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Dec. 5 emergency drill planned at Plant Vogtle

Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012 11:51 AM
Last updated 1:19 PM
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Southern Nuclear will hold a drill Dec. 5 at Plant Vogtle to test and evaluate the nuclear power plant’s safety and emergency response programs and equipment.

“This is a standard drill,” Southern Nuclear spokeswoman Michelle Tims said. “It is the last drill at Plant Vogtle for the year, and we have conducted five drills at Plant Vogtle this year.”

The plant in Burke County has two existing reactors and is also a major construction site where work continues on two new Westinghouse AP-1000 units scheduled to begin commercial operation in 2016 and 2017.

Participating in the exercise will be employees from Southern Nuclear, Georgia Power and Southern Co. – as well as representatives from the local emergency management agencies.

The company’s emergency operations facility in Birmingham, Ala., will be involved, but the company’s Joint Information Center in Waynesboro, Ga., will not be activated during this event.

In addition to periodic drills, a major exercise that includes a simulated emergency is held every two years. The last such large-scale event, held in March, included activation of the $2 million Joint Information Center that opened in January 2011.

In a real emergency, the center – equipped with a briefing room, newsroom and offices for emergency officials – would be the site for dissemination of information to the public and media.

CATEGORIES OF NUCLEAR EMERGENCIES

UNUSUAL EVENT: A minor problem has occurred with no actual or expected radioactive release. There is no danger to the public, and residents need to take no action.

ALERT: Small amounts of radioactive material could be released inside the plant. Emergency workers are readied in case the event becomes more serious. There is no danger to the public. It is unlikely residents will need to take action.

SITE AREA EMERGENCY: A serious problem could release small amounts of radioactive material into the area around the plant. Government officials may order evacuation or sheltering of the public as a precaution. Emergency workers would be ready to take action if needed. Residents should tune to designated radio or television stations.

GENERAL EMERGENCY: The most serious type of emergency at a nuclear power plant. Radioactive material could be released off-site. If residents need to take action, they will be notified by tone alert radio or through the media. County officials will help.

Source: Southern Nuclear


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