Plant Vogtle’s emergency evacuation plan for everyone within 10 miles of the nuclear power site is functional but could benefit from traffic control points and better highway infrastructure, according to an updated analysis filed with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The study, which calculates evacuation time estimates within the Burke County plant’s “emergency planning zone,” estimates the area has 3,080 permanent residents – down from the 2006 estimate of 3,224.
The study, posted last week on the NRC’s Web site, calculated a peak transient population of 2,915 people – most of whom are construction workers associated with Vogtle’s expansion.
Models used by Southern Nuclear’s consultants found evacuations could be completed in 90-205 minutes, depending on weather, time of day and other circumstances.
Though those times make the strategy adequate, the consultants made three recommendations that could improve evacuation times:
• Continue working to educate residents on how best to evacuate the area, and clearly identify locations of reception centers.
• Use traffic-control points to improve flow in potentially congested areas, such as the intersection of Thompson Bridge Road and Georgia Highway 24.
• Develop comprehensive regional evacuation plans and work with local and state transportation departments to suggest road infrastructure improvements.
The plant is about 15 miles east of the city of Waynesboro. The town of Girard is about seven miles south of the plant. The closest population center is the town of Sardis, which is about 12 miles south.
Southern Nuclear holds emergency drills several times a year at its nuclear plants and maintains a joint operations center in Waynesboro, where emergency activities can be coordinated with government agencies and the public.
Southern Nuclear also mails a calendar each year with instructions on responding to accidents. The document goes to about 1,800 households in the plant area.