LIMERICK PA – It’s arrived: today (Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017) is the day police, fire, and emergency management personnel within a 10-mile radius of the Exelon Corp. Limerick Nuclear Generating Station, at Linfield and Evergreen roads, have been preparing for during the past six months. They’ll respond in real time to a mock emergency at the plant staged by federal and state agencies to determine disaster readiness.
Depending on the teams utilized, the bi-annual test conducted by the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency is expected take several hours and involve hundreds of people. Their actions, response times, successes and improvement needs all will be scrutinized and assessed.
Authorities say residents of Lower Pottsgrove, Pottstown, Limerick, and surrounding municipalities should not be surprised to see a greater-than-usual amount of first responder traffic – fire trucks, police cruisers, and ambulances – on local roads today as they attend to tasks that are part of the drill.
And their report card and final score? Preliminary results are scheduled to be offered during a public meeting Friday (Nov. 17) at 10 a.m. in the Marriott Courtyard Hotel, 600 Campus Dr., Collegeville. The anticipated list of speakers include representatives from FEMA, the state, and the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), according to FEMA Regional Administrator MaryAnn Tierney.
A more comprehensive report on the readiness response, officially known as the “Radiological Emergency Preparedness Program,” will be furnished to the NRC within 90 days, Tierney added, for its “use in licensing decisions.” The same report will be available to the public sometime in early spring 2018.
FEMA created the program to ensure the health and safety of citizens living around commercial nuclear power plants, and to inform and educate the public about radiological emergency preparedness. Its scope, however, is limited only to those activities that occur “off-site:” the actions of local police departments, fire companies, ambulance crews, and other first responders.
The NRC, Tierney noted, remains responsible for what happens “on-site,” within the boundaries of the nuclear power plant itself.
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