Radiological & Nuclear

Although you cannot see or smell radiation, it can be detected using instruments specifically designed for that purpose.  Experts use these instruments to monitor radiation in and around the North Anna and Surry power stations.

Nuclear power stations are designed and built to prevent release of radiation.  Should a nuclear incident occur, state health officials would monitor levels and advise the public about protective actions that may be needed.

Emergency classifications
There are four increasing levels of emergency warnings at nuclear power stations.

  • Notification of Unusual Event: Lowest classification: a minor problem has been identified; no release of radioactive matter is expected; and there is no danger to the public.  No special precautions are needed.  
  • Alert: A minor incident has occurred.  Small amounts of radioactive matter could be released inside the station.  There is no danger to the public, and no special precautions are needed.  
  • Site Area Emergency: A more serious incident has occurred, and it is possible that a small amount of radioactive matter could be released into the area immediately surrounding the station.  Find a local radio or TV station that is broadcasting emergency information and listen for instructions.  
  • General Emergency. This is the most serious type of event.  Radioactive matter could be released outside the station site.  Sirens will sound.  A General Emergency is the only event that might require you to take specific steps to protect yourself and your family. Find a local radio or TV station that is broadcasting emergency information and listen for instructions.  Be prepared to follow instructions promptly.

Steps to be prepared

  • Make a plan.  Although a serious radiological accident is unlikely, it is wise to be prepared.  Knowing what to do and where to go in an emergency is the best way to protect yourself and your family. Make an emergency plan for your family.
  • Get a kit.  Have supplies on hand to last at least three days for each family member.  Store these supplies in easy to carry containers such as backpacks, duffel bags or plastic storage containers. Learn how to make an emergency kit. During a radiological emergency
    • If told to evacuate, do so immediately.  Take your emergency supply kit with you.  Know your evacuation route and final destination before you leave.  Secure your home the best you can and leave.
    • If you are told to stay where you are, go inside and stay inside until emergency officials say it is safe to leave.  Close all windows, doors, vents and fireplace dampers.  Turn off all devices that draw in outside air, such as air conditioners, heat pumps and fans.  Listen to local radio and television stations that are broadcasting emergency information and follow instructions from emergency officials.
    • Taking potassium iodide
    • Protective Action Zones for North Anna Power Station 
    • Protective Action Zones for Surry Power Station 
    Stay Informed
    • Early warning sirens have been installed throughout the 10-mile area surrounding the power stations.  These sirens alert the public if there should be a General Emergency.   Dominion Virginia Power tests these sirens every three months. 
    • Listen to local radio and television stations that are broadcasting emergency information.  Follow instructions given by emergency officials.
    • The Emergency Planning Information Calendar distributed to residents and businesses within 10 miles of North Anna or Surry power stations contains more specific information about preparing for radiological emergencies. The information also can be found in the beginning of the yellow pages section of area phone directories. 

      Learn More:

    • Information about terrorism  
    • What is a dirty bomb?
    • Training Resources for Citizen Preparedness [ppt]