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Some U.S. nuclear plants vulnerable
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WASHINGTON (AP) — It's a nightmarish scenario — a days-long blackout at a nuclear power plant leading to a radioactive leak. Though the odds of that happening are extremely remote, an Associated Press investigation has found some U.S. plants are more vulnerable than others.Long before the nuclear emergency in Japan, U.S. regulators knew that a power failure lasting for days at an American nuclear plant, whatever the cause, could lead to a radioactive leak. Even so, they have only required the nation's 104 nuclear reactors to develop plans for dealing with much shorter blackouts on the assumption that power would be restored quickly.In one simulation presented by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2009, it would take less than a day for radiation to escape from a reactor at a Pennsylvania nuclear power plant after an earthquake, flood or fire knocked out all electrical power and there was no way to keep the reactors cool after backup battery power ran out.