SANATOGA PA – A state-of-the-art massive concrete bunker, intended to house equipment that would help Exelon Nuclear’s Limerick Generating Station recover quickly and safely from a disaster, can be built on 58 acres at 3146 Sanatoga Rd., the Lower Pottsgrove Board of Commissioners unanimously agreed Thursday (Aug. 21, 2014).
Limerick Generating Station seen from the parking lot of the Philadelphia Premium Outlets
A presentation of plans for the 5,400-square-foot facility, called a “robust storage structure,” was completed by an Exelon representative in less than 7 minutes and received board approval without questions or comments only a minute later.
The bunker is being constructed under orders from, and to specifications set by, the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission as a response to observations made following a tsunami that hit the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan during March 2011, according to Exelon.
Three of Fukushima’s six nuclear reactors suffered meltdowns, releasing substantial amounts of radioactive material and irradiated water. Emergency response reportedly was hindered by a lack of available, undamaged or uncontaminated equipment, parts and supplies at the scene.
The bunker’s construction would “protect it from similar events,” the representative said.
Exelon reported it was already building one bunker inside its Limerick complex that would store emergency equipment serving its two generators. The commissioners’ vote covered a second, remote bunker located near what Exelon called its “spray pond” within Lower Pottsgrove’s borders.
The structure would be built with 21-inch thick walls and 18-inch thick ceiling made of concrete reinforced by steel bars, according to Exelon’s plans. The equipment to be stored includes robotic devices that could be used as emergency responders’ eyes, ears and hands. “It will give us added capabilities if they’re ever needed,” the spokesman said.
The building’s plans were modified somewhat by township staff members and its engineers before being seen by commissioners. They recommended, and Exelon added, swales and grassy areas to better channel stormwater run-off away from the area.
Related (to the Lower Pottsgrove Board of Commissioners’ Aug. 21 meeting):