Emergency Preparedness

The following news article originally appeared in NEI’s Nuclear Energy Overview.

Of the 34 nuclear energy facilities in the path of Hurricane Sandy, all responded well and safely to the powerful storm, demonstrating their resilience against severe natural forces.

Careful planning and comprehensive preparations days in advance of the storm paid off at all the facilities, ensuring they were prepared to take the steps necessary to maintain safety against Sandy’s high winds, record flooding and disturbances on the regional electric grid. Highly trained reactor operators and emergency response personnel stationed at the plants throughout the storm took actions beyond their usual duties to protect the power plants and communities that surround them. Additional inspectors from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission were stationed at each nuclear energy facility to oversee preparation for and recovery from the storm.
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  • The operators of U.S. nuclear energy facilities last week approved a contract to develop two regional response centers that will store emergency equipment for rapid delivery in case of an extreme event at any nuclear plant. “The regional response centers will further increase the industry’s preparedness for severe challenges, regardless of their causes,” said Tony Pietrangelo, NEI’s chief nuclear officer. “This is another example of the industry’s commitment to learn the lessons from the Fukushima accident in Japan and apply those lessons to enhance safety across the U.S. nuclear energy industry.” The centers will be located near Memphis and Phoenix and will be managed by Pooled Equipment Inventory Co.
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Employees gather at the Beaver Valley emergency operations facility during a recent training drill.  (Click to enlarge.)

Employees gather at the Beaver Valley emergency operations facility during a recent training drill.

Every nuclear energy facility in the country has a detailed plan for responding to an emergency, and emergency operations facilities (EOFs) are an integral part of these plans. Demonstrating their commitment to emergency preparedness, FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Co. (FENOC) built new EOFs for each of their three plants in Ohio and Pennsylvania, which are used to facilitate public health and safety activities during an emergency.

“A lot of thought and effort went into the design of these facilities to make sure they would meet the needs of both our employees as well as the local, state and federal agencies we would work with during an emergency,” Glenn McKee, FENOC’s fleet emergency preparedness manager said.
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Equipment-sharing program at Memphis, Phoenix locations augments industry protocol to pool safety equipment in event of emergencies

WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 25, 2012—The nuclear energy industry is adding another layer of safety and public protection by developing regional centers for critical equipment that could be needed to maintain safety in the event of an extreme event at America’s nuclear energy facilities. All companies that operate nuclear energy facilities approved a contract to develop two regional response centers managed by Pooled Equipment Inventory Co.

The regional response centers will be located near Memphis and Phoenix and capable of delivering supplemental emergency equipment to any of America’s nuclear energy facilities within 24 hours, enabling them to safely manage a loss of electrical power and/or cooling water supply. The equipment and materials provided by the regional response centers supplement the additional portable equipment purchased at all 64 nuclear energy facilities that also can be utilized and shared during a site emergency.

Pooled Equipment Inventory Co. has been providing a shared inventory service to meet emergent equipment needs to the nuclear industry for more than 30 years. The company has established an alliance with AREVA to implement the regional response centers by expanding its capability to provide services that include emergency response planning, procurement and outage services.

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  • AREVA has announced a contract to provide all 23 of Japan’s pressurized water reactors with passive autocatalytic recombiners, which will help prevent hydrogen from building up in emergency situations. The company said it will install more than 100 of the devices, which work constantly to oxidize traces of hydrogen into steam catalytically. The devices are not dependent on external power or operator intervention. AREVA says it has installed the recombiners in more than 140 plants worldwide. No Japanese facilities currently have the equipment. At the Fukushima Daiichi facility last year, hydrogen buildup from the oxidation of zirconium cladding in steam led to explosions that caused extensive damage.
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Activity ID: 1002943 Activity Name: NEI Remarketing Safety Activity Group Name: Remarketing Safety First