Tuesday’s joint nuclear emergency preparedness exercise at the Callaway Energy Center was successful, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
In a joint news conference Thursday at the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency, directors from FEMA and the NRC addressed the room with their preliminary findings from the exercise. Paul Elkmann, NRC Region 4 senior inspector of emergency preparedness, concluded the response at the Callaway Energy Center allowed local emergency management agencies to properly take action.
“We continue to have reasonable assurance that (the Callaway Energy Center) can implement their emergency plan and can protect the health and safety of the public had the event been an actual event,” Elkmann said.
However, due to the significant amount of data still under review, FEMA was unable to share any of their preliminary findings at the press briefing.
“The evaluation is ongoing, and we still have a lot of data to go through so any preliminary discussions about possible findings is too early to talk about right now,” explained Thomas Morgan, FEMA Region 7 chief of technological hazards branch.
Morgan and Elkmann said their respective reports will be available in 90 days — sometime in the first week of November. Elkmann said a full “after-action report” on the Callaway Energy Center would be available around January 2020. FEMA evaluates the off-site responsibilities of organizations, and the NRC evaluates the on-site responsibilities at the Callaway Energy Center.
The exercise script was designed by individuals at the Callaway Energy Center at least 60 days before its performance, Elkmann said. While both agencies provide feedback to the proposed script, only FEMA has a formal approval process while the NRC provides technical feedback and helpful suggestions.
Ameren’s senior director of plant support at the Callaway Energy Center, Mark McLachlan was pleased to hear of the positive remarks from the NRC. McLachlan continues to assert that Ameren works very well with state and local officials to protect the health and safety of the public.
“It’s nice to hear that our regulators just confirmed what we already thought out performance was,” McLachlan said.
Representatives from FEMA and the NRC oversaw the drill as a part of a required biannual evaluation of nuclear power plants and their emergency response procedures. The Callaway Energy Center, operated by Ameren, conducts two drills annually to ensure readiness.
“The results show a performance at a level that continues to give us confidence that the health and safety of the public will be protected,” Elkmann said.