United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Emergency Planning Zones

To facilitate a preplanned strategy for protective actions during an emergency, there are two emergency planning zones (EPZs) around each nuclear power plant. The exact size and shape of each EPZ is a result of detailed planning which includes consideration of the specific conditions at each site, unique geographical features of the area, and demographic information. This preplanned strategy for an EPZ provides a substantial basis to support activity beyond the planning zone in the extremely unlikely event it would be needed.

The two EPZs are described as follows:

Plume Exposure Pathway EPZ

The plume exposure pathway EPZ has a radius of about 10 miles from the reactor site. Predetermined protective action plans are in place for this EPZ and are designed to avoid or reduce dose from potential exposure of radioactive materials. These actions include sheltering, evacuation, and the use of potassium iodide where appropriate. For more information, see Typical 10-Mile Plume Exposure Pathway EPZ Map.

Ingestion Exposure Pathway EPZ

The ingestion exposure pathway EPZ has a radius of about 50 miles from the reactor site. Predetermined protective action plans are in place for this EPZ and are designed to avoid or reduce dose from potential ingestion of radioactive materials. These actions include a ban of contaminated food and water.

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Wednesday, June 05, 2013