A release of ionizing radiation into the atmosphere from a facility, during transportation, or as the result of a terrorist attack utilizing radiological material; or fallout from a nuclear attack outside of the City of Lansing.
Radiological materials are transported daily through Lansing by vehicle or by train. They are also stored in small amounts at health care facilities and businesses throughout the area. If these materials were released they could present a risk to public health and to the environment.
Radiological materials are used in local medical and research facilities, and to test petroleum and natural gas pipelines. Michigan State University uses radiological materials at several of its facilities, including the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory.
The Metro Lansing Hazmat Team is trained to respond to radiological incidents as well as chemical releases.
The majority of radiological releases over the past few decades have been caused by human error. Some are caused by failure to follow safety procedures, and some involve people who are not aware that the materials they have are radioactive. When a spill or a release happens inside a building, it is not very likely that anyone outside of the building will be affected. When materials are transported, regulations require that they are packaged in a way to minimize the likelihood that they will be released if the vehicle carrying them is involved in an accident.
No significant release of radiological material has ever occurred in Lansing. Lansing is not in the emergency planning zone for any of Michigan’s nuclear power plants although a major event at a nuclear plant could have an impact on the city under the right circumstances.