The Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Station is located on the west bank of the Missouri River 3.2 miles from the City of Blair, Nebraska. A recreational area, the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge is located on the east bank of the Missouri River channel, two miles east of the plant. Also located within the vicinity are the Boyer Chute Recreational Area, Cottonwood Marina, and the Blair Industrial Park.
The plume emergency planning zone (EPZ) is a ten-mile radius around the plant and is shared by the states of Nebraska and Iowa. Counties falling within the plume EPZ are Washington and Douglas Counties. The ingestion EPZ is a 50-mile radius around the plant. Counties falling within the ingestion EPZ are Dodge, Douglas, Sarpy, Burt, Thurston, Cuming, Colfax, Saunders, Lancaster, Cass and Butler Counties.
The population within the plume EPZ is 14,890 people on the Nebraska side. In the event of an evacuation of the area, those needing shelter would go to Fremont High School, 1750 North Lincoln, in Fremont and First Baptist Church, Hancock and 23rd Streets, in Bellevue. A map of evacuation routes may be found in the Emergency Planning Brochure. The American Red Cross provides support for evacuees in shelters in both Fremont and Bellevue. The priority for decision-makers is to evacuate the area before a release from the plant.
There are four levels of emergencies (called "emergency classification levels or "ECLs") covered by the emergency plans at nuclear power plants, local and state government agencies. Each level requires specific actions to be taken by the plant operator and off-site officials. These levels, in order of increasing severity, are:
It should be noted here that when a nuclear power plant declares an emergency, the emergency does not necessarily begin at a NOUE and escalate to a GE. The emergency could begin with any of the four classification levels (ECL) listed above.
Schools are notified at the ALERT phase and evacuate according to their school district's plan.
Sirens are sounded at the SITE AREA EMERGENCY phase and the Emergency Alert System (EAS) is activated from the National Weather Service Office, Valley, Nebraska. Radio Station KFAB 1110 AM in Omaha, Nebraska is the primary source for information from local and state authorities.