Nuclear incident exercise next week
Thursday, September 19, 2013
The Federal Emergency Management Agency will conduct a test of local and state radiological emergency preparedness and response plans in support of the Callaway Energy Center on Tuesday that includes officials from Callaway, Gasconade, Osage and Montgomery counties.
The exercise is a required test every two years involving the activation of emergency facilities by participating local and state officials — a process which will be monitored by the FEMA Region VII Radiological Emergency Preparedness Program. The on-site performance at the Callaway Energy Center will be evaluated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
“The exercise is conducted every two years just to make sure all of the responding agencies and elected officials would be able to respond in a coordinated fashion in case there’s a problem at the nuclear plant,” said Michael O’Connell with the Missouri Department of Public Safety. “This is considered a drill to make sure everything is in place and set up in case there were a real event.”
Western District Commissioner Doc Kritzer said there was a preliminary tabletop exercise several months ago in preparation for Tuesday’s test.
“We’ll start out with an unusual event, then it elevates,” Kritzer said of the drill. “There are four levels, and at each level different things take place — they’ll throw situations at you to make you think and make you plan. We’ll go all the way through to a release mode where we’ll have to set up transportation needs, evacuation plans and calling in for assistance.”
He described the biennial test as “a good time to go through and learn and evaluate.”
“It’s a very major occurrence, but it gets us communicating and working together,” Kritzer said. “As glitches come up, we work on solutions. It’s a good exercise.”
There will be a public meeting Sept. 26 in Jefferson City to describe the process and share preliminary performance findings. Members of the public are invited to attend the meeting, to be held at 10 a.m. in the auditorium of the State Emergency Management Agency, located at 2302 Militia Drive.
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