Agencies to conduct emergency response exercise
By Star-News staff
KEWAUNEE COUNTY – Kewaunee County, Manitowoc County and the Wisconsin Emergency Management Association (WEMA) will participate in a “Hostile Action Based Emergency” response exercise on Tuesday, Aug. 15 at Point Beach Nuclear Plant in Kewaunee County.
“The exercise will be evaluated off-site by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA),” explained a release from Kewaunee County Emergency Management Director Tracy Nollenberg.
“Federal regulations require local and state government agencies, in whose jurisdiction a nuclear plant is located, to biennially demonstrate that they can protect the health and safety of people potentially at risk in the 10-mile radius of the plant.
“Earlier in June 2023 the Reception Center portion of the exercise was evaluated by FEMA. The Reception Center was done out of sequence of the exercise. This is where responding emergency personnel to the incident go to receive proper personnel protective equipment for response and local populations evacuated from the emergency planning zone around the nuclear plant, go to be monitored for any radiological contamination and to obtain any further assistance they may need during their re-location.
“The reception center for Kewaunee County is the Luxemburg Casco Intermediate School.”
According to Nollenberg, more than 80 employees and volunteers are participating in this year’s exercise.
“Similar operations will occur simultaneously in Manitowoc County by emergency management officials, as well as Madison, where state government response is coordinated,” the release added.
“It is highly unlikely we will ever have to implement the complex procedures in the county’s Emergency Operations Plan for a nuclear plant incident,” said Nollenberg. “However, practicing the principles we would apply to respond to a nuclear plant accident pays dividends in our overall emergency preparedness for all hazards.”
The exercises will bring emergency teams and federal or governmental vehicles to the area.
According to the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), a hostile action is “an act toward a Nuclear Power Plant or its personnel that includes the use of violent force to destroy equipment, take hostages, and/or intimidate the licensee.
“After Sept.11, 2001, the NRC required nuclear power plant licensees to make enhancements in several areas of emergency preparedness, including: alternate emergency response facilities; emergency response organization staffing; security-based emergency classification levels and emergency action levels; and onsite personnel protective Actions.”