What is a Nuclear Power Plant Emergency?

Nuclear power plants use the heat generated from nuclear fission to convert water to steam to produce electricity. An emergency situation at a nuclear power plant could result in a release of dangerous levels of radiation that could affect the health and safety of persons near the nuclear power plant.

Why Prepare?

There is one nuclear power plant (Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station) in Massachusetts and two others (Seabrook Nuclear Power Station & Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station) just over the state borders that could impact parts of Massachusetts. The potential danger from an emergency at a nuclear power plant is a release of, or exposure to radiation.


People that live, work, or vacation within 10 miles of a nuclear power plant should be prepared for an emergency at a nuclear power plant and be familiar with the Emergency Planning Zone's (EPZ) emergency plans and procedures.

Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station

The Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station (“Pilgrim”) is located in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Communities within the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station EPZ are: Plymouth, Kingston, Duxbury, and portions of Carver and Marshfield. The Emergency Planning Zone is divided into twelve sub-areas.

Learn more about important preparedness actions and the Pilgrim's EPZ's emergency preparedness and procedures.

Seabrook Nuclear Power Station

The Seabrook Nuclear Power Station (“Seabrook”) is located in Seabrook, New Hampshire. Massachusetts communities included in the Seabrook Nuclear Power Station EPZ are: Amesbury, Merrimac, Newbury, Newburyport, Salisbury, and West Newbury.

Learn more about important preparedness actions and the Seabrook's EPZ's emergency preparedness and procedures.

Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station

The Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station (“Vermont Yankee”) is located in Vernon, Vermont. Vermont Yankee permanently ceased power generation operations on December 29, 2014 and is currently planning for decommissioning.

Following guidance from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the 10 mile Emergency Planning Zone (EPZ) around the plant that existed while Vermont Yankee was operational has been eliminated. As such, the plans and procedures about an emergency incident at Vermont Yankee that were previously outlined and disseminated to residents in annual calendars are no longer in effect. Residents who have questions about local community emergency plans should contact their local Emergency Management Director for more information.

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