DOWNLOAD CALENDAR
EMERGENCY PLAN

There are many safeguards and highly skilled people operating the Cook Nuclear Plant. It is very unlikely that a serious event will ever occur there. Chances of you having to seek shelter or evacuate because of a nuclear emergency are very remote. In the unlikely event that there is an emergency, the topics below will provide the necessary information on how to respond.

If you would like to access all of our emergency information please download the Cook Nuclear Plant Calendar.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

What should I do if I hear sirens?
THE SIRENS ARE TESTED ON THE FIRST SATURDAY OF THE MONTH AT 1 P.M.

All monthly tests, except for April, consist of a short siren sound lasting less than a minute. On the first Saturday of April, we test all emergency sirens for three minutes at 1 p.m. as part of our comprehensive safety plan. At other times, you may hear sound-level tests also lasting less than a minute.

In Berrien County, we use early-warning sirens to alert you of a serious emergency. They will sound if there is a nuclear accident, chemical spill, weather emergency or other possible dangerous condition in our county.

  • If the emergency siren sounds for three to five minutes, tune to the television and radio stations listed.
    All of the stations listed are part of the local Emergency Alert System (EAS). These stations will broadcast emergency information. Some of the stations may experience a delay in getting emergency information out due to computerized programming or limited broadcast scheduling. Check all of the listed stations until you find one that is broadcasting emergency information.

  • If you hear a siren for less than a minute or a siren repeated in less-than a-minute intervals, it is probably calling a volunteer fire department.
    However, tune to an area radio or television station listed to the right to be sure.

  • If you notice that a siren is damaged or not working, call 269-983-7141, Ext. 4900 immediately.
    The Berrien County Emergency Management Office maintains the sirens. For your protection, report non-working sirens right away.
Vacationers & Visitors

If you hear sirens while vacationing or visiting in the area, seek shelter indoors or in your vehicle.
Tune to one of the television or radio stations. Follow all directions given by park officials, sheriff and police officers.

During a weather emergency, do not stay in your vehicle. It is not safe!

Boaters & Campers

If you hear emergency sirens while boating, do not wait for further warning.
Tune to the marine channel 16 (156.8 MHz) or to an area radio station listed for emergency information. Marine patrol boats will also warn boaters on Lake Michigan if there is a serious emergency. You will be told the location of safe waterways and docking areas.

If you hear sirens while camping, hiking, swimming or visiting in area parks, follow all emergency instructions from park officials.
At Warren Dunes and Grand Mere state parks, officials will use the public address system or mobile alert units to let you know what you should do. At other local parks, immediately tune to an area radio station and follow instructions.

Nuclear Emergency Terms

In the unlikely event that there is an emergency at the Cook Nuclear Plant, four terms will be used to describe each situation. Those four terms are explained below. They are listed in order of least serious (1) to most serious (4).

Because of the many safeguards and highly skilled people operating the Cook Nuclear Plant, it is very unlikely that a serious event will ever occur there. Chances of you having to seek shelter or evacuate because of a nuclear emergency are very remote. In most cases, evacuation is ordered as a safety measure before any danger can come to you or your family. Federal law, however, requires that the public be told what to do in case of a significant release of radioactive material from the Cook Nuclear Plant. Please keep this Emergency Information Calendar handy and become familiar with its contents.

Sometimes you will hear news about a drill or an exercise involving the Cook Nuclear Plant. That is because federal, state, county and plant officials are required by law to participate regularly in drills and exercises so they are prepared in case of an emergency.

If the sirens sound, listen to an area TV or radio station for emergency information and follow instructions.

  1. Unusual Event:
    a minor problem at the Cook Nuclear Plant that varies from normal or routine operations. No release of radioactive material is expected. Cook Plant officials will notify federal, state and county officials. You will not have to do anything.

  2. Alert:
    an abnormal plant condition that could result in a small release of radioactive material inside the plant. This is still considered a minor event. Cook Plant officials will notify federal, state and county officials to stand by. It is not likely that you will have to do anything.

  3. Site Area Emergency:
    a more serious situation that could result in a release of radioactive material around the plant site. All federal, state and county officials will be ready to help if needed. Protective measures may be required to ensure the safety of the public in a limited area near the plant site boundary. If so, the sirens may sound. Tune in immediately to an area TV or radio station to learn whether you will need to seek shelter or evacuate.

  4. General Emergency:
    the most serious situation possible at the Cook Nuclear Plant. It could result in the release of a large amount of radioactive material outside the plant boundary. All federal, state and county officials will provide help as needed. Protective measures may be required to ensure the safety of the public as far as 10 miles from the plant. The sirens will sound and you will be told by area TV and radio station if shelter or evacuation is necessary.

Two other key terms: radiation and contamination

  • Radiation
    refers to the particles and waves given off by radioactive material. It is a form of energy that occurs naturally and artificially. We are exposed to it every day. However, radiation could be harmful to your health and safety if the levels are high enough and the exposure lasts long enough.

  • Contamination
    is when radioactive material is where it is not supposed to be. Food, water or air is considered contaminated if it contains more or different types of radioactive material than would be normally present. Our bodies, for example, contain very small amounts of the radioactive elements potassium-40, carbon-14 and tritium. We are not considered to be contaminated because these elements exist within us naturally. However, the presence of strontium-90 (a possible by-product of a nuclear power plant emergency) in food, air or water can indicate contamination.
State of Michigan Potassium Iodide Distribution

Radioactive iodine (radioiodine) is one of the products that could be released in the unlikely event of a serious nuclear power plant accident. Potassium iodide (KI) is a non-radioactive form of iodine that may be taken to reduce the amount of radioactive iodine absorbed by the body’s thyroid gland. KI offers protection only to the thyroid gland and its use would be to supplement evacuation and in-place sheltering. Evacuation and in-place sheltering are the primary means of protection in a radiological emergency.

State and county officials will use the Emergency Alert System (EAS) to notify the public of the need to evacuate to an in-place shelter or to take KI. KI is available to persons within 10 miles of Cook Nuclear Plant through the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH). Detailed instructions on the MDCH distribution of KI can be found www.michigan.gov/KI.

It is necessary to pick up your KI prior to an emergency situation at the plant. Complete your voucher and pick up your KI at a participating pharmacy at your earliest convenience. You will NOT be able to get KI from the pharmacy during a nuclear plant emergency. People who are allergic to iodine should not use KI. In the event of an allergic reaction, contact a doctor.

Facts About Radiation

Radiation is a natural fact of life
Radiation is a form of energy like light or sunshine. There is radiation all around us. We are exposed to small amounts of radioactive materials every moment of our lives.

How we measure radiation
You cannot see, taste, hear or smell ionizing radiation. But we can measure it with special instruments. We use a unit called a millirem (mRem) to measure ionizing radiation.

On average, a person living in the U.S. receives about 620 mRem per year from all radiation sources. A person living within 10 miles of the Cook Nuclear Plant receives about 485 mRem because we live at a low elevation that is not near any radioactive rock formations. About 310 mRem of the total we receive comes from man-made sources, primarily medical testing. Only a tiny fraction of one percent of the man-made radiation would come from Cook Plant.

Natural background radiation is in the air we breathe
The sun covers our planet with cosmic radiation. Some rocks and minerals give off small amounts of radiation. One source you may be familiar with is radon gas. Many building materials contain radiation. In fact, radioactive particles are in the air we breathe, the food we eat and the water we drink. Even our bodies are slightly radioactive. These sources of radiation are called natural background radiation.

We make and use radioactive sources every day
Besides naturally occurring radiation, there is also artificial (man-made) radiation. Radioactive materials are used in medical and dental X-rays. They are used to help diagnose and treat diseases such as cancer. Science and industry use radioactive materials for research and to do such things as X-ray welds. Other sources of radioactive materials are color TVs, smoke detectors, some luminous-dial watches and clocks. Very small amounts of radiation come from generating electricity with nuclear power.

Types of radiation
Radiation includes such things as light, heat and radio waves. However, when we speak of radiation we usually mean “ionizing” radiation. This radiation can produce high-energy, charged particles called “ions” in the materials it strikes.

The main types of ionizing radiation are:

  • Alpha particles, which can be stopped by a sheet of paper.
  • Beta particles, which can be stopped by a thin sheet of metal.
  • Gamma rays, which can be stopped almost completely by three feet of concrete.
  • Neutron particles, which can be stopped by water, concrete and metal.

Effects of radiation
Just as too much exposure to the sun can cause painful sunburn, too much exposure to certain levels and types of radiation can have harmful effects. You would, however, have to be exposed to radiation doses over 20,000 mRem within a day to produce effects measurable by a trained doctor. Very large doses of 50,000 to 100,000 mRem are required before you would feel any ill effects.

The amount of exposure from radiation depends on:

  • Length of time you are exposed.
  • How far you are from the source of radiation.
  • Which part of your body is exposed.
  • How much material you inhale or take into your body.

Your health or physical condition can affect your reaction to radiation exposure. For example, you should be aware that unborn babies and very young children are more likely to be harmed by radiation exposure.

The less radiation you are exposed to, the less chance you have of receiving any harmful effects. That is why it is so important to have an emergency plan in place near a nuclear power plant. We need to treat radiation with both caution and common sense.

Cook Nuclear Plant workers regularly check radiation levels both inside and outside the plant. In the unlikely event of a serious nuclear accident at the plant, state and federal health experts would be called in to take radiation readings beyond the plant site boundary. These readings would determine what steps, if any, you, your family and co-workers would need to take to protect yourselves.

Advanced Planning Guide

The worst thing about any serious emergency is that it often catches people off guard. The best way to stay safe in an emergency is to know what to do ahead of time. This requires advance planning. Here are five steps you can take now to prepare for any emergency.

  1. Keep this site bookmarked and get a copy of the Emergency Planning Calendar.

  2. Keep your important papers, checkbook, credit cards, bank books, extra keys, a first-aid kit, and other essential items — such as a portable radio, flashlight, and extra batteries — together in a safe place. Then you can find them quickly in an emergency. We also have a list for other essential items you may need.

  3. Make a list of personal instructions and supplies you and family members or fellow workers may need in case you have to leave quickly.

  4. Keep your car or vehicle in good running order. Fill your gas tank whenever it gets below half. If you don’t have a car or know someone close by who will drive you in an emergency, please obtain a Functional Needs card from either the Cook Energy Information Center or The Berrien County Emergency Management Office. Mail it right away. You don't need a stamp.

  5. If you know someone who has Functional Needs — vision or hearing impaired, handicapped — make sure they get a Functional Needs card. You should help them fill out the card and mail it. Also, if you know someone with impaired vision or who does not read well, please read this page to them.

If you have questions or comments about anything in this part of the site, need more information about emergency planning, or want copies of the Emergency Planning Calendar, call or write either of the offices below.

Cook Energy Information Center
One Cook Place
Bridgman, Michigan 49106
1-800-548-2555

Berrien County Emergency Management
Division of Berrien County Sheriffs Office
919 Port Street
St. Joseph, Michigan 49085
(269) 983-7141 Ext. 7215

What if I have Functional Needs?

People with functional needs in an emergency include those with vision or hearing impairments, physical or mental disabilities, or no means of transportation. To get help in an emergency, please fill out the Functional Needs card in the annual calendar, Berrien County Emergency Management Office, the Cook Energy Information Center.

Since transportation resources will be limited in an emergency, only people who truly need help should send in a card.

When you mail the Special Needs card, the Berrien County Health Department will keep the information on file for one year. Special warning or protective actions then can be taken for you (or whomever you identify) in a serious emergency in Berrien County. But since cards are kept on file for only a year, anyone with Special Needs must obtain, complete and return a card annually. These cards need to be renewed when the Emergency Planning Calendar is issued. Copies of the calendar can be had from the Emergency Management Office or the Cook Energy Information Center.

If you know people with functional needs, please volunteer to help them in an emergency.
If they do not live nearby or you are not able to help them, please make sure they fill out and mail the functional needs card.

What radio and T.V. stations should I get emergency information from?

All of the stations listed take part in the local News Media Notification System (which is similar to the national Emergency Broadcast System) and will broadcast emergency information. However, some stations could experience a few minutes delay in getting out emergency information due to computerized programming or limited broadcast scheduling. Check all listed stations until you find one broadcasting emergency information.

The sirens are controlled by the Berrien County Emergency Management Office. If you notice a siren has been damaged or is not working, please call them at 269-983-7141 at once to report it for your own protection.

What should I do if I'm told to seek shelter or stay indoors?

For most emergencies, it is safer to stay indoors. The wind will blow any toxic or poisonous fumes and gases away in a short time. During a severe weather emergency, buildings offer the best protection, especially basements. While indoors, do the following:

  • Keep calm. Panic is your worst enemy in any emergency.
  • Close all windows and doors, and bring pets inside. Turn off all air-intake systems such as fans and air conditioners. Turn down furnace thermostat. Close fireplace dampers.
  • If your building has a basement, take a radio and go there.
  • Do not go outside to see what is happening until you are told it is safe to go out or are told to evacuate. If you must go outdoors briefly to warn someone during a nuclear emergency, cover your nose and mouth with a piece of cloth such as a towel or scarf.
  • Do not use the telephone or Internet unless it is absolutely necessary. It’s important to keep telephone lines open for emergency use.
  • Stay out of your car or vehicle in a weather emergency. Seek shelter in the basement of a nearby building or in a ditch until the weather emergency passes.
What should I do if I'm told to evacuate?
  • Listen to the radio or television for instructions. They will give you evacuation routes and directions to open reception centers.
  • Go directly to a reception center and register. Follow the broadcasted evacuation route instructions to the nearest open reception center. Please register when you arrive at the center so family and friends will know where you are. After you have registered you may go to stay with friends or family who live outside the danger area. Or, if you prefer, you will be assigned to a safe, nearby gathering place.
  • Stay calm. You and others with you should have time to get ready to leave safely.
  • Take only essential items. Pack as if you were going on a trip for only a few days. Use the list below as a guide.
  • Do not take firearms, alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs.
  • If you have functional needs and have sent in a postcard, you will receive necessary assistance. If you need help, listen to a local TV or radio station for the telephone number you can call.

Do not pick up your children from schools or child care centers. If necessary, they will be taken to shelters outside the danger zone. Listen for directions on TV or radio stations about where and when they can be picked up when it is safe. Do not worry if you or family members are in a hospital or other special-care facility, as they also have emergency procedures

RECEPTION CENTER LOCATIONS

The locations of the four reception centers are listed below. Listen to an area radio or TV station to learn which reception centers are open.


COLOMA HIGH SCHOOL
300 W. St. Joseph Street
(Red Arrow Highway)
Coloma

BRANDYWINE HIGH SCHOOL
1700 Bell Road
(South of Niles & East of M-51)
Niles

WATERVLIET HIGH SCHOOL
450 E. St. Joseph Street
(Red Arrow Highway)
Watervliet
NEW BUFFALO HIGH SCHOOL
1112 E. Clay Street
(South of US-12)
New Buffalo


Things you will want to bring with you

  • Basics: cash, the Cook Plant Emergency Information Calendar, portable radio, flashlight, extra batteries, keys, tool kit, credit/debit cards, checkbook, wallet, purse
  • Bedding: blankets, pillows, sleeping bags
  • Toiletries: soap, towels, toothpaste and toothbrushes, razors, sanitary napkins or supplies
  • Special items: special-diet foods, baby formula and bottles, diapers, favorite toys or games
  • Health supplies: medicines, glasses, dentures, hearing aids, first aid kit, prescription information
  • Identification: driver’s license, credit cards and important papers
  • Pet supplies
ONCE YOU ARE IN YOUR VEHICLE
  • Drive carefully. There is no need to speed. Follow directions of all sheriff, police and traffic officers.
  • Close all windows and vents. Shut off heating and air conditioning.
  • Listen to the radio Follow emergency instructions on your car or portable radio. You will be told when it is safe to return.
COOK NUCLEAR PLANT EMERGENCY PLANNING ZONE

The circled area below is a 10-mile radius of the Cook Nuclear Plant in Bridgman. It is the Emergency Planning Zone (EPZ). The early-warning siren system for Berrien County is within the EPZ. When necessary, area TV and radio stations will alert people living inside the EPZ if there is an emergency.

The map shows the Protective Action Areas for the Cook Nuclear Plant. During an emergency, we will identify these areas by numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7. For example, the TV or radio station (see page 16) may say, “Protective Action Area 1 must evacuate,” or, “Protective Action Area 2 must take shelter.” Know which of the seven Protective Action Areas you live, work or are boating in so you can respond promptly to instructions. During an emergency, listen to area TV or radio stations (see page 16) and follow the official evacuation instructions to the reception center you are to use.


NOTICE TO FARMERS, FOOD PROCESSORS AND DISTRIBUTORS

This portion of the Emergency Information section outlines plans to protect the food supply in the event of a nuclear emergency. Information in this section includes the following:

How will I be notified in a nuclear emergency?

The State of Michigan will evaluate the seriousness of a nuclear accident. It will order actions to protect the public and the food supply.

  • If you live within 10 miles of the Cook Nuclear Plant, your first warning may be the sounding of emergency sirens. If you hear a siren for three to five minutes, tune to a radio or TV station listed on page 16 for emergency information.
  • If you live farther than 10 miles from the plant, you will be notified by area radio and TV stations. The news report will let you know if you need to take protective action, or a Cooperative Extension Service official will contact you. Please follow the emergency instructions right away.
  • If you have questions about a real or potential emergency, please contact the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development at 800-292-3939. After hours, call 517-373-0440.

What should you do if you are told to seek shelter?
During a nuclear emergency, it is very important to limit your outdoor activities as much as possible. Please stay indoors and follow the instructions provided in radio and TV messages.

What should you do if you are ordered to evacuate your farm?
If you live within 10 miles of the Cook Nuclear Plant, you may be told to evacuate. You may be permitted, with directions from the state, to reenter the evacuated area temporarily to tend to the needs of your farm. You will receive instructions on what routes to use, safety precautions and decontamination procedures.

Your Cooperative Extension Service agent can provide animal health and feeding guidelines.

How can contamination occur?

During a nuclear emergency, dust-sized, radioactive materials can fall onto fruits, vegetables or grains. This food could enter the food supply and be eaten by the public. For example: Cows could eat grass covered with radioactive iodine-131. Traces of the iodine could be passed through to the milk and then to people who drink it. Iodine-131 has the potential to concentrate in the human thyroid gland where it could cause thyroid cancer.

Protecting the food supply during a nuclear emergency
Following a nuclear emergency, the public could be exposed to radioactive material in several ways. At first, particles and gases released into the air could be ingested or inhaled directly. Additional exposure could result from eating or drinking food or milk contaminated by traces of radioactive material. Farmers, food processors and distributors will be required to take steps to protect the food supply. Every step will be taken to minimize or avoid contamination. Please read this page and the next to learn how to protect the food supply in the event of a nuclear emergency.

Samples will be collected to determine protective action
In the event of an accidental release of radioactive material, State of Michigan emergency workers will determine what protective steps you will need to take. Emergency workers will collect samples of air, water and soil to see whether there is radioactive contamination, where it is located and the amount. Samples of milk, forage, crops and processed foods also may be taken. Field data and other factors will be used by the state to determine the best course of action to protect the public and the food supply.

Samples may be taken from as far away as 50 miles from the plant site. State of Michigan emergency workers will give farmers, food processors and distributors outside of the 10-mile radius of the Cook Nuclear Plant specific instructions on how to collect and test samples.

Samples are being taken now to give us a baseline
Radioactive materials occur naturally in the environment. So Indiana Michigan Power and State of Michigan emergency workers continually take samples of the air, water, milk, vegetation and animal life near the Cook Nuclear Plant. This gives them a “natural” baseline for comparison in the event of a nuclear emergency.

Who pays for lost or destroyed farm products?

Farmers, food processors and distributors could face serious financial losses following a nuclear emergency. Under federal law, you will be reimbursed for any of these losses. The Price-Anderson Act, enacted by Congress in 1957, requires the operators of nuclear power plants and certain other nuclear facilities to purchase nuclear liability insurance policies for the protection of the public. As a result, no-fault insurance pools are in place to pay claims promptly without lengthy court hearings. Claimants need only prove that the injury or property damage resulted from the nuclear emergency. Commercial insurance policies exclude coverage for nuclear emergencies because the Price-Anderson Act makes coverage unnecessary.

What you should do with food and products contaminated in a nuclear emergency

  • Crops in the field - Let your standing crops grow to maturity. The level of radiation exposure they will receive should not affect their growth. Most contaminants will be washed off in the rain. Or, over time, the crops will return to safe levels as they grow. If special harvesting procedures are required, your Cooperative Extension Service agent will give you instructions.

  • Roots and tubers - Potatoes, carrots and plants that mature under the ground generally are safe to eat. Make sure to thoroughly wash and peel these products to remove soil particles and contaminants.

  • Fruits and vegetables in the field - Unprotected plants may have particles of radioactive contamination on their surfaces. Before eating them, wash thoroughly. Then brush, scrub or peel the outer layers. Some leafy vegetables may be eaten after you remove the outer layers.

    If your crops do not need to be harvested immediately, leave them in the field or on the trees. They should be able to be harvested once your area is declared safe again.

    You may lose some ripe fruits and vegetables to spoilage. Contamination levels in your area may be too high for field workers to harvest your crop in a timely manner. You will be reimbursed for crop losses.

  • Honey and apiary products - Following a nuclear emergency, State of Michigan emergency workers will need to take samples and analyze honey and beehives in the Protective Action Areas. Contact your Cooperative Extension Service agent for guidance.

  • Farm products - If radioactive particles or material are present in large amounts, you may be advised not to use, eat or sell garden produce or animal products until samples are taken and analyzed. State of Michigan emergency workers will conduct the sample tests and analysis. Please follow their orders to protect the public’s and your safety.

  • Milk - Milk contaminated at low levels of iodine-131 may be converted to powdered milk or cheese. Then it will be stored until the iodine’s radioactivity diminishes to safe levels. It may also be used in animal feed.

  • Wildlife and plants - After a nuclear emergency, wild game such as deer, rabbit, squirrel, pheasant and partridge may eat food and water contaminated with radioactive particles. State of Michigan emergency workers may advise you not to eat wild game until it has been sampled and assessed to be safe. Wild edible plants, such as native herbs, mushrooms, dandelion greens, spearmint, peppermint or wintergreen may have particles of contamination on their surfaces, too. Before eating, be sure to wash, brush, scrub or peel to minimize contamination.

How soon will the radioactivity reach safe levels?
The speed that radioactivity diminishes depends on several things. Inert gases released from a nuclear power plant lose their radioactivity within minutes. Wind or heavy rain tend to remove radioactive material from plants very quickly. In some cases, however, a hard rain after a nuclear emergency may splash contaminated soil onto plant surfaces. This will increase the amount of radioactive material on low-standing plants.

What steps can be taken to restore contaminated soils?
There are several steps that can be taken to restore soils contaminated in a nuclear emergency. One is not to use the soil for a period of time. In a worst-case situation, heavily contaminated soil may need to be removed and sent to an approved radioactive waste disposal facility. Such drastic action may not be possible for large fields, but may be used for small plots or areas such as walkways near buildings where people come in close contact with it.

In less severe situations, fiber crops may be planted instead of fruits and vegetables. Deep plowing may be used to keep the radioactive contaminants below the root zone until the radioactivity decays to safe levels over time. Liming may also be used to limit the absorption of specific radioactive elements by crops.

Farmers will receive guidance from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service on how to restore valuable soils to productive use.

What should food processors and distributors do in a nuclear emergency?
After a nuclear emergency, government officials may restrict the movement of contaminated food products or withhold them from the marketplace. These products should not be released until they are considered safe for consumption or a decision is made to dispose of them. State of Michigan emergency workers will instruct you on how to safely handle and dispose of contaminated food products.

The environmental damage caused by a nuclear reaction may be short-lived. Steps can be taken to make a full recovery.

For more information, contact:
MSU-BERRIEN COUNTY COOPERATIVE EXTENSION SERVICE
269-944-4126
1737 Hillandale Road
Benton Harbor, MI 49022
http://msue.anr.msu.edu/county/info/berrien

If you have questions about a real or potential emergency, you may also contact the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development:
MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT
800-292-3939
www.michigan.gov/mdard

What should I do to protect the food supply?

How to protect your water supply in a nuclear emergency
Store as much water as you can for your livestock. Cover open wells, tanks and other storage containers. Close off the intakes from contaminated ponds, streams or cisterns. In general, water from wells and water heaters should be safe to use.

Radioactive contaminants deposited on the ground usually will travel very slowly into the soil. If contaminants fall onto the surface of lakes and rivers, the radioactive materials may get into the ground water supplies. It takes just a few hours for streams and lakes to carry the contaminants many miles.

How to protect your livestock or poultry in a nuclear emergency
The first priority is to protect dairy animals because radioactive materials can quickly enter the food chain through milk and other dairy products. If sheltering is required, shelter your dairy animals first. Shelter livestock in covered barns or sheds unless the weather is extremely hot or other factors make sheltering impossible. Provide your animals with stored feed such as hay, silage and bagged grain. Whenever possible, draw water for your animals from a well. Avoid using water from ponds, rivers and creeks. This will help to minimize the amount of radioactive material ingested by your animals.

Poultry are more resistant to radioactive contamination than other farm animals. Keep them in your enclosed facility and continue to give them stored feed and well water. If your poultry are normally kept outdoors, bring them inside if possible. Eggshells provide natural protection from contamination. Generally, eggs will be safe to eat after the shells are washed to remove surface contamination.

Do not destroy your animals
Destroy your animals only if you get orders from state or federal authorities. Do not slaughter any animals except for immediate food needs. Generally, animals that are exposed to radioactive contaminants and radioactive rainwater will survive. Many will be marketable and safe for humans to eat. However, do not allow animals to graze in open fields unless the State of Michigan, your Cooperative Extension Service agent or another government official gives you permission.

What you should do if feed is radioactively contaminated
Only in extreme emergencies may you feed your livestock contaminated grain or hay. If you must use the contaminated feed, you may be able to reduce the level of contamination. For example, if the feed is stored outside, the contamination may be greater at or near the surface of the feed pile. You may be able to reduce the contamination level significantly by removing the top portion.

Do not dispose of contaminated feed or hay unless spoilage has made it inedible. Generally, contaminated products may be salvageable after adequate time passes and they are properly processed. Please keep contaminated feed supplies separate from other feed so the contamination does not spread. Your Cooperative Extension Service agent can provide you with specific information.

EMERGENCY PLANNING


No one likes to think about a problem at a nuclear power plant – but Cook has detailed and comprehensive plans and procedures in place.