Emergency exercise at Callaway Nuclear Plant deemed safe

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JEFFERSON CITY - The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and state and local agencies held a public meeting Friday to declared the Callaway County Nuclear Plant safe after a two-day exercise.

According to a news release from FEMA’s Region VII office, the exercise is a requirement that must be met every two years to determine state and local emergency preparedness and response plans. The exercise tested the abilities of the state, the utility and the surrounding counties to protect the public in the case of an emergency at or near the plant.

Norman Valentine, site specialist for FEMA Region VII, said “In general it was a good exercise. They demonstrated that they are well prepared to respond in the event something did happen in Callaway.”

Paul Elkmann, senior emergency preparedness inspector for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), said the purpose of the inspections is three-fold: To determine whether the simulation designed by the plant is adequate and proficient; to evaluate the performance during the simulation with FEMA in order to give assurance that the emergency plan can be implemented in the case of a disaster; and to ensure there is an appropriate action to fix any problems noted during the exercise.

“We also concluded that the performance of those emergency response organization staff showed us that they are capable of implementing their emergency plan and had the actions been real they would have taken adequate measures to protect the health and safety of the public and the emergency workers involved,” said Elkmann.

Valentine said the goal of the public forum was to educate the public about the safety programs initiated by FEMA and state and local organizations to prepare for an emergency situation. The results from the exercise will be observed and evaluated by the FEMA Region VII Radiological Emergency Preparedness Program, the release said.