I live in New Mexico, land of the atomic bomb. The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History is a few miles from my house. The state is chock full of nuclear reminders like the Trinity Site and Los Alamos National Lab.
One thing we don't have is a nuclear power plant. I know this handy little tidbit thanks to the new Nuclear Site Locator app for iPhone and Android. It comes from developer LogSat Software, the same company that brought you Sex Offenders Search and Family Tracker.
For $1.99, you can see where the closest nuclear plant is to your location, check up on the proximity of nuclear power to people in your contact list or just simply browse a stream of nuclear sites around the world. The closest plant to me is 500 miles away: the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station just outside of Phoenix. I don't think that will fly as an excuse to cancel my next blazing-hot summer trip to Arizona.
There is a little more than just mapping involved with Nuclear Site Locator. Clicking on a nuclear site's name pops up a picture and lists the total number of reactors, how many are active, when they were built, and what their capacity is.
There's no doubt that this app is capitalizing on last month's natural disaster in Japan and the subsequent, ongoing nuclear crisis there. The app was put together in a bit of a hurry. The information on the reactors is interesting, but not extremely detailed. It is mostly a map with points of interest.
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The developer suggests that you keep the app handy at all times to help plan an evacuation route should anything go wrong at a plant near you. That line of thinking might appeal to the same folks who stocked up on gasoline and canned beans right before the year 2000.
It's certainly an eye opener to see all the nuclear sites in the world laid out in clusters of blood-red pins. What you do with this information is up to you. It could play into the undercurrent of nuclear fears and stress that has radiated from Japan, or it could simply be used as an index of nuclear data, a way to stay a little more informed about the world around you.