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JUNEAU — Alaska is known for pioneering, self-reliant residents who are accustomed to remote locations and harsh weather. Despite that, Gov. Sean Parnell worries a major earthquake or volcanic eruption could leave the state’s 720,000 residents stranded and cut off from food and supply lines. His answer: build giant warehouses full of emergency food and supplies, just in case.

For some in the lower 48, it may seem like an extreme step. But Mr. Parnell says this is just Alaska.

In many ways, the state is no different than the rest of America. Most people buy their groceries at stores and rely on a central grid for power and heat. But unlike the rest of the lower 48, help isn’t a few miles away. When a fall storm cut off Nome from its final fuel supply last winter, a Russian tanker spent weeks breaking through thick ice to reach the remote town.

Weather isn’t the only thing that can wreak havoc in Alaska, where small planes are a preferred mode of transportation and the drive from Seattle to Juneau requires a ferry ride and 38 hours in a car. The state’s worst natural disaster was in 1964, when a magnitude-9.2 earthquake and resulting tsunami killed 131 people and disrupted electrical systems, water mains and communication lines in Anchorage and other cities.

NRC

Nuclear agency keeping close eye on hurricane

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission says it is monitoring Hurricane Isaac as it moves inland from the Gulf Coast.

Nuclear power plants in the Southeast have taken precautions such as tying down loose equipment, removing debris that could become airborne in winds of 75 mph or more, and topping off water and fuel tanks. A spokeswoman said the agency has sent in additional staff to assist resident inspectors at two nuclear plants in Louisiana and one in Mississippi.

The inspectors will ride out the storm inside the plants alongside the plants’ emergency and operations personnel.

The NRC’s regional response team, based in Arlington, Texas, is using special software to monitor wind speeds at the three plants and will work with resident inspectors and state and federal officials as the storm develops.

PENNSYLVANIA

GOP candidate compares child out of wedlock to rape

HARRISBURG — The Republican candidate for Senate in Pennsylvania on Monday compared the decision to abort an unwanted pregnancy resulting from premarital sex to one conceived through rape as he defended his opposition to abortion in all cases.

Tom Smith, who is challenging Democratic Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr., made the remark after being asked how he would argue to keep the baby if a daughter or granddaughter were to become pregnant as a result of rape. Mr. Smith said that his daughter went through “something similar” to rape: “Having a baby out of wedlock.”

In the Senate race in Missouri, Republican candidate W. Todd Akin drew condemnation from Democrats and many Republicans when he referred to “legitimate rape” in discussing his stance against abortion in all cases. The Missouri congressman later apologized for saying that women have a natural biological defense against becoming pregnant because of rape.

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