The Oregon Department of
Energy provides protective guidance to Oregonians in the event of a nuclear
emergency at the Hanford site or the Columbia Generating Station (CGS) nuclear
power plant outside Richland, Washington.
In the event of an emergency at either Hanford or CGS, we will post regular updates to this
* No emergencies
affecting Oregon at this time.*
If we are conducting emergency practice drills
through our Nuclear Emergency Preparedness
Program, any updates or alerts
will be identified with the text THIS IS A DRILL.
Emergency Planning Zones
There are two emergency planning zones around Hanford and CGS. They include:
- Plume Zone (10 miles) — In the event of a radiological emergency, the primary hazard for residents living within 10 miles of Hanford or CGS is direct exposure to radiation. Emergency plans provide steps (such as evacuation or sheltering in place) to minimize or prevent direct exposure to radiation if radioactive materials are released to the environment. No parts of Oregon are within the 10-mile Plume Zone.
- Ingestion Zone (50 miles) — The primary concern for people living beyond 10 miles but within 50 miles of Hanford or CGS is consuming potentially contaminated agricultural products or water. This includes, but is not limited to: processed foods, fresh fruits, vegetables, milk, and open water sources. Parts of northern Morrow and Umatilla counties are within the 50-mile Ingestion Zone.
In the event of a Hanford or CGS emergency, state and local emergency response organizations will identify potentially affected areas and recommend protective actions for people who live or work in these areas. Affected residents within 10 miles would be notified by tone alert radios, telephone notification, sirens, or Emergency Alert System messages.
Residents within 50 miles would be informed primarily by local radio and television news stations. Northeast Oregon residents can receive emergency broadcast announcements on KONA Radio, 610 AM or 105.3 FM.
Throughout an emergency, state and local officials will provide information to the news media on a regular basis. This information will contain the most current status report on the emergency, and actions people can take to protect their families and property.
ODOE will activate a call center to address Oregonians’ concerns and questions. The agency will also regularly post status updates of the emergency on this page and our social media platforms:
If radioactive contamination reaches the area where you live, do not eat or sell any fresh food products, drink milk, or drink water from open water sources until emergency officials declare it safe to do so. If time allows, the following actions could help protect your property and food supply:
Fruits and Vegetables
- Stop all harvesting of crops. Fruits or vegetables picked at the time the emergency was declared should be removed from the field and placed in an enclosed storage area.
- Do not process or distribute fruits or vegetables until the products have been confirmed free of contamination.
- Do not eat fruits or vegetables from your garden until your location has been officially declared safe.
Livestock and Pets
- As much as is practical, provide shelter for all livestock and pets.
- Cover feed and open water sources such as water troughs.
- Remove livestock from pasture, and provide feed from a protected source. This could be feed covered earlier, protected silage, or hay from inside the stack.
- Do not use fresh milk from dairy animals, eggs from poultry, or slaughter any livestock until your location has been confirmed free of contamination by state or local officials. (Milk processed before the emergency occurred is considered unaffected and can be sold.)
- Do not move or harvest beehives in the affected areas. Officials will sample and test the beehives for possible contamination.
- Do not attempt to market or transport livestock or livestock products until your location is confirmed safe and free of contamination.
Official state sampling and laboratory analysis will confirm whether or not an affected area or crop is contaminated.
A radiological emergency may result in additional living expenses, loss of farm or business income, or physical or property damage. The federal government requires that nuclear facilities compensate the public for economic loss caused by a radiological accident.
In the event of a Hanford or CGS emergency, information would be provided to help Oregonians:
- Find available assistance programs.
- Take necessary steps to get assistance.
- Take necessary steps to file a claim for damages or loss.