FEMA Holds Briefing on Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant Exercise



PLYMOUTH – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region I held a public briefing on a full-scale exercise at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth.

The briefing presented initial observa­tions of participant actions taken during the exercise at the Station. 

Representatives from FEMA and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) presented their observations of the full-scale exercise.

The briefing took place at the conclusion of the one-day exercise.

There were no new findings as a result of the exercise and plant owner Entergy said that everything went great. 

“This is nothing more than a demonstration of what we do and what we practice every day and we get a chance to prove what we can do what we’re assigned to do,” said Entergy spokesman Patrick O’Brien.

Exercise participants included the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and all communities within the 10 mile Emergency Planning Zone, each of which are required to activate their emergency operations centers during the exercise.

“What it is, is letting us walk through and test that we have all those plans in place, that people know how to follow through with them, know what they are and implement all those actions in a simulated basis, that should we ever need to do it in real-life, we have all those plans and everyone knows what to do in place,” said MEMA spokesman Chris Basse.

The exercise allowed federal teams to examine the ability of the participating local, state and utility officials to protect the health and safety of the public living near the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in the event of a radiological release. 

FEMA observed and evaluated offsite state and local emergency response. 

The NRC observed and evaluated the on-site performance of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station staff.                

The NRC is the federal agency responsible for evaluating on-site emergency plans and exercises for nuclear power plants. 

FEMA is responsible for evaluating off-site plans and exercises for states and local govern­ments through its Radiological Emergency Preparedness Program.

Diane Turco with the Cape Downwinders said she wasn’t pleased with the exercise.

“It’s a paper exercise and people talk to each other and make phone calls and they gather in a room, they’re not dealing with real life,” said Turco. “This should be an alert to the public because these folks aren’t dealing with the real-life accidents.”

By MATT MCCARTHY and JUSTIN SAUNDERS, CapeCod.com Newscenter

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