “toward the preservation of the basic political, social and economic systems and values of the affected areas.”