NRC: Nuke plant ready for emer­gen­cies

No in­ci­dents found dur­ing ex­er­cise

The Calvert Recorder - - Front Page - By TA­MARA WARD tward@somd­news.com

Calvert Cliffs Nu­clear Power Plant in Lusby passed a fed­eral govern­ment man­dated ex­er­cise on how the com­pany re­sponds in an emer­gency.

The U.S. Nu­clear Reg­u­la­tory Com­mis­sion eval­u­ated an emer­gency pre­pared­ness ex­er­cise of Units 1 and 2 at CCNPP on Sept. 12. The in­spec­tion was com­pleted Sept. 14.

“We did not find any in­ci­dence with re­gards to on site re­sponse,” said Neil Shee­han, an NRC spokesper­son, in the reg­u­la­tory agency’s as­sess­ment of CCNP emer­gency plan.

Shee­han ex­plained that plant own­ers are re­quired to con­duct the graded

ex­er­cises ev­ery two years, which al­lows the agency to as­sess how the plant own­ers and staff re­spond dur­ing a sim­u­lated emer­gency.

“We are look­ing at how the com­pany han­dles on­site emer­gency,” ex­plained Shee­han, of the agency’s fo­cus on re­sponse and com­mu­ni­ca­tions at the plant dur­ing the ex­er­cise. “Are they cat­e­go­riz­ing any ra­di­o­log­i­cal char­ac­ter­is­tics prop­erly?”

Dur­ing the ex­er­cise, es­sen­tial staff manned var­i­ous cen­ters, to in­clude the Emer­gency Op­er­a­tions Cen­ter and Joint In­for­ma­tion Cen­ter, all while in­ter­act­ing with emer­gency per­son­nel from five fed­eral, 16 state and nearly 30 lo­cal gov­ern­ments, to in­clude law en­force­ment.

Some of the en­ti­ties par­tic­i­pat­ing in the sim­u­la­tion were Amer­i­can

Red Cross, Fed­eral Ra­di­o­log­i­cal Mon­i­tor­ing and As­sess­ment Cen­ter, United States Coast Guard, Mary­land State Po­lice, Mary­land De­part­ment of En­vi­ron­ment, Mary­land De­part­ment of Trans­porta­tion, and the gov­ern­ments of Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties.

“It was a re­ally chal­leng­ing sce­nario that put the re­spon­ders through their paces,” said Shee­han. “It’s a tremen­dous amount of co­or­di­na­tion that needs to take place.”

The Fed­eral Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency as­sessed off­site re­sponses and com­mu­ni­ca­tions, to in­clude an eval­u­a­tion of 10-mile emer­gency plan­ning around the plant.

Dur­ing the sce­nario, the re­spon­ders pon­dered rec­om­men­da­tions of evac­u­a­tion or shel­ter in place, which were acted upon.

NRC in­spec­tors ex­am­ined ac­tiv­i­ties con­ducted dur­ing the sce­nario, in ac­cor­dance with the plant’s li­censes, as well as as­sessed plant safety and com­pli­ance with the reg­u­la­tory agency’s rules and reg­u­la­tions. The in­spec­tors re­viewed se­lected pro­ce­dures and records, ob­served ac­tiv­i­ties and in­ter­viewed per­son­nel, ac­cord­ing to a Sept. 26 memo from Ray­mond McKin­ley, NRC’s chief of Plant Support Branch 1 Di­vi­sion of Re­ac­tor Safety, to CCNP.

NRC’s eval­u­a­tion was a quick as­sess­ment of how things went. FEMA will pro­vide an in-depth as­sess­ment of the ex­er­cise’s off­site ac­tiv­i­ties at a later date.

“We are com­mit­ted to op­er­at­ing Calvert Cliffs at world class lev­els of safety and we value the strong re­la­tion­ships we have with com­mu­nity lead­ers and first re­spon­ders to pro­tect the pub­lic in the highly un­likely event of an emer­gency,” said Site Vice Pres­i­dent Mark Fla­herty in a writ­ten state­ment to The Calvert Recorder.

The next graded ex­er­cises on the emer­gency plan will be con­ducted in 2019.

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