Sequoyah Nuclear Plant

The TEMA TVA program administers radiological emergency preparedness at the state level and also assists risk and host county programs involved “outside the fence” protecting the public from incidents that may occur at both the Watts Bar Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) based in Spring City, TN as well as the Sequoyah Nuclear Power Plant in Soddy Daisy, TN.  The
primary purpose of these state and local government programs is to ensure the Multi-jurisdictional Radiological Emergency Preparedness Program (MJRERP) is utilized in training for, responding to and potentially recovering from a nuclear power plant incident in Tennessee.  There are bi-annual training exercises for each NPP based on
an 8-year cycle and evaluated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.  The TVA program conducts and supports planning, training and exercise development for dozens of agencies and hundreds of personnel regarding these two fixed radiological hazards in East Tennessee.

This information has been prepared by TVA in cooperation with the states of Tennessee and Alabama to provide guidance to the agriculture community in the event of a radiological emergency at a nuclear power plant within fifty miles of your farm. It explains those actions which may be necessary for you to take in order to protect yourself, your family, your crop and your farm animals.

Nuclear power plants are designed to operate safely. However, it is possible that an accident could be serious enough to result in a release of radioactive materials.

We cannot hear, see, feel, taste or smell radiation but we are constantly exposed to radiation from both natural and man-made sources such as medical and dental x-rays, color television sets and smoke detectors. This natural and man-made radiation is called background radiation. The amount of radiation dose a person gets is measured in millirems. The average American receives about 180 millirems per year from natural and man-made sources.

Federal authorities have established two emergency planning zones as the basis for planning to protect the public. Residents living within a ten mile radius of the plant must be protected from direct exposure in the event of radioactive release. People within a fifty mile radius must be protected from eating contaminated foods or drinking contaminated milk and water, this fifty mile zone is called the “Ingestion Pathway Zone.”

An accidental release of radiation into the atmosphere has the potential affect you, your family, your livestock and the quality and marketability of your farm products. The information in this guide and the instructions from radio and television stations will help minimize the effects a radiological emergency could have on your farm.  

In the event of a radiological emergency at a nuclear power plant, several methods will be used to warn the public. Within the ten mile area residents will be warned primarily by radio and television stations. State and county emergency response organizations will determine protective action to be taken, and you will be kept informed.

During the period of the emergency, state and county officials will release information to the media on a regular basis. This information will contain the latest status on the emergency and action that are being taken to protect you, your family and your farm. Also, the local agricultural extension agent will be kept advised on the status of the emergency and can provide
information protective actions that are being taken. You will also be advised of television phone numbers you may call if you need additional information.  


The principal cause of exposure to radiation for ten to fifty miles from a nuclear power plant radiological emergency is the consumption foods such as milk, fresh fruits, vegetables, locally processed products and water. In the event of a radiological emergency that involves the release of radioactivity into the environment, you will be advised of action to prevent the contamination of milk, water and food products. Additionally, state and local governments will take actions to prevent the consumption of contaminated products.

Farm animals will not be evacuated during a radiological
emergency, so sheltering is the most effective way to limit contamination.  

  1. Place the animals in an enclosed shelter; close the doors and windows, if possible. Limit entry of rain water into the structure. Provide for adequate air supply to prevent overheating and suffocation.
  2. If the animals must remain outside, to the extent possible, prevent contact with radioactive contamination. For example, pack the animals closely in an outdoor pen or herd them into a road underpass, cave, or wooded area.
  3. Do not allow animals to graze unless directed by emergency officials.

The most critical food product within the fifty mile zone is
milk because of rapid distribution from the cow to the consumer, the short
period of time it takes for contamination to appear and the potential effects
on children. Protective actions that can be taken are:

1. Shelter dairy cows first

2. Remove lactating dairy animals from contaminated
pasture and provide a substitute of uncontaminated stored feed.   

Most farmland that is contaminated by a radiological
emergency can be used productively within several days of the emergency. The
actual length of time depends on the amount and types of radioactive material
that settled on the land.  

1. Take samples to determine the type and levels of

2. Recommend treatment procedures such as idling of
the land, deep plowing of the soil, or alternative uses of the land.


Emergency officials will issue special emergency bulletins
on proper use and disposition of crops. For information on harvesting, storing
and decontaminating your crops and land, you may contact your Extension Agent.